On November 3, 1953 in Trozo, Magdalena, Tondo Manila, a little girl was born, She was a lovely baby with rosy pink cheeks, full ever smiling lips, and a fair skin that nearly bordered on the whiteness of snow. Her name is Maria Rosa Vilma Tuazon Santos. Vilma’s father, Amado Santos, is a native of Bamban, Tarlac while her mother, Milagros Tuazon is from San Isidro, Nueva Ecija. She has four siblings namely: Ma. Michaela (Emelyn), Ma. Theresa (Marites), Ma. Norwina (Winnie) and Joel (Sonny Boy). When she was already of age, Vilma was sent to St. Mary’s Academy for her early schooling. She earned a high school diploma later on through the private tutorial system. At a tender age of nine, Vilma became a title role in VP Pictures’ (sister company of Sampaguita Pictures) “Trudis Liit” which was shown at Life Theater from February 21 to March 2, 1963. She won the First Famas Best Child Actress as a maltreated child in the said film. Vilma became a teen icon in the late 60’s until the early 70’s with box-office hits like “Lipad, Darna, Lipad”, “Dyesebal at ang Mahiwagang Kabibe”, “Kampanerang Kuba”, “Wonder Vi” among others. She won her First FAMAS Best Actress at the age of 19 for “Dama De Noche”.
On July 19, 1980, Vilma married Eduardo Luis Barrios Manzano in Las Vegas Nevada, USA. She gave birth to a bouncy bundle of joy named Luis Philippe Manzano on April 21, 1981 at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital. Unfortunately, her marriage to Edu did not last long and was eventually annulled.
It was on December 11, 1992 when Vilma married Ralph Gonzales Recto (now a senator) in a fairytale-like wedding in San Sebastian Cathedral in Lipa City, Batangas. They now have a precocious six-year old son named Ryan Christian Recto who was born on March 29, 1996 at Makati Medical Center.
At present, Vilma is the highly respected and much-revered Mayor of Lipa City, Batangas on her second term (As of 2012, She is the Governor of the Province of Batangas and on her third and final term). She became the First female mayor on the said premier city of Batangas. The actress-politician immersed herself not only with her numerous movie commitments but also with her work on TV as a multi-awarded host/performer via her weekly top-rating musical-variety show VILMA on GMA-7. In the past, she also starred in a soap opera (Larawan ng Pag-ibig), drama anthology (Dalambuhay ni Rosa Vilma) and other musical-variety shows (Ayan eh, VS-Vilma Santos, Very Special).
Vilma Santos most significant films include “Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag Itim ng Tagak” ( Vilma produced this outstanding film directed by the celebrated director Celso Ad Castillo which won the Gawad Urian Best Picture Award), “Relasyon” (she scored the very FIRST GRANDSLAM win for BEST ACTRESS AWARD in the history of Philippine Cinema in this intelligent film directed by National Artist Ismael Bernal for her spellbinding performance in her memorable role as a mistress; she won the Best Actress Award from the Gawad Urian, the First Film Academy of the Philippines, the Catholic Mass Media Awards, and the FAMAS Award), “Burlesk Queen” (her stunning performance as a stripteaser in this Celso Ad Castillo film is considered a turning point in her legendary film career), “Sister Stella L.” (her remarkable portrayal of a radical nun in this acclaimed film directed by film genius Mike De Leon solidifies her status as the country’s premier actress winning her a Gawad Urian Best Actress Award), “Dahil Mahal Kita, The Dolzura Cortez Story” (directed by ace director Laurice Guillen, she scored her 2nd Grand Slam Best Actress win in this unforgettable film about persons with AIDS), “Bata, Bata, Paano ka Ginawa?” (based on the Palanca award-winning Novel by noted writer Lualhati Bautista, this landmark film by acclaimed director Chito Rono gave the legendary actress her 3rd Grandslam win for Best Actress Award and to top it all, an International Best Actress Award (21st INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF INDEPENDENT FILMS, BRUSSELS, BELGIUM), “Anak” (this film by Rory B. Quintos became the highest grossing Filipino Film of all time), her soon-to-be released political film “Dekada ’70” (based on the Palanca award-winning novel of Lualhati Bautista set during the Martial Law era) is destined to be another critically-acclaimed and blockbuster hit film and is bound to be another modern Filipino film classic.
The acclaimed actress is also the country’s perennial Box-office Queen. No one can question her mass box-office charisma. Her string of record-breaking, blockbuster hit films through the years can attest to this fact. She’s the lead star of Star Cinema’s “Anak”, now considered as the highest grossing film in the history of Philippine Cinema. It can be noted that Vilma Santos is the first and only actress to win the prestigious Gawad Urian Best Actress Award for 3 consecutive years (1982-” Relasyon”, 1983-“Broken Marriage”, 1984-“Sister Stella L.”) she is also the first and only actress to score an unprecedented 3-time Grand slam win for Best Actress Award (1982″ Relasyon”, 1993-“The Dolzura Cortez Story”, 1998-“Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa?”). Through her God-given, innate talent, sheer hard work, unwavering dedication to her craft, extreme professionalism, and most importantly, her excellent discipline, Vilma was able to reap all her extraordinary achievements for which she has been praised, idolized, and emulated by her many friends and colleagues in the movie industry, by her ever-loyal and supportive Vilmanians, and most of all by the adoring general movie going public who put her to pedestal as their one and only “Star For All Seasons.”
Truly, Vilma Santos, the film icon, is the epitome of a real great film star. Her phenomenal career which spans four decades is certainly awe-inspiring and exceptional. Thus, her legendary supremacy as the LONGEST REIGNING MOVIE QUEEN will be immortally etched in the archives of Philippine Cinema History. So, a toast to Miss Vilma Santos brilliant past and more good fortune to the future… – Eric Nadurata (READ MORE)