CLeahMn
February 4, 2016

Don’t get me wrong. I am rooting for Clark and Leah — that’s why I think On The Wings Of Love needed Simon.

First of all, I appreciate how Simon’s character is carefully crafted. His backstory was a bittersweet metamorphosis from a shy nerd to a sophisticate, all because of the right kind of love. His tragic love story with Juliet gave enough reason for me to believe that, hey, this guy had been through a lot. For sure, Simon’s already all grown up, making him the ultimate foil to Leah and Clark as a couple, and as individuals.

LeMon

Simon and Leah

If you carefully notice, Leah never had someone to look up to. Leah started out as a lost girl who wanted to find her mother. Her dreams were not for herself but for her family. She was a character that only reacts to whatever her fate in San Francisco throws at her. When she retuned to Manila and started working in advertising, she met Simon. Simon made Leah appreciate the difference between a job and a career. Finally, Leah was making plans and setting goals for herself, while her family also benefits as well.

Maybe not everyone will understand, but having a mentor is one of the best things that can happen to anyone. A mentor fulfils a certain facet in a person’s life that romantic love or familial love cannot fill in — self actualisation.

Simon gives Leah the great opportunity to self-actualise. To go beyond making ends meet and find a passion that pays. Through Simon, Leah actually hones her talent and grows as an individual. In Leah’s eyes, Simon is her mentor.  That’s pretty clear to me. To her, Simon is everything she dreams of becoming — secure, confident, stable and independent.

ClarkMon

Simon and Clark

Leah would always describe Clark as perfect. Clark was Leah’s hero — always there to protect her, defend her and help her. San Francisco may have robbed Clark of a normal childhood, personal and educational growth but Clark compensated with hard work, creativity and grit. In essence, Clark is the human equivalent of diskarte.

Here comes Simon — the Summa Cum Laude from one of the top universities in the Philippines, one of the youngest Executive Creative Directors in the advertising industry. Good on paper — everything Clark is not. And that drives Clark crazy insecure, crazy jealous, exposing our supposedly perfect hubby’s cracks and flaws — a mark of great writing! The more flawed the characters are, the more human they become.

Basically, Simon’s sheer existence has humanised Clark. Clark is no longer the dreamy, brooding amboy that he was. It also doesn’t help that Simon is witty, calculated, and eloquent. He knows how to subtly push Clark’s buttons without getting himself intro trouble. But that gets Leah into trouble.

CLeahMn

Simon and #CLeah

Of course, Simon’s character was definitely designed to rock the couple’s boat. Fiction blooms in conflict. I refuse to see Simon as a third party because clearly, Leah admires him as a mentor and not as a romantic partner. Leah is not cheating in any way, whether physically and emotionally. She’s merely building her universe as an individual person, beyond her being Clark’s wife. And Simon has a clear role in her universe.

What makes Simon’s character further interesting is his evolving feelings for Leah — from professional admiration to romantic aspirations. I cannot blame him. In fact, it’s easy to comprehend: It’s so easy to fall in love with a person who stimulates your mind. After all, falling in love happens inside the head. But this makes Leah and Simon’s relationship imbalanced, affecting Leah and Clark’s.

Also with Simon’s existence, the immaturity of Leah and Clark as a couple is magnified. Obviously, Simon is an issue both of them cannot handle very well. Clark starts to become passive aggressive about his feelings while Leah gets constantly accused of being selfish and punished for being unassuming. Makes me rethink if Leah and Clark are actually ready to get married, and more so, are they marrying for the right reasons?

Simon and Us (The Audience)

On The Wings Of Love is a TV series starring the love team of JaDine. Although it may have been inspired by its creators’ personal experiences, at the end of the day, it is a work of fiction. JaDine is a love team, so it is understandable for the audience, us,  to expect lots of kilig moments.

But I’d like to believe that the creators of On The Wings Of Love are more than the kilig moments they churn out. They are storytellers, love storytellers, to be more specific. And the greatest love stories are about relationships, about people who work their ways around their own flaws and imperfections. Relationships have kilig moments but a collection of kilig moments does not make a relationship.

Simon challenging #CLeah is a good exercise in watching fiction. If there’s such a thing as “writing problem”, or “directing problem” there is also a thing as “watching problem.” The kind of narrative On The Wings Of Love is exposing us stretches our watching behavior. Where do we draw the line between Clark and James, Leah and Nadine, Simon and Paulo? Up to what extent can we comprehend the characters’ conflicts and points of view? Are we only watching On The Wings Of Love for the kilig moments or are we truly invested on Clark and Leah’s journey?

Simon and Paulo Avelino

Can we take the moment to realise and appreciate how brilliant it is casting Paulo Avelino as Simon? Paulo Avelino exudes an intoxicating artsy mystery, like an untamed, brooding gentleman. His styling is polished and sharp, but the way he talks is still imperfect (with a slight lisp, missing some pronunciations) which adds to the nerd-turned-executive charm. He melts well — he can give you cold, he can give you tender. And as a public figure, he’s too cool to care about the social media wrath of the JaDine fans.

You, Me and OTWOL

Lastly, I really hope more women gets to understand Leah. I’m not here to argue, but I would just like to offer perspective. On The Wings Of Love is shot in an omniscient, third person point of view, meaning, we all know the characters’ true feelings, thoughts and intentions. Making us know more than Leah. We may know that Clark’s jealousy truly has basis, and that Simon’s actually starting to take things personal. But Simon’s true feelings are beyond Leah’s knowledge. Yes, she may feel it, but based on how things are turning out — she seems clueless. I’d like to think that Leah is just the type of girl who doesn’t want to assume. She’s been like that ever since. Clark took her to a DIY prom and still she chose not to assume that Clark loves her. That’s why I don’t think she’ll ever assume Simon is in love with her, unless Simon expresses it directly. Another thing, it is quite tricky and risky to actually assume that kind of thing about your boss.

