Gloria Romero and Vilma Santos

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From Poverty to Riches – “…The crowd let out a yell and surged toward the car. The group mostly teen-age girls and young women, cried, “Gloria,” and smiled as they had a glimpse of their favoriet movie star. The car moved on. The girls, disapointed they couldn’t touch or speak to their idol, kept screaming after the car. The attractive, slim girl in the car smiled back gently, she waved at her admirers. She seemed embarrassed at the fuss over her appearance. “How does it feel to be a successful actress, the most popular in the Philippines today?” she was asked. Gloria Romero, barely 23, aswered quietly, “This little success I have, I am determined not to let it go to my head.” After a long pause she added, “I fear this is not a lasting thing. It is not something I can keep in a steel safe. It is a slippery thing. A false move, and it will begin to slip from my grip.” Unlike most actresses here, Gloria is a homebody. An introvert by nature, she prefer to go to bed early. She says she has no steady date. “I’ll get married when I’m 28,” she said. “A few years ago I said I’d marry at 25.” Gloria’s meteoric rise in the past five years to become the highest-paid Filipino movie actress – she received $45,000 last year – was preceded by a difficult and often frustrating climb. She remembers the first house her family rented in Manila. It was in a noisy neighborhood. The rent was 75 pesos (37.50) a month. Today, she lives in a 75,000 peso (37,500) mansion in a select suburb of Manila with her sister and two brothers…Gloria could best be described as the Grace Kelly of the Philippines. She is modest, conservative in dressing and shuns cheap publicity. In a recent movie she wore a low-cut dress. The disapproval of her fans was unanimous in the many letters she received. The studio decided to raise the level of the dress, in her next picture. There is something appealing in her quiet and gnetle gestures. She has an almost angelic face. her features are refined. She has bright brown eyes which match her deeper brown hair. She has light, almost white complexion…” – Henry HartzenbushSt. Petersburg Times, Apr 29, 1957 (READ MORE)

First Lady – “…He played Marcos in the political propaganda movie “Iginuhit ng Tadhana” in 1965 and in the drama film “Pinagbuklod ng Langit” in 1969. Romero, who played First Lady Imelda Marcos to his Ferdinand, recalled that they could only start shooting in Malacañang after office hours at 6 p.m. and wind up at 6 a.m. the next day. In spite of the unusual working hours, Gonzales would remain cheerful, Romero said. “He was a jolly fellow. He was always joking around and he loved dancing,” she told the Inquirer. Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos said Gonzales portrayed her father in her first movie “Trudis Liit” in 1963. Then a child star, Santos also played little Imee in the two Marcos movies. “I was very young then and it was amusing to see and tour the Palace with him,” Santos said. “He really made a big mark in Philippine movies. I will be praying for the repose of his soul and for strength for his family, too.” Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos remembered Sampaguita producer Jose “Doc” Perez auditioning other actors, but in the end it was Luis’ voice that landed him the role. “In a nation of tenors, he and my dad were the only two baritones,” she said. “We were very fond of him and listening to him [on the set], I sometimes thought he was my father…” – Bayani San Diego Jr. (READ MORE)

The Enchantment – “…To be sure, Gloria Romero would not have survived if she had not created characters that would linger in the minds of audiences long after the last credit had rolled down. She was the combative Ilocana in “Dalagang Ilocana,” the saintly nun in “Monghita,” the first lady of the land in “Iginuhit ng Tadhana,” the teacher who becomes a dark creature at night in “Lipad, Darna, Lipad,” the criminal master in “Condemned,” and the matriarch suffering from Alzheimer’s in “Tanging Yaman.” Of course, even in the most abject and ugly roles, her beauty and bearing still shine through, damning the efforts of the viewer to suspend his disbelief, but never mind, it’s only a movie —and it’s only in the movies that you get to see a goddess like Gloria Romero as a tomboy, as Her Imeldific, as a ghoul or a hag. All of these characters have been keenly etched in generations of moviegoers; they provide the images that constitute the magic of Philippine cinema. And in that magical world, Gloria Romero is a prime enchanter. The enchantment starts with her beauty and proceeds with her varied talents and qualities. Many believe it will never end. And so for her icon-like qualities as an actor and cinematic enchanter, Gloria Romero, the indestructible queen of Philippine movies for five decades now, is this year’s recipient of the Natatanging Gawad Urian for lifetime achievement during the 27th annual Gawad Urian….” – Lito B. Zulueta (READ MORE)

