Each year, the anthology replaces the noontime show's regular programming in observance of the solemnity of Holy Week. Standalone episodes of short dramas are shown from Holy Monday to Holy Wednesday, with each episode having different characters, story, and director.
The 2019 Lenten specials coincided with the 40th anniversary celebration of the noontime show. Hence, its three offerings were shot in very distant locations, making the 2019 edition its biggest Holy Week presentation yet. This episode was filmed entirely in Ōita, Japan.
It is topbilled by Jose Manalo, Vic Sotto, and Ryzza Mae Dizon. Supporting cast includes Pauleen Luna, Allan K, Jimmy Santos, and Luane Dy.
The word "ikigai" is a Japanese concept that is usually used to indicate the source of value in one's life or the things that make one's life worthwhile. The episode is directed by Ricky Davao.
Newly-arrived Danny (Jose Manalo) walks around a town in Japan when he bumps into into Tonio (Vic Sotto), a Filipino local who offers to help him find his homestay. Danny acts irritated and snobbishly declines the offer.
Later that night, Danny arrives at his lodge and knocks on the door. Tonio opens his door to reveal Danny behind it. Not recalling their chance meeting earlier, Danny continues to act snobbish toward Tonio. However, Tonio tries to remain positive and hospitable, even offering to tour Danny around the town. Danny refuses and claims that sightseeing is not the purpose of his trip to Japan.
Walking around town, Danny approaches a house and sees his ex-girlfriend Angela leaving it, which forces him to hide. He opens his wallet and reveals a picture of his daughter whom he has been longing to meet.
Later, Danny bumps into Tonio and his child friend Shyla Mae (Ryzza Mae Dizon). Danny realizes that the little child is his daughter, but keeps quiet and decides not to reveal himself. To further confirm his suspicion, he asks Tonio more about the child and her mother.
Danny begins to warm up to Tonio and his housemates. He also brings Shyla Mae gifts and leaves them on her front door, which Tonio becomes suspicious of. Danny is later forced to reveal his relationship with Shyla Mae after Tonio accidentally sees the child's picture inside his wallet. Jobless at the time, Danny recalls that he ran away after finding out his ex-girlfriend was pregnant. He returned this time to apologize. With the help of Tonio, Danny becomes closer to Shyla Mae.
Angela finds out about Danny's return and immediately puts a halt to the meetings of the father and their daughter. Desperate for help, Danny confesses to Tonio about his cancer and his desire to be with Shyla Mae before he dies. However, he makes Tonio promise not to tell his ex-girlfriend and daughter about his disease.
With Tonio's help, Danny finally gets a chance to have a sit-down meeting with her and Shyla Mae. Hearing Danny's meaningful apology, Angela decides to allow him to be with their daughter.
At some point during their bonding time, Danny collapses. Shyla Mae becomes curious of his father's prescription bottle. She searches it online and discovers his father's cancer. Danny apologizes to his daughter for keeping it a secret. He promises to look for the best doctor to treat his cancer and to prolong his life so they can be with each other longer.
Longing for his deceased wife, Tonio suffers a fatal heart attack. Together, Danny and Shyla Mae commemorate his memory years later.
- Sheryl Ichikawa as Angela
- Zianne Angierein Garcia as Shi-shi
- Grace Kudo as flower farm staff
- Marie Okubo as flower farm staff
- Sugi Imai as flower farm staff
- Takahashi Suneo as taxi driver
- Kenneth Bernardino as kabuki
- Rolly Umali as kabuki
- Yen Kunihiro as castle ruin rescuer
- Lyn Fajardo as castle ruin rescuer
- "Ikigai" was re-aired on Holy Wednesday, 8 April 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in Eat Bulaga! being unable to produce new content for the 2020 Holy Week, the three episodes of the 2019 Lenten Special were replayed instead.