She was not to thrive on controversies. ‘Yan si Vilma Santos. Dala ito marahil ng kanyang napakaagang pagkakapasok sa paga-artista. Gayon pa man she has not been spared with some. Near-clashes with issues affecting her standing in the field of entertainment ay dumarating din sa kanya. Sa paminsan-minsang pagkanti sa kanyang enviable na katayuan bilang artista, unconclusive para sabihin nating she does it with tact…sa dahilang di na niya kailangan. She does not have to crade issues for reasons na wala naman siyang dapat ipaliwanang sa ibang mga puna sa kanya. Having maintained her “sweet image” personality sa kanyang mga followers and foes alike, isang napakalaking achievement ito para sa isang artistang naging katungali sa larangan ng popularidad ang isang kinikilalang very formidable showbiz supergirl. Much too busy before the camera, tutoong napakahirap magkaroon ng pagkakataong makapanayam siya within ultimate gusto. But we have always been broadminded about such perchance happenings. Kahit na between “breaks,” ni hindi namin siya ginambala. Knowing fully well the gruelling eksena na katatapos lang niyang harapin, its but fair na kinakailangan niya ang magpahinga, though momentarily.
However we came upon a beautiful idea kahit na di namin siya masyadong nakakuwentuhan. Her showbiz life was an open book. Di kailangan ang manaliksik. Appraisal was well at hand, Gayunman, we sidetracked to dwell on mere heresays. Facts ang maing pinagbabasihan, mostly emanating from people close to her al gayon din sa mga taong naging asiwa sa kanyang pagiging that popular. It is an accepted tenet na kapag ang isang tao ay naging successful sa kanyang hanapbuhay, the natural trend ay ang pagiging usual target ng mga puna…nakasisira ang otherwise. In her little more than a decade of involvement with showbiz, isang bagay ang naging very obvious sa kanya. Ang vigorous growth niya sa pagiging artista didn’t flourish through controversy. However, she has had near-clashes with some. To mention some of those ‘drop-in-the-bucket’ napag-uusapan, napagtapunan namin ng pansin ang kanyang closeness sa kanyang reel and real ka-loveteam na si Edgar Mortiz. Ang dalawa raw are more than just mag-ka-loveteam. That they have been married daw in some off-Philippine shore. Ang nasabing rumor however died a natural death. On its own, din na kailangan pang ikaila ito by either Vi or Bot kung totoo which it is not.
They look it as just one of those laughing matters among showbiz people. Now the talk has taken its own course, to oblivion. Action speaks louder than words, at naipakita nina Vilma na with a slight dash of denial, they have proved themselves capable of being burdened with the untruth. Time justified it for them. At kamakailan lamang ay nagkaroon ng issue ang kanyang pagsusuot ng very “unsweet” attire sa kanyang latest vehicle na “Lipad, Darna, Lipad.” Nagkaroon ng divided concern ang iba’t ibang panig na nakapaligid kay Vilma. Dapat daw ba niyang tanggapin itong role na ito? Ang if so, kailangan daw ba niyang magsuot ng tights o hindi? Trifling matter possibly, but definitely, ikinabahala ng marami. However, this issue has been resolved upon. Sinusulat namin ito’y nasa finishing touches na ang “Lipad…” Realism has been injected sa kapasiyahan na rin Vilma. She didn’t wear tights nor body-fits. Naging acceptable na rin sa kanyang mga fans ang inaakala nilang taamang desisyon ng kanilang idol. Vilma on the other hand is one girl na di man lang namin nakitang unsmiling. She had a ready smile for everyone. Winsome in everyway, very enjoyable to talk with ang young actress na ito.
Recently, nagkaroon siya ng kaunting problems with a certain press release. However it has been threshed out even before it has magnified itself into harmful proportions. Nuong huli namin siyang nakaharap sa shooting ng “Lipad…” sa mismong El Dorado Subdivision sa Antipolo, kapuna-puna ang kasipagan ni Vilma. And she can take risks too. Immeasurable ang kanyang industry at dedikasyon sa kanyang propesyon. Di niya alintana ang pagod. Sa kabila ng matinding pagod sa panayang shooting, she finds time to smilingly greet her many well-wishers who flocks daily to the set. We wonder not. Kung naipaparis man si Vilma kay Susan Roces sa ngayon. Vilma can well be placed as having started her career at an earlieer age while Susan had started hers at a blooming age. However, the comparison ends there. Susan had maintained her sweet stature as Vilma had up to now. Vilma definitely has a long, long way to travel sa kanyang career. Marami pang trivalities ang kanyang harapin. At kailangang maging handa siya. Knowing Vi, we are sure she can pass at with flying colors. For one Vilma never has panicked sa harap ng mga problema. Hindi niya kailanman maging ugali na takasan ang ano mang problema. She faces them squarely. – Tito Nards, Kislap, No. 273, 22 Mar 1973
Tito Nards is a Filipino movie reporter, writer, columnist who were part of Vilma Santos’ circle of movie supporter in the early part of her film career. Although he was not identified fully with Vilma Santos, he regularly reports about the latest Vilma Santos news. His weekly colum and articles, mostly written in Tagalog were published by Mars Ravelo magazine, an illustrated comics-magazine. – RV