But more than anything, I am really happy that On The Wings Of Love happened to local television. I think it has opened interesting discussions and discourse, revealing the diverse psychographics of the audience, indirectly touching on feminism. And although we may not agree with each other’s opinions, but there’s a respectful way to express ourselves.

*** Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Photo from Wikipedia.
  • Millie Dorsey

    This is amazing and everything i’ve been saying all along. The only thing to add is that Clark is also a product of his past. Clark at an early age has experienced both rejection and abandonment by the lack of acknowledgement from his father and the death of his mother. If you look back Clark has many reasons to feel inferior: his father’s rejection and the presences of his dads other son, living in abusive foster homes, being a foreigner in a country he has lived most of his life, being a “half breed” in the philippines, having a broken family, and essentially sharing his aunt as a mom like figure with his jealous cousin. Clark really had nothing to truly to call his own and often the things that mattered most to him were taken away.
    Now fast forward through a difficult childhood and adolescence, Clark finds Leah. Leah is now someone Clark can call his own. Due to his past though he now has fear and insecurities that can eat him alive such as: Jealousy, inferiority, and fear that he can lose the things closest to him ( One of the earliest and lighter instances of this was actually the supermart “Mrs. Cutie” scene).

    • Hi Millie! Thanks for this! Didn’t write about Clark’s past anymore because I trust fans like you — you already know him. :) Thanks for pointing it out for others to read, you actually elaborated further why Clark is acting so insecure.

      Thanks. :)

  • Gabs

    Thank you for writing this… It really makes my blood boil whenever some OTWOListas bash Leah’s character. They always blame her for everything kahit na obvious naman na si Clark din may problem (insecure to the highest level). Pero si Leah parin ang may kasalan, ano ba? Can’t they accept that the perfect hubby is actually not perfect at all? Baka blinded sa kagwapuhan ni Clark? Why can’t they just watch and enjoy the show coz it’s not just about the kilig scenes.

    And I agree with you about Simon. He adds up spice to the show but he will never have Leah. It’s still a happy ending for CLeah and all of us.

    • I think some fans find it easier to sympathise with Clark’s character because James portrays Clark really well. James owns the character! On the other hand, Paulo Avelino also does Simon well.

      • Mae Bajao

        Yah,right. That’s why I also find it hard to hate Simon even if he seems to be the ‘third wheel’ because Paulo does justice to the character. Very fine actor indeed.

  • Mae Bajao

    Very we’ll written. Thank you for sharing your take on the story. I think I, as a diehard otwolista, it gave me something to ponder as well. More than the great ‘love story’, it gave me perspective on the my reaction as an audience. As a work of fiction, it’s surprisingly very relatable, with its rollercoaster of emotions you get to experience as a fan. The actors, esp. JaDine, improved tremendously. I’m even surprise actors like Bianca Manalo & Albie Casino can act that convincingly. Good job to all the people behind this show & many thanks for bringing it on tv. It has been a great viewing experience.

  • Sol Evangelista

    Thank you for this well written piece! Otwol indeed opened intelligent discourse about love, marriage, career and feminism. Just wanted to add though that Leah, beyond being unassuming, is in denial about Simon liking/loving her. She does this because if she acknowledges that about him then she will lose a mentor. The phrase she always uses “wala yun” is a classic line of someone in denial.

  • Tin Ronquillo

    Nailed it! :)

    I remember Paulo Avelino being asked during the OTWOL presscon on what Simon can bring to the series. He mentioned of maturity, on how it will affect the young couple. And it is being evident now. And you described it thoughtfully. Thank you.

  • RHEA MAY CATADMAN

    thanks for this…! this is an eye-opener for everyone who are quick to judge and hate Leah… kasama na ako dun, tho i didn’t & still don’t hate Leah, may times lang na nasasabi ko na insensitive na cya, naive and very unassuming nga… pero narealize ko mahirap nga din naman mag.assume, delikado. :) so Leah is just being careful not to jump into conclusions regarding Simon.
    Thank you ulit! and sana lahat ng mga nanonood ng otwol since the start & yung mga humabol ay wag bumitiw. and I believe that if you’ve really learned to love the story, hindi ka bibitiw. Let’s all see how Clark & Leah and the whole Tenement Uno’s story will unfold in the remaining weeks. It’s bittersweet, indeed, when I think of its approaching end.
    Thanks OTWOL team for the experience and lessons! 😀

    • Juris

      Guilty ako jan, naiinis ako kay Leah sa totoo lang pero nanonood pa rin ako ng OTWOL at syempre hanggang huli susubaybayan ko pa rin sila, andun lang talaga na affected much ako sa situation nila ngaun.

      • Juris

        Let’s be clear here, di ako naiinis kay Nadine, kay Leah ako naaasar, pero di naman sa OA gaya ng iba na to the point na ayaw na manood. Alam ko naman na it’s just a “teleserye”, wag masyadong dibdibin.

  • bipolarMe

    Thank you! MTE! I know that each one of us is entitled to her/his opinion, but there are times when I can’t help but roll my eyes on the nasty opinions/accusations of some people towards Leah without even trying to understand where she’s coming from. I agree with you on everything but most especially on the mentorship part. I think Leah is not completely oblivious to Simon’s affection for her esp.when Clark started voicing it out to her. But, aside from being unassuming she may also be afraid that acknowledging such emotion from her mentor could potentially jeopardize their now very good working relationship hence, her argument that a man with such credentials as Simon will never look at her with romantic intent.

  • Cecille Tiongson Villaralbo

    Two thumbs-up!

