Barbara Perez and Vilma Santos

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Film Roles – “…Noong aktibo pa si Barbara sa Sampaguita Pictures, ang studio-discoverer ni Barbara, panay depressing roles ang ginagampanan niya: kung hindi pilay ay maysakit, at kung hindi naman maysakit ay ‘yung malapit nang mamatay. “In fact,” Barbara jokes, “I always died in my films. Noon nga may standing joke sa Sampaguita where I always played tragic heroines. Ako raw kung hindi nagmamadre, nasa wheelchair.” Nag-aaral noon ng journalism si Barbara sa UST nang ma-diskubre siya for the movies. Late 50s noon. Dahil sa laki ng pagkakahawig niya kay Audrey Hepburn, sikat na Hollywood actress ng panahong iyon, binild-ap siya ng pinuno ng Sampaguita na si Doc Perez (SLN) bilang Philippine Movies’ answer to Hollywood’s Audrey Hepburn. Class and image ni Barbara. Hindi lang siya mahusay na artista, isa rin siyang hinahangaang modelo (nakasama siya noon sa Karilagan Models, ang grupo ng mga “elite models” na nagpa-fashion show sa iba’t ibang dako ng mundo). Si Barbara rin ang babaing gumawa ng “sentimental record” nang tanggihan niya ang isang Hollywood offer to star in an international movie (No Man Is An Island kung saan makakapareha sana niya si Tab Hunter) because of love. Noong panahong ‘yun, nililigawan siya ni Robert at nang mag-decide siyang tanggihan ang Hollywood movie na ‘yon, she also made up her mind that she would be Mrs. Robert Arevalo all her life. “I have made about 40 films all in all,” according to Barbara, “at karamihan niyan ay ginawa ko hindi dahil gusto ko ang roles kundi dahil kailangang gawin ko.” Ilan sa mga memorable pictures niya ay ang Historia De Un Amor where she played Josephine Estrada’s sister dying of cancer – “I love that movie because it is romantic—I am romantic at heart, you know”; Daigdig ng Mga Api, Ito ang Pilipino, Patria Adorada (both with Joseph Estrada) at Asedillo (with Ronnie Poe). Ngayon, Barbara is as good as retired. Huli niyang ginawa ang Boyfriend Kong Baduy (1975) kung saan gumanap siya bilang old-maid aunt ni Orestes Ojeda…” – Jingle Extra Hot Movie Entertainment Magazine, April 27, 1981 (READ MORE)

No Man is an Island – “…1961 was the year she did the Hollywood film No Man is an Island with Jeffrey Hunter. She was to do other Hollywood flicks, but passed up on these opportunities for two reasons (not necessarily in this order): 1) One film she was supposed to do (this was Halo for a Dime) was set in honky-tonks, which would require her to act sleazy on screen and her conservative upbringing was not comfortable with that. 2) She and then boyfriend Robert Arevalo were very much in love and they couldn’t stand to be away from each other that long. In fact, as soon as she got back from her Hollywood stint, Robert immediately offered to marry her – maybe before Hollywood could snatch her back again from him. They were married in Baguio – in the same church where Aga Muhlach and Charlene were wed in 2001. After they got married, Barbara continued to appear in films, but became very selective with her movie assignments. One offer she could not refuse was this wonderful opportunity to co-star with Robert and to be directed by the great Gerry de Leon in Ang Daigdig ng mga Api, which won for her and Robert the FAMAS Best Actress and Actor trophies. The film also won Best Picture and attached with it the prizes for Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Leni Alano) and Best Child Performer (Ana Trinidad). That FAMAS win was important for Barbara because that established her as a respected actress in local movies. She may have given up on Hollywood, but at least, on home ground people look up to her as an award-winning actress (an honor she achieved when awards were not yet dime a dozen like today)…” – Butch Francisco (READ MORE)

“…The biggest Hollywood break for a Filipino actor was given to Barbara Perez, hailed as the Audrey Hepburn of the Philippines. She was cast in “No Man Is an Island,” a war film starring Jeffrey Hunter, the blue eyed actor who portrayed Christ in the remake of “King of Kings.” US critics were quite impressed with Barbara’s talent and soulful eyes, and she was offered other Hollywood projects. However, the Sampaguita star opted for marriage to Robert Arevalo over possible international stardom. …” – Behn Cervantes, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Oct 12, 2002 (READ MORE)

