Prologue -- 1996
In this episode's prologue (via Alwyn's voiceover), we learn that Alwyn, Janus, Mikel, and Mhyco are childhood friends who grew up together in the same neighborhood. We see them as four young boys, playing hide and seek (taguan) together near the coffee shop that is owned by the parents of their friend Paula.
Their friendship was forged when one day, two men attempted to rob the coffee shop of Paula's family. The boys figured that they could help thwart the robbery by letting the air out of the tires of the robbers' cars. The police were able to arrest the robbers thanks to the boys' brave act.
As a token of appreciation, one of the police officers gave them the tire they had deflated. Not only did the tire become their makeshift swing (when tied to a tree branch), it also came to symbolize their friendship.
Unfortunately, despite their commitment to stay together as friends, Alwyn had to leave for the US with his mother, and it is only 9 years later that he gets a chance to return and reconnect with his friends.
The Present -- 2005
Alwyn and his mother arrive at their house and are greeted by Alwyn's father and second wife (who happens to be the sister of Alwyn's mother). We learn that they have arrived in time to attend the debut of Hazel, Alwyn's sister; the debut is scheduled for the next evening, and at his father's request, Alwyn agrees to be Hazel's escort.
Hazel joins them in the living room, but she shows no enthusiasm whatsoever at the return of her mother and brother, and even less interest in her upcoming debut. She rushes to leave the house, saying she is late for school.
While the family is still gathered in the living room chatting, Janus arrives to greet his long lost friend. Alwyn at first does not recognize Janus, but he is happy when he realizes that it is Janus. Janus then asks "O... kamusta na ba 'yan? Okay na ba yan?" while pointing at Alwyn's chest. Alwyn says, "Eto, may turnilyo sa loob, pero okay pa naman, tumatakbo pa naman." Alwyn then invites Janus upstairs to chat and catch up while he's changing.
The two friends go to visit Mhyco, as he is out at a nearby ranch tending to horses. Alwyn is excited to see his friend, but there are a few awkward moments, as Mhyco is embarrassed about his job and economic status, but both Alwyn and Janus show that they're more interested in Mhyco's friendship than Mhyco's (lack of) money.
Alwyn learns that life has been tough for their friend. Mhyco's family suffered financial losses, and so they had to move out of their subdivision, and Mhyco is now working as a stable boy in one of the ranches.
Alwyn says that he just got back because it will be his sister's debut the following evening. Mhyco asks about Hazel -- they apparently know each other but it has been a while since they've been in touch.
Alwyn asks Mhyco how he is, saying that it's been a while. Janus pipes in remarking that it seems like Mhyco has been avoiding him. Alwyn takes the opportunity to invite Mhyco to attend his sister's debut. Mhyco at first says no, but he finally relents and agrees.
As Alwyn and Janus are in the car driving back, Janus tells Alwyn that he has lost touch with Mikel after the latter moved to Manila. He says they're no longer close, even though they're still friends. He had last heared that Mikel had joined a company and was a manager somewhere.
As they drive along, Alwyn points out their old hangout, which has now closed and has a sign "Coffee King -- soon to open" displayed prominently in front. Janus tells Alwyn that it has been purchased by the Coffee King chain. Janus jokingly says he even rallied against the purchase. He also shares that their old childhood friend Paw (Paula) was worried about the soon-to-open coffee shop, because it will be competing directly with her family's coffee shop business.
Just then, Alwyn temporarily loses control of the car when a pink bandana flies onto his windshield and blocks his vision. They pull over to the side and get out of the car to retrieve the bandana. Just then, Jill drives up in a little scooter and Alwyn is almost immediately lovestruck when he sees her. Jill apologizes about the bandana, and attempts to retrieve it. Alwyn attempts to flirt with her by asking for her name, but Jill ignores his advances and simply retrieves her bandana. She bids Janus farewell and hops back on her scooter. Alwyn tries to interrogate Janus about Jill, but Janus evades giving definite answers by cracking a few jokes, saying he'll tell Alwyn more about her later, if Alwyn will buy Janus a cup of coffee at Paw's coffee house.
At the coffee shop, Paw is busy at the counter, and we see a newly arrived customer sitting at a table. He teases Paw, saying some miracle must have happened because she's so pretty all of a sudden. Paw is confused when the customer teases her with their old childhood taunt... but she eventually realizes that it's Mikel.
Mikel orders a cup of coffee, and Paw as Paw prepares it, Mikel remarks that he's amazed at the longevity of the shop. Paw says the store has been there since 1908, and she brags about the quality of their coffee... saying that it's unlike all the other stores which serve everything "instant".
