Collection of Brief Articles

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Bravo Ate Vi! – My long overdue visit to my beloved alam mater, UP’s College of Mass Communication and out tambayan, the Broadcating Association, was a dejavu of sorts for me, and an overall enjoyable afternoon. Besided seeing the newer breed of young “broad-assers” as we call them (pardom the term of endearment), as well as my close professors-associates, I also witnessed the awarding of the Gawad Plaridel to the country’s premiere actress, Lipa Mayor Vilma Santos, which my friend Rome Jorge talks about in today’s banner story. Instead, let me fill you in on the glittering list of Ate Vi’s well wishers that day – from her industry colleagues to the academic multitude to her loyal Vilmanians – who all gave the gem of an artist a standing ovation at the end of her 45-minute speech. She had of course her husband the Senator Ralph Recto to escort her. I meanwhile, had the privilege of attending the event with the head of the Film Institute Prof. Ed Lejano and his birlliant namesake, my fave, Prof. Ed Piano. The audience, meanwhile, had such bigwig names like Atty. Esperidion Laxa, ABS-CBN and Star Cinema executive Charo Santos-Concio, film director Chito Roño, scriptwriter Ricky Lee and Pete Lacaba, fellow actor Tirso Cruz 3rd, film critics Bienvenido Lumbera and Mario Hernando, and National Artist Napoleon Abueva, who is the sculptor of the highly revered Gawad Plaridel trophy. To say that Ate Vi’s lecture was powerful is an understatement, as Rome will no doubt tell you. How I wish there were more intelligent and passionate individuals like her in local show biz. Inspiring rather than…never mind! Let’s just get on with my prowl! – Amiel Martin Cabantig (READ MORE)

Vilma and Ralph, now business partners “…Vilma Santos and Ralph Recto are now business partners. They have formed the Crystal Dragon Enterprises, a talent agency with offices at the 15th floor of the Strata 100 Building in Pasig. On the same floor, is the office of Manny Padilla, Dina Bonevie’s date during Dolphy’s recent birthday bash at the Philippine Plaza. Padilla’s family reportedly owns Strata. Padilla who was formerly linked to beauty queens Aurora Sevilla and Glennah Slayton, has been heard asking about Alice Dixson, another former beauty queen herself…After Vilma Santos, Jackilou Blanco, Jobelle Salvador and Rita AVila, his eyes are now set on Ms. Luisa “Lulu” Jimenez, Ms. Maja Pilipinas ’87, Espina is said to be serious in pursuing Jimenez that he reportedly gifted her a diamond ring…. …” – Nitz Miralles, Manila Standard – Aug 13, 1988 (READ MORE)

I went to their weddings… – “…Another memorable wedding was that of star for all seasons Vilma Santos and Ralph Recto at the century-old Lipa Cathedral in Batangas. I was a principal sponsor then and running late so I had to check into a cheap motel that was nearer the church than the house of Danny Dolor where I was supposed to dress up. The wedding was enchanting. Obviously, the townsflok loved the couple. For all intents and purposes, they were royalty. The adoring throng jampacked the church and the grounds surrounding it, wishing to catch even a glimpse of one of their own who came home to wed his exquisite bride. The newlyweds couldn’t make a graceful exit after the wedding. They ascended to the balcony of the church and waved to the crowd, who respond with tumultous applause, I had goosebumps. At that time, politics was farthest from Vi’s mind and Congress was yet in Ralph’s dream but, right then and there, I knew they were both destined for greater things…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)

On With the Show – “Vilma Santos went through with the taping of her first drama special, Lamat sa Kristal, during the rage of killer typhoon Unsang. While it wrought havoc in the entire nation and claimed numerous lives and destroyed properties, the whole production made good use of the terribly bad weather to set the mood for the top actress’ tele-movie. Indeed, there’s nothing like Mother Nature providing the real atmosphere, as teh stars and crew braced the strong winds and heavy rains. To the said stars and crew the showbiz rule “the show must go on” still holds true, no matter what the weather is…Comedian Vic Sotto was Vilma Santos’ guest co-host recently (for the second time around) and it was obvious he did it to promote his latest movie Good Morning Teacher, with Coney Reyes and Aiza Seguerra. The first time Sotto co-hosted in Vilma was two years ago in the show’s summer special. This time, he brought along Seguerra and they did a song number together to the delight of the televiewers. Sotto also sang with the show’s host and, as usual, he had a few tricks up his sleeves, as he brought out flowers hidden from his pockets down to his socks, to offer Santos. But the comedian proved to be a gracious co-host since he limited his Eat Bulaga antics to a more tolerable level…” – Meg mendoza (READ MORE)