Hepburn and Streep – “…As far as I know, only Eddie Garcia and Gloria Romero are two stars who never had billingitis. There are no small roles. It is how you interpret them. That is why they are still very much around. Because of their stature in the movie industry, the studios respected them and knew how to put them in their proper place. As fate would have it, billing was never a problem between the Veteran Movie Queen Gloria Romero and the Philippines’ Movie Queen for All Seasons Vilma Santos. Ms. Romero, the ever practical and realistic auteur has so much respect and love for her “daughter” Ms. Santos that she allowed to be billed after the longest reigning box-office and movie queen since the 70’s (the monster hit “Lipad, Darna, Lipad” and the blockbusters “Nakakahiya I and II,” for example)…As if Fate would have it, who would ever think that the Two Queens would duke it out in the 2000 awards derbies? Anak versus Tanging Yaman. Gloria may have won the Urian but she shared the award with her “daughter”: “I share this award with Ms. Vilma Santos who is so good in Anak.” So what do Vilma Santos and Gloria Romero have in common? Why are they still Philippine Cinema’s Regal Movie Queens? They are both professionals, humble in both defeat and victory, clean living, and have respect for the profession that is their bread and butter. They are the Katherine Hepburn and the Meryl Streep of the Philippines. Kate Hepburn disliked Streep in real life. She called Ms. Streep’s acting too cerebral. Was it envy, billingitis, or ego? Thank heavens for Gloria and Vilma. They respect and love each other. Terms of endearment. Friends for life. We shall never see their kind anymore…” – Mario O. Garces, V magazine, Vol 1, Issue 4 Oct/Nov 2005 (READ MORE)

One Desire – “…Glamorous Gloria Romero, the hottest attraction in the Philippine movieland, can have just about everything except her heart’s fondest desire – to return to Denver, her birthplace. To most U.S. citizens, Gloria’s name doesn’t mean a thing. But to Philippine movie fans she is the queen of the screen. She is the highest paid, busiest, most appealing and versatile actress in the islands. She is a first rate comedianne and a finished tragedian. The 24-year old beaty, undisputed sweetheart of the Philippines, averages six pictures a year. All in roles caller for artistry on the highest level. She packs ’em in whenever the movies are shown. And that’s the big problem. She can’t find the time to break away to visit the mile high city, which she left when she was three years old. “I could very well pack up this very minute and book passage for the U.S. and take that sentimental journey to Denver,” she said today, “But I am committed to do five more pictures this year.” She added wistfully. “Maybe I can make it next year…Oh you don’t realize how much a trip would make my life complete.” Gloria has an added reason for making the journey: she hopes to find her mother’s relatives who still live in Denver.

The 5 foot 6 inch film star was born to a U.S. mother and a Filipino father. Three years later the family left Denver to settle in the northern Luzon, where her father had a farm. Her mother, the former Mary Borrego, died shortly after the U.S. liberated the Philippines in 1945. Gloria’s first break in films came when Sampaguita studio bosses picked her from a group of extras for a supporting role in a movie titled “Madame X.” She stole the picture from veteran stars, and from there on she climbed steadier to the top. Every one of her 24 pictures has been a hit, only in the Philippines but in Asia. Local critics, consistently caustic and cynical on films made in the Philippines, just love her. So do the gay young blades but Gloria has remained Philippine movieland’s most eligible bachelor girl despite her scores of admirers. She said she is too “frustrated” over that visit to Denver to think of marrying…” – Louella Parsons, The Calgary Herald, Feb 27, 1957 (READ MORE)

Gloria Romero (born Gloria Galla on December 16, 1933) is a Filipino actress appearing in film and television. Her career spans 60 years and includes award winning performances in the films Tanging Yaman (FAMAS Best Actress 2001), Nagbabagang Luha (FAMAS Best Supporting Actress 1989) and 1955’s Dalagang Ilocana. She is the first recipient of the lifetime achievement award from the MTRCB (Movies and Television Review and Classification Board). – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Gloria Romero and Vilma Santos