Cary Grant – “…In 1962, I had the great fortune to be in a Hollywood film produced by Universal International entitled No Man Is An Island. Filmed in Subic Bay, it had Jeffrey Hunter in the starring role. I was invited to go to Los Angeles for publicity shots to promote the movie. For starters, I stayed at the former house of Greta Garbo in Santa Monica. During my brief stay at the Universal lot, I saw and met several actors and actresses. At the makeup department one day, they introduced me to a girl they claim was Sandra Dee. I was so disappointed for she was not the Gidget I knew from films and movie magazines. Only after the wonder of makeup did she look the part. Another encounter was with the producer of movie greats and responsible for the invasion of Eurasian actresses such as Nancy Kwan and France Nguyen. His name was Ross Hunter. While having a meal at the commissary, someone asked if he could join me at my table. I recognized the voice but was not quite sure. I caught a glimpse of the gray trousers and slowly looking up who do I see? Cary Grant! He had a gray suit and a yellow shirt. I was tongue-tied and could not answer questions except with a yes or a no. He concluded by saying that he hoped I would sign up with the studio for a five-year contract. Instead I opted for a lifetime contract. But that is in itself another story…” – Edu Jarque (READ MORE)

Barbarra Perez, dubbed as Audrey Hepburn of the Philippines was a famous Filipina movie star of the fifties and sixties. Born in the year 1938, Barbara is married to another actor Robert Arevalo. Barbara made several hit movies under the defunct Sampaguita Pictures. Both Barbara and her husband won the best actor awards in 1966 for the movie “Daigdig ng mga Api” or the world of the downtrodden. – Wikipilipinas

Barbara Perez and Vilma Santos

Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos (1988) – “…Elwood Perez and Vilma Santos colloborated in seven films. The first one was the trilogy that he co-directed with two other director, Borlaza and Gosiengfiao (these three are the most underrated and under appreciated directors in the Philippines), the remake of Mars Ravelo comic super hero, Darna in Lipad Darna Lipad. The film was a record-breaking hit Box-office Film. They follow this up with a more mature projects as Vilma started to switched her image from sweet to a mature versatile actress, pairing her with Christopher DeLeon in five films starting with Masarap Masakit Ang Umibig in 1977. The Perez-Santos-DeLeon team produced seven blockbuster hits that gave Vilma two FAMAS best actress awards that secured her elevation to FAMAS highest honour, the FAMAS Hall of Fame award. She won in 1979 for Pakawalan Mo Ako and 1988 for Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos…” – RV (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

Dugo at pag-ibig sa kapirasong lupa (1975) – “…A Must for the Filipino History Students and for everyone who wants to awaken the innate nationalism in them. These series of stories depicting the fight of the Filipinos against colonialism of Spain, Japan and even their fellow Filipinos abusing the power in the government. A seemingly serious film but spiced with the star-studded cast like Fernando Poe Jr., Ramon Revilla, Joseph Estrada, Nora Aunor, Dante Rivero, Eddie Garcia, Vic Vargas, Goerge Estregan and the other all time favorite artists. This movie even highlighted the comparison between the love of country and the other kind of love we offer to our family and to our beloved as the story featured love stories in the midst of tragic and bloody war happening in our society…” – Kabayan Central (READ MORE)

Hatinggabi Na Vilma (1972) – “…Joey re-emerged in the movie scene in 1972, bristling with fresh ideas. This time he made a big gamble by helping his brother Victor and some friends put up Sine Pilipino, the company that would revolutionize trends in local movie-making. SP specializes in campy, stylish movies with imperative, three-word titles: Takbo, Vilma, Dali; Hatinggabi na, Vilma; Zoom, Zoom Superman!l; Si Popeye Atbp.; and Sunugin Ang Samar. Except for the last mentioned which was an action saga, the four SP flicks were spoofs characterized by madness. They revived the all-star casting system, lumping together in one movie several big stars. The flicks made money. Joey Gosiengfiao had his “sweet revenge.” “It was not wasy for us in the beginning,” Joey relates. “Just before the showing of our first film, Takbo, Vilma Dali!, Martial Law was declared. There were no newspapers then so we had to post bills all over the city, hanggang Pasay nagdidikit kami nina Douglas. We also distributed hand bills. Sa awa ng Diyos, kumita ang pelikula…” – Expressweek, December 12 1974 (READ MORE)

Ito ang Pilipino (1967) – “…In 1966, Estrada was “just” an actor portraying a bandit fighting the Spaniards, led by Eddie Garcia. Directed by Cesar “Chat” Gallardo, an important scene in the film featured the late Vic Silayan telling the young Estrada that he would be the country’s next president-to which, Estrada’s character answered in disbelief, saying it was impossible, because he could neither read nor write! Prophetically, the historical film presaged the actor’s political career. Who would have known that he’d become the 13th president of the Philippines?! At the screening, Estrada’s leading lady, Barbara Perez, who was first seen in 195’6’s “Chabacano,” was in the audience to watch the “lost” film revived by the Society of Filipino Archivists for Film (SOFIA). The actress shares: “Back then, I kept getting in and out show biz, especially when I had to give birth! …” – Rica Arevalo (READ MORE)

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