I’d been watching ABS-CBN’s Walang Hanggan (“Everlasting,” literally, “Without End”) off and on (mostly on) since it aired, but since I didn’t have a better computer and stable internet connection when it began, I wasn’t able to put out recaps. I do regret that, actually, because it’s turning out to be very addicting. I haven’t anticipated so avidly seeing the villains get their comeuppance since Amor Powers went after Madam Claudia Buenavista, and that was ages ago. Because that’s what Walang Hanggan is all about, really– a good old-fashioned tale of romance and vengeance. No wonder– it’s a callback to an old Richard Gomez – Dawn Zulueta film, Hihintayin Kita Sa Langit (1991), which in turn was loosely based on Emily Bronte’s immortal Wuthering Heights. With stories like this, done badly, it’s corny– done right, it can keep you watching every night and cursing the weekends because you’d have to wait till Monday to find out what’ll happen next.
Anyway, here’s a short rundown on what’s happened so far and who the characters are:
Emily Cardenas (played by Dawn Zulueta; I’m guessing the reference to the author of the original source is intentional) is a barrio girl working in the vineyard owned by the Montenegro family. Marco Montenegro (Richard Gomez), the owners’ son and heir, meets and falls in love with her despite being expected to marry Jane Bonifacio (Rita Avila), the heiress of a bank owner. His ambitious mother, Margaret (Helen Gamboa), finds out and strongly disapproves– an understatement, since the plan she orchestrates to separate the lovers involves setting up Emily’s father, her only remaining family, to be sent to jail for stealing from the workers’ cooperative.
But Margaret is not without her own troubles– she’d stolen her older sister Henya (short for Virginia, played by Susan Roces)’s boyfriend Joseph Montenegro (Eddie Gutierrez), and later on finds out that the two still had feelings for each other. This provokes a quarrel between the sisters– although Henya is older, and had provided for Margaret’s education, and had generally looked out for her welfare, Margaret has no compunctions about treating her like dirt and backstabbing her, accusing her of being jealous and trying to ruin her family. Well, really.
Anyway, when Emily finds out her dad is to be sent to jail, she confesses to her father’s “crime”, wanting to spare him since he is old and could die in prison. Unfortunately for her, the worst happens– when the old man finds out what she did, the shock, sorrow and shame is too much for his heart, and he dies anyway. When Margaret comes to visit her in jail to rub it in that she’s trash and she’s powerless, she also hints that Marco knew what she’s doing, making Emily believe that Marco doesn’t care for her. So when Marco comes to visit Emily in jail, she tells him to leave, and doesn’t tell him that she’s carrying his child. Margaret knows, though, and keeps tabs on Emily, so that when the girl gives birth to a son, she has the midwife tell Emily that the child died. When the midwife brings her the child, however, Margaret orders the child to be left at the gate of the orphanage. Henya, however, finds out– she follows the midwife to the orphanage and takes the child. She leaves Margaret’s home and raises Marco and Emily’s son as her own grandson, Daniel Cruz (Coco Martin).
Daniel grows up a streetwise kid, who one day rescues a man from being set upon by other street punks. The man, William Alcantara (Joel Torre), is so grateful that he takes in Henya and Daniel, sends Daniel to school, and grooms the boy to help him on his hacienda, which neighbors the Montenegro land (it’s a small, small world). William also has a young daughter, Katerina Alcantara (Julia Montez, a callback to Bronte’s Catherine). Katerina is a sweet, but strong-willed young lady who keeps following Daniel around and eventually falls in love with him. At first, she’s the one chasing him– Daniel is too mindful of his “proper” place to reciprocate and even scolds her, but she persists, and Daniel grows to love her in return. Meanwhile, Katerina’s older brother, Tomas (Joem Bascon), turns out to be a ne’er do well– he asks his father for his own share of his inheritance, and then throws it all away on a life of dissipation in Manila, and comes back to beg his father for help, saying he needs more money for business.
Unknown to Katerina and Tomas, the hacienda is failing, and Daniel looks for new ways to build up their income, including wine making. William trusts him on this and lets him administer the hacienda, even joking that he might leave the place to him. One time, William sends Daniel to Manila to check on Tomas, but is beaten up by Tomas’s delinquent buddies. When Daniel returns, however, things get hopelessly tangled up– William, who has been nursing a heart ailment, finds out about Katerina and Daniel’s relationship and gets mad at the two for a while. While he’s sorting out all of this, Tomas comes home to wheedle more money, and learns that his fatheris