News Articles Links (2011)

Governor Vilma Santos on the relationship of her son Luis Manzano with Jennylyn Marcado: “Huwag nating pangunahan na baka ikakasal na ‘yan o magbubuntis…let them enjoy the relationship.” – By Ruben Marasigan, PEP, Dec 10, 2011 – Naroon si Luis bilang host kasama si Ruffa Gutierrez, samantalang si Jennylyn naman, kasama sina Ogie Alcasid, Jean Garcia, at ilan pang celebrities ay mga judges naman para sa kompetisyon. Hindi maitago ang sweetness sa isa’t isa nina Luis at Jennylyn kahit pa alam nilang ang daming taong nakamasid sa kanilang dalawa nang gabing iyon. At mukha namang masaya si Batangas Governor Vilma Santos para sa kanyang anak na si Luis at girlfriend nga nito na si Jennylyn. READ MORE

Risk-taking keeps Vilma Santos on her toes – By: Rito P. Asilo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Dec 10, 2011 | – There are good reasons why Vilma Santos is Tinseltown’s Star for All Seasons. Her prodigious stint as Batangas’ first female governor may no longer allow her to act for the cameras as often as she used to — but, Ate Vi’s occasional forays into acting still draw crowds, impress critics and win awards, as was the case with 2009’s “In My Life.” So, we expect nothing less from Chito Roño’s upcoming chiller, “The Healing,” the actress’ first movie with Kim Chiu. READ MORE

Vilma introduces Jennylyn as son’s GF –, Dec 08, 2011 – Star for All Seasons and Batangas Governor Vilma Santos formally introduced the girlfriend of her son, Luis Manzano, to the people of Batangas on Wednesday. For the first time, Santos publicly acknowledged actress Jennylyn Mercado as her son’s girlfriend during the commemoration of Batangas’ founding anniversary held at the town of Calaca. READ MORE

Batangas Ala Eh! Festival Opens at Calaca – By Rowena M. Diocton, Asia Journal, Dec 4, 2011 – “This year, we are bringing Ala Eh! Festival to the Municipality of Calaca (District 1) because we want to let more Batangueños to get involved in the fiesta atmosphere through the many activities that will fill everyone’s interests,” says Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto. READ MORE

Season’s most inspiring series wraps up its storytelling – By Nestor U. Torre, Inquirere, Nov 30, 2011 – After its 100 titular telecasting days, “100 Days To Heaven” finally wrapped up its storytelling with a big bang in terms of guest star value — no less than Susan Roces and Vilma Santos figured in its concluding episodes. READ MORE

Philippine Air Force tagged in foiled abduction of fisherfolk leader in Batangas – By Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Bulatlat, Nov 24, 2011 – “Governor Santos should step in and investigate this matter. As the highest-ranking local official, she has the political and moral obligation to protect her citizens against human rights violations as perpetrated by elements of the military,” Hicap said. He also said Santos should also take a stand against the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan in the region. READ MORE

Vilma Santos all praises for 100 Days – By The Philippine Star, Nov 22, 2011 – Aside from following the happenings in the lives of Madam Anna Manalastas (Coney Reyes/Xyriel Manabat) and daughter Sophia (Jodi Santamaria), viewers were hooked in the finale week to watch out for the guest appearance of some of the biggest Kapamilya stars which recently included Jake Cuenca as the young “Tagasundo,” Coco Martin as the young “Tagabantay” and Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos as “Tagabantay.” READ MORE

What Ate Vi gave me on her birthday holiday – By: Raymund Isaac, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Nov 19, 2011 – I was excited to see a good friend of mine in Malaysia to celebrate her birthday with her family, and to celebrate Ate Aida’s birthday, too. The only time I have been to Malaysia was on a cruise via Star Cruises, passing through Penang. So finally a trip to see Kuala Lumpur and Genting became a reality. Even if I was spending only two nights with the Vilma Santos, I welcomed the chance, and the break from the stress of Manila. READ MORE

Xyriel flattered with Vilma Santos’ praise –, Nov 19, 2011 – Child actress Xyriel Manabat said she feels flattered to know that she was able to impress the Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos with her acting prowess. In an interview aired on “Bandila” on Friday, Manabat said, “Masaya po ako, kasi po meron po akong kasi meron po akong, meron pong isang sobrang galing na artista na nagkakagusto sa akin.” READ MORE

Vilma Santos performs in ‘100 Days to Heaven’ finale –, Nov 15, 2011 – Star for all Seasons and Batangas Governor Vilma Santos is set to play an important role in the grand finale of the ABS-CBN television series “100 Days to Heaven.” Santos said she’s thrilled to be a part of the top-rated prime time television show. READ MORE

Guess what birthday gift Ralph gave to Vi – By Ricardo F. Lo, The Philippine Star, Nov 15, 2011 – Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos took a two-week leave from work to spend her 58th birthday with family (husband, Sen. Ralph Recto, and son Ryan Christian; but minus Luis who was stuck at work) and friends, first in Phuket, Thailand (they skipped Bangkok which was threatened by the lingering floods), and then in Malaysia. READ MORE

Vilma Santos in a 1975 Produc AD – By Simon Santos, Video 48, Nov 07, 2011 – Vilma Santos in one of her early commercials endorsing Philips transistor radios in 1975. READ MORE

58 Lessons in Life: Let It Vi! – By Ricky Lo, The Philippine Star, November 06, 2011 – If I were to write the biography of Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos, I would open it when she was around 14, a period when a girl is deemed too old for dolls but too young for guys. I was barely out of college then and Vilma was in her bobby socks stage. I fetched her and her mom, Milagros Santos (now into her mid-80s), from Torres Auto Supply on España St., Sampaloc, Manila, and we took a taxi to Manila Times office on Florentino St. in Sta. Cruz, Manila. Vilma was going to be featured on the cover of Variety, one of the then No. 1 broadsheet’s Sunday magazines, and I was tasked to do the cover story. READ MORE

Governor Vilma Santos on proposed signage on Taal Volcano: “To attract [tourists]—iyon ang intensyon. But again, na-misinterpret.” – By Ruben Marasigan, PEP, Oct 22, 2011 – Aware si Governor Vilma Santos sa maingay na kontrobersiya ngayon tungkol sa napabalitang plano niyang paglagay ng ga-higanteng signage na “Batangas” sa isang parte ng Taal Volcano na kasing-laki ng signage na “Hollywood” sa Los Angeles, California. READ MORE

Vilma Santos denies reports that she is not in favor of Jennylyn Mercado, rumored girlfriend of her son Luis Manzano – By Ruben Marasigan, PEP, Oct 22, 2011 – Katatapos lang mag-taping ni Vilma Santos bilang guest star sa top-rating primetime series ng ABS-CBN na 100 Days To Heaven nang dumating sa Kapitolyo ng Batangas kahapon ang (Philippine Entertainment Portal) at ilang pang movie press. READ MORE

Kim kinakabahan kina Vilma at Janice – By Boy Abunda, Pilipino Star Ngayon, Oct 22, 2011 – Sobrang excited na ni Kim Chiu ngayon sa horror movie na kanyang gagawin na ipalalabas sa susunod na taon. Tatlong taon na ang nakalilipas nang huling gumawa ang young actress ng pelikulang horror. READ MORE

‘Cavite has money but Batangas has beauty’ – By Jerome Balinton, Jocelyn R. Uy, Inquirer, Oct 22, 2011 – This ought to comfort beleaguered Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto: “Cavite has the money but Batangas has the beauty.” The remark was made on Friday by Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles in the course of defending Recto’s much-ridiculed idea of mounting a giant “Batangas” sign on Taal Volcano as a way of claiming it and the lake surrounding it as the province’s own. READ MORE

Governor Vilma Santos on proposed Batangas signage on Taal Volcano: “It’s not final yet.” – By Jocelyn Jimenez, Oct 21, 2011 – Isang kontrobersiya ang kinakaharap ngayon ni Governor Vilma Santos matapos batikusin ng ilan ang suhestiyon niya na lagyan ng signage na “Batangas” ang Taal Volcano. READ MORE

Eruption of ridicule greets Batangas signage plan – By Bayani San Diego Jr., Jerome Balinton, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Oct 21, 2011 – It triggered an eruption of ridicule. A plan to erect giant letters on Taal Volcano Island similar to the iconic “Hollywood” sign in Los Angeles, California, drew lava-hot criticism and Internet spoofs on Thursday, mostly directed at its proponent, the award-winning actress and Batangas Governor Vilma Santos. READ MORE

Hooray for Hollywood’ on Taal Volcano Island – By Jerome Balinton, Inquirer, Oct 20, 2011 – It was something only a movie star could have conceived. Why not put up a towering “Batangas” sign on Taal Volcano island similar to the “Hollywood” sign in Los Angeles, California? The provincial council approved on October 5 a resolution supporting the idea of Governor Vilma Santos-Recto, the award-winning actress, to erect a hard-to-miss landmark and potential tourism draw, according to Vice Governor Mark Leviste II. READ MORE

Vilma not surprised with Luis’ interest in politics – By, Oct 20, 2011 – Batangas governor and actress Vilma Santos said she was not surprised when her son, host-actor Luis Manzano, expressed desire to run for public office in the future. READ MORE

Women left behind – By Norma Japitana, The Philippine Star, Oct 14, 2011 – THEN: July 14, 1989 — 22 years ago. Stars are finding it hard to have a public pose on very private feelings. This is the pain of public women whose men left them. First of all, there is the public hurt, the image cry and then, the very private hurt. READ MORE

No Other Woman stars receive bonus; Direk Ruel Bayani says Anne Curtis has the same spirit as Vilma Santos – By Allan Sancon, PEP, October 10, 2011 – Direk Ruel Bayani: “Because, I’m truly a Vilmanian. Isa akong Vilmarian, when I was an assistant director to Ishmael Bernal, sobra silang close ni Vi, sabi ko sa sarili ko, I would one day how I wish one day find my own Vilma, someone na muse mo. Kami ni Anne kasi magkaibigan, napakadali para sa ‘min mag-communicate. At sinabi ko sa kanya na ‘Anne, Vilma to, Vilma mode tayo!’ Hindi ko dine deny yun, dahil sobrang hanga kay Vilma na wish ko na ma-idirek si Vilma at Anne together in a movie. Pareho kasi sila ng spirit.” READ MORE

Vilma’s multi-faceted life on TV5’s Anggulo – The Philippine Star, October 05, 2011 – Vilma Santos-Recto shares the different facets of her life in tonight’s edition of Anggulo on TV5 and Aksyon TV. READ MORE

Vilma Santos back on the big screen – By Nickie Wang, Manila Standard, Sep 14, 2011 – Seasoned actress and Batangas Governor Vilma Santos lists show business as one of her least priority at the moment. She said that her being a public servant and a mother and a wife are undoubtedly her main concerns. Since most of her time is devoted to being the mother of some two million people of the first class province, it is difficult for her to insert a showbiz engagement in her already busy schedule. READ MORE

Romeo Vasquez: Lover, prankster & star – By Bibsy M. Carballo, The Philippine Star, Sep 11, 2011 – Vilma Santos was another known girlfriend with whom he shot nine pictures. Another one was Alona Alegre with whom he lived in Beverly Hills, California. However, he is best remembered not only for his ways with women but for being a nice person, a good friend, a prankster, a generous individual. And a super affectionate, malambing human being. READ MORE

Moms urged to bring back habit of letting children drink milk – By Karen Boncocan,, Sep 10, 2011 – Moms, bring back the habit of making your children drink milk. This was the message Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto had for all mothers during a press conference Friday after visiting the latest school to be taught about proper nutrition: Bago Bantay Elementary School in Quezon City. READ MORE

Vilma Santos named one of the richest celebs in Philippine showbiz – By Jimi Escala, PEP, Sep, 05, 2011 – Noong September 1 ay ginanap ang Alay Lakad 2011 sa Batangas City. Ito ay pinangunahan siyempre ng governor ng Batangas na si Vilma Santos-Recto. READ MORE

Vilma Santos surprised and proud her son Luis Manzano is open to joining politics – By Ruben Marasigan, PEP, Sep 03, 2011 – Labis na ikinatuwa ni Governor Vilma Santos na maraming Batangueño ang nakiisa sa pinangunahan niyang Alay Lakad kahapon sa Batangas City. READ MORE

Luis Manzano on relationship with rumored girlfriend Jennylyn Mercado: “Lampas MU (mutual understanding) naman.” – By Ruben Marasigan, PEP, Sep 03, 2011 – Pagkagaling sa trabaho, kahit wala pang tulog ay dumiretso na si Luis Manzano sa Batangas City para makiisa sa Alay Lakad kahapon, September 1, na pinangunahan ng kanyang inang si Governor Vilma Santos. READ MORE

