“I do not have time for teleseryes. I do not watch TFC. But, I started to watch Be Careful with My Heart when I read Facebook postings and [when] friends started to talk about it. I could not understand why these reasonable, smart folks (nurses, teachers, professionals, business owners) are hooked [on] watching this teleserye. Now, I am [also] hooked as well.” – Anonymous, 2013.
When Be Careful with My Heart aired on July 9, 2012, I wasn’t able to see the earlier episodes and how the characters were introduced.
It did not engage me as much then as it does now.
Friends talk about the main characters of Sir Chief and Maya, as if they are relatives. “Oh ano na ang nangyari, naghalikan na ba sila?” Hindi pa, ang sagot ng isa, but they (referring to Sir Chief and Maya) are going to a prom to act as chaperones for Nikki.”
With 211 episodes aired as of this writing, folks do not seem to get tired of the conversations between Sir Chief and Maya. The story revolves around Maya, who took a job as a nanny for the Lim Family (with Sir Chief as a father of three children: Abby, who suffers from selective mutism, who regained her ability to speak because of Maya’s loving and unconditional positive attitude; Nikki, a teenager; and Luke, who is a senior in high school.
Not even Sir Chief’s sour and peppery moods could dampen Maya. She gave Sir Chief endearing and beyond-the-ordinary service: anticipating when he wants his coffee and how he wants it. She prepares the required measurements of coffee and cream and places them in zip lock bags.
She helped Sir Chief understand human connections: with family and with his teenage children.
The plot is not hard to follow — each character is developed to its depth per week (or more) like the focus on Abby’s selective mutism. Only after several months did she regain her ability to speak, in a natural way. It started in a dream, when she became at peace and was no longer burdened by the loss of her mother, Alex.
We, the viewers, fell in love with Abby and equally, with Maya as she treated Abby like her own daughter, reading fairy tales for her and teaching her simple games that Maya learned as a young child.
As Maya immersed herself in helping the family, she also mutually benefited from them.
Maya was accepted in a flight stewardess training program — a long-time dream of hers since she started to helping her sister, Cristina Rose, in their tour guide business, showcasing destination sites in San Nicolas.
But it is not just us that got hooked to the show. A Japanese –American husband of a Filipina stylist watches it with her, and he is just as equally hooked. I asked the wife how he keeps up and she said that he relies on the English conversations of Sir Chief and on his wife for some of the deeper conversations in Tagalog. This teleserye is becoming the focus of primetime family time.
Another friend, Gemma, described how she sits on her bed, surrounded by her two young children and their grandmother to watch the show. All three generations of women share this time together.
Dinner is ready when Gemma comes home and everyone rushes to the bedroom to watch this teleserye.
Even my own dinner is carefully timed, so as not to miss the airing of this teleserye at 830pm each night. It’s quite funny when I hush my husband, Enrique, not to interfere with the dialogue of Sir Chief and Maya at a scene where the two were having a picnic in the school grounds of the university, where Sir Chief got his engineering degree.
Enrique then proceeded to deconstruct the scene and said: “Why would there be moon and stars in the cities, when the skies are polluted in Manila?”
I simply smiled. I did not want to get into an argument, as I am so into the courtship of Sir Chief and Maya.
But it is more than the kilig factor of the courtship scenes which makes this teleserye endearing. It is also the wholesome family life of the Lims; the persistent hard work of Maya’s family, as they transformed their souvenir shop to a sit-down café that has expanded into a 24-hour restaurant, catering to tourists.
Maya seems to have a reservoir of positivity, when it comes to facing challenges. She remembers how her mother would talk about “kapitbisig,” — arm-in-arm support of one another.
Even if there are tensions and conflicts, they are organically evolving. It is about growing up, it is about selecting a prom dress for Nikki, it is wondering if another girl loves Luke, or if Sir Chief is being a good father, as he balances his work and family duties as a single parent, embodying all universal issues of life and growth.
A simple caress of Maya’s hair or cheek, or a touch to remove a stain on Maya’s lips from eating balut would send folks and friends screaming and giddy over what comes next.
The teleserye writers have gotten into our collective psyche. They respect us all by writing credible scenes we can all identify with: a crush, the prom, the first dance, a first glance at the moon and the stars, a kiss under the big tree and holding of hands.
The very last scene that got me screaming with kilig was when Maya and Sir Chief held hands as they laid down on the picnic tablecloth, glancing at the stars and the moon (even if my husband says the moon and the stars are blocked by the smog-filled city).
Even conversations between husband and wife were temporarily put on hold by Be Careful with My Heart.
And you know what else was put on hold? The fundraiser of a candidate for city council, who tried to schedule it on the same day that Maya and Sir Chief are coming to Los Angeles with the entire cast. The councilperson had to move the date.
In life, love is simply contagious — even if it is just in a teleserye. It is like nothing we’ve seen before. It is endearing, wholesome and encapsulates Pinoy values of selflessness and sacrifice for the family, being emotionally available for one another as each one works hard to reach a dream.
Good job, The Filipino Channel for giving us this teleserye. It has now been extended, for as long as viewers are supportive of all the characters and their unfolding personalities, trials and triumphs.
“Kapitbisig, kapamilya,” as Maya would say!