Kapag Langit Ang Humatol (1990) – “…Fortunately, director Laurice Guillen has more faith in her material, more respect. For she has not only come up with a beautifully-photographed, well-edited and generally superbly-acted melodrama. She has also held up to us a mirror of the dreams and aspirations, the frustrations, suffer¬ing and uncomplicated lifestyle of the so-called masa. Moments of the heroine’s unmitigated oppres¬sion in the hands of her evil mistress is age-old reality in Philippine life and, quite logically, litera¬ture. Her soul nearly scarred by her excruciating, degrading experience, she somehow manages not only to survive but also to rise from her humble, bleak origins, when she leaves the hellhole and finds hope and rewards in the city. In true melodramatic fashion, she plots out her revenge, but alas, even in carrying it out, she must pay dearly, nearly tragically. Feminist observers may easily notice that in this picture – as in, they would say, Philippine society -it is the women who run things. They domineer and dominate, manipulating the men, even the men they love. True enough, from the very beginning, it is the mistress and her poor servant who move things, decide, and tell men what to do. It is they who plot out schemes and plan their destiny…” – Mario A. Hernando (READ MORE)

Saan nagtatago ang pag-ibig? (1987) – “…When Eddie first entered show business, “I said to myself, I’m going to give myself 15 years to be able to direct my first movie. Fortunately, it took me 12 years–or three years earlier than I had planned.” He considers Saan Nagtatago ang Pag-Ibig as his most memorable directorial assignment…” – Sol Jose Vanzi (READ MORE)

Payaso (1986) – “…The 1986 Metro Manila Film Festival was considered the worst in the 12-year history of the annual 10-day festival of local movies. For the first time, it did not give out the traditional first and second best picture awards. Two other categories— best story and best screenplay were not also given. “No one of the seven entries deserved these awards,” according to Tingting Cojuangco, one of the jurors…” – J C Nigado (READ MORE)

Gaano kadalas ang minsan? (1982) – “…From 1979 to 1986, Zialcita was on a roll, doing one film after another, pulling off nine hits in a row beginning with Gaano Kadalas in 1981 up to his sex comedies that include May Lamok Sa Loob ng Kulambo. He could demand anything from a producer and his wish would be granted. When Viva Films asked him to do Gaano Kadalas, he told Vic and Mina del Rosario that he will only do it if they get George Canseco to write the theme song (most of his popular films had songs by Canseco), and that Hilda Koronel would be one of the leads. Viva granted him both—even if it had to pay more for Hilda than for Vilma. “May utang ako kay Hilda eh, I took her out of Langis at Tubig…” – Jerome Gomez (READ MORE)

Makahiya at Talahib (1976) – “…Her metamorphosis began in late 1976 when she agreed to be kissed by Rudy Fernandez in Makahiya at Talahib. It was a “feeler” of sort and when the public clacked its tongue in obvious approval, Vilma shelved her lollipops-and-roses image and proved that she, too, could be a woman – a wise move indeed because at that time her career was on a downswing and her movies were not making money…” – Ricardo F. Lo, Expressweek Magazine January 19, 1978 (READ MORE)

Big Ike’s Happening (1976) – “…All star casts din ang pelikulang handog ng Larry Santiago at Ike Lozada Productions na Big Ike’s Happening (February 27, 1976) na tinampukan nina Vi, Tirso Cruz III, Walter Navaro, Ike Lozada, Aurora Salve, Gina Alajar, Jojit Paredes, Dondon Nakar, Winnie Santos, Arnold Gamboa, Maribel Aunor, Allan Valenzuela, Doyet Ilagan, Edward Campos, German Moreno, Inday Badiday, Ben David, Lilian Laing, Aruray, Nora Aunor, Perla Bautista, Charlie Davao, Esperanza Fabon, Eddie Peregrina, Bella Flores, Lito Legaspi, Christopher de Leon, Van de Leon, Pinky Montilla, Alma Moreno, Dencio Padilla, Andy Poe, Jerry Pons, Ric Rodrigo, Gloria Romero, Daria Ramirez, Darius Razon, Marianne de la Riva, Eddie San Jose, Ricky Santiago, Lorna Tolentino, Eddie Villamayor at Vic Vargas sa direksiyon nina Pablo at Bobby Santiago…” – Alfonso Valencia (READ MORE)