Luis Manzano, sasabak nga ba sa pulitika? –, Sep 03, 2011 – Malakas ang naging hiyawan ng mga tao nang ipakilala ang anak ni Batangas Gov Vilma Santos-Recto na si Luis Manzano, bilang susunod na alkalde ng Lipa City. READ MORE

Pacquiao donates P200K to Alay Lakad –, Sep 02, 2011 – Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao donated P200,000 to the cause of the provincial Alay Lakad, which aims to give financial assistance to out-of-school youths. READ MORE

Manny Pacquiao makes a hefty donation for Batangas out-of-school youth – By Rowena Joy A. Sanchez, Manila Bulletin, Sep 02, 2011 – Superstar boxer and Sarangani congressman Manny Pacquiao becomes the Good Samaritan once again with his P200,000 donation for the out-of-school youth in Batangas. READ MORE

Gov Vilma Santos, may request kina Pacquiao, Jennylyn Mercado –, Sep 02, 2011 – Very happy and thankful si Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto sa suportang ibinigay ng “Pambasang Kamao” na si Rep. Manny Pacquiao sa taunang Alay-Lakad na ginawa sa naturang lalawigan. READ MORE

Pacquiao supports Vilma’s Alay-Lakad in Batangas –, Sep 02, 2011 – Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao showed his support for Star for All Seasons Batangas Governor Vilma Santos as he joined the annual “Alay-Lakad” in Batangas City on Friday morning. READ MORE

Direk Joey cites Vilma, Juday as ‘timeless’ stars – By Shiela Reyes,, Aug 30, 2011 – Veteran director Jose Javier Reyes has an idea on how one can be considered a “timeless” star. Speaking to ANC’s “View from the Top,” Reyes explained that having a mark in the entertainment scene does not only entail that one should have good looks. READ MORE

Sharon still hopes film with Vilma, Gabby will push through – By Jecelyn V. Macahndog, Manila Bulletin, Aug. 29, 2011 – While Vilma Santos’ supposed movie with Sharon Cuneta has been canceled (Vilma is doing another movie with Kim Chiu), a hopeful megastar still sees the project pushing through next year. READ MORE

A starlet who has no sense of gratitude – By Mario Bautista, Journal, Aug 26, 2011 – A recent ugly encounter we had with a minor starlet made us realize that one true mark of good breeding is the ability to say thank you. We’ve been writing about showbiz since 1976 and we’ve seen lots of stars come and go. READ MORE

Nora hopes to meet Vilma while taping series in Batangas – By Kaye Villagomez, Manila Bulletin, Aug 26, 2011 – Nora Aunor is literally in a closer position to meet Vilma Santos as the returning actress commits to taping duties for a TV5 serial in Taal, Batangas where the actress-politician is Governor. READ MORE

Gov. Vilma Santos’ next movie has her constituents’ thumbs up – By Alex Valentin Brosas, Manila Bulletin, Aug 24, 2011 – As before, Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto sought the approval of her constituents before agreeing to do her forthcoming movie with Kim Chiu. READ MORE

Kim, Ate Vi excited over upcoming film –, Aug 24, 2011 – After confirming that she will be doing a movie this year, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos said she is looking forward to working with young actress Kim Chiu. READ MORE

Nora magko-courtesy call kay Gov. Vi – By Lolit Solis, Pilipino Star Ngayon, Aug 23, 2011 – At dahil sa Batangas ang taping, may plano ang cast at production crew ng Sa Ngalan ng Ina na magbigay-pugay kay Governor Vilma Santos. READ MORE

Vilma confirms film with Kim –, Aug 22, 2011 – After much speculation if she will do another movie this year, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos has finally confirmed that she will topbill another Star Cinema project. READ MORE

Gov. Vi: I never called for a presscon – By Mario Bautista, Journal, Aug 16 2011 – GOV. Vilma Santos is being accused by some folks of feeling insecure with all the publicity the comebacking Nora Aunor is getting so she reportedly called for her own presscon in Batangas. Her confidante, Jun Nardo, says she never called for a presscon. READ MORE

Robin: No Catholic wedding with Mariel…a movie offer with Vilma – By Ricardo F. Lo, The Philippine Star, Aug 15, 2011 – First, the breaking news: Regal Matriarch Mother Lily Monteverde confirmed to Funfare Update that she has a standing offer for Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos to star in a movie with Robin Padilla. READ MORE

Indie bug bites Ate Vi – By Bayani San Diego Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer, Aug 14, 2011 – While admiring behind-the-scenes photographs of “Sister Stella L” displayed at Cesar Hernando’s recent exhibit at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, actress and Batangas Governor Vilma Santos told Regal producer Lily Monteverde that she missed the good old days of Philippine cinema. READ MORE

Nora, Vilma, gagawa ng remake ng mga sikat nilang pelikula – By Mario Dumaual,, Aug 12, 2011 – Excited na ibinunyag ni Vilma Santos na binubuo na ng ABS-CBN ang TV show nila ng anak na si Luis Manzano. Showbiz-politics daw ang tema nito at may kawanggawa pa. READ MORE

Vilma Santos is now ready to become a grandmom: “Basta tawagin lang ako ng Momsie, okey na. Huwag lang Lola!” – By Ruben Marasigan, PEP, Aug 12, 2011 – May mga nagsasabi na kaya raw pinagbubuti nang husto ni Batangas governor Vilma Santos ang kanyang pagiging public servant ngayon ay dahil may posibilidad na tahakin din niya ang landas patungong Malacañang Palace. Pero aniya, “‘Yong sa politics, hindi ko ito plinano. Maybe it was meant. READ MORE

PEP: Vilma Santos on Nora Aunor’s return: ‘Masaya ako, oo naman.’ – GMA News, Aug 11 2011 – Nilinaw ni Batangas governor Vilma Santos ang napabalitang siya ang first choice upang gumanap bilang Maria Agoncillo, ang second wife ni Emilio Aguinaldo, sa biopic na El Presidente. READ MORE

Vilma-Nora rivalry revived? –, Aug 10 2011 – Batangas Governor Vilma Santos is appealing to the public not to pit her against Superstar Nora Aunor, who just got back in the country last August 2 after being away for so many years. In an interview with ABS-CBN News on Wednesday, Santos said she already left their showbiz rivalry in the past. Santos believes they are already mature enough not to be affected by such intrigues. READ MORE

Ronnie Henares: One of him – By Butch Francisco, The Philippine Star, Aug 09 2011 – Very few probably are aware that Ronnie was once a matinee idol in the music profession. He was the other half of the famous singing duo called The Two of Us. His partner was Jojit Paredes, the cousin of Jim Paredes, who was also a kilabot ng mga colegiala as part of the Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society, now better known as the APO. Ronnie and Jojit were schoolmates in La Salle grade school, while Jim and his then large group were from rival Ateneo. READ MORE

Guy has no qualms being second choice to Vi – By Ethel Ramos, Malaya, Aug 8 2011 – “Actually, Guy and Gov. Vi are both special choices for the role,” Gov. .E.R. said. “It has been my dream to do a movie project with them.” READ MORE

Who said what again? – By Ricardo F. Lo, The Philippine Star, Aug 06, 2011 – “Kung hindi mo ako kayang mahalin bilang anak, irespeto mo na lang ako bilang tao.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Who said that again? READ MORE

25 Most Memorable Films – By Mario A. Hernando, The Philippine Star, July 27, 2011 – This is not a list of the best Filipino films ever made, though it could well be. Neither does it purport to be a comprehensive list. The 25 titles cited may be considered very good or outstanding, but more importantly, memorable — to this writer and all other viewers of local films who could still relish the memory of these fabulous works. READ MORE

Gracious ladies – By Lauren, Tempo, Jul 27, 2011 – But of course there are gracious ladies in showbiz. Four names right away come to mind, all of them movie queens coming from different decades. READ MORE

Photos that touch the heart – By Ricardo F. Lo, The Philippine Star, July 26, 2011 – Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos is the central figure in the exhibit and she found out only when she graced the opening, along with Regal Matriarch Mother Lily Monteverde and Cinemalaya festival director Nes Jardin. READ MORE

Field day in ‘shadow play’ – Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 21, 2011 – Batangas Governor Vilma Santos and Regal producer Lily Monteverde attended the photo exhibit opening of production designer/filmmaker Cesar Hernando at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. READ MORE

Behind the scene photos of Philippine cinema’s greatest films – By Terence Krishna V. Lopez, Bulatlat, July 20, 2011 – Case in point, the colored portrait of Vilma Santos at the center of the gallery from the Maryo J. Delos Reyes classic Tagos ng Dugo (1987) is definitely eye-catching. Two other photos of Santos are featured in the exhibit, from the set of the critically-acclaimed political classic, Mike de Leon’s Sister Stella L. READ MORE

Mula Sa Mga Aninong Gumagalaw: Behind The Scenes 1971- 2001 – Arkivista, July 12, 2011 – Cesar Hernando’s Mula Sa Mga Aninong Gumagalaw: Behind The Scenes 1971-2001 collects snapshots taken by the artist over the course of three decades working in Philippine cinema. READ MORE

Batangas demolishes 388 fish cages – By Ferdie F. Castro, Manila Bulletin, June 24, 2011 – “Task Force Taal Lake,” created by Governor Vilma Santos Recto to mitigate fish kill incidents in the province, announced Friday having cleared the lake of 388 illegal fish cages. READ MORE

Gov. Vilma Santos, other Batangas officials allay fish kill scare – GMA News, June 21, 2011 – Batangas governor Vilma Santos-Recto on Tuesday led provincial officials in feasting on bangus (milkfish) and tilapia to send a strong message to the public that these kinds of fish are safe to consume despite recent incidents of fish kill in Taal Lake. READ MORE

Lessons learned from top screen icons – By Nestor U. Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 03, 2011 – In the course of our TV-film-theater career as director, scriptwriter and performer, we’ve had the great good fortune of having been able to work with or otherwise interact with some of the best and most colorful icons of stage and screen. READ MORE

Vi helps ‘fish kill’ affected areas – People’s Journal , June 02, 2011 – Governor Vilma Santos-Recto created a team to assist local government units affected by the fish kill in Taal Lake. READ MORE

Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos admits negotiating with TV5 for possible movie project – By Jimi Escala, PEP, May 27, 2011 – Sa panayam ng (Philippine Entertainment Portal) kay Batangas Governor Vilma Santos noong Miyerkules, May 25, sa Batangas, tinanong namin siya tungkol sa napabalitang offer sa kanya ng TV5 at magiging “Kapatid” na raw siya. Sa ngayon ay identified ang Star For All Seasons sa ABS-CBN, bagamat sa film arm lang nitong Star Cinema siya lumalabas. READ MORE

Governor Vilma Santos airs opinion on blossoming romance between son Luis Manzano and Jennylyn Mercado – By Jimi Escala, PEP, May 26, 2011 – Matapos magsalita ang dalawa sa magkahiwalay na pagkakataon, marami naman ang naghihintay sa pahayag ng ina ni Luis—ang Star for All Seasons at Batangas governor na si Vilma Santos. READ MORE

Forced evacuation of Taal folks looms – By Efren Montano,, April 19, 2011 – MALACAÑANG yesterday poised mandatory or forced evacuation in the wake of a looming eruption at Taal Volcano even as Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto clarified that “Taal is safe” despite the alert status. READ MORE

Vilma lauds CENTEX – By Ferdinand F. Castro, Manila Bulletin, April 01, 2011 – “Strive hard, compete and never take your education for granted.” This was the challenge hurled by Batangas Governor Vilma Santos Recto to students of Ayala Foundation’s Center of Excellence (CENTEX) in Bauan, Batangas during their 10th Founding Anniversary celebration at the provincial auditorium, the other day. READ MORE

Batangas execs vow to erase classroom backlog – By Arnell Ozaeta, ABS-CBN News, March 30, 2011 – Local executives of Batangas led by Governor Vilma Santos-Recto have partnered with the Department of Education (DepEd) in erasing the shortage of classrooms in the province. Education Secretary Armin Luistro said Batangas lacks 510 classrooms and about 1,931 teachers out of the 152,000 classrooms and 103,000 teacher shortages nationwide. “While Batangas is not part of the list of priority areas, I thought of this partnership to make Batangas a zero-backlog province. I want the people to say ‘Dito sa Batangas, wala na kaming kakulangan, pinagtulungan na namin ito, kasama ng lahat ng sektor dito sa Batangas’. Sa larangan ng edukasyon, baka pwede na tayong magtulung-tulungan, wala ng pulitika,” he said. READ MORE

