The Creator – “…In the early 70s, the local entertainment industry was dominated by the love teams of Nora Aunor-Tirso Cruz and Vilma Santos-Edgar Mortiz. Arnold was a young teenager by the mid 70’s. Ike Lozada, a famous radio and TV host (known for his radio program, “Dambuhalang DJ”) and part-time talent manager conceptualized a junior love team that would target the younger audience and would follow the footsteps of the Nora-Tirso and Vi-Bubot love teams. The young love teams will be introduced in a new TV show which was planned to compete with the Channel 7 show, “Eto Na Kami”, another TV show quite popular with the young generation back then. Ike gathered the team of Arnold and Maribel “Lala” Aunor, Winnie Santos and Dondon Nakar that gave birth to the “Apat na Sikat” in Channel 9. The show was an instant hit not just with teen-agers, but also for older audiences and it quickly acquired a high rating among viewers. It was aired during prime time, and lasted for five years. People who grew up watching “Apat na Sikat” often associate Arnold’s name to the TV show, as it made television history during its prime…“Apat na Sikat” in the 70s was borne out of the imagination of the late Ike Lozada. Ike made quite a name for himself on his TV show “Big Ike’s Happening” and his AM radio program, “Dambuhalang DJ”. Like his colleague, Kuya Germs, Ike was also instrumental in launching the careers of young stars. The four young stars were easily brought to fame, because the two ladies were related to the star of the season. Winnie Santos is the younger sister of Vilma Santos, while Lala Aunor is the first cousin of Nora Aunor…” – Romy R. Protacio (READ MORE)
Google Search – “…The Apat Na Sikat were famous mostly for being related to bona fide famous people. Winnie Santos was the younger sister of Vilma Santos. She was the show’s resident mestiza. Her favorite shirt was a red blouse with butterfly sleeves, and the fact that I remember this makes me feel like a pathetic refugee from the Seventees. Winnie tried to be her sister’s clone: she did a TV version of Vilma’s hit Trudis Liit, and she sang the Ate Vi anthems Paper Roses and My Boy Lollipop. Unlike her sister, who is still a terpsichorean wonder, Winnie could only dance the Lady Bump. The more she copied her sister, the more she receded into oblivion. Vilma’s career soared in the late Seventies and early Eighties. Winnie’s nose-dived with the lifting of martial law in 1981, because we no longer required the services of a 17-year-old mestiza to remind us of our miseries. She eventually migrated to the US and never came back. Like Winnie Santos, Lala Aunor achieved stardom through cloning. Her famous relative was her “sister,” none another than Vilma’s arch-nemesis, Nora Aunor. Later it was revealed that Lala was not Nora’s sister, but her cousin. It didn’t matter because she was a carbon copy of the Superstar—if the carbon had been used 1,000 times previously. Lala sounded so much like Nora, it was as if she had been lip-synching to Nora’s records. The memory of Lala Aunor in a Minnehaha Indian costume by way of Disneyland, singing Karen Carpenter’s Top of the World, can only be erased by years of psychiatric therapy. No one knows what Lala is doing now. I did a Google search for her and got exactly one hit. I had more hits with Eddie Boy Villamayor, but that is another story…
…The boys of Apat Na Sikat led more interesting lives. Dondon Nakar, a.k.a. Guillermo Nakar III, was the grandson of the famous army general. A military camp in Laguna is named after him (the general, not Dondon). Of the four, Dondon Nakar had the most musical talent, which is to say that he could play the guitar and carry a tune. He was also the sexiest, and there was an edge to him. Dondon was a boy on the verge of manhood. He was quite a sex symbol; the problem was no one wanted him to be one. Among his notable film appearances was Lipad, Darna, Lipad with the aforementioned Vilma Santos. His most famous line was: “Ate Darna, ang bato!” With his smiling almond eyes and his moreno looks, Dondon was an early Richard Gomez prototype. Too bad he never achieved Richard Gomez status. Over the years he’s figured in minor drug offenses and sex scandals duly reported in the metro sections—not a good place for an ex-teen star to be mentioned. In the Eighties he tried to revive his music career by recording the theme of the TV soap Flor de Luna, but it didn’t work out. He was sighted recently in a Catholic Charismatic Renewal concert. I could compare Arnold Gamboa’s career to that of Mark Lester and Pepito Rodriguez. Arnold started out as a child star, and certainly was cute and innocent-looking. On Apat Na Sikat he was the resident mestizo, and was therefore paired with Lala Aunor. Of the four he had the longest showbiz career. He had a horde of fans, who lovingly called him Not Not. He was quite a looker, but in contrast to Dondon he always seemed to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He always looked nervous onscreen, and later in his career, spoke in a voice two octaves lower. That is where the Pepito factor comes in. After about fifteen years in showbiz, Arnold retired to lead a quiet life of a hotel concierge and was regular fixture at the Manila Hotel. The last time I saw Arnold was at the Manila Diamond Hotel…” – Guillermo “Ige” Ramos (READ MORE)
