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  • 'Akala Mo Lang Wala, Pero Meron!' 6 Single Parent Movies And The Lessons They Impart

    Take a look into the lives of solo parents in these Filipino movies.
    by Jocelyn Valle .
'Akala Mo Lang Wala, Pero Meron!' 6 Single Parent Movies And The Lessons They Impart
PHOTO BY Facebook/ABS-CBN Film Restoration; Instagram/viva_films
  • Being a solo or single parent, whether by choice or circumstances, is tough (read here some real-life stories). That's why more and more movie productions tackle the challenges and struggles, as well as the joys and rewards of functioning both as a mother and a father.

    Here is a short list of single parent movies produced and released in the Philippines:

    Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa?

    This 1998 Star Cinema production is based on the 1988 book of the same title by the distinguished writer Lualhati Bautista.

    Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa tells the story of Lea Bustamante (played by Vilma Santos), a volunteer for a human rights organization, who has two kids: Ojie (Carlo Aquino) and Maya (Serena Dalrymple).

    Lea's panganay Ojie is her child with her ex-husband Raffy (Ariel Rivera), while her  bunso, Maya, with her current partner Ding (Albert Martinez). Though Lea, Ojie, and Maya live with Ding, who's a weakling and Mama's boy, Lea singlehandedly raises her kids the best way she can.

    Being a nonconformist to society's standards and expectations, Lea gets into conflicts with Raffy and Ding, as well as with Ojie and Maya. Thus, Lea and Ojie's iconic confrontation scene in which she goes saying, "Wala akong ginagawang masama," and her son replying, "Akala mo lang wala, pero meron, meron, meron!"

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    Parenting takeaway

    Allow your children to be heard and make their choices. That's what Lea does, however painful for her, when Ojie is asked by his father Ding to move to the United States with Ding and Ding's new wife. At the same time, Maya's father Ding is demanding for more parental authority over the girl.


    This 1994 Star Cinema production is written by Tessie Tomas, an advertising executive before she became a movie-TV actress who's also a longtime single mom to a son before she met her second husband.

    Separada's story revolves around Melissa (played by Maricel Soriano), a successful advertising executive, whose husband Dodie (Edu Manzano) leaves their marriage for his mistress. (Read here about infidelity.)

    Melissa gets custody of their children Vincent (Patrick Garcia) and Jenny (Angelica Panganiban), with Dodie doing his share in coparenting duties. She struggles to strike a balance between parenthood and career. She even gets the blame for mishaps involving their children.

    Parenting takeaway

    Let your children be a part of your support system. This helped Melissa eventually finding her own feet as a working single mother.

    Maalaala Mo Kaya: The Movie

    This 1994 Star Cinema production is a spin-off of the long-running drama series on ABS-CBN, Maalaala Mo Kaya. 

    The movie's story begins with college student Marissa (played by Chin-Chin Gutierrez) becoming a mother out of wedlock. She then decides to try her luck abroad and leaves behind her son BJ (Karl Angelo Legaspi) to the care of her best friend Ana (Aiko Melendez).

    As years pass, Ana doesn't get a word from Marissa. So she takes upon herself to raise BJ as her own child with the help, later on, of her boyfriend Mike (Richard Gomez). One day, Marissa shows up and claims her role as mother to BJ.

    Parenting takeaway

    Always consider your children's best interest. When Marissa succeeds in claiming BJ from Ana, she realizes that the boy longs for the mother who grew up with and that her new husband is not really fond of children. She then settles her issue with Ana for the sake of BJ.


    Wanted: Perfect Mother

    This 1996 Viva Films presentation is a remake of the 1970 directorial debut of Lino Brocka.

    The story of Wanted: Perfect Mother, both the original movie and remake, is based on Mars Ravelo's novel serialized in Pilipino Komiks.

    When Dante (played by Christopher de Leon) loses his wife to an untimely death, he suddenly finds himself solely caring for their three grieving kids. The youngest, Nina (Melisse Santiago), has a hard time coping with the loss that she's failing in school.


    Dante then looks for a tutor, and hires Sam (Regine Velasquez). With her fun personality and fine musicality, Sam instantly captures the heart not only of Nina but also Nina's siblings, and eventually Dante's own. (Read here on dating rules for single parents.) 

    Parenting takeaway

    Listen to what your children have to say. Dante realizes that his children need a mother figure, but he also acknowledges their fear of having someone replace their own mother.

    Ang Tatay Kong Nanay

    This 1978 Lino Brocka classic is one of the first Filipino single parent movies with a gay lead character.

    In Ang Tatay Kong Nanay, Coring (played by Dolphy) is a beautician in love with a younger man named Dennis (Phillip Salvador), who gets his girlfriend Mariana (Marissa Delgado) pregnant.

    Both Dennis and Mariana aren't ready to be parents, so Dennis entrusts their child Nonoy (Niño Muhlach) to Coring before he seeks greener pastures abroad. Though initially hesitant, Coring eventually agrees to looking after Nonoy.

    Parenting takeaway

    Be honest with your children. Coring raises Nonoy as his own child to the point that the boy really thinks he has no other parents. But when Nonoy's mother shows up one day, Coring has to tell the truth to the boy. In the end, Coring also has to be honest to Nonoy about his gender identity without explanation.

    Miracle in Cell No. 7

    This 2019 Viva Films presentation is a remake of the 2013 South Korean blockbuster of the same title.

    Miracle in Cell No. 7's story is about a mentally challenged man named Joselito (Aga Muhlach), who singlehandedly raises his daughter Yesha (Xia Vigor).

    When Joselito is wrongfully sent to prison for the death of a powerful public official's daughter, Yesha gets to see her father with the help of Joselito's fellow inmates. Years later and Yesha is already a lawyer (Bela Padilla), she goes to court to clearn the name of her innocent father.

    Parenting takeaway

    Share your children's sense of wonder. Joselito has the mental age of 6, so he's basically a child raising another child like they're playing together. But what's worth noting is how he makes their daily life and regular routine fun for both of them. It's also fun to watch for viewers of this single parent movie.

    Read here for the list of single dad celebrities and here for the list of single mom celebrities.

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