Health is no. 1 for Gov. Vi – Malaya, Mar 21, 2011 – AFTER nearly five decades during which she solidified her iconic status in the local entertainment world, Vilma Santos-Recto still managed to come into her own as a politician. She is now into her 13th year in politics, beginning with her victory as the first lady mayor of Lipa City and then the first lady governor of Batangas. READ MORE

ambush circulated clarified – Malaya, Mar 18, 2011- Over the weekend, rumors of Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos Recto having been killed in an ambush circulated and caused panic among the much-loved actress’ fans and friends in showbiz. READ MORE

Luis Manzano clarifies “ambush” report about his mom Governor Vilma Santos – By Rose Garcia, PEP, March 14, 2011 – Noong Sabado, March 12, may kumalat na balitang na-ambush diumano si Batangas Governor at Star For All Season Vilma Santos-Recto habang lulan ng kanyang sasakyan. Ayon pa sa ilang Twitter messages ay nasa “delikadong kundisyon” pa raw ang actress-politician. READ MORE

Batangas governor Vilma Santos “auditions” for Pilipinas Got Talent – PEP, March 14, 2011 – During the first part of the March 12 episode of Pilipinas Got Talent, the judges were asked to watch the “audition” of a special guest. Hosts Billy Crawford and Luis Manzano personally introduced the performer from Southern Luzon. Luis even quipped, “She’s hoping to make it big in the industry.” READ MORE

Entreps awarded at women’s summit– By Angeli Sabillo, The POC, March 06, 2011 – Headed by Go Negosyo and the GMA Network, the three-day event started last Friday with the awarding of Filipina “STARpreneurs” for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), Large Enterprises and social entrepreneurs which included Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto. READ MORE

Entertainment Central joins the big league– By Nickie Wang, The Manila Standard, March 03, 2011 – The script has already been refurbished and is written by Roy Iglesias. Seasoned director Tikoy Aguiluz will be at the helm. A possible entry to the MMFF this year, Estregan is wooing another governor, Vilma Santos to play the role of Maria Agoncillo, the president’s wife. READ MORE

Kris, Vi join hands for medical mission– By Rowena Joy A. Sanchez, Manila Bulletin, February 26, 2011 – TV host-actress Kris Aquino continues her philanthropic efforts with her recent medical and dental mission project with Batangas governor Vilma Santos. READ MORE

Sharon in advertising imbroglio – By Joey Aquino, Journal Online, February 13, 2011 – In fact, they say it is in preparation for her movie with Batangas Governor Vilma Santos. READ MORE

Batangas focuses on agri development – The Philippine Star, February 6, 2011 – The enhancement of agriculture is at the top of the list of priorities in a comprehensive plan for the development of Batangas province. The plan was drawn up during an Executive Legislative Agenda Alliance Building (ELA) cum Provincial Development Plans meeting attended by representatives from various national government bureaus and local chief executives in Batangas recently. READ MORE

‘Vilma to do suspense thriller movie with Cuneta’ – By Boy Villasanta,, February 1, 2011 – It seems that award-winning filmmakers Jeffrey Jeturian, Adolf Alix, Jr. and Armando Lao will have to give way to prizewinning senior film director Chito Roño. Roño will carry out a much delayed but largely anticipated project for Vilma Santos. READ MORE

Will Vilma be the next Kapatid? – By Ricardo F. Lo,, January 28, 2011 – First to sign up was Dolphy, followed by Maricel Soriano (how come she’s very scarce these days?) and then by several other big stars from other networks, the latest being Aga Muhlach who is now officially a Kapatid, having already signed up with TV5 which hasn’t stopped hiring in its aggressive effort to beef up its stable of talents, luring them with fat talent fees. READ MORE

Chito’s ‘scare tactics’ – By Mario Bautista,, January 28, 2011 – After the musical Emir and the horror-comedy Bulong, what do we expect from him next? I’m doing a suspense-thriller with Vilma Santos. READ MORE

Batangas Hosts Workshop On Crisis Management – Manila Bulletin, January 24, 2011 – The Police Regional Office (PRO) 4-A conducted Monday a seminar-workshop on Crisis Management Committee (CMC) at the Provincial Auditorium in the Batangas Capitol. READ MORE

Bigger New Products From PVB – By Remy Umerez, Journal Online, January 20, 2011 – WHENEVER we see Philippine Veterans Bank, we are reminded of Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto and how her awesome presence at the opening of the PVB Lipa branch last year made the event special and unforgettable. READ MORE

Vilma Santos orders creation of Verde Island Passage protection team – By Abigail Kwok,, January 19, 2011 – To protect its coastal waters, the province of Batangas created a special team that will specifically guard its bay area against illegal fishing and other attacks on marine life in the Verde Island Passage. READ MORE

Child stars as success stories; kiddie party hosting as a career – By Nestor Cuartero, Manila Bulletin, January 17, 2011 – MOST SUCCESSFUL CHILD STAR: Our story the other day on child actors whose lives have gone haywire is, but of course, only one face of showbiz. There is another face, the one chronicling the success of some of these so-called child stars of once upon a time. READ MORE

Sexist remarks ride on proposal to hire women as bus drivers – By Nestor Cuartero, Manila Bulletin, January 13, 2011 – HEARD: Why do celebrity girls – actresses of note – line up for the sexual services of a once inactive actor with exotic blood flowing in his veins? His conquests include the glamorous wife of a well-known personality and an equally glamorous singer-actress. The secret, they say, is in his weapon of mass destruction. READ MORE

Gov Vi urged to probe pollutant ship that escaped Batangas port – By Cris A, Ibon, The Philippine Star, January 09, 2011 – BATANGAS City – Environmentalists yesterday prodded Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto to pursue the investigation into the daring escape of a foreign vessel which caused massive pollution here and in Nasugbu since July 14 last year. READ MORE

Meeting the Mad Messiah: A conversation with filmmaker Celso Ad. Castillo – By Jessica Zafra, The Philippine Star, January 09, 2011 – When it was time to shoot the climactic dance scene in Burlesk Queen, Vilma Santos didn’t want to do it. She offered to return her talent fee. I’d already set up at the theatre with 500 extras when her assistant arrived and said she wasn’t coming. The following day I scheduled filming again. I informed William Leary who was her manager at the time. That night it was William Leary who showed up and said Vilma would return her fee. READ MORE

Tribute to Vi – By Mario Bautista,, January 07, 2011 – BATANGAS Gov. Vilma Santos does not have an entry in the Metro filmfest but her presence is very much felt because two Star Cinema entries pay tribute to her past films. READ MORE

Gov Vi to call for dialogue with Star Tollway officials – By Arnell Ozaeta, ABS-CBN News, January 04, 2011 – Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan will again call for a dialogue with the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Tollway officials to map out plans in implementing additional safety features, following the vehicular accident that killed 7 people last Sunday. READ MORE

Lingkod TV’s child star picks: Zaijian, Jillian and Bimby – By Marinel R. Cruz, Philippine Daily Inquire, January 01, 2011 – Comedy King Dolphy and Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos were awarded the Lifetime Achievement Awards “for their invaluable contributions to the industry, as well as for the programs they have implemented that benefited thousands of Filipino children.” READ MORE

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News Articles Links (2010)

Noted comics novelist Pablo S. Gomez dies of heart attack – By Annie S. Alejo, Manila Bulletin, December 28, 2010 – TV viewers know Gomez’ work like “Kampanerang Kuba,” an ABS-CBN soap starring Anne Curtis, inspired by the 1973 film of the same title, which starred Vilma Santos and Edgar Mortiz. Currently running on the same network is the afternoon drama-comedy series “Juanita Banana,” starring Bb. Pilipinas-Universe Bianca Manalo—also originally adapted into a movie in 1968 starring Rosemarie Sonora. READ MORE

Vilma guests in Balik-Bayan – The Philippine Star, December 29, 2010 – The holidays of the viewers will surely brighten up as the Star for all Seasons and now Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto (photo) guests in the two-part special of Star Awards Best Travel Show — Q-11’s Balik-Bayan. READ MORE

MMFF Best Actress Winners from 1975 to 2010 – Starmometer, December 28, 2010 – Second to Nora Aunor is the star for all seasons Vilma Santos with 4 wins (1977, 1981, 1989, 2004) and tied in third place with 3 wins each are Amy Austria (1980, 1988, 1996) and Maricel Soriano (1997, 2003, 2007). READ MORE

A look at the past MMFF controversies – ABS-CBN News, December 28, 2010 – It’s only the year, the faces and the names of participants to the annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) that change, but the essence and politics of the event remain the same. Controversies and issues have been rocking the MMFF, year in and year out. It’s the struggle to perfection that makes the difference. READ MORE

Dolphy, Vilma honored by Children’s TV and DepEd – Malaya, December 27, 2010 – The National Council for Children’s Television (NCCT) and the Department of Education (DepEd) will honor two of the most celebrated icons of Philippine television – Dolphy Quizon and Vilma Santos Recto, with a Lifetime Achievement Award in the 1st Lingkod TV Awards tomorrow, Dec. 28 at the Rajah Sulayman Theater, Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila. READ MORE

Stellar lessons in kindness and humility – By Rito Asilo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, December 24, 2010 – There’s a good reason why Vilma Santos is successful at everything she does. The legendary actress is as sincere as she is lovely—and she hasn’t allowed success to go to her head. Barely half a day after we asked for an interview with the busy actress-politician, we were surprised to get a call from an unlisted number, and the cheerful voice at the other end of the line claimed that she was—Ate Vi! READ MORE

Sen. Recto to savor Ate Vi’s ‘cooking’ – By Hannah L. Torregoza, Manila Bulletin, December 20, 2010 – MANILA, Philippines – Between politics and show business, there may be no other enduring love story that brings both worlds together than Ralph and Vi. Their very public lives have come together with such impact that their politics and their art have merged into one world, copied and recopied by celebrity couple after another from mega-couple Francis and Sharon to sweetie Chiz and Christine. READ MORE

Vilma and Dolphy to get Lingkod TV awards – By Boy Villasanta,, December 18, 2010 – Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos and Comedy King Dolphy will be presented Life Achievement Awards at the 1st Lingkod TV Awards scheduled on December 28, 2010 at the Rajah Sulayman Theater at Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila. The two veteran actors will be honored for their invaluable contribution in uplifting TV shows that are for the advancement of the interest of children. Santos’s and Dolphy’s TV programs have benefited thousands of Filipino youth. READ MORE

Vilma, Nora and the two faces of show business – By Nestor Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer, December 03, 2010 – When we were writing film scripts decades ago, one of the movie companies that kept us particularly busy was Atty. Esperidion Laxa’s Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions. We did one screenplay after another for him and directors like Romy Suzara, Ishmael Bernal and Maning Borlaz—and many of them turned out to be for movies starring then teen sensation, Vilma Santos, who was one of TIIP’s hottest “properties.” READ MORE

Vilma Santos talks about possible movie projects with Nora, Sharon – By Rowena Joy A. Sanchez, Manila Bulletin, December 02, 2010 – Vilma Santos is willing to make a movie with her biggest showbiz “rival” Nora Aunor, who is set to return to the Philippines within the month. “Wala naman sigurong masama [kung gumawa kami ni Nora ng pelikula] pero siguro ang importante ang script,” said the veteran actress-turned-public servant in an interview aired on “Juicy,” Dec. 1. READ MORE

Gov. Vi remains fond of Angel – By Ethel Ramos, Malaya, December 01, 2010 – BATANGAS Governor Vilma Santos was happy to learn that one of the finalists in “Sharon’s Search for the Next Pop Superstar,” a reality show on ABS-CBN, is from Lipa. READ MORE

The sensation – By Ed Sicam, November 30, 2010 – “D’Sensations D’ Sensations This is where the action is So c’mon and join the fun.” This was the song that kept ringing in my ears as I watched Governor Vilma Santos enter the function room of Annabel’s last Friday. As every dedicated Vilmanian like my friend Rey Manalo and anyone who was around in the 1970s know, this was Vi’s theme song on her variety show “D’Sensations” aired on ABS-CBN. That was a turbulent decade for the country and for Vilma, who was just in her teens when she did the show. READ MORE

Gov. Vi willing to help Ate Guy but in secret – By Mario Bautista, Malaya, November 30, 2010 – GOV. Vilma Santos hosted lunch at Chef Jessie’s Enchante Resto at Oakwood Ortigas on Thanksgiving Day and she led the prayer giving thanks to the Lord for all the blessings we have all received during the year. We then lifted her up to God for her to be able to discern what she’ll do next after being Batangas governor since a lot of people are requesting her to run for higher office. READ MORE