  • Gracias

    Ahahahahahahaha!!! Thanks to you– yan din ang pinaniniwalaan ko.. Simula umpisa hindi assumera ang karakter ni leah.. Mataas lang talaga tingin nya kay simon as her boss/mentor.. Mahal na mahal ni leah si clark sobra sobra pa nga “sinabe nya yon nung nasa sanfo pa sila.. pero grabe ang galing mo dahil maraming nalilinawan ngayon sa karakter ni leah ngayon.. Hehe

  • Reinne

    Very well written! Majority of OTWOL fans are ladies, and I was hoping that a lot of viewers would understand where the story is leading to. Honestly, if you’re a woman who values her career, you would actually symphatize with Leah.
    With her sister Tiffany being a single mother, and her father having heart problems, Leah is practically the breadwinner of the family!!! If I were in Leah’s shoes, I wouldn’t even think twice of choosing my career over lovelife. And if Clark really loves me, being a breadwinner himself, he should be the first one to understand my situation.
    But instead, Leah was being torn between choosing Clark, or choosing something that not only will greatly help her in supporting her family, but will also give her self-worth.

    And besides, OTWOL is not all romance and roses! What I love about the series is how they balance the story-telling between romance (kilig moments), trust and faith( story about nanang), family support (tatang and manang tiffany, and the tenement people), and most of all forgiveness (jigs, tita jack, etc)!

    Viewers should look beyond the kilig moments and enjoy the other aspects of the show. Honestly, how long can you stand watching the same kilig moments everyday? Don’t you want their characters to grow beyond the superficial and cliche stories of a pinoy teleserye?

    • Venus May

      one problem is some of the otwol fans are too young to understand, if im in leah’s shoes no second thought i’ll grab the job at dubai. leah’s character of being slightly naive is somehow the one i don’t agree with since she is a brilliant intelligent women, but who am i to judge her, its a reality there are women who think like leah, assumeless like leah.

      but to top it all, Kudos to all Writers and Directors, they are bringing the best out of the viewers head , bloggers are in heat, they no think outside the box they spent times to watch otwol,, non-teleserye fans are curious …. its just ..what can i say … brilliant story.

      • Juris

        I’m 30 and married pero I won’t do what Leah has about to do regarding that Dubai issue. Maraming ways lalo pa’t tutulungan naman ako ng husband ko. And I will be sensitive regarding sa nararamdaman niya towards my boss kasi ayoko na pagmulan un ng away o duda o magkaroon ng insecurities hubby ko, I will assure him, kasi ayoko din mangyari sa akin ung ganon. Know what I’m sayin’…

        • Juris

          Pero overall, I’m an OTWOLISTA, and will always be!

    • Trojansdaughter

      If they want a mature love story they need to do away with the juvenile loveteam style of promoting artists. I am not after kilig, but the Simon arc is insulting to the minds of the viewers. Leah always have her cake and eat it too. The reaction of the audience is instinctual. They want to protect the one who is shown to love more, sacrificed more, more attractive, and the better actor. You can write kilometric essays about this and that, but emotions about the show cannot be debated on. Its just is.

      • Reinne

        Wow, ALWAYS having her cake? Really?!? Leah has had a lot to go through. With the revelation that her mother left and abandoned them, that’s having cake? Working as a janitor and other menial jobs below her level as a college graduate, that’s having cake?? Just to remind you, Leah finished their relationship when she decided to go back to the Philippines. It was Clark who was so persistent to win her back, but Leah never forced him to do anything. Even in the Philippines, she was against them being a couple again. Leah was just starting to enjoy life again when she got that job. That was the only time she was having cake!
        And honestly, what’s your point with the juvenile loveteam stuff? The series wouldn’t have gained this much popularity if not for their loveteam.
        They want to protect who is shown to love more? I may aggree on that. But mentioning “the more attractive and the better actor”? Wow, that’ts just being irrational and mean. Careful, your basher claws are showing :)

        • Juris

          chill guys, it’s just a teleserye.

  • Haven Poirrier

    We can not forget that Leah helped Simon start the process of moving on from Juliet.

    • Aena

      I agree. That makes his character even more interesting.

  • Tatzie Polls

    Thank you for generously sharing your brilliant thoughts w/us (OTWOLISTAs). I am smiling and both nodding at the same time while reading this wonderful well-written POV. The “watching problem” I’m glad this was pointed out. We criticized writers, directors and even crossing the lines from the characters to the actors themselves. Forgetting to reason or do we still know how to reason (perhaps not anymore)? We conveniently cater our emotions and we rely to others (You- for instance) to do the work; think and digest the matter for us. Sad but true. Let me humbly take my hats off to you… from Simon the Mentor, hubby the hero, the booming career woman out of Leah, the flaws of its characters up to the creative minds of the writers everything was completely accurate. Keep it coming, we need a good hefty nourishment for our mind. God Bless!

  • Trojansdaughter

    You misunderstood what self actualization means. You make it sound like a person can only achieve it through traditional career pursuits. I agree that we need a mentor but if that mentor has a hidden agenda like romantic in nature, and you know you are married or preparing your wedding, this plot gimmick is disgusting. You also wouldnt say that , if your fiancee is working and prioritizing his career and his mentor looks like Liza Soberano with a body of Angel Locsin.

    • Really, I misunderstood? How? I believe “self-actualisation” means “…the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for a person to become actualised in what he is potentially.”

      I didn’t say one can only achieve self-actualisation through traditional career pursuits.

    • Sure.

      • lol at u

        Yeah, I wonder what’s your take about Leah’s insecurity when it comes to Angela?

        • It’s Leah being insecure. A normal reaction. Same as Clark being threatened with Simon. Angela is intelligent, talented and not to mention, she admires Clark.

