Apr 11, 2015

With a wealthy Arabian businessman for a father, MJ and her older sister Car have all they want—a nice house, generous parents, and abundance in material things. But when MJ turns eight, things change around the household without her full understanding. Her parents leave her and her sister behind to migrate to Saudi Arabia, while they are left in the care of an aunt and uncle, who take them to North Cotabato. Their large house is given up for selling. In the small and remote town of Tulunan, MJ struggles to adjust to a new and much simpler life where she does chores, shares everything with her four cousins, endures discrimination in school because of her different upbringing and foreign look, and lives in constant fear amid hostilities in their war-torn area. Though her mother constantly calls them from abroad, MJ slowly distances herself from her father, who insists that they stay with them in Saudi to marry and be housewives at young ages. On the other hand, despite financial difficulties, her uncle Bingbong takes pains to provide for them. MJ feels happiest when she and her sister graduate with honors in school—with their aunt and uncle escorting them onstage. Despite her uncle’s stiffness and authoritative air, MJ slowly finds a father in Bingbong, who always disciplines and protects them. When MJ goes to highschool and later to Davao for college, she finds herself joining beauty pageants to represent her school and town. Meanwhile, since leaving for Davao, MJ notices that her uncle has become warmer toward her—gestures she deeply cherishes. As her career in beauty pageants flourish, Bingbong always expresses his support. But just as she prepares for her biggest competition in the Miss Universe pageant, MJ learns that her uncle is diagnosed with cancer, breaking her heart. A month before the pageant, Bingbong passes away, but not without fighting up to his last breathe. Despaired, MJ dedicates her last biggest fight for the man who taught her to be a fighter and who gave her the selfless love of a father.



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