Governor Vilma Santos comments on Nora’s return, Sharon-Aga feud, and Luis-Angel failed reconciliation – By Erwin Santiago, PEP, November 27, 2010 – Kailan lang nagkabati si Batangas Governor Vilma Santos at ang kaibigan niyang aktor na si Aga Muhlach matapos nang halos dalawang taon nilang “tampuhan.” READ MORE

Governor Vilma Santos Wants to Have a TV Show on ABS-CBN –, November 27, 2010 – Higit sa kanyang pagiging isang public servant, unang nakilala ang isang Vilma Santos bilang isang artista. Nagsimula bilang isang child star sa pamamagitan ng Trudis Liit noong 1963, halos limang dekada nang nasa mundo ng showbiz ang Star for All Seasons. At hanggang ngayon, kahit nasa mundo na siya ng pulitika, hindi pa rin siya nawawalan ng movie offers. READ MORE

Governor Vilma Santos has many movie offers, but Batangas remains her priority – By Erwin Santiago, PEP, November 26, 2010 – Napuno ng press at Vilmanians ang second floor ng Annabel’s restaurant sa Tomas Morato, Quezon City, kaninang tanghali, November 26, dahil sa ipinatawag na get-together, thanksgiving, pre-Christmas party ni Batangas Governor Vilma Santos. READ MORE

Vi: Matagal din kaming may tampuhan ni Aga – By Ricardo F. Lo, The Philippine Star, November 26, 2010 – Over lunch yesterday with the first batch of movie writers she’s treating to a thanksgiving salu-salo (the second, bigger, batch’s turn is at noon today at a Tomas Morato restaurant), Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos admitted that, like Sharon Cuneta, she also had a long-drawn “cold war” with Aga Muhlach (whom she fondly calls Agaton) for reasons that she didn’t reveal anymore. READ MORE

Nestlé breaks ground for P4B Batangas factory – Malaya, November 24, 2010 – Nestlé Philippines Inc. yesterday broke ground for a new P4.3 billion factory in Tanauan, Batangas, that will produce Coffee Mate non-dairy creamer and Bear Brand powdered milk drink. READ MORE

Vilma Santos-Recto to deliver keynote address in tomorrow’s 5th OTOP Luzon Island Fair opening –, November 17, 2010, Batangas City – Batangas governor and actress Vilma Santos-Recto will serve as the keynote speaker in the opening of the 5th OTOP (One Town, One Product) Luzon Island Fair tomorrow (November 18) in Megatrade halls 1 and 2 of SM Megamall. Aside from the Star for All Seasons, Department of Trade & Industry secretary Gregory Domingo and some of the governors and mayors from the participating provinces and cities are also expected to grace the event. READ MORE

Batangas launches program to promote tourism, trade and industry –, November 16, 2010, By Charlie S. Dajao – Batangas City (November 16) — The Provincial Government of Batangas launched on November 8 the slogan “Batangas: It’s all here, it’s so near” for its provincial tourism program, in time of the province’s 429th foundation year to promote tourism, business and investments, its distinct products, and human resources. READ MORE

Vilma Santos celebrates 57th birthday with constituents and fans –, November 07, 2010, By Rommel Gonzales – Ang inakalang pamisa lang organized by her constituents and fans in celebration of her 57th birthday last Wednesday, November 3, turned out to be a grand event for Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto. “I truly, truly appreciate it! Fifty-seven years, I’ve been very, very blessed,” ang masayang bungad na pahayag ni Governor Vilma sa taped interview sa kanya kahapon ng StarTalk TX sa GMA-7. READ MORE

Governor Vilma Santos on Luis Manzano and Angel Locsin breakup: ‘Ang importante maiwan lang ang respeto sa isa’t-isa’ –, November 06, 2010, By Fionna Acaba – After publicly sharing how she likes Angel Locsin as a girlfriend for her son Luis Manzano, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos admitted that she feels sad about Luis and Angel’s decision to no longer try a reconciliation. “In a way, yes, kasi alam ko din naman yung naging samahan nilang dalawa kahit papaano alam kong nagmahalan yung dalawa—si Angel at si Luis—pero if it is not meant, it is not meant, you know. Baka hindi talaga pwede pero later on… We don’t know, e.” READ MORE

Vilma Santos offered 3 movie projects –, November 04, 2010, By Boy Villasanta – BATANGAS CITY, Batangas—A new movie project knocked anew at Vilma Santos’ door right on her birthday party at the provincial capitol of this city Wednesday afternoon. Internationally acclaimed filmmaker Adolf Alix, Jr. went straight to Santos to offer her a script sealed in an envelope.   READ MORE

Batangas first before movie projects — Vilma Santos –, November 04, 2010 – Bakas sa mukha ng Star for All Season ang kasiyahan sa surprised birthday celebration na inihanda sa kanya ng mga tauhan sa kapitolyo ng Batangas nitong Miyerkules. Bukod kasi sa kanyang mga constituents sa lalawigan, hindi rin nawala ang mga Vilmanians para bumati sa kanya sa kanyang kaarawan. READ MORE

Ate Vi reacts on Luis-Angel break up –, November 03, 2010, MANILA, Philippines- Batangas Gov. and “Star For All Seasons” Vilma Santos reacted on his son Luis and actress Angel Locsin’s decisions to move in different directions on Wednesday. In an interview with Showbiz News Ngayon, Santos, who has publicly supported the Luis-Angel off-screen relationship, expressed her sadness over the couple’s “separation of ways.” READ MORE

‘Ate Vi’ turns 57 –, November 03, 2010, MANILA, Philippines- Batangas Gov. and “Star For All Seasons” Vilma Santos is celebrating her 57th birthday today. Born Maria Rosa Vilma Santos, her legendary stardom started as a child wonder portraying “Trudis Liit” in 1963. The movie gave the then 9-year-old star her first Famas award as Best Child Performer. From then on, Santos’s star continues to shine. READ MORE

Pinakamagaling na aktres sa lahat ng panahon – SHOWBIZ WATCHER by Ogie Cruz, Asian Journal USA, October 31, 2010, Nalalapit na naman ang birthday ng pinakamagaling na aktres sa lahat ng panahon na si Vilma Santos sa November 3, kaya minabuti namin na maging topic namin siya sa aming column sa linggong ito. READ MORE

57 VIPs in Vi’s Life – October 31, 2010, CONVERSATIONS With Ricky Lo, Philippine Star – Fifty-seven looking Sweet Sixteen (to borrow the title of her hit song way back when she was, uhm, fresh as a daisy and thought that she could sing. Well, she could carry a tune but she eventually turned out to be not a singer but a great actress who has dozens of awards that have left no more space to display in. Name it, she has won it. READ MORE

Batangas governor campaigns ‘clean-up Fridays – October 30, 2010 – Manila Bulletin, Ferdinand Castro – Governor Vilma Santos Recto is rallying her constituents in the entire province to support and sustain a weekly province-wide clean up drive to improve health and sanitation, the environment, and traffic flow and reduce disaster risks. READ MORE

How stars reinvent themselves– STAR BYTES By Butch Francisco,, October 12, 2010 – MANILA, Philippines – Everyone wants to reach the top. That’s not so easy to do in showbiz (or anywhere else for that matter). Harder still is keeping your name up there. Once you get to the peak, you never want to come down. Since there’s no such thing as forever, most people in entertainment look for alternative ways to keep their name ablaze by reinventing themselves. Even movie queens actually, especially movie queens try to hang on to their positions and most of them do succeed. Last Tuesday, I already traced how Carmen Rosales, Nida Blanca and Gloria Romero maintained their queenly status. Here’s what the rest of them did.  READ MORE

‘ALAY LAKAD’ NETS SCHOLARSHIP FUND –, October 9, 3020 – Some 7,000 participants joined the walk for a cause under the successful 2010 edition of the Batangas Provincial Government’s Alay Lakad, which concluded at the Capitol grounds from three kick-off points, which netted around P2 million for the province’s scholarship fund. Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos Recto led the annual march escorted by matinee idol Diether Ocampo, who personally advocates community service through his pro-children K.I.D.S. Foundation, and Roberto Huang, president of San Miguel Brewery, Inc., which donated P1 million to the educational aid organization.  READ MORE

Gov. Vilma Santos Opens Her Home to ‘Us Girls’ – Starmometer, September 23, 2010 – Find out what’s keeping Star for All Seasons, Vilma Santos busy these days as “Us Girls” visits her home in Batangas this Sunday (Sep 26). READ MORE

Be Beautiful, be Ageless – By Heizel Laruan Mainar, Manila Bulletin, September 21, 2010 – Eskinol’s visibility in the market for 65 years makes it a formidable brand. And as Sara Lee’s marketing manager Joanne Co explains, Eskinol’s Ageless line will continue the brand’s heritage to be a household name, just like the time when the Star-for-all-Seasons Vilma Santos, now Batangas Governor, graced the boobtube with her countless Eskinol endorsements. So, by choosing an anti-aging cream that works, any mother and daughter will have youthful skin without breaking the budget. READ MORE

Jueteng still rampant in Batangas – By Arnell Ozaeta, ABS-CBN News, Sep 20, 2010 – Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto, however, denied the report and insisted that her administration is against any form of gambling including jueteng. READ MORE

Bright spots on the entertainment scene – By Nestor Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Aug 29, 2010 – THE best show biz news this month is Sharon Cuneta’s decision to finally lose weight to get back into “fighting” trim, after several years of allowing herself to slide into “ample” mode. Sharon says she’s already lost more than 17 pounds—a testament to her determination and will power.   READ MORE

An evening with Vilma THEN & NOW – By Norma Japitana, The Philippine Star, Aug 27, 2010 – THEN: January 7, 1990 — 20 years ago. Vilma Santos is content, beautiful and full of cheer. That was the impression she gave us the evening we went out to celebrate her winning as Best Actress for her performance in Immortal. The party was an impromptu affair led by Vic del Rosario of Viva who wants to give his Best Actress time to unwind and talk with friends after a suspenseful week of waiting for the awards night.   READ MORE

Boyet: 53 lessons in life – FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo, The Philippine Star, Aug 27, 2010 – In his 35 years as an actor, Christopher “Boyet” de Leon has portrayed every character in the book, from good guys (as he always does) to bad guys (as he sometimes does). In Sa’yo Lamang, the 17th-anniversary offering of Star Cinema directed by Laurice Guillen and opening nationwide on Wednesday, Sept. 1, Boyet is reunited with Lorna Tolentino in a family drama reminiscent of the 2000 award-winning film Tanging Yaman also directed by Guillen that swept the awards and finished the top-grosser of that year’s Metro Filmfest.   READ MORE

Gov. Vi: You won’t like me when I’m angry – By Remy Umerez, August 26 2010 – HOW much do you know about Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos Recto? During the Lipa branch inauguration of Philippine Veterans Bank where she was guest of honor, we discovered her love and devotion to her constituents and how eloquent Vilma has become as a public speaker. She also remains sincere, appreciative and so approachable. READ MORE

Vilma Santos supports protection of marine biodiversity areas – By Abigail Kwok, Aug. 19, 2010 – Local government officials led by Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto have pledged their support for the protection of marine biodiversity conservation sites in the country. READ MORE

“Noranians” asked Gov. Vilma Santos to suspend fishing zoning ordinance – By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Aug. 16, 2010 – Claiming the municipal fishing ordinances implemented have limited fishing activities in the first district and other coastal towns of the province, a loose alliance of small fishermen known as Network Opposed to Fishing Ordinance and Regressive Taxations (Noranians) had asked Batangas Gov. Vilma SantosVilma Santos to immediately and indefinitely suspend the implementation of these ordinances. READ MORE

The Things That Matter to John Lloyd Cruz -By Vic Sevilla, –, Aug. 12, 2010 – IF John Lloyd Cruz is beaming these days, it’s only because the shower of good luck falling on his side of the fence doesn’t appear to be letting up. Just days ago, Judge Alfredo Ampuan of the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court junked the tax case filed against him by the Bureau of Internal Revenue “due to technicalities and lack of probable cause,” as the ruling stated. READ MORE

Edu to host game show on GMA – By Mario Bautista, Malaya, August 12, 2010 – EVER since we wrote that independent films maven Atty. Joji Alonso wants to get Vilma Santos for an indie film meant to be shown in filmfest abroad, Ate Vi’s fans have been asking for the latest development about it. They’re excited for their idol as it might win her best actress awards in international film festivals, like what Atty. Joji did for Gina Pareno in “Kubrador.”  READ MORE