Vilma Finally Gets her Massacre Movie – “Vilma Santos finally gets her wish to star in a massacre movie under director Carlo Caparas with her role as Helen Arandia in the Lipa Massacre. The film is about the Aradia family tragedy (a mother and her two daughters were killed by a neighbor while Mr. Arandia was abroad). Congressman Ralph Recto plays himself in the movie Vilma had to forego a trip abroad to shoot another film just to help promote this massacre movie. Producer Donna Villa is all praises for Vi’s professionalism and her concern for this movie. Playing Mr. Arandia is Joel Torre, who has become a favorite of the Golden Lions couple after he worked with them in the Antipolo Massacre. The Lipa Massacre movie will have a playdate on November 9…” – Norma Japitana (READ MORE)

Vilma Santos: Ms. Perfect – “The idea of a perfectionist is not hard to believe. Not if you realize that he essence of perfection simply lies in achieving challenging results. The idea of prefection is difficult to emulate. Not if you’re aware that a public figure like Vilma Santos does demonstrate time-honored perfected skills. Take for example her distinguished movie career which started in the 60s, gained credibility in the 70s, zoomed in the 80s and continues to shine in the 90s. It is an exceptional, multi-awarded career worthy of respect. It is a career marked by acting skills honed by years of being nutured by the best directors in the country. The perfectionist skills Vilma applied to such challenging roles in Broken Marriage, Relasyon, Sister Stella L., and the Dolzura Cortez Story, among many others, can be traced to her sense of realism and discipline; they are skills which owe a lot to tireless enthusiasm and unfaltering drive. Consider, too, her remarkable career as attested by the long running weekly special, Vilma. Vilma’s family life, meanwhile, is awe-in-spiring. It is a subject that has generated much curiousity among showbiz observers. It is a topic Vilma herself prefers keeping private, but whose quality she nevertherless attributes to the time she spends with her son Lucky and husband Ralph Recto. Busy woman that she is, Vilma stresses she wants only the best consumer products for her family. And these include using Breeze Powerwhite. Vilma the perfectionist movie actress, TV personality, mother and husband has discovered Breeze powerwhite, a quality product of Unilever Philippines (PRC), Inc. as the perfect detergent.” – Manila Standard, April 9 1994 (READ MORE)

Lucky 7 – “Reports have it that Vilma Santos has recently acquired a house in Greenhills for a whopping amount of seven million pesos. Santos, the reports add, will move in to the new residence on her birhtday, Nov. 3. The number 7 seems to play a significant role in the actress’ life. In 1981, she discovered – to her horror – that she was buried in debt to the tune of 7 million pesos. Seven years later, she’s lording it over on television’s rating’s chart with her top rated musical variety show on Channel 7. And wasn’t her son Lucky now seven year-old, born weighing 7.7 lbs. and was baptized on the 7th day of the 7th month in 1981? And now she bought a new house for seven million pesos. At any rate, now that Santos’ new abode is located in the Greenhills area, the San Juan exclusive subdivision might as well be considered the new Beverly Hills of local movies…” – Manila Standard, Oct 4, 1988 (READ MORE)

Seven Star-Studded Days Kick Off Tonight – “GMA-7 takes primetime television by storm as it unleash a prowerful entertainment package of internationally acclaimed bestsellers, world-class blockbusters and certified local chartsbusters starting today, November 7, Day one of its “Seven Days To Remember In November” special programming. Towering power, A Musical Dedication kicks off the spectacular showcase by gathering the GMA Family of Stars and some of the biggest, brightest names in the entertainment world in a two-hour musical extravaganza starting at 7 p.m. GMA’s prized star Vilma Santos maintain the momentum with a two-hour suspense drama, Lamat sa Kristal, her first TV-movie ever, with Richard Gomez as co-star and ace megman Maryo de los Reyes as director at 9 p.m…The celebrated musical variety show Vilma throws a grand birthday presentation-celebrations on Day Five starting at 7 p.m. live at the Araneta Coliseum…” – Manila Standard, November 7, 1988 (READ MORE)

