The line is lifted from a Christmas song with a little alteration. But the message and the spirit of the season is still there. Intact. And that is Vilma Santos these days: glowing and with high spirits radiating. Who wouldn’t be, anyway? At thirty, she has still maintained that youthful look every woman is trying to hold on to as she goes celebrating from one birthday to the next. The actress is at peak of her career, and no matter what others say about the phenomenal legend and her unmatchable niche in local cinema, Vilma is slowly creating a legend all her own. At ito ang magiging pagkakaiba niya sa lahat. Kadalasan, ang mga movie queen ng local movies ay unti-unting nawawala sa eksena the moment they get to near thirty or that. Maging si Nora Aunor ay hindi nakaligtas sa “aging syndrome” na ito sa ating pelikula. Ilang taon na ba nang magsimulang manghina ang movie career ng brown phenomenon? Ganito rin halos ang mga nangyari sa ating past movie queens like Gloria Romero, Amalia Fuentes and Susan Roces: by the time they got to be thirty, unti-unti nang nawala ang kanilang charisma sa publiko, at hindi na kagaya ng dati.
Pero hindi ito nangyari kay Vilma. It is a fact na kung kailan pa siya nagkakaedad ay saka pa siya lalong tumatatag, lumalakas. And by almost all indications, it seems like magtatagal pa ito. Take a look at her harvest this year: “Ayak Kong Maging Querida,” “Paano Ba Ang Mangarap?,” “Broken Marriage,” “Obsession (Separasyon Legal),” “Minsan Pa Nating Hagkan Ang Nakaraan” and “Sor Stella L.” Although it appears na tila dalawang pelikula ang maaaring hindi na maipalabas sa taong ito (Obsession and Sor Stella L), hindi na rin maikakaila from the list above that Vilma Santos is still the biggest star of the season and the busiest among her contemporaries. At mayroon pa siyang mga nakatakdang gagawin sa pagpasok ng bagong taon. At the time when most stars are already collecting memoirs and reminiscing fond memories of past glories, Vilma is still soaring into newer heights as she goes from one competent film director to another and manages to become the highest paid actress in the country today. From Ishmael Bernal (Broken Marriage) to Lino Brocka (Obsession) to Marilou Diaz-Abaya (Misan Pa Nating Hagkan Ang Nakaraan) to Mike de Leon (Sor Stella L), the reigning movie queen is getting most of the choicest assignment these days and with the accompanying royal treatment.
Sabi pa niya: “Wala na yata akong mahihiling pa at this stage in my life. Maligaya ako sa aking pamilya, lumalaking listo si Lucky at nalutas ko na rin ang mga problema ko. I think it would be too much kung maghahanap pa ako ng kung anu-ano pa. Kuntento na ako sa buhay ko ngayon at siguro, ang dapat ko na lang gawin ay pagbutihin ang aking ginagawa.” With husband Edu around and some of her loved ones with her, Vilma can’t help but be contended with all the things coming her way. That glow in her eyes is unmistakable kahit na madalas siyang magpuyat and at one time or some other ay nagkakasakit. Katulad na lang nang matapos ang kanyang VIP birthday celebration sa Celebrity Sports Plaza noong November 5. Nagkasakit kinabukasan ang aktress at may dalawang araw ring naratay sa higaan. Maybe because of fatigue. Pero maligaya pa rin siya dahil nasa piling niya si Edu at si Lucky. In fact, she even made some effort to set an appointment the moment she gets well. But she didn’t have to, I thought. The next time I called up, nasa set na naman siya ng Minsan Pa Nating Hagkan… at kailangan niya itong matapos bago mag-November 15 dahil sisimulan na nila ang Sor Stella L sa Regal with Mike de Leon.
Halos mapang-abot na ang dalawang pelikula dahil the day na natapos ang dubbing niya sa Minsan…, kinabukasan, nag-umpisa na kaagad siya sa Sor Stell L. It was a good thing na hindi nagtuloy-tuloy ang shooting ng pelikula ni Mike de Leon. Ang yet, maligaya pa rin si Vilma. Iba na nga naman ang nagagawa ng pag-ibig. Sana wala ng tanong kung hanggang kailna ang lahat. Pero, dapat pa rin nating harapin ang katotohanan. As she has always said time and again, “Parang natatakot pa rin ako kung ano nga ang magiging kasunod nito. With all the good things happening to me now, there’s always that fear at the back of my mind na baka kung ano nga ang sumusonod nito. Sana wala naman.” Most people can’t really help thingking about it. And it’s good thing Vilma isa aware of that. But why worry of things that are based on unfounded fears? Right now, the world of Vilma Santos is all aglow and it is what should matter. So why spoil the good times and think otherewise? The world will not stop because one day you’ll be sad, Vilma. Keep going. Life is made of such stuff. – Julio Cinko N., Movie Flash Magazine, December 8 1983 (READ MORE)