Jon says thank you to his mentors – By Leah C. Salterio, The Philippine Star, August 12, 2010 – MANILA, Philippines – When one talks about comedians in the local entertainment scene — from comedy king Dolphy and the versatile Joey de Leon to newcomers like Vice Ganda, Pokwang or Eugene Domingo — the name of Jon Santos inevitably crops up.   READ MORE

Top 10 Most Wicked Pinay Contrabidas –    By Pietro Santos, August 3, 2010 – By Remy M. Umerez Philippine Daily Inquirer July 30, 2010 – Filipinas might be known for their refined and timid ways, but some of them can definitely bring out their bad sides when the need arises. Local soap operas and movies are more fun to watch with wicked female villains who’ll slap, splash some red wine, or throw some acid on someone’s face. lists 10 of the most memorable Pinay contrabidas whom we all just love to hate–from the divas who’ve been at it for decades to the younger baddies who are just getting their contrabida groove on.  READ MORE

Vilma Santos has so much to be thankful for  – By Remy M. Umerez Philippine Daily Inquirer July 30, 2010 – VILMA SANTOS-RECTO was the guest of honor at the inauguration of the Philippine Veterans Bank branch at SmB bldg., JP Laurel highway, Lipa City. After delivering a speech, she chatted with us.  READ MORE

Gov. Vi calls for action on Batangas coal spill – By Ferdinand F. Castro Manila Bulletin July 30, 2010 – Governor Vilma Santos Recto appealed Friday to concerned parties to take swift action in avoiding an environmental disaster in the coast of Nasugbu where an Indonesia-registered barge spilled coal two weeks ago. READ MORE

Gov. Vilma graces Philippine Veterans Bank opening – The Philippine Star July 30, 2010 – The inauguration of Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB) Lipa City branch was graced by Batangas Governor Vilma Santos who also led the ribbon-cutting ceremony with PVB president and CEO Ricardo Balbido Jr. READ MORE

The ‘Star for All Seasons’ is now a true-blue politician – By Mario Bautista Malaya July 26, 2010 – WE can’t help but feel proud of our Ate Vi when she was called to deliver a speech as the guest speaker at the inauguration of the new Philippine Veterans Bank branch at SMB Bldg, JP Laurel Highway in Lipa City. Vilma Santos is definitely now not just the “Star for All Seasons” but a true-blue seasoned politician. Her speech was spontaneous but she delivered every word she said with sincerity and aplomb. No wonder the Batanguenos love her so much, and you can see this with the respect and admiration they accord her. READ MORE

Gov. Vi excited to go indie – By Crispina Mattinez-Belen Manila Bulletin July 25, 2010 – We had the chance to interview Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto last Wednesday during the formal inauguration of Philippine Veterans Bank’s Lipa City Branch. VP for Communications Mike Villa-Real brought us to Lipa City for this special occasion in which Gov. Vi, who was mayor of the city for three terms, was the special guest. READ MORE

Gov. Vi’s star power – July 24, 2010 – HAD Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto ran for Vice President she would have won in a landslide and no one would have protested. We witnessed the love and respect the Lipaeños showered the Star For All Seasons (and Generations) at the inauguration of the Philippine Veterans Bank in Lipa . At one point, she chose to walk on the street to shake the hands of her kababayans who supported her and her husband Ralph in the last elections despite the drizzle. READ MORE

Gov. Vi tempted to do serious film eyeing int’l market – By Nestor Cuartero Manila Bulletin July 24, 2010 – GOV. VI: Batangas’ first woman governor may have said earlier that she’ll keep off acting for sometime to focus on her governance work, but it looks like she’s ready to be seduced by a good offer any old time.  READ MORE

The story behind the storytellers – By Ronald Lim, Manila Bulletin, July 23, 2010 – Ask any ordinary Filipino moviegoer who Nora Aunor or Vilma Santos is, and they are bound to at least have an idea who these people are. But any mention of directors outside of Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal, or those who helm today’s “kilig” films would probably result in a confused stare. READ MORE

Regal kicks off 50th anniversary celebration – By Jocelyn Dimaculangan PEP July 21, 2010 – When Mother Lily Monteverde faced the members of the press last night, July 20, she reminisced about the humble beginnings of Regal Films five decades ago.  READ MORE

Malnourished Batangueño kids down by 2,430 – Malaya July 20, 2010 – THE provincial government’s 2009 Operation Timbang results for pre-school children showed that the prevalence rate of malnourished Batangueños was lessened by 2,430 kids, or a significant drop from 6.30 percent in 2008 to 5.37 percent last year. READ MORE

Aid for ‘Basyang’ victims – By Ferdinand Castro, Manila Bulletin, July 17, 2010 – In the aftermath of typhoon “Basyang’s” unexpected onslaught, the provincial government, upon the orders of Governor Vilma Santos-Recto, gave financial assistance to the families of victims, who lost their lives during the calamity. READ MORE

Mariel denies fighting with Luis Manzano –, July 13, 2010 – Actress-host Mariel Rodriguez broke her silence on a report saying Batangas governor and Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos called the attention of her son Luis Manzano for teasing her. The report said the governor asked her son Luis to take it easy when making jokes at Rodriguez especially during live shows. READ MORE

The workbooks that need more work – By Chelo Banal-Formoso Philippine Daily Inquirer July 12, 2010 – Giron said she had also ordered the superintendent to write to DLSL to correct the errors in another set of workbooks, the Project Vi Grades 1 to 3 English workbooks, revised versions of the Project K workbooks that have been distributed to eight municipalities in Batangas under the auspices of Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto. DLSL owns the copyright to both versions.  READ MORE

Cultural media tapped as tool for climate change education – By Rhodina Villanueva The Philippine Star July 08, 2010 – The MOA signing, witnessed by Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto and Quezon City councilor and Climate Change Ambassador Alfred Vargas, was also signed by DepEd Region 4-A director Dr. Paraluman Giron and National Council for Children’s Television director Frank Rivera.READ MORE

Luis says no to love scene with Vice Ganda – By Mario Bautista Malaya July 08, 2010 – “I’m very proud of her and my stepdad (Sen. Ralph Recto) as they really have so many plans to help other people. ‘Yun nga lang, bihira kami magkita as I’m doing two movies right now. Aside from ‘Hating Kapatid,’ I also play the love interest of Vice Ganda in ‘Petrang Kabayo.’ I also have a new daily show, ‘Panahon Ko To’ with Billy Crawford then I’m doing ‘E Live’ pa on Saturday and ‘ASAP’ on Sunday. So wala akong day off and I really work every single day of the week.”  READ MORE

Noel Cabangon says he didn’t have to give P-Noy singing tips – By Bayani San Diego Jr. Philippine Daily Inquirer July 05, 2010 – We’ve been doing that in all our campaign sorties in the past. I think the VIPs had no choice but to stand up because President Noynoy himself took the lead,” Cabangon said. “Sabi nga nila marami raw natamaan sa kanta. (I was told a lot of people got hit by the song’s lyrics). But that’s the whole point of the song, to remind everyone that we all need to be good citizens…that change has to come from within us.” READ MORE

Seven-kilometer painting on canvas – The Manila Times July 02, 2010 – On June 28, the country successfully achieved its target of creating a 7.3-kilometer painting on canvas in its bid to clinch the Guiness Book of Records title as the World’s Longest Painting. Focusing on the single theme of fishes and water, the painting, according to scenographer Rollie de Leon, head of the On the Spot Artists’ Association (OTSAA), which spearheaded the creation of such painting, involved about 6,000 artists since it was started in 2005.  READ MORE

Vilma pamilya pa rin ang prayoridad – Bandera July 01, 2010 – MATAGUMPAY na pamilya. Sa ganu’n lang namin mailalarawan ngayon ang pamilya Recto na siyempre pa’y binubuo nina Senator Ralph Recto, Governor Vilma Santos, Luis Manzano at Ryan Christian. Lahat sila’y matagumpay, wala na nga sigurong mahihiling pa ngayon si Governor Vilma, dahil matatagumpay sila sa kani-kanilang linya. Nakabalik sa kanyang posisyon si Senador Ralph, napanatili naman ni Governor Vilma ang kanyang asim sa mga Batangue?matagumpay na aktor-TV host si Luis at si Ryan naman ay isang matalinong estudyante. READ MORE

Gov. Vilma Santos warns fellow actors, politics is no picnic – By Rey Pumaloy PEP June 30, 2010 – Nanumpa nang muli ang Star for All Seasons na si Vilma Santos bilang gobernador ng lalawigan ng Batangas noong Lunes ng umaga, June 28, sa auditorium ng Batangas Provincial Office. Ito ang ikalawang term ng actress-politician sa naturang posisyon. Nauna rito ay nanungkulan siya bilang mayor ng Lipa City sa loob ng siyam na taon o tatlong terms.  READ MORE

Over half million attend Noynoy inaugural rites, police say – GMA News June 30, 2010 – At 10 a.m. Wednesday, over 500,000 people flocked to the Quirino Grandstand in Manila for the inauguration of President-elect Benigno Aquino III, police said. In an interview with GMANews.TV, National Capital Region Police Office head Director Roberto Rosales said “the area at the grandstand is not yet filled up. Later, the number [of people] might reach 700,000.” READ MORE

Governor Vi swears in Ralph Recto, Christopher De Leon – By Anya Santos Manila Bulletin June 29, 2010 – Two-time Batangas governor, Vilma Santos-Recto, was formally sworn in by Batangas RTC Judge Florencio Arellano on June 28, 2010. With her re-election, Governor Vi extended her gratitude to the people of Batangas for their trust and unwavering support. More than that, the Governor promised to step up her service to her constituents on her second term. READ MORE

Vilma Santos leads oath-taking of LP winners in Batangas – By Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News June 28, 2010 – MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) – It was a family affair over at the Batangas Capitol building on Monday morning as re-elected Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto took her oath of office together with her husband, returning senator Ralph Recto. READ MORE

Bishop on Lipa casino: No dice – By Vito Barcelo Manila Standard Today June 28, 2010 – THE archbishop of Lipa has urged re-elected Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto to stop the construction of gambling facilities at an exclusive resort in the province, near the newly erected Parish of St. Therese church. “May I respectfully beg your honor not to allow these immoralities taint your good record,” Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said in a letter dated June 7. READ MORE

The cruise that refreshes – By Ricardo F. Lo The Philippine Star June 28, 2010 – Three weeks after the May 10 elections in which they both emerged winners (she reelected Batangas governor and he elected senator), Vilma Santos and husband Ralph Recto hied off to the States for a well-deserved R&R. “The past elections were the hardest I’ve been through,” admitted Vilma who first completed three terms as Lipa City mayor before she ran for governor (now on her second term). “Three parties merged against me and I fought a good fight. But as I’ve been saying, now that the elections are over, dapat magkaisa na kaming mga taga-Batangas para sa probinsya namin, at para sa bayan.” READ MORE

Censors celebrate the movies – By Bayani San Diego Jr. Philippine Daily Inquirer June 27, 2010 – It’s surreal, some filmmakers have pointed out, that the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) decided to honor the year’s best films and performances with a first-ever awards ceremony. In short, that’s celebrating, instead of censuring movie people. READ MORE

ABS-CBN big winner at GMMSF Entertainment Awards – June 24, 2010 – Luis Manzano accepted the Best Actress trophy in behalf of his mom Vilma Santos for the same family film and thanked her and her Vilmanians for the unwavering support. READ MORE

Governor Vi visits Taal evacuees — report – June 23, 2010 – Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto on Wednesday visited her constituents who fled their homes due to restive Taal Volcano, a radio report said. Radio dzRH reported late Wednesday that Santos-Recto visited the families staying at evacuation centers in San Nicolas, Balete and Talisay towns in the province to distribute relief goods. READ MORE

Kapuso remakes Ravelo’s Trudis Liit – By Isah V. Red Manila Standard Today June 21, 2010 – Vilmanians are reacting in a variety of ways with Kapuso’s decision to remake the landmark movie that made Vilma Santos a household name in the early ’60s. Some are happy, but very few I hear are not, especially those who are dyed-in-the-wool Kapamilya followers.  READ MORE

Batangas on alert for Taal Volcano – Manila Bulletin June 14, 2010 – The Batangas Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) together with Philippine National Police Provincial Office (PNPPO), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and local disaster units held an emergency meeting at the Provincial Capitol to draw out plans for the immediate response and disaster management to affected towns around Taal Volcano as it shows signs of possible eruption. READ MORE

