It all began, simply enough, with a love story. Mateo, our male lead, is training to be a police officer when he meets the enigmatic Lualhati. They fall in love. And then, one night, Lualhati is taken from him by manananggals. Mateo is left for dead, but Lualhati is revealed to be a manananggal as well–one who is trying to escape her destiny.
What Lualhati didn’t know, then, was that during the short time she and Mateo were together, they had managed to create a child. Having not been turned into a full-fledged manananggal yet, Lualhati kept her pregnancy a secret. But she knows that, because manananggals feed on fetuses, she cannot hide her secret from the others for long. She plots to escape.
And so begins a journey that was prophecized to end with the death of all aswangs.
I am very fond of Aso ni San Roque, and not just because I’m part of the creative team. It might not seem like much, and I’m sure people will find a lot of fault with the series, but for me–it’s perfect.
Okay, maybe not perfect. I can nitpick with the best of them.
But after One True Love, this is the first project I’ve been part of where we were allowed to challenge the tropes–to turn the tried-and-tested twists around. One of which will happen this week, as the program comes to a close. We had good guys turn into conflicted villains, and then we had a villain who actually chose to help out the good guys–because it’s most beneficial to her, we had surprise characters that actually moved the story along–
And it’s not every day you can have an apocalypse in a Filipino soap opera.
Then there’s the challenges that the creative team (and the equally wonderful and hardworking production team) had to contend with: budget overshoots, bad weather, illness, etcetera. Story arcs had to be lengthened and shortened, new characters had to be added to the story to accommodate contractual obligations–every creative meeting had a new concern that needed addressing.
Aso ni San Roque is not perfect in anyway, and I don’t want to say it’s the best we could do. It’s not. But I’m still proud of the show we were able to produce–proud of what we were able to accomplish despite of the many challenges.
And because we pretty much were given free reign on how to wrap the show up, I’d recommend tuning in. It’s going to be one hell of a finale week.