          • Verniel

            Clark is not threatened with Simon, he is threatened with Leah’s behaviour. Simon is not at fault for being himself. Leah simply has a wrong reaction to things. Which leads me back to this stark prediction: OTWOL will never be able to save Leah from doom, and low ratings. Thanks.

            I mean, Maslow, seriously??

          • Juris

            But in that case of Angela, Clark ALWAYS reassure Leah whenever she felt insecure and not just in words but Clark also proved to her that he love her and only her, unlike Leah.

  • Trojansdaughter

    If you need to make a long essay about Simon or Leah,even misusing the concept of self actualization, that means the creator and writers of this show is failing in making this arc be understood by the massess. At the end of the day that’s all that matters.

    • Sometimes we have to challenge the masses.

      • lol at u

        “What makes Simon’s character further interesting is his evolving feelings for Leah — from professional admiration to romantic aspirations. I cannot blame him. In fact, it’s easy to comprehend: It’s so easy to fall in love with a person who stimulates your mind. After all, falling in love happens inside the head. But this makes Leah and Simon’s relationship imbalanced, affecting Leah and Clark’s.” — It’s interesting, until he’s deliberately rocking that boat and is actually making a pass at her.

        Challenge the masses by telling them to go and understand that the mentor romantically likes his junior? Understand the mentor and his character’s arc, fine. But telling us to be okay and chill about how he feels when he’s actively (although subtly) flirting and winning over the heroine? Nuh-uh. If it’s getting this much skepticism, then it’s not being executed well. You may argue that it’s creative license, but I hope they also realize that they’re doing this entire thing to communicate something valuable to the people. And if by valuable, they mean prolonging the conflict and making him a viable option–as a “team” for a love triangle (see otwolisTALK: Clark vs Simon Analysis on YouTube)–then that’s totally deserving of skepticism.

        I also understand that a person has to grow on his/her own, even if she’s in a relationship. beyond being in a certain role, in this case a wife. But you know, as a part of the relationship, you’re still committed to compromise. It seems like you’re implying (not just here and in most of your tweets) that personal achievement should come first. That of course, Leah should be on her own volition–do what she wants, because it’s for herself. You even went as far as saying that “[non-verbatim] si Clark na mabait, siya na perfect!”

        Let’s go beyond feminism here and look at the dynamics of that relationship because you seem to imply that just because people are more sympathetic with Clark, we’re throwing shade to her character (or maybe you think we’re throwing shade at her being a woman). In this relationship, and maybe you’ve forgotten, he’s always made to pick up the pieces every time Leah decides something, even if it’s to his own detriment: When she decides to leave him in the US, when he was patient when she’s dealing with her mother, and now here with the career thing. Career realization is okay–it’s for your self-achievement. Accepting options is okay if you’re trapped in a problem (except, are you really trapped or you just think you’re trapped?). But why is it that when it comes to one’s self, the other is seen as a block that limits her? When was Clark ever a limiting factor to her career aspirations except when he learned that this “mentor” likes her?

        No, this world does not need a Simon. First of all, he’s not even a great mentor–are his constant “I want it to be perfect!” or “E-mail it to me tonight,” or “Mag-isip kayo ng bagong paraan, kailangang mag-succeed ang auction na ‘to” enough to make him a “role model” for Leah? Aren’t mentors supposed to give you valuable points for you to learn instead of making you re-do things over and over again without even a proper comment, save for one instance when he actually commented on the video project for ICON? And more than that, a “mentor” who’s romantically interested with her?

        I love this series (and I still do despite everything), and I’ve been with it through everything. Through ups and downs, through all beginnings and new conflicts. I’ve seen how real their conflicts are. In San Francisco, they had their personal and familial issues that is true to life. They had the process of falling in love and making it through. Their triangle with Jigs is the more convincing one because it dates back to a deep history of conflicts, stemming with family issues and personal struggle. They are married. They are in love. Forcing a love triangle is marketing–one that people find uncomfortable not because these people are “imposing morals” but because it’s not excusable even in real life. You know we’d cheer for him any time if her husband was a cheating bastard or a lowlife abusive scum, but he’s not.

        “Are we only watching On The Wings Of Love for the kilig moments or are we truly invested on Clark and Leah’s journey?” Is finding a certain conflict unpalatable a sign of only following a show for the kilig moments? Because no, we are invested in Clark and Leah’s journey. We all want to see them overcome everything despite of. But that does not involve forcing a love triangle that’s fundamentally wrong in the first place–that does not include keeping quiet about a particular arc when it’s obviously wrong.

        There’s creative license, you say. There’s also something called writing misstep, and if a large number of people call you out on it, then it’s suffice to say that it is partly wrong. A collective mind isn’t called “collective” for no reason.

        • I would like to know what is “wrong” with having Simon. Why is it a writing misstep? I really want to know because I may be missing it.

        • Kaity

          Now this makes more sense. Why we all NEED a Simon? Really? Simon was an overly demanding, power tripping, egotistic bully kind of boss who, despite knowing from the get go that Leah IS a married woman, is still trying to wedge himself between Leah and Clark with the obvious intent to steal and hurt. Simon was no mentor- all he did was put employees down. He is selfish and was rude, wanted all his subordinates to give him 100% of their time just because work was all he had and only became “nice” to Leah because she was coming up with good ideas (on her own) and he was falling for her… sounds like a Dirty Young Man to me. And we need THAT? Why?? To show Clark and Leah they need to grow because they’re not “mature” enough? Don’t think so. Clark is insecure, sure, he does have quite a heavy past baggage of his own and I get that but when another man is obviously trying to put himself between you and your wife, then his feelings of rage, because of that, are perfectly legit. Mild pa nga reaction nya eh. It’s a shame because they could just have easily shown Clark’s insecurities as Leah was becoming more successful in her projects at work and being recognized for it, minus the love angle from Simon. With the way OTWOL started, it was easy to forget it was a pinoy serye because it strayed away from the same ol’ same ol’ overly complicated, higly convoluted, DNA-testing-is-a-must storyline …..just regular people with real life relationship struggles….but adding the love rivalry with Simon to the mix….somewhat burst the “be diiferent” bubble for me. It opted to go that route…. just like all the other pinoy seryes…Sayang… It was such a great start and can now only hope for a great ending.