Just then, Alwyn and Janus friends arrive at the coffee shop, with Janus announcing that he has a surprise for Paw. As they walk in, they notice Mikel there sitting at a table, waiting for his coffee. The three friends greet each other heartily, and Mikel reveals to his friends that he will be managing the soon-to-open Coffee King branch, much to Paw's dismay.
She becomes upset when Mikel says that he'll be having coffee at her coffee shop while his own store isn't open yet. When she starts berating him, Mikel reminds her that he's a paying customer and even leaves a P500 bill to pay for his single cup of coffee, telling Paw "keep the change, darling."
Janus stops Paw from hitting Mikel, and as Mikel is about to leave, Alwyn stops him in time to invite Mikel to his sister's debut the next evening. Mikel at first tries to decline, but with Janus' insistence, Mikel finally agrees.
As Alwyn is standing at the door of the coffee shop, he sees Jill riding by on her scooter. He smiles and waves at her, and Jill looks surprised as she rides past.
The following day, Janus is at the coffee shop with Paw, and Paw is still upset about Mikel coming to "spy" on their coffee shop. Two of Paw's aunts are there, and one of them wonders out loud if the curse against their family is finally coming true.
Janus remarks that they obviously believe in the curse because Paw's two aunts chose not to marry. Paw's aunt then points out to Paw that their bad luck in business began when Paw and her boyfriend TJ became a couple. Paw looks shocked and worried, but is unable to deny her aunt's remarks.
The scene shifts to what appears to be Hazel's bedroom, and Jill is there with her dressed in a pink robe. Jill excitedly admires at Hazel's debutante gown, which Hazel complains as being "masyadong pa-tweetums". Jill tries to encourage Hazel to try it out, but Hazel is disinterested; she tells Jill she can try it out if she wants. Jill removes her robe and pulls on the dress.
Just then, Alwyn walks past Hazel's open bedroom door and sees Jill putting on the dress. He leans against the doorway and says to Jill that the dress suits her. Upon hearing his voice, Hazel gets up and slams the door in his face, saying "Sorry, no boys allowed!"
Alwyn then leans against the door to listen to the girls' conversation, just as Jill asks who that guy is. Jill is surprised to learn he is Alwyn, Hazel's older brother. Jill says it's weird but she has seen him twice already today... and she's amazed to realize that he is her best friend's brother.
Outside the door, Alwyn is happy to realize that his "mystery girl" is the best friend of his sister.
Inside the room, Hazel tells Jill to stay away from Alwyn, because all boys are the same, if they're not insensitive, they're selfish... otherwise they're liars...
Jill says that if she ever gets to know the guy who turned Hazel into a manhater, she will beat him up. Hazel responds that if ever she sees the guy, she'll be the one to beat him up personally.
Back at the coffee shop, Janus is complaining to Paw about her aunts superstitious beliefs. He says that if they were not such great tippers, he would have revealed long ago that he's straight (because they apparently think he's gay). He says he will no doubt get a lot of ribbing from Alwyn and his friends if they learn about his situation.
Just then, one of Paw's aunts enters the coffee shop, and Janus switches right away to his gay mode, greeting her good morning and paying her compliments. She leaves and returns to the back room, and right away Janus returns to normal.
Just then, Carla enters the coffee shop and orders some coffee from Paw. Janus immediately sits up straight on his seat and stares at her lovestruck as she moves into the room. We learn via Alwyn's voiceover that Carla is the only daughter of Congressman Loren, and that she's also Janus' "one great childhood love".
Janus introduces himself to Carla, and he is smiling broadly as they exchange handshakes, and it takes him some time to release her hand. Just then, Paw's aunt returns to the room with Janus' cup of coffee, and Janus is forced to return to his gay mode.
The situation turns for the worse for Janus when Paw's aunt goes on to ask for Janus' opinion on her hair, asking if a perm would be good for her.
When Paw's aunt leaves the room, Carla remarks that since Janus is a beautician, she wanted to ask if he would be available that night for home service, since she will be attending Hazel's debut. Before Janus can answer, she says that he is probably fully booked.
Janus tries to grab the opportunity to tell Carla that he is not actually gay, but unfortunately, Carla cannot hear him because just then, Paw starts to grind the coffee beans that Carla has come to buy. As Paw finishes grinding the coffee beans, Paw's aunt returns to the room, and Janus is forced to return to his gay mode before he can reveal the truth to Carla.
Left with no other option, Janus tells Carla that he's actually available that night, and Carla is delighted. They agree to meet at 7pm, just as Paw finishes wrapping up the coffee beans for Carla. Carla then leaves after reminding Janus of their appointment.
Later that evening, we see a montage of scenes as Janus arrives at Carla's home and proceeds to fix her hair and apply her make-up. Carla is extremely happy with the result, and when she asks how much his services cost, Janus says he won't be charging her for his service because artistic types like himself get enough fulfillment from seeing the beautiful results of their work. He is surprised and kilig when Carla hugs him to thank him.
