November 3, 1984, it was red letter day for Vilma Santos. She was turning 31 years old. “Gurang na, ano?” she laughingly told us earlier. “Di bale, hindi naman halata, di ba? O, i-deny mo, i-deny mo.” At nagtawa siya ng malakas of the press got an invitation for her birthday celebration. It says “you’re invited! VIP – Special Birthday Edition, November 3, Saturday, A Birthday Celebration, Televised Live at the Celebrity Sports Plaza, VIP Time – 8P.M.” The whole place was jampacked as early as 4:30PM. The televised program started on time, with a taped production number showing Vilma singing Irene Cara’s Out Here on MY Own. She was pensively looking at the serene Taalk Lake and Volcano, which she used as background for her song. In between, she inserted some instrospective musing about her past life and career. It was indeed a very fruitful one. Vi had several costumed changes during the show. She was very regal in a silk calf-length gown, so at ease in snazzy pantsuit, so with-it in a simple blouse and slacks which she wore after the show proper. But the guests stayed on long after the show. Among those who rendered special numbers for Vi were Christopher de Leon, Phillip Salvador, Ace Vergel, Maricel Soriano, Roderick “Charot” Paulate, Kristina Paner with mom Daisy Romualdez, Tina Revilla with hubby Serge Valencia, “Sister Stell L.” director Mike de Leon and producer Lily Monteverde (who had to rush back to Valencia for the preview of Virgin Forest), Rico J. Puno, Tirso Cruz III, the entire cast of Bagets 2 and a host of other luminaries. Vi was looking radiant as she posed in front of her giant birthday cake specially baked for the occassion. She was really happy and vibrant taht evening, with husband Edu Manzano by her side and everything looking all’s well with the world. A few days later, she would be sporting another face. Alas, such is the twist of fate in our lives. Papa Santos passed away and we see another face of Vilma, this time, in grief. – Tony Tantay, Jr., Movie Flash Magazine, 22 November 1984 (READ MORE)
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