          • Juris

            agree!

        • kit

          Yes. Completely agree with you on all your points @disqus_zxRm1x1kr5:disqus Simon is a terrible mentor. The way he bosses his staff around is quite frankly, gross. He is romantically interested with Leah, and he allows himself to further fall for her. Leah being oblivious of this is also annoying.

          Though I don’t necessarily think that introducing Simon to the mix is a completely terrible idea. It adds to the “Drama” which makes people want to watch more. In this case though, it didn’t work too well. Judging by how many fans are hating on the show, the writers, the actors… I am a fan of the show. I won’t stop watching until the end, though I realize these days I cringe every time I see Leah treat Clark so carelessly sometimes.

          • Juris

            Agree kit! Kahit ako naaasar na din sa nangyayari sa kanila lalo na sa mga decision-making ni Leah. And I can see na si Clark lang ang nag-eeffort para sa relationship nila ni Clark. Si Clark laging nahabol kay Leah, di ba nung sa San Francisco, tapos kahit nung nakauwi na sila ng Pinas tapos eto na naman si Leah.! She’s being insensitive now. Ang dami na ngang natulong sa Tatang niya bakit need pa niya umalis. He won’t even let Clark help her. Husband & wife ARE ALREADY ONE always remember that.

          • kit

            The episode last night – let’s take that as an example. Clark did his best to help. It almost seemed like he was blood related to Mang Sol with his concern and passion to help with their finances. He treats the relationship as it should be, a partnership. Husband and wife. Whatever her problems are, it’s his problem as well. Kumbaga, whatever pain she feels, it’s also his pain. Her success, his success. Leah is thinking in a way that she is Tatang Sol’s only hope to survive. Which doesn’t necessarily have to be true if she would only accept help from her husband.
            The writers must have an idea that this plot would divide the fans. Leah and Clark are both very much flawed characters which makes for good television because smart viewers want realistic seryes now. Hindi na puro separated at birth, kontrabidang step mother, car chases – ang mag cclick. The dramatic problems of Leah and Clark, which all could be avoided, is what’s getting the viewers frustrated. Kaya nawawalan ng gana manood. Let’s just hope that the die-hard Otwolistas stick to the end. We are promised a happy ending, so we might as well cringe now and smile later.

          • Juris

            Ako kahit naffrustrate sa flow ng story nila eh I still love OTWOL. I feel for Clark. I’m sorry sa fans ni Leah pero this time I’m on Clark’s side.

        • Juris

          Very well said! I couldn’t agree more! As a married woman, I find it “uncomfortable” that Leah is not heeding on his husband’s side or P.O.V. especially na it’s already obvious that Simon has feelings for her and there’s a threat. And it’s so wrong that Simon meddles in Leah’s personal matters especially later on ‘coz in the first place Leah and Clark are already married kahit pa civil lang un! And for me, I think Leah’s being selfish here. Sorry, but that’s what I see in that scenario.

        • RHEA MAY CATADMAN

          I agree with you po; you do have a point. when you’re married, hindi na dapat sarili mo lang ang naiisip mo, you have to seriously consider your spouse in every decision you make. dito maling-mali si Leah and as what happened sa episode last night, hindi man lang cya nag-consult again kay Clark about signing the contract — wala silang naging mutual agreement about signing the contract for dubai. Leah is still immature when it comes to married life. And hindi ko maintindihan, hindi talaga naisip ni Leah na she can still be successful and earn the creative director position and earn higher pay kahit na sa pilipinas cya ma-assign; and for sure Clark will always be there supporting her, encouraging her. Simon kasi naging panira na talaga ng relationship nila. Simon maybe of help to make CLeah see their flaws and mistakes and realize that they do really love each other, pero ngayon Simon is becoming a disappointment — naninira cya ng relationship, gusto nya talaga ipush na isama si Leah sa Dubai because he wants her to be there dahil may gusto cya kay Leah kahit na alam nya na may asawa na; he is already being intentional sa pagsingit nya sa relasyon ni Clark & Leah. Such a disappointment talaga. And this time, disappointing din c Leah kasi sobrang naging blinded na cya, sa mindset nya na makakatulong lang cya sa pagpapagamot kay tatang kung pupunta cyang dubai, na parang yun lang ang nag-iisang solusyon, which is not.
          Nakakalungkot, nakakaiyak, nakakainis… pero push pa rin! I’ll see this through. and sana walang bibitiw sa atin lahat.

      • Bobby Batara

        most of otwol’s audience are educated.the masa would have their emotional analysis/reaction all the time.I thought cj’s analysis is amazing.

        • Verniel

          She beat around the bush and ended up illustrating Maslow. *yawn*. That is sophomore college level reporting. Not enough to justify the bad turn of the story that is OTWOL. Next

          • Aena

            @verniel, I would love to see your own analysis. I don’t even think you know Maslow’s Hierarchy that well to prove anything. You keep on bashing and it just makes you look bad despite your “pa-deep” words. Come on, can you just respect her point of view without the hate?

