Maalaala Mo Kaya's Upcoming Episode "Titibo-Tibo" Draws Flak for Its LGBT Portrayal
It's based on the real-life story of the writer of the hit song
(SPOT.ph) The latest episode of drama anthology series Maalaala Mo Kaya hasn't aired yet—it's set to premiere on June 16—but its trailer, posted on June 11, is already drawing the ire of social-media users online. The episode, entitled "Titibo-Tibo," stars Maris Racal, Jameson Blake, and Neil Coleta. It's based on the real-life story of Libertine Amistoso, the writer of the song of the same name. It won first place in the 2017 Himing Handog songwriting competition hosted by ABS-CBN.
The song, performed by Moira dela Torre, features lyrics that talk about a girl who grows up with bi-curious friends who are also interested in girls. Eventually, she "outgrows" her tomboy persona and becomes more "girly" when she meets and starts having feelings for a boy.
The upcoming Maalaala Mo Kaya (MMK) episode is based on the lyrics of the song, where Tin (Racal) is a high-school student who starts off having feelings for a girl. "Hindi ko talagang mapigilang magka-gusto sa babae. Alangan naman lokohin ko 'yong sarili ko. 'Yon ba gusto nila?" she asks as she walks hand in hand with a girl. But then the title cards read, "Ang pusong tibo, titibok sa gwapo." Racal's character then meets two boys, and—now with long hair—she eventually introduces one of them as her boyfriend, to which her mother exclaims, "Ang saya-saya ko!"
The trailer didn't sit well with people on Twitter, who found the episode's premise to be problematic as it shows that girls being interested in girls—or being bisexual and gay in general—is only a phase.
i'm so worried everyone in this house will watch that #MMKTitibotibo episode and it will further strengthen my dad's claim that bisexuality is just a confusion/phase when really IT ISN'T. AT LEAST NOT FOR EVERYONE. I'm so tired of being invalidated.— sigh (@gentlememorial) June 13, 2018
#MMKTitibotibo Oo, personal story niya yun. But just like all forms of it, it's literature. Literature can shape the perspectives and beliefs of someone.— ? ???? ? (@yukiransumii) June 13, 2018
Showing this on PRIDE MONTH will only promote the backward thinking of Filipinos and we don't need that in this age and time.
#MMKTitiboTibo is problematic because it normalizes the idea that lesbianism or bisexuality is only a temporary phase therefore not to be taken seriously. It ruins everything the LGBTQ+ community has worked so hard for the past few years. It’s lazy writing, I’m sorry.— ???? ???? ???? ???? (@irisvicencio) June 13, 2018
#MMKTitibotibo is promoting the faulty idea that being a queer is something a person would eventually get over with which is just plain insulting and disrespectful, like y'all abs pips should have known better than to promote and market this story sa pride month pa. IT'S NOT COOL— roshen (@jesus_saidchill) June 13, 2018
the audacity to promote harmful stereotypes against wlw and implying that one’s sexuality is merely a temporary phase on national television on pride month! this is fucking insulting, who gave #MMKTitiboTibo the right? https://t.co/CvnY6WrTsq— johly #PrideMonth ????????????????? (@jullsflores) June 13, 2018
y’all think this is cute but have you ever considered the struggles of w/w for you to put up a content of a “tibo” falling for a straight guy? why not portray the w/w relationship and let filipinos know the real culture of LGBTQIA+ community #MMKTitibotibo https://t.co/BMLcm0fQXf— winchelle. (@cherderella) June 13, 2018
seeing all these hype tweets on #MMKTitibotibo makes my heart ache for the LGBTQIA+ community for being portrayed as a “phase” esp in this month where we celebrate our identity because of how proud we are to be us #PrideMonth im sorry darlings for this blatant disrespect— winchelle. (@cherderella) June 13, 2018
yeah sorry i love Maris Racal pero this story, no matter how "true to life" it is, will really only cause trouble in helping Filipinos understand LGBTQ++ people.— Jan Angelo Ong (@Ongiel) June 13, 2018
naiimagine ko na yung mga magsasabi sakin ng "so gay ka talaga like di ka macoconvert? e ba't si Maris dun sa MMK?" https://t.co/aztdj6f275
Still, some argue that the story shouldn't be invalidated because it's someone's personal story. Others say that people should watch the episode before making conclusions.
The strength of the LGBTIQ community lies within its very own brand of diversity. #LoveWins di ba? So, if this is love, why question it?!Why the hate?! Buti sana guys kung fiction eh, pero pota this is derived from a real life story!!! #MMKTitiboTibo— SephMichaels (@mikeljosep) June 14, 2018
My initial read on the #MMKTitibotibo teaser was "heterosexuality will win out in the end" so um yeah that seemed a little sketchy...— Jay Lopez (@Intelli_Jay) June 13, 2018
But i don't want to judge the actual show because i'm still optimistic that the episode might still do it better :33 https://t.co/boBSfXiRWu
May point naman both sides but can we wait until the end of the episode? Lets judge based on the actual episode. Baka naman may pageexplain deeper about LGBT+ sa #MMKTitibotibo.— Majasty Slayvador (@majasuperstar) June 13, 2018
Learning something sa mga 'woke' sa Twitter ha but mayroong iba na OA sa pawoke. Goodluck Maris Racal
Racal has defended the episode in a comment on Twitter. In an exchange with a social-media user, she told her to just watch the episode to see what her character will go through.
Watch the episode and you’ll know. :)— Maris ?? Racal (@MissMarisRacal) June 14, 2018
Meron. Kaya Panoorin nalang natin.— Maris ?? Racal (@MissMarisRacal) June 14, 2018
Though it's received criticism for its teaser, the MMK episode is set to air on June 16 at 8:30 p.m. on ABS-CBN.