Comparing ABS-CBN ‘Wowowee’ hosts Luis Manzano and Willie Revillame –  By Lisa Bacani June 12, 2010 – As you know Willie Revillame has been absent from his hosting duties on the popular ABS-CBN variety show “Wowowee”, and a line-up of celebrities were alternating as host for Wowowee during Willie’s absence such as; Robin Padilla, Billy Joe Crawford, John Lloyd Cruz, Luis Manzano and recently Gabby Concepcion and his daughter KC Concepcion. READ MORE

Jovit Baldovino’s manager clarifies issue regarding ‘snubbing’ Governor Vi’s election sorties – By Anya Santos June 11, 2010 – On a June 1 tabloid report, “Pilipinas Got Talent” finalist Jovit Baldovino was reported to have reneged on a deal to sing during a campaign gathering for Batangas Governor Vilma Santos, who was then gunning for re-election. In that report, Baldovino’s camp was said to have canceled the young singer’s appearance at the last minute in lieu of accepting an invitation from Governor Vi’s opponent because of a much bigger talent fee.  READ MORE

My star-struck moments – By Butch Francisco The Philippine Star June 05, 2010 – In spite of the fact that I had been in the business of interviewing and interacting with celebrities for heaven knows how long, I never gave myself the chance to pause and ponder if I got star-struck by certain showbiz personalities. But first things first: If you are from the industry, it’s a different kind of star-struck feeling that you get when you are constantly exposed to movie stars. You get star-struck on a different — and definitely more personal — level. READ MORE

Ai Ai Delas Alas goes back to school – By Mario Dumaual, ABS-CBN News June 3, 2010 – Actor-politicians like Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos, who earned a certificate course in the same college, and incoming QC Mayor Herbert Bautista have inspired her to go back to school, the actress said. READ MORE

GMA scraps mature drama in favor of ‘Trudis Liit’ – By Mario Bautista Malaya June 2, 2010 – Due to the huge success of “Momay” starring child actress Xyriel Manabat, GMA-7 is shelving the mature drama “Bakit Kay Tagal ng Sandali” with Maxene Magalona and replacing it with the remake of a movie also starring a child star, “Trudis Liit,” the first movie of Vilma Santos in 1963. READ MORE

No meddler, this Ate Vi – By Dolly Anne Carvajal Philippine Daily Inquirer May 30, 2010 – Angel Locsin denies rumors that Ate Vi (Vilma Santos) hurled invectives at her and told son Luis Manzano to break up with her. “Tita Vi never meddled in my relationship with Luis,” Angel clarifies. “She never treated me in a bad way. Super bait niya po sa akin until now, kahit split na kami ni Luis.” READ MORE

John Lloyd, Sarah named Box-office King and Queen  – Vilma Santos, was selected Film Actress of the Year – By Butch Francisco May 29, 2010 – John Lloyd Cruz and Sarah Geronimo are again this year’s Box-Office King and Queen and they are being awarded for the huge success at the tills of their 2009 romantic comedy You Changed My Life (from Viva Films and Star Cinema). Last year, they also won the same titles for A Very Special Love, 2008’s monster hit. READ MORE

Kris releases ‘thank you’ K mag for stars who helped Noy – May 28, 2010 – MANILA, Philippines – To express her appreciation to all the stars and personalities who helped her brother, president-apparent Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III during the campaign, Queen of All Media Kris Aquino released a “thank you” issue of her magazine “The Kris Aquino Magazine (K Magazine).” READ MORE

Vilma Santos throws star-studded victory party – By Boy Villasanta May 26, 2010 – BATANGAS CITY—As what actor Christopher de Leon expressed on Tuesday afternoon, “this is a powerhouse cast.” He was referring, of course, to the luminaries present during the victory and thanksgiving celebrations thrown by re-elected Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos at the front ramp of the provincial capital hall in this city. READ MORE

Ate Vi – Bandera May 19, 2010 – PINAKAMATAMIS ang tagumpay na hawak ngayon ni Governor Vilma Santos-Recto kumpara sa nakaraang apat na beses niyang pagtakbo. Mas mahigpit, mas marami, mas personal ang pinagdaanan niyang laban bilang gobernador uli ng Batangas. Sa mismong mga salita ni Governor Vilma, “‘Yung mga taong kumukuha sa akin noon para kumandidatong vice-president na naniniwala sa kapasidad ko, nu’ng tanggihan ko sila, ‘yun pa mismo ang mga taong nagkaisa para kalabanin at ilaglag ako.”  READ MORE

Edu Manzano disappointed over defeat, says son – By Napoleon Quintos May 17, 2010 – MANILA, Philippines – Luis Manzano admitted that he felt sad for his father, Edu Manzano, who lost his bid for vice presidency in the national elections. Luis said he spoke with his dad over the phone when the counting of votes began, and he revealed that his father was disappointed that he lost in the elections.  READ MORE

For Krina Cayabyab, it’s in the genes – By Nestor Torre May 17, 2010 – LAST WEEK, we got word that Ryan and Emmy Cayabyab’s daughter, Krina, composed a song that had gotten into the finals of Filscap’s ongoing songwriting tilt.   READ MORE

FUNFARE: Sweet victory for Vi , Lucy – By Ricardo F. Lo May 15, 2010 – The first thing that reelected Batangas Gov. Vilma “Ate Vi” Santos did when she learned that she won by a landslide in the last May 10 elections was heave a big sigh of relief. “It was the hardest campaign that I ever survived,” Vi told Funfare in an exclusive interview. “Sa lahat ng laban ko, ito ang pinaka-mahirap. Three parties joined forces against me, so my team and I had to work harder. Ang daming issues na ibinato sa akin but fortunately, as the election results showed, my constituents didn’t believe them.” READ MORE

Vilma Santos re-elected as Batangas governor – May 13, 2010 – MANILA, Philippines – Actress-turned-politician Vilma Santos has been re-elected governor of Batangas. The Commission on Elections’ board of canvassers on Wednesday night proclaimed her the winner of the gubernatorial race in the province. READ MORE

3-D graphics on GMA7 create buzz among viewers – By Candice Montenegro May 13, 2010 – A day after the May 10 elections, presidential front runner Sen. Noynoy Aquino was in his hometown in Tarlac but television viewers saw GMA News anchor Mike Enriquez interviewing him as if he were inside GMA Network’s Eleksyon 2010 studio in Quezon City.  READ MORE

Ate Vi, Boyet, Singsons, Dutertes win – By L Manalo, B Tesiorna, F Lazaro Tempo May 12, 2010 – Actress Vilma Santos-Recto was reelected governor of Batangas by a wide margin in the elections last Monday. She defeated Sto. Tomas Mayor Edna Sanchez by more than 200,000 votes. Mayor Sanchez substitued for her husband, former Gov. Arman Sanchez, who died a few days before the elections. READ MORE

Those who win, those who are leading – By Ricardo F. Lo May 12, 2010 – Last Monday’s elections were probably one of the most star-studded. I’m referring not only to actor-politicians but also to candidates who have showbiz affiliation. As everybody must have known by now, popularity is a double-edged weapon. It can either make or unmake a candidate. It’s not a guarantee that a popular actor is winnable.  READ MORE

Vilma Santos winning in Batangas – May 11, 2010 – Commission on Elections (Comelec) partial and official results from 25 out of 34 municipalities in Batangas showed that Santos was leading by a wide margin over Edna Sanchez.  Santos had 360, 028 votes votes while Sanchez had only 243,832 votes. READ MORE

Vilma Santos to be honored at 7th Golden Screen Awards – By Boy Villasanta May 05, 2010 – MANILA, Philippines – By virtue of her illustrious string of performances on screen, re-electionist Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos will be feted with the Lino Brocka Lifetime Achievement Award at the Entertainment Press Society, Inc.’s (Enpress) 7th Golden Screen Awards at Teatrino in Greenhills Wednesday night.  READ MORE 

Death lulls action-packed Batangas gubernatorial race – By Aie Balagtas See GMANews.TV May 03, 2010 – With only a week to go before election day, gubernatorial candidates all over the country are busy charming their constituents to ensure victory in the May 10 polls. But in the province of Batangas, all is quiet on the electoral front for now. It hardly seemed that way two Sundays ago, when former Governor Armando Sanchez was courting the support of the local village chiefs of Bauan town to help him claim back the post he had lost to film celebrity-turned-politician Vilma Santos-Recto in 2007.   READ MORE 

Re-electionist Gov. Vi resumes campaigning in Batangas – By Ferdinand F Castro Manila Bulletin May 01, 2010 – Re-electionist Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto resumed campaigning Saturday after resting for three days in deference to the death of her closest politic rival, ex-Batangas Governor Arman Sanchez. Her caravan traveled along the main thoroughfares of Batangas City, showcasing other candidates running under the Liberal Party.   READ MORE 

Elderly women share best actress award for ‘Lola’ – “You’re nominated for Best Actress but you’re running against Vilma, so you should be nervous” – By Marinel Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer May 01, 2010 – MANILA, Philippines—Veteran actresses Anita Linda and Rustica Carpio, who play two elderly women at opposing ends of a murder case in the Brillante Mendoza drama “Lola,” shared the Best Actress award at the 33rd Urian Awards given by the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino on Thursday night.   READ MORE 

Vilma Santos to postpone sorties after rival dies – By Aie Balagtas See GMA News April 28, 2010 – Batangas Governor and re-electionist Vilma Santos-Recto will temporarily postpone her campaign sorties as a sign of respect for her rival Armand Sanchez who died on Tuesday.   READ MORE  

Sanchez dies; Santos a shoo-in  – Manila Standard Today April 28, 2010 – Former Batangas Gov. Armando Sanchez died Tuesday night after suffering from a stroke while campaigning, a family doctor said Tuesday. The damage to his brain was so severe that the semi-comatose Sanchez had only “5 to 10 percent survival rate,” Isagani Bolompo, Sanchez’s family doctor and medical spokesman, told reporters earlier at the Mary Mediatrix Medical Center in Lipa City. Sanchez died at 7:20 p.m. from multi-pulmonary arrest and secondary cerebral hemorrhage, Bolompo said.   READ MORE

Disqualification case a ‘desperate move’ by rival – By Marrah Erika Lesaba Inquirer April 26, 2010 – BATANGAS CITY, Philippines — Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto called the disqualification suit filed against her by the camp of her rival, Armando Sanchez, as a political harassment and a “really desperate move” by her detractors.   READ MORE 

In My Life tops 26th PMPC Star Awards for Movies – April 26, 2010 – MANILA, Philippines – Star Cinema’s In My Life topped the 26th PMPC Star Awards for Movies held last Saturday night at Ateneo’s Henry Lee Irwin Theater — Movie Actress for Vilma Santos (who was not present), John Lloyd Cruz, Movie Actor, Luis Manzano, Movie Supporting Actor, Olivia Lamasan, Movie Director, Charlie Peralta, Movie Cinematography, Raymond Lee, Olivia Lamasan and Senedy Que, Movie Original Screenplay, and Movie of the Year.   READ MORE 

Star Awards honors Carlo J. Caparas, In My Life big winner with seven nods – April 26, 2010 – In spite the tsunami of criticism that swamped over him after he was named a National Artist last year, komiks writer and film director Carlo J. Caparas received a special citation for his achievements at the 26th Star Awards for Movies on Saturday night.   READ MORE 

‘In My Life’ wins big in Star Awards – ABS-CBN April 25, 2010 – MANILA, Philippines – It was a landslide victory for Star Cinema’s “In My Life” at the 26th Star Awards for Movies on Saturday. The film won best picture, best director for Olivia Lamasan, best supporting actor for Luis Manzano, best actor for John Lloyd Cruz, and best actress for Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos.   READ MORE 

Vilma Santos to appear in TV ad with Aquino – By Philip Tubeza Philippine Daily Inquirer April 18, 2010 – Batangas, Philippines – Will the Vilmanians vote for Noynoy? With only three more weeks to go before the elections, the Liberal Party (LP) is expected to come out with a TV ad showing one of its showbiz heavyweights, Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos, endorsing LP standard-bearer Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. READ MORE 

The then and the now – By Norma Japitana The Philippine Star April 04, 2010 – MANILA, Philippines – THEN: Catch a flashback of an evening of confidences written for a column on Jan. 5, 1989. It was an interesting mix to start with. Babette Villaruel, Mama Monchang, Bong de Leon and Mar Cornes hugging a corner of that magnificent garden at Forbes Park. We have come a long way, baby, since that time we all enjoyed the highlights of Aling Maring’s merienda at El Oro. READ MORE 

Vilma, Ralph Join Noy-Mar Team boost LP Star Power – Inquirer Nov 17, 2009  READ MORE 