    • AnMorales

      Maybe they want us, the audience, to form some kind of analytic opinion about the story. In the work of fiction, it’s up to you how you want to covey the story, it’s your perspective. Fiction has its level of complexity. The creators were able to challenge the way we comprehend situations. Some will be please, but others won’t.

      • Verniel

        The female character does not possess strong enough reasons why she is doing what she is doing. At the very least, she’s doing them out of whim. So base it on CJ De Silva’s analysis — she’s doing all these because she finds a clear path to self-actualization through Simon. But if you watch the show, she’s doing all these for her father who needs a heart transplant. So which one is it? For self actualization, or to save her father? Which one is it? Either way, both aren’t strong reasons why you should put your husband at the very bottom of your priorities, because if that were the case, 10/10 couples would be divorced by now. I’ve seen real-life couples with far more difficult trials and tragedies but they never stopped choosing each other. At least Leah could have TRIED. So stop intellectualizing this show, it’s utter bullcrap. Basura na kwento. Thanks

        • Juris

          Agree, but I still love OTWOL, nadadala lang talaga ako sa story, ako kasi married din, at ALWAYS kino-consider ko feelings & decisions ng hubby ko, sa kanya ang last say kasi siya ang lalaki sa pamilya, he’s the head of the family. And when it comes sa bosses sa work eh andun ung may boundaries kami, di namin mukhang bibig mga bosses namin gaya ng ginagawa ni Leah ngaun na harap-harapan sa pagmumukha ni Clark eh puro bukambibig eh si simon, nagiging insensitive or naive in a way si leah dun sa aspect na un. Si Clark naman todo unawa lang sa kanya. Kung mister ko na yan, sigurado galit na un. Mabait pa si Clark sa lagay na yan!

  • rory

    I agree there’s nothing wrong with Lea wanting a mentor. She’s talented and she wants the opportunity to develop herself, there’s nothing wrong with that. What bugs me about this is how dismissive she is of Clark’s feelings. Clark has always been supportive of Leah. Always. Clark respects Leah and her work but he makes an effort to see her and spend time with her despite her crazy work schedule. He insists on waiting for her and picking her up regardless of how late she gets off work. But when Clark tells her he feels uncomfortable with all the time she spends with Simon because he suspects Simon has feelings for her, she just shrugs it off like Clark was being irrational. And then she always mentions Simon to Clark and how she doesn’t want to let Simon down (while letting Clark down multiple times, mind you). It’s not unexpected she feels grateful to her mentor, but to keep saying that to Clark when she knows how Clark feels about her boss, is just insensitive. I understand she’s naive, but even if she couldn’t see what Clark could see (that Simon has feelings for her), I wish she would at least be sensitive and respectful of Clark and his feelings. Lagi na lang si Clark nanguunawa kay Leah.

    • Juris

      Sapul mo girl! Yan din nakikita ko kay Leah! I’m married din kasi and I won’t do that to my hubby! Kaya I feel for Clark!

  • Julie Pariedo

    Very well said, CJ de Silva! Thanks for evaluating your opinions between the conflict of the three characters. Kudos to you dear. ????????????????????

    • Verniel

      I mean, seriously? She pulled the Maslow card to justify low-level family values and barnyard storytelling? Good luck with that.

  • Zyrelle Anne Nato

    Ang galing tlga ng writers ng OTWOL. Grabe based from this post and sa mga comments, fully invested talaga yung mga audience dito. I actually agree with your POV. Simula kasi nung dumating si Simon meron nang challenge sa relationship nila Leah and Clark, hindi na puro pakilig lang. Medyo naging boring kasi nung puro pakilig at ka-cheesyhan na lang. Ito lang ata yung teleserye na talagang sinubaybayan ko kasi maganda yung story and nakikita mo talaga yung character development ng bawat isa.
    Some viewers may not like the idea of “Simon” kasi nga panggulo lang siya sa love story ni Clark at Leah. Pero I think, he’s actually the one who makes the story interesting. Kailangan din ng challenge sa buhay natin pati na rin sa love life. Let’s just see how the story ends. I believe the audience won’t be disappointed. :)

  • Miss Randomantic

    Couldn’t agree more!

    Natural lang na may mainis sa character ni Nadine na si Leah dahil majority ng audience, naka-look up sa character ni James na si Clark. Sino ba naman hindi makiki-simpatiya sa isang ‘hubby ng bayan’ na unti-unti mong makikitaan ng flaws gawa ni Simon? And I agree na nakakainis lang ‘yung pagiging insensitive ni Leah pagdating sa pagseselos ni Clarky Boy at sa ‘lihim na pagtingin’ sa kaniya ni Simon. But her character had always been like that. Though she’s a smart girl, may pagka-inosente pa rin naman ang Leah Olivar natin.

    Naiintindihan ko naman ‘yung pinagdadaanan ni Simon. I mean, looking at his back story, napaka-tragic naman talaga. Sa harapan mo ba naman mismo mamatay ang love of your life tapos wala ka man lang nagawa?

    Tapos sa ibang mga scenes niya na pinapakita minsan (‘yung tina-try niyang makipag-date sa ibang girls?) you’ll know na after ng past relationship niya kay Juliet, ang hirap na niyang i-please ulit. It’s as if naging ‘ice prince’ na siya. ‘Til she met Leah. Si Leah na muling nakapagpangiti sa kaniya without her realizing. Si Leah na halos katulad ni Juliet. Si Leah na ‘guwapo’ pa rin ang tingin sa kaniya in spite of his ‘Hitler’ na image…which is also like Juliet na ‘gwapong-gwapo’ pa rin sa kaniya despite of him being a nerd back then. Right there, I understood kung bakit na-fall siya kay Leah.

