relatives. He boasts that Mikay may pretend not to like him, but she’ll eventually fall for him like all the other girls. Boy, I bet his comeuppance will be pretty spectacular.
The head of the RRIA tells Jao his request will be rather difficult to grant, but they’ll try their best.
Not content with embarrassing her sister at school, Bianca snipes at Mikay at the dinner table, accusing her of showing off, like she does in school. When Dad wants to know what’s happening, though, she hastily says she’s speaking generally. Dad notices, though, that Mikay makes an unnecessary trip to refill the rice platter, which means she cried, although she comes back with a smile on her face.
Later, Bianca makes certain to tell Mikay that she didn’t feel sorry for her, but for Dad, who’s just come out of the hospital.
Kiko tells Mikay that she shouldn’t keep it to herself– she needs someone to lean on. She explains that she doesn’t want her family to worry about her– she can’t be expelled, she can’t disappoint Dad.
Gino’s mom goes to the school to see the Dean, explaining that everything was Gino’s fault and Mikay should not be expelled. The Dean finds out from her, however, that Gramps has withdrawn his promise to sponsor the new building due to Gino’s recent behavior.
The press accost Jao, asking the usual questions– why is he here, how long is he staying? He brushes them off saying his mission is official and private, but then someone asks if he came here for a girl. He doesn’t even deign to answer this.
Back in his room, however, he takes out Mikay’s camera, which means she’s also partly the reason he came to the country.
The Dean accosts Gino in the corridor to inform him that he will no longer be given special treatment. Tsk, what sort of a university is this, with that kind of policy where certain students officially get special treatment?
Jao balks at everything Han is doing for him, ordering him to stop, but Han says dolefully that he’s answerable to the king if he doesn’t do his job well, not to Jao.
Gino goes to see Mikay at the hot dog stand, still reluctant to believe that she actually wants nothing to do with him, so she tells him off again. He points out that he fixed it so that the other kids won’t bother him anymore– doesn’t he deserve a thank you kiss? Mikay points a bamboo skewer at him instead: “You wanna kiss this?” If he never goes near her again, that’s when she’ll thank him forever. Gino looks sad. “I can’t do that, Mikay,” he says.
Whoa, Jao actually backed out of the competition. I was half-expecting someone, the king or someone from the drukpah, maybe, to point out that his act of selflessness is actually an attribute of a future king, and convince him not to drop out. Instead, the king chose to send him to the Philippines instead– to Mikay’s country. I don’t think the king’s words about “the work you choose to do and the person you choose to love” were meaningless– he saw the chemistry between Jao and Mikay when he saw them together at the palace, and he threw them together for the rest of Mikay’s stay in Yangdon. It can’t be just a coincidence that he’d send Jao to do some of “the work he chooses to do” in the same place he knows Mikay is from.
Plus, the king has always shown a special interest in Jao since he was a little boy. Kencho was one of his most loyal men, and when he died, the king effectively took Jao under his wing. It would make sense that he’s come to think of Jao as a foster son, especially with Princess Ariya gone. And, he knows Behati– he’s seen how closely Behati keeps Jao, and how she keeps fencing him in– so it would make sense for him to send Jao off to be free of his mom and learn to fend for himself for a while. That way, he’d achieve some independence, which he would need if he is to be king someday. In this, Rio has one over on Jao– Rio studied abroad, so he’s learned to be on his own, and he’s way more confident, but he’s also learned to look down on Yangdonese customs, and it shows. Jao loves Yangdon, but he has to learn to believe in himself and make his own decisions, and he can’t do that with Behati around dictating everything.
Oh, Bianca, your sense of entitlement. She doesn’t even take into account that she owes Mikay for being able to get into the university. Wasn’t it Mikay’s winnings that paid for her tuition? While Mikay is running around trying to make enough money to get Dad out of jail, Bianca runs around with her rich friends and tries to make life miserable for Mikay, even hiding the fact that they’re sisters. Then she pushes Mikay around, counting on the fact that she’s the older sister to ensure that Mikay doesn’t fight back. Yes, there’s this little thing we have about respecting your elders, including your elder siblings, and for some that includes not talking back or yelling, even when the elder is trying your patience.
Gino is… being a jerk. Granted, I know where he’s coming from, so I can’t totally dislike him (or maybe it’s just the fact that Daniel Padilla is very charismatic– but then he’s a Padilla). Oh, and looks like Gramps’s name is Regino (which means “king”) and Gino might very well be named for him– (part of Gino’s protests over being drafted into the groundbreaking in Gramps’s place was “The building is dedicated to Regino de la Rosa, that’s my grandfather, not me; I’m Gino”) so effectively we have two princes here. I guess that Gino never had proper role models though– his parents neglect him most of the time, and the rest of the family looks on him as a disgrace because they don’t like his mom. He’s had to fend for himself since childhood (unlike Jao) so he’s had to figure everything out for himself. If he hasn’t been shown how to love and respect others, he probably hasn’t learned how. Even then, he does learn– he did say sorry to Mom after all. And he stepped in to defend Mikay from the mean girls– he didn’t need to, but he knows it’s his fault she’s being treated that way, so maybe he does feel responsible. He boasted to his friends about making Mikay fall for him, though, so when he was talking to her in that last scene, I was yelling “don’t believe him, Mikay!” because we’re not sure if he was just using his idle boasts to cover the fact that he is getting interested in her in spite of himself, or if he was just playing with her a la Sebastian Valmont. I love that Mikay always manages to subvert every sweet thing he says with a smart riposte of her own– just when everybody else is melting and he thinks he’s won her over, she smacks him down. Sweet.
Mikay is still showing some traditional-heroine characteristics– she tends to cry a lot over things– but one thing in which she’s different– she fights back, she knows her own mind, she believes in herself, she doesn’t let other people walk roughshod over her (well, except Bianca and Mom, but then her weak spot is her family). (I’m looking at you, Katerina.)
Poor Kiko, so friend-zoned. What chance does he stand against not just one, but two handsome princes? Plus, if that song is any indication of his place in Mikay’s life, that means he’s out of the running now.
Non-Filipinos might be wondering that our characters look too young to be in college. Yes, they are in their teens – Mikay is supposed to be sixteen, which means that Bianca and Gino are probably a year older (Bianca was already about two, maybe three years old when Mikay arrived, and Mikay was kidnapped a week after her first birthday). Dindi would be over a year younger than Mikay, since Stella was pregnant with her when Mikay arrived. Jao is also older– he was a baby when Mikay was born. Mikay and Kiko are classmates, so they’d be around the same age. I figure Bianca is around seventeen or eighteen (college sophomore), Jao would be sixteen or seventeen and Mikay and Kiko sixteen (college freshmen, since they graduated high school at around the same time), and Dindi fifteen (high school junior). Gino’s driving a car, so he has to be at least eighteen.
It’s due to the educational system, which is different from other countries. We’re currently in the process of implementing a middle school in the new K-12 system. However, for most, school consists of six years of elementary school (age six to twelve), then four years of high school (age thirteen to sixteen). The kids start college at age sixteen or seventeen and usually graduate at around nineteen or twenty, while students in other countries are still college sophomores. So they’re supposed to start acting like adults at the age when their counterparts in other countries are still high school kids.