[PH] On the Wings of Love (again)

This is my second write-up for this drama. (It’s my first time to do two full write-ups on a series!) Less plot-pointed this time and more character-focused.

First post can be found here.

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PH’s On the Wings of Love (“OTWOL”) has come a long way and is now nearing its close. Leah and Clark have separated, reunited, engaged, and now about to break up again—maybe for the last time. We, the audience, have undergone a rollercoaster ride with Erik Santos and Kyla’s voices in the background, going bipolar with giddiness one moment, and utter misery the next.

But what’s our key take-away from this drama?

For me, it is that Love is effortful. It is not the easy, effortless falling-in-love idea that is brought upon by destiny, written-in-the-stars kind of thing, that we all hold no control over. Love is not a feeling. It may start as so but overall, it is an act of will, a conscious choice. It is a decision that requires so much effort from the loving person—to constantly listen, see, and act for the betterment of the other as his/her own person—even at the risk of goodbye.

For Leah and Clark, finding and pursuing this love was tough. They, too, started with feelings—they still have lots of it—but they have gone through a lot just to choose each other and stand by each other. They had to overcome barriers within themselves, renege on promises made to Tita Jack and Jigs, win over Tatang Sol, surmount the tragedy in Nanang, and now, they face again another obstacle in the form of Leah’s new boss, Simon.

Compared to other series, their journey is more flawed, more real, and, yes, more heartbreaking, because most of its ups and downs are brought upon by their own decisions, by their ill judgments, and not by a certain villain from the outside that just brings upon evil to their story.

For me, one of the worst decisions that they both have made is to reunite here in Manila when Leah was still struggling to find herself. Clark was blinded by his own feelings of love, of his “I can’t live without you”, of his dependency on Leah that he didn’t recognize the latter’s need to find herself first. And Leah was pressured to respond to this that she forwent her own self and gave in to Clark instead.

Contrary to traditional beliefs, I do not believe that just because a couple is bound together by marriage, they are no longer two people—no more he and she, him and her—but are now one person, one entity—just we and us. For me, it is highly critical that in truly loving a person, you recognize that you and your partner are still and will forever be separate individuals. And Clark did not see that. He saw him and Leah as one person because they are husband and wife—that they can go through each and every problem together. But to find oneself is a mountain that one can only climb alone. As her husband, he should have been prepared to just wait at the bottom of that mountain until she comes back—happy, secure, and whole—ready to love him fully again.

I know I am asking a lot from him but that’s just the way it is. For me, Popoy’s way in One More Chance, when Basha asked for that separation, was the way to go. He nearly killed himself in the process—though I don’t want to have Clark come to that—but he gave Basha the space she needed. Basha, in return, gave it also to him when he needed it at the near-end of the movie.

But Clark didn’t. And Leah was pressured that he would leave her forever so she also gave in. And today, we are seeing its repercussions.

Leah  

Leah is now struggling to balance Clark and her dreams. When they got back together, she was still in the process of sorting her life out, with her family in the middle, her own self and her lost dreams strewn at the sides. It is only now that she is getting it all together, but she also has to make time for Clark and their nearing church wedding. But try as she might, it doesn’t seem like she will be hitting that balance anytime soon. And it’s badly affecting her relationship with Clark.

So yes, I stand firm that, despite the general consensus, Leah’s uncertainties do not lie between Clark and her boss, Simon (played by Paulo Avelino). Rather, it is between Clark and her dreams. If you know Leah’s character well, you would know that if you put her on the spot and ask her to choose between Clark and Simon, it would be a no-brainer for her: she’d choose Clark over and over until her hair turns grey. But if you ask her to choose between Clark and her dreams, she would take a pause and maybe give you a conflicted answer, if she would even dare to answer.