A Graceful Exit for Vilma – “There is one star who knows how to time her exit – Vilma Santos. Vilma must have wise counsel and also the ability to shift career gears in the right direction. It was a tearful goodbye to Vilma, the weekly TV show she nurtured for 15 long years, but it was the way it should be. The show, if we have to be frank (Aminin!) was starting to show signs of fatigue. It was the type of show that should be vibrant and exuberant all the while. And Vilma herself was starting to show wear and tear. She was at that age when it was already ridiculous to dance and prance on stage every Friday of your life. Her stature also as a politician’s wife made it more unsettling, to say the least. Therefore, she made the right decision. Among other things, it also saves Channel 7 and her staff those long hours of cracking their heads on what to do next. As annouced, Vilma and husband Ralph Recto will go back to the US. Congressman Ralph is taking course in a US university there and Vilma, just plain housewife for a month will accompany him. My guess is that they will have medical authorities help in their desire to have a baby. That cannot be done here. Besides, the biological clock is ticking fast for Vi and it is now or never. She should go for it while there’s still time. Artificial insemination is now an easy process and a lot of childless couples have use it. Remember when Sophia Loren was having that problem. She had to stay prone in a bed in Switzerland so as not to disturb the fetus inside her. All for Ralph, Vilma says. But most of all, for her too. Pregnant or not, she is set to comeback here after one month. Her next project will be a dramatic series like the Nora Aunor drama series that will soon start. This is just the right vehicle for Vilma now. No more dancing and being thrown up in the air for her. Thank heavens she had the sense to quit on time….” – Norma Japitana, Manila Standard, August 9, 1995 (READ MORE)

10 Years Ago: Search for “new Vilma Santos’ doesn’t pan out “Ten years ago this month, TV’s number one show was “Regal Presnts.” Trailing behind were “Okey ka, Fairy Ko,” “Tagalog Movies,” “Maricel Soriano Drama Studio,” Chika, Chika, Chicks,” “Mother Studio Presents,” “Goin’ Bananas,” “Magandang Gabi, Bayan,” “Kris,” “Vilma!,” “The Sharon Cuneta Show,” “Palibhasa lalake,” “GMA Presents,” “Alice,” “Mel and Jay” and “Tonight with Dick and Carmi.” Viewers leaned toward drama, comedy, investigative journalism, talk show and song and dance “variety” shows. Sound familiar? With the exception of Mexican telenovelas and some show titles, nothing has changed much to date…Vilma Santos was in her late 30s and movie producers were scouting around for “the new Vilma Santos,” with two “finalists” then in the running: Alice Dixson and Janice de Belen. Although Alice already had “Alice,” there was no “Janice” for Janice. Unlike Vilma, neither of them progressed to having exclamation points affixed after their names as the titles of their respective shows. In those days, the Star for All Seasons’ show was anticipating competition from “Awitawanan,” a musical-variety show hosted by the Reycards and Pilita Corales. Also competing were Roderick Paulate and Martin Nievera. Paulate won over Nievera as the PMPC TV Awards’ best male TV host, but this decisin did not sit well with most people, critics and viewers alike…” – Noelani TorrePhilippine Daily Inquirer, March 10, 2001 (READ MORE)

Star Looking for young Vilma Santos – “After more than a year’s absence, the Star for All Seasons, Vilma Santos, return to the big screen via Star Cinema’s Rosa, a film based on the life of comfort woman Ma. Rosa Henson. At the helm of this special project are director Marilou Diaz-Abaya and scriptwriter, Ricky Lee. Star Cinema is looking for a young girl to play the crucial part of 14 year-old Rosa. Applicants must be female, 13-16 years old, height must be 5 feet and below, can act and hould resemble Vilma. Those interested may proceed to Star Cinema…” – Manila Standard, July 19, 1996 (READ MORE)

Vilma Santos candidate for Mayor of Lipa City “…Edwin Ermita, only son of Batangas Kingmaker Rep. Eduardo Ermita, representative for Western Batangas and chairman of the Laka-NUCD party for the Southern Tagalog region, witnessed last Friday the filling of certigicate of candidacy of veteran and multi-awarded actress Vilma Santos-Recto for the mayorship of Lipa City. Santo-Recto’s running mate is incumbent provincial board member Boy Manguera. The young Ermita who is running for governor on a platform of a united and progressive Batangas, heads a formidable team that has already achieved a clean sweep of the 1995 elections for the Lakas-NUCD. The young Ermita intends to unite the fractions Batangas leadership into a much stronger and dynamic team. “Should I win, party affiliations or interes,” the young Ermita pledged. Santos-Recto is seen as a sure winner in vote-rich Lipa City. The young Ermit, vice president of Solid Bank, one of the largest commercial banks in the country today, on the other hand, is perceived as the epitome of the kind of youthful, professinal and energetic leadership that a newly emerging boom province like Batangas needs. Ricky Recto, who is running for vice governor, and Manguera, who is running for vice mayor of Lipa City, are also seen as fine examples of the ever growing crop of youthful professionals who have, of late, joined the political scene of Batangas….” – Manila Standard, Mar 30, 1998 (READ MORE)

Stage Play – Contrary to popular belief, Charito Solis and Vilma Santos’ first project together wasn’t the festival entry, Modelong Tanso (this was their second film), It was a Cultural Center of the Phillipines’ passion play titled, “Ang Hari.”