He begins to gather up his equipment and just before he leaves, they find themselves staring at each other. Janus breaks the stare by saying "Grabe ka tumingin" and turns away to pick up his equipment. They have another awkward moment where Janus says goodbye, holds out one arm as if to hug her, but he changes his mind, and bids her goodbye again as he leaves the room.
It's now the evening of the party, and we see Carla talking to Alwyn, then Mikel and Janus arrive. As Alwyn goes off to greet the other guests, Carla turns and sees Mikel and Janus together. She then waves and both Mikel and Janus wave back. Janus goes to greet her, but Carla walks past him to greet Mikel. Janus pretends to greet someone else, but the lady pushes him away and he crashes into a nearby waiter. LOL.
Later that evening, Jill introduces Alwyn as Hazel's 17th rose. The siblings dance together, but Hazel is still stone-faced and unhappy about the debut. When Alwyn mentions that he finds Jill interesting, Hazel warns him to not try his playboy routine on her friend. Alwyn replies that he's just interested in getting to know Jill. Hazel still looks annoyed as she tells him that if he had not left for the States, he would have met Jill long ago.
Jill then announces the 18th rose, Hazel's father. They start dancing together, and Hazel's father is all nostalgic and emotional, but Hazel still looks stone-faced as she assures her father that she's happy.
Still at the party, Carla is greeted by Councilor TJ Ramos, who tells her he's not surprised to see her at the party, since it's the perfect venue for networking, with their constituents all gathered there. Carla tells him she's just there to have fun, then quickly changes the subject by introducing her good friend, Mikel and her beautician Janus.
Janus says he knows TJ already, since he's the boyfriend of his bestfriend, Paw. Janus and Mikel trade a few friendly insults, then TJ introduces Paw to Carla. Carla replies that she actually knows Paw since she's a regular customer of Paw's coffee business. Carla then tries to escape TJ by saying she will go to get a drink, but TJ insists on joining her.
Janus rescues her by saying that he'll join her since she looks like she needs her make-up retouched. Carla gratefully takes his arm and compliments him on being so professional. When TJ tells Paw he intends to go after Carla, she is dismayed and asks how TJ can leave her alone with Mikel, whom she finds arrogant, but TJ says he needs to talk to the congressman's daughter.
Left alone, Paw takes a seat only to have Mikel tease her about her "nice boyfriend".
The scene shifts to Mhyco dressed in a suit, talking with a horse. He is debating whether or not he will enter the party. Just then, Hazel climbs through one of the fences towards Mhyco. She is apparently escaping the party to smoke, and she asks Mhyco if he has a lighter. She is upset when she accidentally bumps into him and breaks the cigarette she is holding.
Mhyco tells her she should really not smoke since it's bad for her health, and she snaps back telling him it's really none of his business.
She pulls a cellphone out of the bodice of her dress, then asks Mhyco if he can help her escape the ranch. Mhyco asks her if she can ride a horse, and in desperation, Hazel says yes. Hazel returns her cellphone to the bodice of her dress and pulls it out a few more times, as Mhyco prepares the horse. He also eyes her debutante gown with some skepticism. The two then get on the horse.
Back at the party, Alwyn is looking for Janus, dismayed at the way his reunion is turning out. He then approaches Jill, and compliments her on her hosting skills. He tells her she caught everyone's attention, including his. Jill thanks him, but starts looking for Hazel because she needs to go home. Alwyn asks her why she's in a rush to go home when it's only midnight, but Jill says she really must go home.
Alwyn offers to drive her home, saying that he heard Jill lives at a penthouse... he teases her about being a rich girl. Jill is uneasy and asks him how he found out, and Alwyn says he learned the info from Hazel. Jill then apologizes and runs off before Alwyn can stop her.
Still at the party, Paw reaches for a glass of water on the table, only to have Mikel snatch it out of her hand. Paw tries to wrest the glass out of his hands, saying that it was TJ's glass, but Mikel gives her a hard time. The two of them are still fighting over the glass when Janus, Carla, and TJ return.
TJ takes his leave, saying he's being called away. He asks Janus to take Paw home, then leaves after kissing Paw.
Meanwhile, Mhyco and Hazel are still on the horse heading home, but Hazel impatiently insists on being let off the horse, since it's walking so slowly. She complains that she can get home much faster by just walking. They both get off the horse, and Mhyco offers to escort her as she walks home, because it's so dark. He also asks her why she's in a rush to leave the debut, and wouldn't the debutante feel bad about her guests leaving?
Hazel reveals to him that SHE is the debutante, and Mhyco realizes who she is, and calls her by name. Hazel asks how he knows her, and he tells her he is Mhyco Aquino. He asks her if she remembers him, just as Hazel repeats his name, then starts hitting him. As he runs away from her, Hazel screams at him telling him to stay away from her or else she'll kill him.