Vilma Santos will show viewers her house in Alabang – PEP August 12, 2009 – After her special dance production last Saturday, Vilma Santos will now open her home as viewers get to know the respected actress as a mother, sister and friend for the third episode of Vilma: A Woman for All Seasons on ABS-CBN.  READ MORE 

Most Memorable Moments in Philippine Movies from 1950 onwards– Pinoy Showbiz Portal, by Mario E. Bautista 2010 – Part kami ng tinatawag na henerasyon ng baby boomers na isinilang pagkatapos ng World War II at lumaki sa impluwensiya ng pinilakang tabing. Growing up as a child in the 1950s, wala pa noong telebisyon kaya ang pangunahing libangan ng aming pamilya ay manood ng sine tuwing weekends. Hindi na namin mabilang kung ilang local movies ang napanood namin sa Life, Dalisay at Center Theatres. Sa loob ng madilim na sinehan, the medium of cinema has the power to transport you to another world and, through the following decades, napakarami na ng unforgettable moments ang aming naranasan habang nanonood kami ng palabas sa higanteng telon. We want to share some of them here with you. READ MORE

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted materials the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to preserve the film legacy of actress, Ms. Vilma Santos-Recto and informations available to future generations. We believe this is NOT an infringement of any such copyrighted materials as in accordance to the the fair dealing clauses of both the Canadian and U.S. Copyright legislations, both of which allows users to engage in certain activities relating to research, private study, criticism, review, or news reporting. We are making an exerted effort to mention the source of the material, along with the name of the author, performer, maker, or broadcaster for the dealing to be fair, again in accordance with the allowable clauses. For more info visit, Wikipedia

The Bernal-Santos Collaborations

Considered the number one director of Vilma Santos, National Artist, Ishmael Bernal contributed significantly to her success. Their collaborations as actor and director spanned three decades. Eight films in total, almost a dozen best actress for Santos and a several best director for Bernal not including nominations both locally and internationally. He was quoted saying: “In Ikaw ay Akin, Vilma was already conscious of her own particular style of acting…which can be described as minimal, less is more. The fewer and simpler gestures, the greater effect…(Working in Pahiram Ng Isang Umage, Bernal said)…she had become an artist, no longer a movie star and just following the director’s instructions..” Their films are still relevant, timeless and to this day, being celebrated by many.

The early seventies brought a new phase in Vilma Santos’ career. Now 18 and after a successful stints as a child actress, she faced the musical trend dominated by singing teen sensations like Perla Adea, Esperanza Fabon, Eddie Perigrina, Edgar Mortiz, Tirso Cruz III and rival, Nora Aunor. She was successful enough that she made nine films (including the film adaptation of the television musical variety show, The Sensations) in 1971, the year Ishmael Bernal started his film career as director. Fresh from film school and at a young age of 33 (he received a Film Directing diploma in Film Institute of India in 1970) directed two full length feature films, “Daluyong!” and “Pagdating sa Dulo.” Daluyong starred Rossana Ortiz, Alona Alegre and Ronaldo Valdez while Pagdating featured the late Miss Rita Gomez and Vic Vargas. Pagdating earned Bernal his first award for best screenplay and a nomination for best director from FAMAS, the local equivalent of OSCAR during that time. Both films, Pagdating sa Dulo and Daluyong were critically acclaimed and commercial success.

The following year, Santos made fourteen films, mostly forgettable musicals. It was also a year where her benefactor started to positioned her as more of a film actress than a singing film star. The results was successful experiments that showcased her comedic ability (Ang Kundoktora), screaming action stunts (Takbo Vilma Dali) and dramatic capability (Dama De Noche). Her followers was delighted when she earned her first acting recognition the next year receiving the FAMAS best actress via Dama De Noche. Most of her films in 1972 were directed by Emmanuel Borlaza however, she was able to do one film with Ishmael Bernal, “Inspiration” with the late Jay Ilagan, one of her regular film partner. According to Bernal, the film wasn’t as successful as what he expected, as the film flopped. Aside from Inspiration, Bernal did two other films, El Vibora (starring Vic Vargas and Boots Anson Roa) and Till Death Do Us Part (starring the young Hilda Koronel and Victor Laurel).

1973 turned out to be a banner year for Vilma Santos as she emerged on top with box office hits one film after another. Nine films altogether that featured her in different genres (comedy – “Tsismosang Tindera;” fantasy – “Maria Cinderella,” “Dyesebel at ang Mahiwagang Kabibe” and ”Ophelia at Paris;” action/fantasy – “Wonder Vi,” “Lipad, Darna, Lipad,” and “Darna and the Giants;” horror – “Anak ng Aswang” and teenybopper – “Carinosa” and “Now and Forever”). While Vilma was productive Bernal, like the past two years did only two films, one was the comedy fantasy starring television host and comedian Ariel Ureta in a spin off of Superman, “Zoom, Zoom, Superman!” and his film wih Vi, “Now and Forever” with Edgar Mortiz.

Vilma’s box office dominance continued the next year with twelve films mostly comedy, horror and action/fantasies. It also gave her the chance to work with veteran actors such as Charito Solis in “Mga Tigre ng Sierra Cruz,” Joseph Estrada in “The King and I,” Fernando Poe Jr. in “Batya’t Palu-palo” and international action star, Meng Fei in “Twin Fists of Justice.” Bernal and Santos will not do any films for a few years as he started directing Vilma’s rival, Nora Aunor in her television drama series Ang makulay na daigdig ni Nora. Aside from his TV work, he did “Pito ang asawa ko” and the film reuniting him with Ariel Ureta, “Si Popeye, atbp” after the success of Zoom Zoom Superman.

1975 was another productive year for Vilma Santos as she did nine films mostly title roles like Vilma Viente Nueve, Darna Vs the Planet Women, and Ibong Lukaret. It was the “prep” stage for the years to come as she was given more mature roles like the local festival entry, “Karugtong ang Kahapon” and Celso Ad Castillo’s “Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw.”  Tagulan was the first film of Vilma and Christopher De Leon. While Vilma was testing the water for more serious mature projects, Ishmael Bernal decided to return to his original forte, drama, after years of doing light comedies and television work. He came up with “Mister Mo, Lover boy Ko” and “Lumapit, Lumayo Ang Umaga.” Both films featured sexy star, Elizabeth Oropeza.

By mid decades, Vilma Santos’ career was gradully moving into dramas catering the adult audience and films with social-adult issues. She did the sequel “Hindi Nakakahiya” and “Nagaapoy na Damdamin” about the affair of a young woman with an older man and “Mga Rosas Sa Putikan” about the lives of prostitutes.  Aside from these films, she also did four light comedies and two notable ones: “Mga Reynang Walang Trono” a comedy with movie queen Amalia Fuentez and “Bato Sa Buhangin,” the box office hit that reunited her with the late Fernando Poe Jr. Bernal on the other hand, cemented his reputation as one of the most serious director with critically appreciated hit films, “Ligaw Na Bulaklak” staring the young sexy star, Alma Moreno and the drama film that featured two dramatic stars, Daria Ramirez and Elizabeth Oropeza in “Nunal Sa Tubig.”  He also directed a light comedy, “Tisoy,” Christopher De Leon in title role.

A turning point in Vilma Santos career came in 1977.  She was no longer the teen idol that Bernal directed in 1972.  She’s now 24 and ready for more serious film projects.  Her film load has dramatically decrease from nine/ten films a year to mere five.  But the films she did were noticeably heavy in terms of relevance and roles.  Aside from the light action, “Susan Kelly Edad 20” her other films were all heavy dramas. One reunited her with Christopher De Leon in “Masarap, Masakit ang Umibig” directed by Elwood Perez.  Another one was the box office hit and critically acclaimed, “Burlesk Queen” directed by Celso Ad Castillo.  The other two films paired her with off screen sweetheart, Romeo Vasquez in “Pulot-gata, Pwede Kaya?” and “Dalawang Pugad, Isang Ibon.” The last film, was directed by Bernal. “Dalawang Pugad” earned Bernal the 1977 best director from Gawad Urian, the Filipino critics’ award giving body. Aside from Dalawang Pugad Bernal also directed “Walang Katapusang Tag-araw” that featured veteran drama queen, Charito Solis.

While the previous year was less productive in terms of quantity, Vilma Santos came back with a big bang the following year with twelve films.  Most of these films were adult dramas.  Three notable films were the critically acclaimed “Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak” directed by Celso Ad Castillo and produced by Vilma herself.  The local film festival entry, “Rubia Servios” directed by the late Lino Brocka. And lastly, “Ikaw ay Akin” directed by Bernal. “Ikaw ay Akin” reunited Vilma with rival, Nora Aunor. The film also featured Christopher De Leon, who won the local critics’ best actor and best actress nominations for Aunor and Santos as well as best director nomination for Bernal.  Aside from Ikaw, Bernal also did two other films, both starring Alma Moreno, “Lagi na lamang ba akong babae?” and “Isang gabi sa iyo Isang gabi sa akin” with Elizabeth Oropeza.

The end of the decade gave Vilma eight more films. Mostly light dramas/comedies.  Some showcased her dancing talents like “Swing it Baby,” “Rock, Baby, Rock” and “Buhay Artista Ngayon.” In terms of notable projects, only four stands out. “Pinay, American Style” filmed in the USA and “Magkaribal” both directed by Elwood Perez. “Halik sa Kamay, Halik sa Paa” directed by the late Eddie Rodriguez. And the smash hit and local festival entry “Modelong Tanso.” Modelong Tanso paired Vilma with drama queen, Charito Solis. Bernal did not direct any Santos film this year instead he did the Nora Aunor film, “Bakit may pag-ibig pa?,” “Menor de edad” and “Salawahan” both films starring Rio Locsin, “Aliw” starring Amy Austria and Lorna Tolentino and “Boy Kodyak” starring Bembol Rocco.

Vilma Santos did seven films in 1980. Mostly light dramas. Two notable films were “Miss X,” the film was shot in Amsterdam and “Langis At Tubig” the local festival entry directed by Danny Zialcita. She also did “Darna at Ding” her fourth and last film as the comic hero, Darna, Filipino version of Wonder Woman/Superman. Despite the lack of serious projects, Vilma did a film with Bernal, the comedy/musical, “Good Morning Sunshine.” In addition to Good Morning, Bernal did the critically acclaimed ensemble film starring Lorna Tolentino, Alma Moreno and Rio Locsin’s “City After Dark,” “Girlfriend” starring Cherie Gil and “Sugat sa Ugat” starring Hilda Koronel and Christopher De Leon.

Bermal and Santos didn’t do any film together the following year. Now 28 and married, Santos has reduced her film projects. She did four films, all showcased her acting talents. “Ex-Wife” directed by Eddie Rodriguez paired her with local critics’ favorite, Beth Bautista. “Pakawalan Mo Ako” a drama directed by Elwood Perez earned her one of her five FAMAS best actress. “Hiwalay” teamed with Eddie Rodriguez this time, as her leading man. Romy Suzara directed the film. Then the local festival entry, “Karma,” the Danny Zialcita film that earned her the festival best actress. While Vilma reduced her film output to four, as usual, Bernal did only two films. Both were not as critically received. “Bihagin: Bilibid Boys” starred the late Alfie Anido “Pabling” the comedy starring teen idol, William Martinez.

Like 1972 of the previous decade, 1982 turned out to be a repeat in terms of success for Vilma Santos. If critics took noticed in 1972, her performance in Dama De Noche, a decade after, the critics went gagah over her performance in ”Relasyon,” directed by Bernal. The film earned Vilma all the local best actress trophies from all award-giving bodies. Aside from this success, she will also be crowned as the box office queen of 1982 (the next year for her body of work this year) because of the financial success of her six films notably, “Sinasamba Kita” a film directed by Eddie Garcia and “Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan?’ directed by Danny Zialcita. Bernal on the other hand not only was credited for Vilma success for “Relasyon” he also received accolades for “Himala” a film by Nora Aunor, Vilma’s rival. Both “Himala” and “Relasyon” were considered two of Bernal’s signature films. In addition to this, he did two Marecel Soriano films, the comedy “Galawgaw” and the drama, “Hindi Kita Malimot” and finally another Cherrie Gil film, “Ito Ba Ang Ating Mga Anak.”

The following year, as Vilma Santos received honors/awards from her works from previous year, she continued her winning streak with four adult dramas: “Ayaw Kong Maging Kerida,” “Paano Ba ang Mangarap?,” “Minsan pa Natin Hagkan Ang Nakaraan,” and “Broken Marriage.” The last one was directed by Ishmael Bernal. The only film he did in 1983. Broken Marriage gave Vilma her second consecutive local critics’ best actress. It also earned Bernal her second best director from the critics and third overall.