This is further exemplified in that recent episode when Leah had to report to work on a weekend and retreat from a rare date with Clark because of an emergency with a client. A significant number of viewers immediately judged her (again) for being so heartless and always choosing Simon over Clark. But, dear Lord, no. She simply had to choose her dreams at that moment over her enraged husband because if she didn’t, it could, in that very instant, fly away. I know that because I, too, have been in the same situation wherein I had to work even if I was sick, even if I was in the middle of a vacation with my family, because I have my own dreams to protect and pursue. It is not easy to say no to your boss especially if it is really critical to the business—if you do, then face the consequence of immediate termination. Goodbye, dreams.

Clark 

I am not saying Leah doesn’t have her own share of mistakes.

She was wrong to have been swayed by Clark when he asked her to choose him or he’d leave her for good. Because she should have chosen herself. And in choosing herself, she would have also been choosing him.

Cryptic, no?

Leah should have recognized, that like her, Clark also wasn’t a complete person. They “fell in love” in San Francisco and sure were continuously attracted, invested, and committed to each other, but in all angles, they were in no place to bring each other growth yet.

She was broken—with Nanang’s truth having shattered her very foundation—so how will she help Clark be a better person, fly higher if she can’t even get herself out of the water?

I also overlooked this at the start, but Clark was also broken. It was intelligently veiled in the way that he behaved so confidently, so sure of himself, even after they broke up. What we, I, forgot is the fact that he was broken from the very beginning—with the non-acknowledgment of him by his own father, the trauma he lived through as a child when he jumped from one foster home to another, when he had to forget himself and focus on earning money at a very young age or die starving—and it was Leah who made him “whole”. This is why he is very clingy to Leah. He is very dependent on her because she was the one who made him feel whole again. He holds the perfect epitome of the saying, of the lie: “You complete me.”

It is a lie because real love entails two people who can live without each other but choose to live with each other. As John Lennon said about his wife, Yoko:

Interviewer:  Why can’t you be alone without Yoko?

John Lennon:  But I can be alone without Yoko, but I just have no wish to be.

It is in this aspect that John Lennon wins but Clark fails. He is your handsome, perfect, holier-than-thou, ideal husband—a carbon copy of whom you pray to God for—but he is internally broken. He seemed whole before with Leah filling that gap for him, but that was a faux piece. Leah can never be part of him as he cannot be part of her. They are and will always be two separate individuals—a he and she, a him and her, no matter how many weddings they celebrate with each other. That is why when the Summa Cum Laude, successful-beyond-his-age, gorgeous, genius Simon comes into the picture, he folds. He questions Leah. He questions himself. He crumbles.

His brokenness is further magnified to us and to himself the more that Simon becomes more significant in Leah’s life. Now, he realizes that he has to become better, he has to be more successful. His insecurities multiply each and every time he sees Simon. So he draws himself new, higher dreams. He draws himself a vision of a new and improved Clark. But he does these all in light of Simon, all for Leah to choose him—again, showing his dependency—but never for himself. When it should all be for himself.

And Leah doesn’t realize this. So in this judgment of many viewers, I agree with. She is insensitive to a fault. She does not know how to listen at times. And sometimes, to be listened to is the only thing we need. Instead, she brushes it off when he starts to say something about his worries. “Ano ka ba, wala ‘yun” (That’s nothing) she would always say. Even though it is really true that there isn’t anything for Clark to worry about because she’ll choose him over anyone at anytime, instant appeasing does nothing when you don’t listen to where these worries are really coming from. Worse, she keeps on mentioning and mentioning Simon, him being her idol at work, him being so genius, so skilled, amazing and all that, without seeing the growing hole in Clark’s identity. And it is this hole which will eat him if he doesn’t realize it and mend it himself before it is too late.

So when I said that had Leah chosen herself and not reunited with Clark when he asked her to, she would also be choosing him, I meant that she could have given them both the space they needed to make themselves whole. While she was trying to rebuild the foundation of her identity which Nanang’s truth destroyed, Clark could have mended himself also in the process. He could then be drowning in his own tears day in and day out, but in due time, he would have been able to accept it, move on, focus on himself, draw ithose new dreams for his own and not for others, and just make himself whole and even better. Just like how Jigs fixed himself after finally waking up that Leah will never return to his side again.