Winnie’s Wedding – “…Some two decades earlier, Guy also figured in another controversial wedding, that of Winnie Santos to Bong Morales. Almost everybody who went to the wedding wore sunglasses -not because they needed protection from the sun but because they had to hide their tear-filled eyes. The bride herself was forever crying. At one point, seh even collapsed. Indeed, the story behind this is teh stuff of which soap operas are made. Winnie is the sister of Vilma Santos. She fell in love with Eddie Boy Villamayor, Nora Aunor’s brother. Due to that alone, their love already had the makings of a disaster. Eddie Boy was the jealous type and they’d forever be fighting. Until Winnie got tired of it all and broke off with Eddie Boy who become so distraught and heart-broken that he began to tread the path to self-destruction. At a show biz party, Guy saw Winnie. She went up to her and angrily asked, “Who are you to destroy the life of my brother?” or something to that effect. Winnie fled in tears, totally mortified. That was when she decided to accept one of her suitors, Bong Morales. Not too long after that, they were married. On the eve of the wedding, Eddie Boy sought Winnie out. Loaded with whatever it was he took, he walked from Project 8 in Quezon City where he lived, all the way to Magallanes Village in Makati where the Santoses resided. It was raining, (Why does it always rain when something dramatic is happening?). Eddie Boy knocked on the door of the Santoses’ home. He pleaded to speak to Winnie. He wanted to be one of the principal sponsors in the wedding. His pleas fell on deaf ears. Flashforward: Eddie Boy was never the same again after that. As for Winnie, after the wedding, she and Bong flew to the US to live, but they have divorced since. Their three children live with Winnie…” – Inday Badiday (READ MORE)
Another “Sikat” – “…Citation is needed to confirm if Eddie Villamayor, the brother of Nora Aunor was the original partner of Winnie Santos or if he was the replacement of Dondon Nakar. For sure, he was part of the show and even bacame involved in real life with Winnie (Santos). In the 70s, Eddie did some memorable films like Misan’y Isang Gamu-gamo and Alkitrang Dugo. In the 1980s, he became involve in film production and was part Nora’s film, Condemned. The only film of Eddie Boy Villamayor that Vilma was also in it was the 1976’s Ike Lozada starrer, Big Ike’s Happening. Eddie, together with Maribel Aunor, welcomed the comeback of Nora Aunor after several years of staying there.
Apat Na Sikat (The Famous Four), TV show of RPN Channel 9 in the 70s. The four teen pop stars were: Maribel Aunor, Arnold Gamboa, Dondon Nakar and Winnie Santos.
Maribel “Lala” Aunor is the cousin of 70s actress, Nora Aunor. She recorded a string of hit records most notably, Dalaginding during the height of popularity of Apat na Sikat. Maribel Aunor films with Vi were: Dingdong (1970), Big Ike’s Happening (1976) and Let’s Do The Salsa (1976). Now retire, Maribel’s two children are trying to enter showbusiness.
Arnold Gamboa is the child actor who appeared in Lino Brocka’s Wanted Perfect Mother. The partner of Maribel Aunor in Apat na Sikat, Gamboa also recorded hit songs like Habang May Buhay and did several films with Vilma (Sweethearts; Sapagka’t Sila’y Aming Mga Anak; The Wonderful World of Music; Big Ike’s Happening; Let’s Do The Salsa; Mga Rosas Sa Putikan).
Don Don Nakar is also a child actor who is most popular as Darna’s side kick, Ding in Vilma Santos second Darna film, Darna and the Giant. Nakar also tried singing and recording while at Apat na Sikat. Aside from Darna & The Giants. he did Ang Hiwaga Ni Maria Cinderella (1973), King Khayam & I (1974) at Big Ike’s Happening (1976) with Vilma. He also did Ang Pilyang Enkantada (the naughty fairy) with Apat na Sikat’s partner, Winnie Santos.
Winnie Santos is the sister of Vilma Santos. The better singer and younger Santos, Winnie did Ang Hiwaga Ni Maria Cinderella, Kamay Na Gumagapang, King Khayam & I, Big Ike’s Happening. Let’s Do The Salsa (1976) with Vi. Her most notable film were: Modelong Tanso with Vi and Charito Solis and a minor role in Sharon Cuneta-Gabby Concepcion film, Dear Heart. Like the other three, she also did recorded a string of songs while doing Apat na Sikat and did the title role, Pilyang Engkantada with partner Dondon Nakar.
- Arnold Gamboa: “Isa sa Apat na Sikat”
- Seeing Stars: Bulaklak At Paruparo 1975 Dondon Nakar Winnie Santos Lala Aunor Arnold Gamboa
- Then&Now: Arnold Gamboa
- Sumusunod sa yapak ni Lala Aunor ang dalawang anak niya
- Remembering Joe Quirino, Inday Badiday, Eddie Ilagan and Ike Lozada
- Nora Aunor’s comeback press conference
- Winnie Santos and Dondon Nakar in “Pilyang Engkantada” (1976)
- Darna and the Giants – Dondon Nakar (Video)
- Ah, Ewan – Maribel Aunor (Video)
- Eezy Dancing – Dondon Nakar (Video)
- All The Things You Are (1973) – Dondon Nakar (Video)
- Split na Tayo – Winnie Santos (Video)
- Habang May Buhay – Arnold Gamboa (Video)