Body Talk with Vilma Santos

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If you want to spoil Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos’ day, enumerate to her the symptoms of an illness, any illness, and she’ll feel sick the whole day.  Yes, she’s hypochondriac.  Once, Perla Bautista (another hypochondriac) related to Vilma how her (Perla’s) friend suffered from an ailment and guess what Vilma did the next day — yes, she called in sick.

But discuss showbiz and politics with her and she perks up. Graduating from being Lipa City with a sterling record as the province’s governor, Vilma is now rumored to be the probable running mate of MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando in the 2010 presidential race.  Asked if she discussed that “possibility” when Fernando recently paid her a visit at the Batangas provincial capitol, Vilma insisted that he did not. “He just met with the department heads,” she said, adding, “but we didn’t talk about 2010. Hindi sa ayaw kong magsilbi sa iba but I know when I’m prepared.”

What she’s prepared for is her yet untitled movie (to be directed by Olivia Lamasan) for Star Cinema with John Lloyd Cruz for which they’re going to New York in November to start shooting (to catch the first snowfall). John Lloyd plays the lover of Vilma’s son (her own son, Luis/Lucky Manzano, is being eyed for the role but he might not be “ready” for love/kissing scenes with another guy).  “My son in the movie will die at kami ni John Lloyd ang mag-i-enkuwentro,” she said.  Gov. Vilma stands five-foot-flat, weighs 105 lbs., and wears medium/large shirts and size-6 shoes (her feet grew bigger after she gave birth to Ryan Christian).

You used to be insomniac, weren’t you?  “Yes. It was terrible! Hindi ako inaantok hangga’t hindi ako makakita ng araw, kahit konting liwanag lang. But while it was dark, I was awake.”

How long did you suffer from insomnia?  “It lasted while I was busy doing movies. Nag-iba lang ang body clock ko when I became a mayor. But before that, bago nabago ang sistema ng katawan ko, I was hospitalized for three weeks. My doctor said that my body had to adjust to my new schedule.”

So you sleep well now?  “When I go home from work, as early as 11:30 p.m., I go to bed na and then I wake up at 5 a.m. Six hours of sleep are good enough for me. More than that, I feel sluggish, para akong nilalagnat.”

What’s your favorite sleep wear?  “Loose shorts with a pajama top. The aircon has to be turned on full blast because I want to wrap myself in a thick blanket.”

What about Ralph?  “Naku, mahilig din sa very cold temperature, pati anak namin (Ryan Christian).”

Do you snore?  “According to Ralph, yes. When I’m tired daw, heavy ang breathing ko, may sound.”

Do you talk in your sleep?  “I don’t think so. I hope not! But when I’m too tired, kapag kinakausap daw ako habang natutulog, sagot ako nang sagot. They would ask me daw about my schedule the next day at tama naman daw ang sagot ko.”

Do you sleepwalk?  “No, I don’t.”

How many pillows do you sleep with?  “I’m fine with two pillows. Ganoon din si Luis (Lucky). One under my head and the other I hug.”

What about Ralph? Don’t you hug him?  “Ay, mahilig sa maraming unan, like Ryan. Unan ang yakap-yakap ni Ralph when he sleeps.”

Which side of the bed do you sleep on?  “Left side. I’m comfortable sa left side. Nasa right side si Ralph.”

Do you and Ralph talk about politics in bed?  “Yes. At least we can discuss a topic close to our hearts.”

Do you bring work to the bedroom?  “As much as possible, I don’t. I see to it that I finish the paper work in my office even if it means staying up late, so that when I go home all I have to do is read and relax with my family.”

What’s the last thing that you do before you go to sleep?  “I drink a glass of water and then I pray. But for me to fall asleep easily, kailangan i-massage ang paa ko, gentle lang. Basta gusto ko lang kina-caress ang mga paa ko.”

Who does the massaging, Ralph?  “No. ‘Yung maid namin.” 

First thing that you do when you wake up?  “I make the Sign of the Cross and then derecho ligo if it’s a working day. Kapag rest day, I take my time and read the newspapers and then I exercise.”

What kind of exercise do you do?  “I do taebo, I do the treadmill, and I dance. I do it at least one hour every day. I do it in a room with the aircon turned off para pawisan ako. And then nagsa-sauna ako.”

Aside from exercising, how else do you unwind?  “I just stay home, make kuwento with my children and watch TV, and eat the food that I like. That is, after exercising. Aside from the gentle massage every night, I have hard massage twice a week.”

What part of your body is most vulnerable?  “My stomach. Sakit ‘yan ng mga Scorpio. When I’m tense, sumasakit kaagad ang sikmura ko.”

How’s your sex life?  “Ay, highly-satisfactory. Hahahaha! Mas magana kami ni Ralph when we are abroad. No pressure. We take our time. Heaven!”

You used to be a hypochondriac, right?  “Up to now! Matapang ako, pero pagdating sa sakit duwag ako. That’s why I don’t want to go to hospitals because the moment nalaman ko ‘yung symptoms, parang nararamdaman kong mayroon ako.”

How often do you see your doctor?  “Ay, very rarely. The last check-up I had was two years ago. But I advise women to undergo a mammogram once a year. Ang daming may breast cancer ngayon, di ba?”

How’s your diet?  “I eat five to six small meals every day, but never busog na busog. I eat anything in moderation. I eat mostly fish and vegetables. But my favorite is Japanese food. My favorite fruit is banana, the latondan variety.”

Are you really a milk drinker?  “Oh yes, ever since I was young. Ask my mom. Palagi kong baon ay pandesal with cheese and milk or Choco Vim. I’ve been drinking Bear Brand from way, way back.”

How much water do you take per day?  “I should take eight glasses of water per day but the most I take is six glasses. But I also take lots of green tea. After eating, I take a glass of hot water or hot tea for digestion.” 

How do you take care of your skin? (She used to endorse Eskinol.)  “Wala akong masyadong beauty regimen. All I do is take off my make-up with cream. Before I sleep, I wash my face with warm water. And before I put on my make-up, I wash my face with cold water. Unless I appear on TV, hindi ako naglalagay ng makapal na make-up. Exercise helps. You sweat a lot and it’s good for the skin.”

Name three women you think have nice, healthy bodies. “Dawn Zulueta. Charlene Gonzalez. Lorna Tolentino. Mga mothers na pero marunong mag-alaga ng katawan.”

And three men… “Piolo Pascual. Ralph is fatherly sexy. And, of course, ang anak ko, si Luis.” – Ricardo F. Lo Aug 29, 2008

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