Now, in the last four weeks of the drama, our power couple, the struggling-to-complete-herself Leah and the more-broken-now-than-ever Clark, are up against the odds. Odds that they’ve set up for themselves. Don’t bother hoping for that church wedding to push through because you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. They are bound to separate quite soon with the rate things are going. Both of them have long needed space and now, they are finally getting it. (Just at the expense of our own hearts)

The question is, who is more courageous between the two of them to realize it, accept it, and initiate it? Who will be the Basha to break things off?

“If it is not an act of courage, it is not love.” – Scott Peck

The recent turn of events in On the Wings of Love may not be the normal Filipino audience’s cup of tea. It is not your cliché series that is just filled with rainbows and butterflies with a villain or two here and there. It is also not your typical telenovela with a third party simply ruining a good relationship nor is it another savage drama that espouses adultery of a wife/husband. Rather, it is a story which runs along the real-life, less dramatic, but more palpable problems of Filipino couples in our misconstrued idea of love. It is uncomfortable to watch especially now that its main characters, the couple we rallied for all these months, are bound to break up. Tears are bound to be shed. Heartbreak is all over the place. Not your typical road to your wished-for happy ending. And that is good, too.

If anything, it is even better.

I am proud that On the Wings of Love is the only series (with so much creativity and balls) in the recent local TV scene that reveals what love really is using characters that are full of flaws, who make wrong decisions, who, like us, try to overcome and rectify these faults in their struggle to become better partners and better persons. Yes, it is more heartbreaking than other dramas, because it is more real. It hits much closer to home. And in that, it is so much more beautiful.

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All ideas on love used in this blog post are attributed to M. Scott Peck and his 1978 book, The Road Less Traveled.

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[PH] On the Wings of Love (again)

90 thoughts on “[PH] On the Wings of Love (again)

  1. Loved the M. Scott Peck reference ❤ Thank you so much for this read! I tried defending Clark's ultimatum to Leah before but like you said, it's what's leading to the issues that they have now. Beautifully written piece you have here. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. MJ says:

    Although you make sense, all the things you said are still very difficult to digest. And what’s happening in OTWOL now is also very difficult to watch. Kung sumubaybay ka mula Aug 10, halos 6 months mong pinagpupuyatan, yung huling linggo sasaktan ka pa ng sobra. Ang unfair lang ng mga writers sa viewers. Sana hindi sila nagpaasa kasi masakit sa damdamin ng mga nanonood at nagpupuyat na yung mga huling episodes eh hindi naman pala maganda sa pakiramdam. Good vibes dapat ang OTWOL di ba? Ilang buwan tayong GV, sa last weeks pala puro heartache. Deserve ba ng mga viewers na halos 6 months sumubaybay yung ganun??? Kung movie yan okay lang eh, kung 3 months na serye, okay lang, pero kung 6 months mong pinagpupuyatan, sobrang nakakasakit ng damdamin.

    Like

    1. I am not in any way part of its production but as a staunch supporter of the story, I’m sorry for this misery.

      But it is a story. It is not a sitcom that is just full of “GV”. It is a story of two persons who may have been trapped in a comic situation before, who have lots of funny bones too in their bodies, but have much deeper problems within themselves that they eventually need to face, to solve. If it is just all happy and cheesy, where would the substance be? How would these characters grow? How would they go from point A to point B?

      For me (and yes I have watched it and followed it since its pilot episode) it isn’t unfair. We subjected ourselves to this the moment we chose to invest ourselves in this story. It presented numerous conflicts from the beginning. They are bound to face them sooner or later. Granted we never imagined it to be this heartbreaking, we still chose that road. No one forced us to watch it. Now we can either forge on and stick with Clark and Leah, or just let go.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. lilia says:

    it has been my thoughts before that it will be career over clark..(i want it to happen this way).it is a well written piece.with this on point, i think many of my co-otwolistas are now much prepared to face whatever ending it may brings.I am amazed with the reactions, lengthy comments & analysis from the viewers.otwol viewers /jadine fans indeed are mature and intelligent individuals.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. just_me says:

    very well said… it is what everybody needed…. a reality check!!! OTWOL IS BY FAR…. THE MOST ROMANTIC AND REALISTIC TELESERYE EVER PRODUCED… 😊😊 kudos to all the cast and crew…. thank you for giving us a one of a kind teleserye… it will never be forgotten…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. marianascha says:

    Thank you Joyce for sharing your comprehensive character analysis of Clark and Leah. It’s disconcerting indeed that Simon is included in the cast but now I get to see a different point of view as to why he was added.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dada says:

    Well written. Simple. Easy to understand.
    I have to agree, it is not the typical love story that the audience hoped for BUT I am glad that it is written this way. The twists. The plot. Once again KUDOS to the whole team.

    Realistic. Relatable. Honest. Heartbreaking. True.

    Thank you team OTWOL

    Liked by 1 person

  7. she says:

    It is a great story indeed!! Full of surprises in every episode and this few weeks is the climax! I don’t know why some fans are making a fuss with what’s happening in the story but they are making a big mistake for not watching because if its always a happy moments all the time and it ends, I’m pretty sure most of us will definitely be not satisfied. “Is that all? That’s it? Goodbye OTWOL? Will be in our minds for sure…Thank God for having a good writer on this one. They can played our emotions really well and jadine are right its a roller coaster ride.. Remember folks, there’s no real Joy without experiencing great Sadness first!!!!!! #otwolista #jadinefan

    Like

  8. Nicely done! At this point, separation is already a given. Am I hoping for a happy ending? Of course! That’s what Direk Tonet promised after that airport scene. More than anything (heartbreak aside) it will be interesting to see how this separation will unfold leading to that happy ending.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. OTWOL is history in the making in the Philippine Television. We hope that our petition of a happy and realistic ending be granted by OTWOL team and of course have a special episode for this on air so that we who are in provinces can also witness it. Please ABS-CBN and DreamScape grant our plea.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hermes says:

    Spectacular show, one of a kind, so much realizations, the love, the kilig, the drama. James Reid and Nadine Lustre gives us so much joy. Kudos to the writers, directors and dreamscape for giving us an amazing show. Whatever happens in the end, I will support it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sky says:

    Great analysis. I hope more OTWOLISTA will get to read this. I share the same POV. Simon was never a threat to their relationship (Just like Angela was never a threat).

    Liked by 1 person

  12. rosana celino says:

    I understand that it would not end the way we expect it, I felt it already when Simon entered the picture. The situation does really happen and I can relate to the twist of this story. I felt the pain in Clark’s heart because I could remember the look and the pain my husband felt when I left him and my children and worked abroad for 5 years. When I came home for good, the joy that my family felt was irreplaceable, so I was still hoping that the story will have a happy ending. Guess, I’m just a hopeless romantic! I hope there will be a sequel in this teleserye, just like “A second chance” that will have a happy ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. PJ says:

    I just had to come back and link this to most of my friends after they brushed me off as a feminazi when i told them to jump off the hate train on Leah. I feel sad that only few of us can empathize with her. I rant as well on my ig after thay all shush me on our cbox. My ig rant is @asdfudgeoff btw if someone wants to discuss the same sentiments. I remember when i used to watch this show for fun, now it’s all for emotional stability. Loljk. Too much attachment. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Marj the Great says:

    So much emotions in this series.but after reading the article i’m much prepared for the impending separation of the couple.maybe they are destined to be apart so they can pick up the scattered pieces.make it whole again.it may have some cracks…but eventually it will heal…and when you are both ready true love will find you.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Marj the Great says:

    So much emotions in this series.but after reading the article i’m much prepared for the impending separation of the couple.maybe they are destined to be apart.maybe this is the chance for them to grow as an individual.they said love is a choice.a choice not to be with the one you love.

    Like

  16. Jelly Marie says:

    No other TELESERYE and the Directors! Hope sa susunod nilang Teleserye si Direk Tonett padin. Galing ng acting skills nila kay Direk. Pak na pak!

    Like

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