    Lastly, I think we really all need Simon dahil kung hindi dahil sa kaniya, lagi na lang perfect ang tingin natin kay Clark. Si Clark na pogi, sexy, mabait, responsable, witty at sobrang talented. I mean, MAY GANITO BA TALAGANG LALAKI? At the end of the day, On the Wings of Love is all about real-life situation with a twist.

    “Kapag OFW ka ba, mayaman ka na?”

    NO.

    “Kapag pinagpalit ka ba ng ex mo sa insan mo, ganu’n lang kadali mag-move on?”

    Siguro ‘yes’ kung impokrito ako. But then kung ako si Jigs na lagi pa lang insecure kay Clark all my life? CERTAINLY.

    “Will you choose love over career?”

    I always believe na love will find a way but then, come on. Hindi tayo mabubuhay sa pag-ibig lang. In Leah’s situation, she chose her CAREER to save her LOVE (which is Tatang Sol in this case).

    “Kapag mahal ka, babalikan ka nga ba talaga?”

    As much as I want to answer this question, I believe that I had to find out the answer first as the OTWOL ends.

  • kathlyn mercado

    Its frustrating that you’re right. Because I know for a fact that I would not like, in fact, I would not ‘be’ like Simon or Leah, there are a lot about them that my values reject but giving this a read at least made me less, if not, non-judgemental of their characters and people like them, (if there are). I think its safe to say, I’m pretty prideful and I stand very strongly with my opinions and in what I believe in but I have to admit, you crushed that with this. Good thoughts :)

  • Pau

    Very well written and thought of, Cj! :) @paumiras of twitter here: I’ll be honest, I haven’t watched OTWOL in a long time now. I was a bit aversive when Simon entered the picture (among other things), but I immediately got caught in the dilemma just cause Paolo Avelino is portraying Simon. He is dreamy, regardless of playing the “third party”. But then looking back, I do believe all relationships need a person or situation like “Simon,” for a couple to realize what they are failing to realize. OTWOL is something different and a breath of fresh air to most of us lovesick, hopeless romantics who get stuck in a bubble of idealism. :)

  • I love how this essay shows an appreciation for Simon’s character. This is was originally a feel-good teleserye, but in order to create a great narrative, there needs to be conflict. Without Simon, the serye would be too unrealistic as they portray Clark as a perfect being (as you’ve mentioned). I’ve read a few of the recent comments below, and I don’t think the writers of this show is failing to make the audience realize the importance of Simon’s role to the audience. I merely think that the audience is too hung up on the people behind the characters. They cease to draw the line between CLeah and JaDine’s personas. I think that’s the problem and that is where all the emotions get tangled. Even so, I think it’s great that the audience feels frustrated and hurt…as they should be! After all, we’ve all come to love Leah and Clark as individuals. It’s just a matter of respecting their personal journey as characters.

  • Verniel

    I think your view about self actualization is somewhat flawed. The notion that only a mentor can give you self actualization is utterly false. First, Leah grew up with a loving father. There is no greater mentor-“mentee” relationship than father-daughter. Secondly, the notion that a romantic partner cannot provide self actualization is another falsehood. I think those self limiting beliefs might be present in people who have not been in satisfying, long term relationships. One thing for sure, I have seen couples who empower each other professionally. I am in a relationship that EMPOWERS my career. If you know Robert and Kim Kiyosaki you would know what I mean, among many other public figures in the business world. Lastly, no one in this lifetime should ever be given a tough choice between a mentor and a spouse, as clearly these two roles are not on equal footing and doing that will spell a recipe for family disaster. If your goal is to breakdown the family as the basic building block of society to replace it with corporate values, then you are doing a great job. But please know that you are ruining the lives of young people in the process if you choose to condone this storytelling and barnyard dog values. On a much less intellectual level though, this storytelling is hurting the ratings of the show. So if you want to defend it, be our guest. The numbers won’t lie. OTWOL is now down to 16% ratings, and we are using Kantar media here, ABS CBN’s preferred surveying platform. You can justify this all you want, but the people have spoken. OTWOL is worthy of rejection from its viewers.

    • kit

      YES. AMEN. I’ve been trying to understand why the writer has been justifying the role of Simon as a good addition to the show but it just doesn’t make so much sense to me. The ratings going down shows just how many people are not in agreement with the writers. Hindi mo mapipilit manood ang mga tao dahil lamang sa pangakong may happy ending. Hindi naman bobo ang audience. Kung ang heroine ay parang tanga. Kahit sa interviews with the actors, they themselves admit that they get frustrated with how Leah is thinking and acting.

      • atinaujairam

        thanks i have been complaining that too, but otwol team sorry to say this are hard headed. They forgot that otwolistas are educated and not just after of the kilig but the story. otwol team SACRIFICED the ratings by injecting simon’s character. they also forgot that the lightheartedness of otwol make us otwolistas stay late at night as it gives us smiles before sleeping. Otwol used to be stress reliever but now it is stress provider. SOBRANG MATIGAS ANG ULO NG OTWOL TEAM writers and directors. I felt bad that the rating went down… i myself changed channel when simon and leah are on the scenes. It is not realistic kasi

        • Aena

          We all know what happened, but the show changed its formula and not because of Simon’s character but because the show was EXTENDED. It’s called SHOW BUSINESS. Anyway, the old formula is back now so let’s just keep calm and stay tuned. :)

    • Juris

      agree with y’all! But I still love OTWOL

      • AnMorales

        Agree in some way, but I’m still very dedicated to CLeah’s journey. The least we can do is give all OTWOL’s crew, staff and actors a BIG BIG thank you. Their jobs aren’t easy. It’s the last three weeks and stickng till the end is something we can do to show them how much we appreciate their works. Plus, the show is very close to our hearts to us Filipinos here in abroad.

