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ABS-CBN’s “Pamilya Ko” successfully tackles taboo topics like depression, rape

ABS-CBN’s “Pamilya Ko” successfully tackles taboo topics like depression, rape

Pamilya Ko, from the name itself, remains a family-drama that shines a light on daily challenges and struggles living in a huge family. It stars JM de GuzmanKiko Estrada, Kid Yambao, Jairus AquinoMaris RacalKira BalingerMutya Orquia, and Raikko Mateo among others. With such a huge cast, you would think that it would be hard to catch on the stories of each character.

Pamilya Ko story keeps its consistency and cohesiveness adding a little surprise here and there. Television shows don’t usually talk or even tackle topics like mental health issues and sexual harassment. However, this family-drama surprised us with valuable content that everyone should definitely watch.

Photo from ABS-CBN Entertainment

Pamilya Ko addresses rape, even if it’s just an attempted one.

The show displays the unfortunate possibilities of rape.

Peachy (Racal) overheard her adult brothers and mother talking about how they fell into debt due to some struggles they encountered. Wanting to help her family, she accepted a modeling gig with David (Dominic Roque). She pushed through with the photoshoot, not knowing David actually planned something horrible to her.

Promising a hefty amount of money if she got the gig, David persuaded Peachy to wear a swimsuit for a photo shoot. During the photoshoot, David also instructed her to look seducing. Together with other models in the changing room, she changed into her swimsuit to prepare for the shoot. Unfortunately, David and his guys has been videotaping said models and selling footage in the internet.

Photo from ABS-CBN Entertainment

The show explains that rapists can be one of the people you trusted with yourself.

Sending her disgusting and perverted messages, David used Peachy’s photos to make her go to his house. Calling Betty (Arci Muñoz), Peachy finally understood that she fell into a scam where perverts plan to invite aspiring models like her to a photoshoot. Blackmailing her, Peachy felt that she had to meet him or else her photos would be released to the internet.

However, she was too late. David had already uploaded her photos, telling her that he didn’t know that a crew member turned out to be a pervert. Going hysterical, Peachy had accepted a glass of water from David. The water, on the other hand, had drugs in them that would make her feel weak and slightly unresponsive.

Photo from ABS-CBN Entertainment

The show relays the true story of drugs and rape.

Peachy had fallen into David’s trap. He had already carried her to his bedroom and unbuttoned the top of her dress. Pleading David not to do anything to her, she tried her best to struggle against him. Fortunately, Chico (De Guzman) and Beri (Estrada) arrived even before David had the chance to rape her.

Unfortunately, though, many victims didn’t have two protective older brothers to save them from such fate. They had to lie there and struggle against their harassers, trying to get their way. Sometimes, it wasn’t like Peachy’s case where she remains aware of her surroundings. Sometimes, it all goes black and the victim has no recollection on how or why they got there.

Maris Racal as Peachy Mabunga in Pamilya Ko
Photo from TFC Online

Today’s statistics on sexual harassment.

United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women released a statistics of a survey which Social Weather Stations conducted. In the said survey, three in five women have experienced sexual harassment at least once in their lifetime. According to the statistics, 88% of them are 18 to 24 year old women.

70% of sexual harassment came from a total stranger. Meanwhile, 58% of them experienced it on the streets, major roads and eskinitas. Aside from that, 70% experienced it during the day, from six in the morning to six in the evening. Unfortunately, 50% of those women didn’t do anything after the incident while 20% were overcome with fear.

Domestic violence and lack of government’s protection.

Many citizens complain that local government does not sufficiently protect abused women, as required by the law. Numerous civil society groups, educational institutions and government agency appeal to the public opinion to end violence against women and to uphold their rights and dignity. Although it became better, there are still instances that suggests otherwise.


Pamilya Ko addresses depression, where it usually comes from and paths to healing.

The show displays the reality of struggling with mental health.