Hindi Nakakahiya Part II (1976) – “…”O cupid, o cupid pag ikaw ang pumana sa puso ninuman…matanda o bata, problema pag tinamaan…..” Hindi Nakakahiya Part II (February 13, 1976) ng Luis Enriquez Films na pinangunahan nina Vi, Eddie Rodriguez, Gloria Romero, Marissa Delgado, Ernie Garcia, Renato Robles, Nello Nayo at Patricia Mijares sa panulat at iskrip ni Ric M. Torres at direksiyon ni Luis Enriquez…” – Alfonso Valencia (READ MORE)

Nakakahiya? (1975) – “…Hit na hit sa takilya at Patok ang Mr. and Miss R.P. Movies na sina Eddie Rodriguez at Vilma Santos, ang nagkamit ng award bilang “Pinakamahusay na actor at actress sa Bacolod Film Festival para sa pelikulang “Nakakahiya.” At hindi lamang iyan. Nakamit din ng pelikulang ito ang mga sumusunod: Best Picture, best screenplay, best director, best sound, at best film editing awards. Isang bagay lamang ang ikinalulungkot ng mga taga-Bacolod. Hindi nakarating sina Eddie at Vilma upang tanggapin ang kanilang awards. At ang pinakahuling karangalang tinanggap ng dalawang sikat na tambalang ito ay ang pagkakapili sa kanilang dalawa bilang Mr. and Miss R. P. Movies ng taong ito. Isang karangalan ang mapiling Mr. and Miss R. P. Movies. Iisa lamang ang kahulugan nito ang mataas na pagpapahalaga sa kanilang dalawa ng pelikulang Tagalog bilang mga pangunahing alagad ng sining. At hindi naman alangan ang pagkakahirang kina Eddie at Vilma sapagkat kapwa sila dedicated sa kanilang propesyon. Si Eddie, bukod sa isang mahusay na actor, director at prodyuser ay isa pa ring mahusay na scriptwriter. At hindi lamang sa pelikula nagdi-direct si Eddie Rodriguez. Maging sa kanyang weekly tv show, ang “Sanyugto” ay siya rin ang director…” – Ely L. Jovez (READ MORE)

Karugtong ang kahapon (1975) – “…Nora Aunor’s entry, NV Productions’ Batu-Bato sa Langit (directed by Luciano B. Carlos), was a hit and won as 3rd Best Picture. Vilma Santos, on the other hand, gave a notable performance in Roma Films’ Karugtong ang Kahapon. That time, Nora and Vilma were in their peak, their career and the movies they made were being followed closely, compared, watched, praised, scrutinized both by fans and critics. Their storied and fierce rivalry dominated our movie industry for years. In fact, one could argue that even to this day, a Filipino movie fan is either a Noranian or a Vilmanian…” – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Happy Days Are Here Again (1974) – “…In 1974, the Big 3 studios of the 50s, LVN Pictures, Sampaguita Pictures and Premiere Productions reproduced a full-length movie showcasing a compilation of the musical comedies produced by the three studios. It was a painstaking job for the researchers since most of the best musicals produced by the three studios were either lost or destroyed. At the start of the project, director Lamberto V. Avellana was supposed to direct the film but eventually replaced by Cirio Santiago after so many changes in the project including the script. He ended up as consultant of the movie. The film was Happy Days Are Here Again, with brief narrations by movie stars like Gloria Romero, Nida Blanca, Susan Roces, Leopoldo Salcedo, Jaime de la Rosa, Eddie Gutierrez, Tirso Cruz III, Pugo, German Moreno and Ike Lozada…” – Expressweek, November 14, 1974 (READ MORE)

Anak ng asuang (1973) – “…featuring the Vilma/Gloria mother and daughter team had to be made. Gloria reprised her role as the vampire minus Darna. Vilma was her “doomed” daughter. Gloria was so identified as Impakta that when the second Darna flick cameabout she have to do do a cameo appearance!…” – Mario Garces (READ MORE)