    • atinaujairam

      very well said verniel. self actualization starts from the family where you are apart of and in leah’s case she was well provided by love. Simon’s character spoils otwol as writers and directors injected simon that helped otwol ratings to go down. Plus the fact that leah has been made a weakling, that i will never agree. I am social worker and i used leah’s character before as model of being an empowered young lady… but i stopped doing that. Plus in reality it is the women who are abandoned and left behind not a men. Yes there are few clarks but it is not enough to make leah a weakling plus a pingpong thus from clark to simon then back to clark. WHERE IS THE MORAL VALUE? Besides, am wondering if otwol team have experiences regarding office work ethics and code of conducts. No matter how perfectionist or terror a boss is he can’t take away the rights to rest and recreate the employees, he is just also a co-worker not the owner of the company. Married couples have rights to spend weekends and holidays with their family. I had many bosses who were perfectionist but never did they call up on weekends and holidays because that is a violation. But with otwol they are creating a boss like simon that does not exist. WHERE IS THE REALISTIC SIDE OF otwol in that case.

    • Char Reyes

      I totally agree with you Verniel. I lost interest when they injected Simon’s character, that it’s too damn obvious that the writers and directors want to drag the story until we want to puke but hey.. we’re giving you a happy ending! I don’t get why they want to justify Simon’s existence… i don’t see any maturity of his actions.. What is so mature about having a pass at someone’s wife? What is so mature about asking your own father how to make someone loves you even if she loves someone else?

      I don’t need a Simon – no one damn does. No one needs a Simon to challenge the love of one to another. No one needs a Simon to know their self worth. And definitely no one needs a Simon to aesthetically appear perfect and superficially witty but menacing with hidden disgraceful agendas. If there’s anyone who needs to pull himself together – neither Clark or Leah. It should be Simon! (Yes – I do hate him!)

      Truly, OTWOL is called a game-changer in all our teleseryes. However, as I thought that this same TV series will uplift my spirit and bring back the values I know.. that my parents have taught me, that I will pass to my kids…it painstakingly ruined by the very moment they’ve decided to put Simon on this show!

    • Aena

      I have to disagree to this comment. What the writer meant about self-actualisation is the fact that you’re confident to what you have (or will) become. It makes you confident, it makes you practice what’s within. Your moot point on the father-and-daughter and the romance falls inside love and belongingness. They’re two completely different analysis. She’s not saying that career is more important than anything else, it’s just that it is what’s being used to have another side to the story. Relax man, you don’t have to agree with the writer, but there’s no reason to bash her too, that falls within what you say as “dog values”

  • Germaine

    Thank you Cj for sharing a new perspective on the show. I appreciate your analysis on subjects most people would probably just brush off. Overall, the show successfully captures every possible emotion one story can draw out from the audience. We get the laughs (na ang sakit na sa tiyan pero tawa pa more), kilig, sadness (to the point of depression), anger (sa sobrang galit hindi makatulog), and many other more.

    However, there is one main thing I am very torn about this show. It’s the TIME. How much Cleah has overcome through sacrifices, and heartaches is incredible. All the efforts and heartaches to fight for Cleah’s love seems to all go to waste (at least for now). Still I remain hopeful that there is a point to all of this.
    In regards to the writers, I appreciate the concepts they include. Concept of issues with Simon, sacrifice, torn opportunities, marriage, family, love, and many more are things that we despise in our reality but cannot completely eliminate. I appreciate it because it is like a smack on our faces that similar obstacles in OTWOL are in our lives. It shows a realistic view that there will always be a bossy and rude Simon around us. There will always be heartaches in sacrificing one’s family over career. There would be times where couples would be separated because of opportunities from far away distances (like abroad). The characters’ actions are just one way to show on how some deal with issues mentioned previously. The writers may have wanted to remind the audience that if ever anyone watching feels alone in struggling through their crisis- they are not. Regardless of who you are and where you are, you like everyone have different versions of Simons, sacrifices, torn opportunities, issues in marriage, family, love and etc.

    Nevertheless, I hope that people won’t lose their faith on the production, especially on the writers, of how the story will unfold further and come to an end- a happy ending.

  • marrydhine Ü

    I guess all you write here it’s TRUE :)

  • atinaujairam

    i am really sad with what happened to the ratings, it was not maintained as if the team purposely did it … that’s my thoughts

  • atinaujairam

    we don’t need simon, we only need ourself

  • atinaujairam

    otwol team if you want a realistic thing… let leah marries simon not clark… that is real maraming nangyaring ganun… i dont mind if it is not a happy ending

  • Aena

    I don’t understand why a lot of people are bashing the writer for HER OWN point of view. Guys, first of all, family and loved ones fall inside ‘love and belongingness,’ kaya nga may ganun. “Self-actualization refers to the desire for self-fulfillment and to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially.” and that idea was used by the series to CREATE A DIFFERENT STORY. The point of this blog is that we shouldn’t look at Simon as another kontrabida, he is an addition to the show to make it more interesting, to have a new side to the story. Another thing, Simon did not make the show bad, it became ‘bad and boring’, as you all call it, because the OTWOL peeps (which you’re also bashing) needed to extend the show hence the fillers, a lot of them. It’s show business, get over it. Nevertheless, aren’t we all happy the show is back to its original formula? :)

  • I agree with most of what you’ve said, except for the self-actualization part.

    I don’t know if some viewers are just emotionally-biased because they’re JaDine fans, but I’m also sharing your POV on Simon’s addition to the cast. CLeah’s relationship isn’t perfect, and he became a device for them to realize it. Clark was so insecure about himself to the point that he didn’t want Leah to grow.

  • Slow clapping. This is amazing.