Lemon (Balinger) and Stefano (Marco Gallo) had a scuba diving accident that caused the latter’s unfortunate death. Aside from his death, Lemon had to be confined to a wheelchair as her legs became temporarily paralyzed. This made her feel like a burden which she kept to herself. When it comes to mental health, there is this thing called ‘The Butterfly Project.’  This aids people who want to self harm to resist the urges. Lemon does this on the show.

She drew a butterfly on her wrist which symbolizes the pressure and overwhelming sadness. It becomes her coping mechanism. However, there became a time that she couldn’t handle anything anymore. She had a suicidal tendency where she locked herself in her room, staring at the sharp scissors on her desk. With Kira’s amazing portrayal, viewers definitely got a glimpse of a depressed patient’s struggle.

Photo from ABS-CBN Entertainment

The show explains where depression usually comes from.

After Lemon’s episode, Luz (Sylvia Sanchez) and Fernan (Joey Marquez) approaches a psychiatrist who rightfully explains where Lemon’s depression could have come from. The doctor also tells the parents that a smile can hide one’s internal struggles. He, then, explained that a patient doesn’t usually share their problems to their closed ones. A depressed person continues to pile their negative emotions inside until they ultimately explode.

Thankfully, it doesn’t happen to Lemon and the doctor suggests regular therapy sessions. If his suggestion doesn’t work, he also pointed out that he could give her a medication to adjust the chemical imbalances in her brain. He, then, asked for the family’s cooperation to keep track of Lemon and encourage her to express her emotions. Aside from that, he also hoped that they could be there for her even when she unintentionally spills over.

Photo from ABS-CBN Entertainment

The show relays how friends and family could treat a depressed patient.

Of course, this caused the parents to encourage the other Mabunga kids to express their emotions. They also hoped that they could talk to whoever in the family if they think something is happening to them that they can’t really explain. The family, of course, focused on Lemon and her wellbeing. They encouraged her, helped her and even celebrated her progress. That’s one way of how a friend or a family member could treat a person who they know has a depression.

We all know that it took a long time for the Philippines to accept the fact that there are people who face mental health struggles. The country even faced a mental health crisis where people just make fun of people with suicidal tendencies. Aside from that, there remains an alarming statistics from World Health Organization (WHO) where an estimated 10 to 20 percent of children and adolescents suffer from some form of mental health disorder.

Photo from ABS-CBN Entertainment

Today’s statistics on mental health issues.

The statistics on suicide remain even more alarming. Let me have this time to let you know that Filipino high school students of age thirteen to seventeen revealed that nearly 17% had attempted suicide in 2015 while 12% had thought about it. Although the science remains under development, it becomes a question around the sharp spike in mental health issues after the emergence of smartphones and 24/7 connectivity.

People born during and after 1994 are recorded to meet up less and less. They remain less eager to go out and spend more time on internet, and of course, social media. This definitely shows a strong correlation between time spent online and mental health issues as chronic stress rewires the common brain.

Kira Balinger as Lemon Mabunga in Pamilya Ko
Photo from TFC Online

The science behind depression.

Scientifically, the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus (the areas of the brain that control decision-making, planning, organizing, emotional regulation and even, impulse control) shrink because of chronic stress. Meanwhile, the amygdala (the area of the brain in charge of experiencing emotions) enlarges.

Patients with depression remain trapped in their own emotions and they cannot access their problem-solving abilities. Negative emotions drive and control them. That’s the reason why so many people cut themselves, get very anxious and want to die. They feel trapped with their emotions.

Stress is the major trigger for mental disorders. We may need stress to perform well. However, if the stress becomes excessive, patients begin to experience the symptoms: headaches, nightmares, loss of appetite, depression, anxiety, panic, breakdown and suicidal behavior. Home, relationships, social media—these are the major sources of their stress.


All in all, Pamilya Ko shines a light on realistic struggles of an average Filipino family. Hopefully, we can see more of these topics on television. Keep it up, Pamilya Ko

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