When someone has achieved so much in life and countless blessings and rewards have been reaped, is there anything more that a person would aspire for? For Vilma Santos, a Movie Queen of the highest magnitude and Star For All Seasons, the answer would be a resounding yes. At this stage in her life where she multi-tasks as a mother, wife, actress, public servant and icon to millions, Ate Vi still wants to do many things. She has many plans for herself, her family, her solid and loyal fans, her flourishing political career and, of course, her illustrious movie career even after having been in local show business for the past 43 years.
Ate Vi considers herself as a “work-inprogress ” because she is a willing student and a non-stop learner who sees life, whether in the personal, show business or political aspect, as a continuing learning process. Being the first woman mayor of Lipa City, Mayor Vi’s priority at the moment is to finish her third and final term which ends in May 2007 and to leave with a passing grade and a good legacy as Mayor. Indeed, Mayor Vi will surely realize this because Lipa City has easily become one of the best managed cities in the Philippines with revenues soaring year after year since she assumed the mayorship in 1998.
The best thing about being Mayor and “Ina ng Lipa” is her ability as a leader to inspire her constituents which paves the way for unity to attain and realize a common goal. Nowadays, people are convincing Mayor Vi to take the next best and higher step which is to run for Governor of Batangas. If she decides to run, her political experience and immense popularity will serve her well and her expected victory will certainly be a cause for euphoric celebration.
After her marriage to actor-model Edu Manzano in 1980, giving birth to her first son, Luis, who is now a successful actor and TV host, and weathering seemingly insurmountable tax and financial problems with the unselfish guidance and assistance of her closest advisers, Vilma picked up the pieces and put her life in order. She settled down and married then Congressman of Batangas and now Senator Ralph G. Recto. They have been blessed with a precocious child, Ryan Christian. Vilma now leads an organized and peaceful life devoid of controversy or scandal. Like any other mother and wife, Vilma always prays for her family to remain intact and for love and respect to endure and abound between her family members. If she finds time in the near future, she would like to try her luck in other worthy endeavors and engage in the real estate business.
Her solid and loyal fan base is truly one of Vilma’s greatest assets. Her Vilmanians have been there supporting her all these years from the time she was a child actress to her sweet sixteen days and now that she is already a mother and public servant. She considers her fans as part of her life, derives inspiration from their supportive presence through the years and looks forward to their gettogethers. Ate Vi humbly says that she owes her fans what she is today. Inspite of her stature as a top movie star and public servant, she still possesses the endearing traits that her fans have always loved in her – humility, warmth and sincerity. Her innate ability to handle fame and power and her capacity to sincerely interact with people from all walks of life are truly worth emulating and should serve as a lesson to anyone on the timeless value of humility and sincerity.
Although Vilma directed a well-received TV movie before (“Lazarito”), she still wishes to direct a full-length film feature soon. She holds in high esteem her favorite lady directors like Laurice Guillen, Marilou Diaz-Abaya, Rory Quintos, and Olive Lamasan. She would like to work with Peque Gallaga in the future and hopes to be reunited with Chito Rono and Mike de Leon who have both directed her best films.
Vi’s dream role before was to play a young retardate like the role of Patty Duke, one of her favorites, in “The Miracle Worker” but also considers the role of the teacher played by the late Anne Bancroft as similarly challenging. Other foreign actresses Vilma admires because of their flexibility in playing various roles are Jodie Foster, Julia Roberts and the great Meryl Streep who was jokingly referred to by a renowned columnist as “the Vilma Santos of Hollywood.” Show business will always be part of Vilma’s life because according to her, this is “in her blood.” She has been in the business for the past 43 years and has shown no signs of stopping. The best years still lie ahead for Vilma because she is still at her thespic peak.
She wants to keep making movies in the tradition of Gloria Romero, a great veteran actress she admires and looks up to and who she had the privilege of working with in several unforgettable films including “Anak, Ang Iyong Ina,” and “Saan Nagtatago ang Pag-ibig.” Vilma also highly respects another great veteran actress, Lolita Rodriguez, for her sheer talent and professionalism. They played mother and daughter when Vilma was a child actress in “Kasalanan Kaya?” (1968) a highly-charged family drama directed by the late actor-director Eddie Rodriguez.
Vilma’s present state of affairs both in the public and private aspect truly bespeaks of someone who has taken complete control of her life and someone with a high level of emotional intelligence and maturity. She is one person who deserves all the blessings in life because she has worked hard and knows how to handle, preserve and share these blessings.
Any Vilmanian would still want her to make more movies and win more awards even if she is already the most awarded local actress in Philippine movies. Her political agenda is still uncertain. But wherever Vilma goes, her fans and supporters will surely be there all the way. They will stand by her side no matter what happens because, in this day and age, genuine icons like Vilma Santos are rare and hard-to-find and when they are found, they are loved, nurtured, treasured and cherished forever. – Paolo Salas, Celebrity Chronicle, Nov 2006