The One You Love or The One Who Loves You? This Musical Made Us Think

Words by Jesh Orquina / Graphics by Elena Salazar

“Mahal ko o mahal ako?” It’s a KZ Tandingan song, but it’s also a dilemma that some of us are all too familiar with. If you think about it, the question shouldn’t be that complicated. Why would you choose someone you don’t love, right? Go with the one you love and get that happy ending you deserve! If only it were that simple.

Mahal Ko o Mahal Ako

The question might seem straightforward, but life itself is complicated. There are a lot of factors why it may be difficult to simply choose the one you love; maybe they’re in a relationship with someone else or maybe they live a thousand miles away and either of you moving just isn’t an option. Sometimes love itself just isn’t enough for two people to be together.

And then there’s this other person: someone who’s always there to support you, someone who’s always there for you when you need them, someone who loves you and would do everything for you. The problem is, you don’t love them back. If only you could teach your heart to love this person; but then again, it’s never really that simple.

So how exactly do you deal with having to choose between the love of your life and the person who loves you more than life?

This was the question that lingered in my mind long after I’ve finished watching Binondo: A Tsinoy Musical. The musical, set in the latter third of the 1900s, tells the story of a Filipina night-club singer Lily, a mainland Chinese scholar visiting the Philippines for vacation Ah Tiong, and Lily’s local Chinese childhood friend Carlos.

Shiela Valderrama-Martinez as Lily and Arman Ferrer as Ah Tiong (Courtesy of Binondo, A Tsinoy Musical Facebook Page)

For Lily and Ah Tiong, it is love at first sight. However, Ah Tiong only has a few weeks to spend in the country before he has to go back to China. On the other hand, Carlos is heartbroken that the love of his life has fallen for someone she just met. Given these circumstances, Lily eventually has to choose between the man she fell in love with and her childhood best friend who has always loved her.

Love triangles are never pretty. They’re complicated and everyone gets hurt at one point or another. Eventually, someone has to make a choice between the person they love and the person who loves them. Anyone who’s been there knows it’s not an easy decision to make. No matter which choice you make, someone’s bound to get hurt. In the end, whether you choose the one you love or the person who loves you, what really matters is that you take responsibility for the decision you make. Sometimes you just have to make a choice and never look back.

Synergy 88 Digital, Rebecca Chuaunsu Film Production (RCFP), and Fullhouse Asia Production Studios, Inc. presented an original musical about Chinese-Filipinos titled “Binondo: A Tsinoy Musical” directed by Joel Lamangan, and written by Ricky Lee with Gershom Chua and Ejay Castro Deldoc.


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