The scene shifts to the parking lot of the ranch, as Paw, Janus, and Mikel are leaving the party. Paw is determined to ignore Mikel, but he grabs her and Janus tries to get her to let them take her home. Paw replies with No thanks, and says she would rather walk. Mikel lets her go and says it's just business and that she's taking things too personally. Paw tells him that unlike her, he's only concerned about money and doesn't appreciate sentimental value. She tells him to get ready because she's determined to fight him in business. Mikel tells her she's welcome to walk home if she wants, or better yet, wait for her boyfriend, who seems to have forgotten to return for her.
Paw starts walking away but Janus asks her to wait for him. Janus then approaches Mikel and tells him to think things through next time because he's no longer funny and is being hurtful. Janus places his bag in the front passenger seat of Mikel's car then goes to talk to Paw. He is surprised when Mikel gets into the car and drives off, leaving Paw and Janus standing in the parking lot.
The scene shifts to Hazel's home. They are all gathered in the living room, and Hazel's father is angrily reprimanding Hazel for her behavior. Hazel's step mom tries to reason with Hazel, saying she and her father have tried everything to get close to Hazel. Hazel's mom says at that point that it obviously wasn't enough. Hazel's step mom then accuses her sister of leaving her responsibilities behind, to which Hazel's mother angrily replies that her sister knows full well why she had to leave for America.
Hazel's mom goes to Hazel and reassures her that everything will be alright, since she is now back and they are now all together. Hazel stands up and angrily asks her mom why she bothered to come back. Everyone is stunned into silence and Hazel leaves the room.
As Alwyn tries to leave, his mom asks where he is going, and he responds that he needs some fresh air, as does the rest of the family.
The scene shifts to the entrance of the soon-to-open Coffee King. Alwyn finds Janus sitting there on the sidewalk, alone. As Mikel steps out of the store, Janus angrily accuses Mikel of being rude to Paw, then says he only came to retrieve his knapsack. Mikel hands it to Janus, saying that all his make-up equipment is there. He then sarcastically asks Janus about the book that's in the knapsack -- a diary?!
It looks like the two guys are about to come to blows, but Alwyn stops them. Janus says he's upset because Mikel acts like he has forgotten everything they've gone through together. Mikel apologizes and reminds Janus that he even offered Janus financial help if he needed it.
Alwyn breaks the tense silence by cracking a few gay jokes, and the two other guys start horsing around, just as Mhyco walks up to join them. Mhyco complains to Alwyn that Hazel beat him up and that he almost lost his horse in the process. Alwyn laughs and asks why Hazel would beat Mhyco up. Mhyco says he has long ago told Alwyn that Hazel is a bit crazy. But Mhyco admits that as he was escorting Hazel home, being with her brought back memories of their many childhood misadventures. He asks for their understanding, saying that he's just embarrassed about his current situation.
Janus then reveals that he has a surprise for all of them. He pulls out a scrapbook from his knapsack and says it's full of photos and assorted knick-knacks from their childhood. Alwyn and Mhyco are excited to see, and Janus looks meaningfully at Mikel as he tells his friends that he's not the type to forget.
Mikel gets up and enters the Coffee King store leaving the three friends go over the scrapbook. He returns to throw a tire in front of his surprised friends. He asks them if they remember that tire, then says that he chose to open the Coffee King store at that location because it was their old hangout. He says he had to retrieve that old tire because it was too important a part of their friendship. He then tells Janus that he hasn't forgotten. The two friends exchange high-fives and hugs.
As the episode closes, we hear Alwyn's voiceover: Kahit malaki na tayo, para pa rin tayo naglalaro ng taguan. Pero ngayon, iba na ang mga pinagtataguan natin...
The scene shifts to Carla talking on her cellphone: Yes Dad, don't worry. Di ko kayo papahiya... as she picks up one of many file folders marked "Projects of Congressman Loren".
The scene shifts to Jill entering a building and taking an elevator to emerge at a rooftop. There, she enters a small room on the roof, and puts on what appears to be a maid's uniform.
The scene shifts to Paw sitting inside her coffee shop, looking worried as she eyes the soon-to-open Coffee King store across the street.
Alwyn: o bumabalik na nakaraan...
The scene shifts to Hazel sitting alone in her bedroom, crying as she holds a photo of Alwyn and her mother.
Alwyn continues: Parang taguan nga ang buhay, 'no? Pero di gaya ng iba, gustong-gusto ko maging taya nung bata pa ako. Dahil kahit gaano man katagal o kahirap kong hulihin ang mga kalaro ko, ayos lang, dahil alam ko naman, na bago matapos ang araw, makikita at makikita ko rin ang hinahanap ko.