The UP Gawad Plaridel Awards 2005 is the only award in the University of the Philippines bestowed to outstanding media practitioners. It honors Filipino media practitioners in print, film, radio, television and new media, who have excelled and performed with the highest professional integrity and in the interest of public service. National Artist Napoleon Abueva conceptualized and molded the Plaridel trophy showing Marcelo H. del Pilar (the crusading journalist and editor of the vernacular section of Diariong Tagalog, the first Philippine bilingual newspaper, and the La Solidaridad, the reformist newspaper), which will be given to the awardee plus P100,000. Last year’s awardee was editor and publisher Mrs. Eugenia Duran-Apostol. This year, a film practitioner was to be distinguished among our many outstanding film practitioners.
Vilma Santos was declared the Plaridel awardee for 2005. The actress, now mayor of Lipa City, has received 65 awards from different award-giving bodies including the best actress in the Brussels International Film Festival in 1999, 10 awards from FAMAS, and another 10 best actress Urian awards from the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino. The other awards are from FAP, the Manila Film Festival, the Metro Manila Film Festival, Star Awards, Catholic Mass Media Awards, CineManila International Film Festival and many others. Her first film, Trudis Liit, garnered for her the best child actress plum 41 years ago, and the rest is “herstory.” She declared that she was very nervous the day she received it. The award, she thought, was so prestigious that it carried with it a lot of responsibilities. But it seems Vilma Santos is used to handling responsibilities. Aside from being an active movie personality, she takes her tasks as city mayor of Lipa seriously.
Sen. Ralph Recto attended the awarding like a proud husband would, attentive in the front row of the theater beside Vilma’s mother as UP President Emerlinda Roman, UP Diliman Chancellor Sergio Cao and Dean Nicanor Tiongson bestowed the Plaridel Award 2005 to Ms. Vilma Santos. President Roman, in her message, said “Because of her dedication to her craft and her portrayal of roles important to women and society, Ms. Santos deserves recognition not only from the viewing public, but also from the academic community.” UP Diliman Chancellor Cao said that he was starstruck and that it was the first time he had seen Vilma in person, adding, “More importantly, Ms. Santos has used her status as celebrity to pursue public service. As mayor of Lipa City, she has proven that art and politics do not exist in separate plains. She has shown us that women artists can transform society in more ways than one.”
College of Mass Communications Dean Nicanor Tiongson said, “Traditionally, the academe has always kept a discreet distance from show business and for good reason. For one, academics have always emphasized critical thinking and professional integrity, both of which seem to be rare commodities in a movie world obsessed with instant gold and glamour. For another, the popularity of a movie star, to be sure an unwanted legacy from Hollywood, has been used by producers to cover up for a multitude their cinematic sins. Stardom is not a sin in itself. In the hands of film actors who are sincerely committed to their art, popularity can be harnessed to uplift the standards of the whole film industry. In choosing Vilma Santos as the UP Gawad Plaridel Awardee for Film, the College of Mass Communications would like to offer to film and media industries incontrovertible and living proof that popularity and ratings need not lead to the degradation of media tastes and standards.”
After receiving her trophy, Vilma Santos delivered her Plaridel lecture. She shared her experiences in the industry that she truly loves and expressed her concern for the high taxes on film, dwindling audiences of Filipino films, piracy and the strong competition from foreign films. She spoke to a very attentive audience. The Cine Adarna of the UP Film Institute, which can seat almost a thousand people, was SRO. Ms. Santos has over 200 movies to her name. Some of the more notable ones are: Burlesk Queen, Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak, Ikaw ay Akin, Rubia Servios, Broken Marriage, Relasyon, Sister Stella L, Dahil Mahal Kita, Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa, Anak and Dekada 70. Many recognize the value of this “Star for All Seasons.”Writer Lualhati Bautista says, “As an actress Vilma gets into the character she is playing, goes through her experiences and pain.” Feminist Mara Lanot says that, “In all the roles Vilma has played in her films and real life, she chose for herself and got what she wanted, and these characters are strong.” Scriptwriter Ricky Lee explains that “Vilma, by embodying the different images of the Filipina as victim and fighter in the span of three decades, has consistently molded the image of the woman and society that moves forward.” Another writer, Pete Lacaba, admires Vilma for her fearless portrayal of Sister Stella L during martial law years when it could have affected her career and her personal life at the time, and also for courageously using her clout as a big star in the movies to perform roles that are different.
Vilma has worked with many of our reputable directors. Chito Rono sees her as a consummate actor who brings brilliance to her performances, saying, “Sometimes an ordinary role becomes a diamond when she portrays the role.” Maryo de los Reyes says, “As an artist, she has nurtured an aesthetic refinement and has continuously searched for the beauty and the enhancement of her craft. She has maintained her ‘pagiging tao,’ being ‘makatao’ and ‘pakikipagkapwa-tao’ all these years.” Critic Bien Lumbera calls her an “auteur,” one who leaves the mark of her personality in the roles she plays. In her performances, he adds, she manages to bring her audience together with her character’s experiences and ways of looking at things. Another critic, Butch Francisco, explains that, “Vilma took a long time to be recognized as a serious actress. Through the collaborative efforts with top directors, she became one of the greatest actors of Philippine cinem. She tackles scripts with social issues and often times was experimental with her roles.” Producer Atty. Espiridion Laxa says Vilma “has reached this incomparable height of success because of several good traits: her discipline, her determination to excel in her acting profession and her knack for choosing the right roles.” Producer/actress Charo Santos-Concio speaks of her as a “passionate thespian, her filmography boasts of a list of films that are audacious, artistic, classic and socially relevant. Inevitably, she has brought to the limelight ordinary people with extraordinary lives and has created awareness of various socio-political issues.” Her frequent leading man in her films, Christopher de Leon, has good words to say about her, too: “Vilma Santos is not a selfish actor. For example, if I have a scene that is really meant for me, she will make me shine; she is a very gracious actor. ” He explains that the brilliant performances of the actors who interact with her are evident in her films. To Vilma, congratulations! – Philippine Daily Tribune, July 07, 2005 (READ MORE)