Lipad, Darna, lipad! (1973) – “…In the 1960’s, Gloria Romero portrayed Imelda Marcos in “Iginuhit ng Tadhana” and “Pinagbuklod ng Langit.” In the 1970’s she starred in two memorable movies: Behn Cervantes’s vanished movie, “Sakada” (1976), and earlier, 1973’s “Lipad, Darna, Lipad,” the biggest movie of its time in which she played a “manananggal” to Vilma Santos’s super heroine. Up to now, she considers the last as one of her most unforgettable…” – Lito Zulueta, MPP (READ MORE)

Pinagbuklod ng langit (1969) – “…He has fond memories of shooting “Pinagbuklod ng Langit,” second bio-pic on the late President Ferdinand Marcos (after “Iginuhit ng Tadhana,” directed by Mar S. Torres, Conrado Conde and Jose de Villa).“My staff grew fat while making that movie,” he recalled with a hearty laugh. “Ninety percent of the film was shot in Malacañang Palace and the First Lady was always sending carts of sandwiches and juice drinks to the set…” – Bayani San Diego Jr. (READ MORE)

De colores (1968) – “…Inihandog ng Arco Iris Productions ang “biggest assemblage of acting talents in the history of Philippine Motion pictures!…..The good and the bad, the saint and the sinner, the meek and the arrogant…this is their story!….” De Colores (March 30, 1968) na pinangunahan nina Vi, Joseph Estrada, Amalia Fuentes, Jun Aristorenas, Divina Valencia, Eddie Garcia, Mario Montenegro, Perla Bautista, Anna Gonzales, Eddie Garcia, Von Serna, Gil de Leon, Mila Ocampo, Paquito Diaz, Leopoldo Salcedo at Gloria Romero sa direksiyon ni Armando Garces. Si Eddie Garcia ang nagkamit ng best actor sa pelikulang ito…” – Alfonso Valencia (READ MORE)

Iginuhit ng Tadhana: The Ferdinand E. Marcos Story (1965) – “…Marcos knew the power of the medium of film. Earlier on, Marcos produced a film biography using the most popular stars for his first presidential campaign. He ran against Macapagal who also came up with a film biography to boost his reelection bid. Marcos would also use another film Iginuhit ng Tadhana (Written by Destiny, 1965) to campaign for a second term. The two Marcos film bios would be the only successful political films—commercial and election wise—as other film biographies in the post-Marcos period by senatorial and presidential aspirants would prove dismal, unhelpful for election bids. The post-Marcos period liberalized the political and economic scene. It conventionalized and intensified the election of movie and sports stars, and even television news hosts to national politics. Television stations were sequestered by the government, the largest of which, however, was returned to its pre-martial law owners. ABS-CBN would become the leading television station until after 2000, allowing two of its news anchors to become senators…” – Rolando Tino (READ MORE)

Anak, ang iyong ina! (1963) – “…Nakihalo lang ako doon sa mga nag-a-audition sa Trudis Liit [1963],” pagbabalik-tanaw ng aktres kung paano siya napasok sa showbiz at naging bida nga kaagad sa nabanggit niyang proyektong iyon. Hindi ako dapat talaga doon [sa audition na iyon]. Nakipila lang ako. Pagpila ko, tinatawag ako ng mommy ko na, ‘Hindi ka diyan! Sabi ko, ‘Andito na, e!’ Makulit na ako no’ng time na ‘yon! So, anyway, tinawag ako ni Doc Perez [of Sampaguita Pictures] at that time. Pinaarte ako. Nag-adlib-adlib pa ako. Nakuha naman ako. So, when I started, dalawa kaagad ang pelikula ko—Trudis Liit at Anak, Ang Iyong Ina [1963]. Ang naaalala ko lang tungkol sa maaga kong pagpasok sa pag-aartista, parang laro lang sa akin iyon. Parang naglalaro lang ako noon kaya hindi trabaho sa akin iyon, e. So, very-very memorable sa akin iyon. At saka no’ng Trudis Liit, every lunch, lagi akong may apple. Lagi akong may chicken. Every lunch talaga ‘yon. Parang… Siguro bata, so ibibigay nila ‘yong gano’ng ano sa ‘yo. Parang may prize ka, gano’n. So, memorable sa akin iyon…” – Ruben Marasigan (READ MORE)

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