The next year Bernal and Santos went separate ways with Vilma doing three films with three equally talented directors: Lino Brocka for “Adultery: Aida Macaraeg,” MiKe De Leon for “Sister Stella L.,” and Marilou Diaz Abaya for “Alyas Baby Tsina.” Meanwhile, Bernal did two films, an episode of the original horror trilogy, “Shake, Rattle & Roll” and the critically acclaimed comedy, “Working Girls.”

The next four years came with both Santos and Bernal in steady film works. In 1985 Santos did the hit “Muling Buksan ang Puso” and the disappointment, “Doctor, Doctor, We Are Sick” while Bernal did the Marecel Soriano melodrama “Hinugot sa langit” and the film starring the unknown Stella Suarez with veteran Rita Gomez “Gamitin mo ako.” Then in 1986 Vilma Santos did three commercial hit films: “Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow,” “Palimos Ng Pag-ibig,” and “Asawa ko, Huwag Mong Agawin.” Bernal did his only film, “The Graduates” starring Regal babies – Snooky Serna, Gabby Concepcion, Maricel Soriano, William Martinez, and Dina Bonnevie.

Another three films for Vilma Santos in 1987, all commercial success. “Tagos ng Dugo” directed by Maryo De Los Reyes was a smash hit and critically well received. Vilma received her fourth FAMAS best actress for this film. “Ibigay Mo Sa Akin Ang Bukas” the last film directed by Emmanuel H. Borlaza before his retirement was a mild hit that paired Vilma with new drama actors, Richard Gomez and Gabby Concepcion. “Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-ibig?” directed by Eddie Garcia was a big hit. Bernal on the other hand did two films the drama”Pinulot ka lang sa lupa” starring Lorna Tolentino and Marecel Soriano and the sequel comedy “Working Girls 2” The next year, both Bernal and Santos did one film each, both a box office hits, Elwood Perez’ drama, “Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos” was a big hit and at the same time earned Vilma her fifth FAMAS best actress that elevated her to their hall of fame recipient category. Bernal’s only film was “Nagbabagang luha,” another Lorna Tolentino starrer.

The last time Bernal and Santos collaborated was in 1989. Santos, still active with her musical variety television show, did three films, all were commercial success. “Imortal” directed by Eddie Garcia was a local festival entry that earned Santos another local festival best actress. “Rizal Alih, Zamboanga Massacre” was directed by Carlo J Caparas. And “Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga” directed by Bernal. The film earned Santos the local critics best actress and Bernal the best director. Vilma her very first Star best actress, considered the Golden Globe local equivalent at that time. Pahiram also received nominations for best actress for Vilma and best director for Ishmael both from FAP, now the local equivalent of OSCAR.

In 1991, Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal closest rival and friend died of car accident. It was a sad event both locally and internationally as Brocka was not only popular locally but in the international festival circuit. It wasn’t clear if his decision was related to the lost of his rival Brocka but Bernal retired his directing chair for the next two years. He went into acting and was the lead role in stage plays like “Kamatayan Sa Isang Anyo Ng Rosas” (Death in the Form of a Rose) in 1991 and “Bacchae” in 1992.  Vilma on the other hand, did “Hahamakin Lahat” in 1990 with Brocka, a year before his untimely death.  She also did “Kapag Langit ang Humatol” directed by Laurice Guillen.  She then reunited with Guillen in “Ipagpatawad Mo” the next year.  By 1992, Bernal and Santos did one film each, unfortunately not together, “Sinungaling Mong Puso” reunited Vilma with her Tagos Ng Dugo director, Maryo De Los Reyes while Bernal directed “Mahal kita walang iba” starring Kris Aquino.

Bernal went back to his semi-retirement the next year (except for a short film as himself in “Truth and Dare”) while Vilma did two films, both commercial hits and critically acclaimed. Chito Rono’s “Ikaw Lang” and the local festival entry, “Dahil Mahal Kita The Dolzura Cortez Story” directed by Laurice Guillen. Dolzura Cortez will earned Santos numerous best actress awards. By 1994, Santos did three films: “Relaks ka Lang, Sagot Kita” with Bong Revilla; “Nag-iisang Bituin” with Aga Muhlach and Christopher De Leon; “Lipa: Arandia Massacre” a film that reunites her with director Carlo J. Caparas. Meanwhile, Bernal did “Wating” his last film. “Wating” starred Richard Gomez.  The next year, Both artists, Santos and Bernal, went on hiatus.

In 1996 Vilma Santos did “Ikaw Ang Mahal Ko” with the late FPJ. The film did not do well, both critically and commercially. This year also was a bad year for the local entertainment industry as Ishmael Bernal died on June 2nd. It was reported that he was scheduled to direct a film about the life story of Lola Rosa Henson, the comfort woman during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. The project was also reportedly offered to Vilma Santos. From 1997 to 2009, Vilma Santos completed 6 full featured films, two were considered record breaking films and almost all gave her acting recognitions including two international best actress recognitions.

HIGHLIGHTS: Bernal gave Vilma Santos her first grandslam best actress awards and consecutive Gawad Urian best actress (1982 and 1983). Their first film together was Inspiration (1972) and last was Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga (1989).

Writing Credits: 11 – Galawgaw (1982); Relasyon (1982); City After Dark (1980); Girlfriend (1980); Pleasure (1979); Ikaw ay akin (1978); Walang katapusang tag-araw (1977); Dalawang pugad, isang ibon (1977); Lumapit, lumayo ang umaga (1975); Pito ang asawa ko (1974); Reaching the Top (1971)

Directing Credits: 46 and Total Number of Films with Vilma Santos: 8 (Broken Marriage, Dalawang Pugad Isang Ibon, Good Morning Sunshine, Ikaw ay Akin, Inspiration, Now and Forever, Pahiram ng Isang Umaga, Relasyon)

Wikipedia: Bernal
Ishmael Bernal (1938-1996)
The Films of Ishmael Bernal Circa1971-79, Part One The Films of Ishmael Bernal Circa1980-96, Part Two
Tribute to Ishmael Bernal
The new ‘Working Girls’ front and center
Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors

Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors 6/6

Introductions: 204 films, 70 directors, 5 decades, Vilma Santos, one of the original Philippine movie queens, rose up to become the versatile actress that has been given the fitting title of “Star for All Seasons” because of her capacity to adapt to the changing mores and values of the Filipino woman, giving a face to their plight and struggles, albeit in success both critically and box-office wise in some of Philippine cinema’s classics such as Trudis Liit (1963), Lipad, Darna, Lipad (1973), Burlesk Queen (1977), Relasyon (1982), Sister Stella L. (1984), Alyas Baby Tsina (1984), Pahiram ng Isang Umaga (1989), Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993), Anak (2000) and Dekada ’70 (2002). This are top ten directors who contributed to her success.

Here is a recap of our count-down…

…and our number one director is…

1. Ishmael Bernal – A filmmaker of the first order and one of the very few who can be truly called a maestro. Critics have hailed him as “the genius of Philippine cinema.” He is recognized as a director of films that serve as social commentaries and bold reflections on the existing realities of the struggle of the Filipino. His art extends beyond the confines of aesthetics. By polishing its visuals, or innovating in the medium, he manages to send his message across: to fight the censors, free the artists, give justice to the oppressed, and enlighten as well as entertain the audience. Among his notable films are “Pahiram ng Isang Umaga” (1989), “Broken Marriage” (1983), “Himala” (1981), “City After Dark” (1980), and “Nunal sa Tubig” (1976). He was recognized as the Director of the Decade of the 1970s by the Catholic Mass Media Awards; four-time Best Director by the Urian Awards (1989, 1985, 1983, and 1977); and given the ASEAN Cultural Award in Communication Arts in 1993 ( Bernal was born in Manila on September 30, 1938, the son of Elena Bernal and Pacifico Ledesma. He studied at Burgos Elementary School and Mapa High School before entering the University of the Philippines, and graduated in 1962 with a degree of Bachelor of Arts degree in English. For a time he worked with Lamberto Avellana’s documentary outfit. He went on to earn his Licentiate in French Literature and Philosophy at the University of Aix-en-Prevence in France, and then in 1970 his Diplomate in Film Directing at the Film Insititue of India in Poona, under the Colombo plan scholarhip. Bernal was a board member of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines and the Directors Guild of the Philippines, Inc., an organization that studies the role of film as an instrument of entertainment, education and development. He actively crusaded for the rights and welfare of artists for as long as he lived. He died in Quezon City on June 2, 1996 (Wikipilipinas).

HIGHLIGHTS: Bernal gave Vilma Santos her first grandslam best actress awards and two consecutive Gawad Urian best actress (1982 and 1983). Their first film together was Inspiration (1972) and last was Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga (1989).

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 5 (#5 Ikaw ay Akin 1978, #7 Relasyon 1982, #8 Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga 1989, #9 Broken Marriage 1983, #30 Dalawang Pugad Isang Ibon 1977)

Total Number of Films = 8 (Broken Marriage, Dalawang Pugad Isang Ibon, Good Morning Sunshine, Ikaw ay Akin, Inspiration, Now and Forever, Pahiram ng Isang Umaga, Relasyon)

RELATED READINGS:Wikipedia: Ishmael Bernal
Ishmael Bernal (1938-1996)
The Films of Ishmael Bernal Circa 1971-79, Part One
The Films of Ishmael Bernal Circa 1980-94, Part Two
Tribute to Ishmael Bernal
The new ‘Working Girls’ front and center

Filipino Movie Queens with Vilma Santos in Films

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Gloria Romero (born December 16, 1933) is a Filipino a multi-awarded actress whose career spans 60 years. Acknowledged as the original Queen of Philippine Movies. She hold two record in FAMAS award history: She is the only actress in Philippine movie history to win the FAMAS Best Actress Award for a comedy role and the oldest FAMAS Best Actress winner, receiving the prestigious accolade in 2001 when she was 67 years old. (Wikepedia)

Total Number of films with Vilma: 13 (Anak ang Iyong Ina, Iginuhit ng Tadhana, De Colores, Pinagbuklod ng Langit, Anak ng Aswang, Lipad Darna Lipad, Happy Days are Here Again, Karugtong ang Kahapon, Nakakahiya?, Hindi Nakakahiya, Makahiya at Talahib, Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-ibig?, Kapag Langit Ang Humatol)


Movie Queens – Vilma Santos & Gloria Romero from SFAS – VSR on Vimeo.


Nora Aunor (born Nora Cabaltera Villamayor on May 21, 1953) is a multi-awarded Filipino actress, singer and producer. Aunor has also topbilled several stage plays, television shows, and concerts. She is regarded as the “Superstar in Philippine Entertainment Industry”. In 1999, Aunor received the Centennial Honor for the Arts awarded by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). She was the only film actress included in the prestigious list of awardees. In 2010, she was hailed by the Green Planet Awards as one of the 10 Asian Best Actresses of the Decade. (Wikepedia)

Total Number of films with Vilma: 8 (Happy Days are Here Again, Dugo at pag-ibig sa kapirasong lupa, Young Love, Big Ike’s Happening, Mga Mata Ni Angelita, Ikaw ay Akin, Pinagbuklod ng Pag-ibig, T-Bird at Ako)

RELATED READING: Sino ba talaga ang mas mahusay umarte, si Vilma o si Nora?
Vilmanians and Noranians Surveyed


Marlene Dauden, (born in Philippines) is considered one of the greatest Filipina drama actresses of all time. She achieved her legendary status as a film thespian during her film career that spanned from the 1950s up to the 1970s. During the height of her fame, she was one of the most bankable stars of Sampaguita Pictures, which used to be one of the leading Philippine movie studios of the era. (Wikepedia)

Total Number of films with Vilma: 7 (Sa Bawat Pintig ng Puso, Kay Tagal ng Umaga, Maria Cecilia, Hindi Nahahati ang Langit, Kasalanan Kaya?, Sino ang may Karapatan?, Happy Days are Here Again)



Charito Solis (6 October 1935 – 9 January 1998) was a FAMAS and Gawad Urian award-winning Filipino film actress. Acknowledged as one of the leading dramatic actresses of post-war Philippine cinema, she was tagged either as the “Anna Magnani of the Philippines” or as “the Meryl Streep of the Philippines. (Wikepedia)

Total Number of films with Vilma: 6 (Happy Days are Here Again, Mga Tigre ng Sierra Cruz, Modelong Tanso, Ipagpatawad Mo, Dahil Mahal Kita The Dolzura Cortez Story, Hanggang Ngayon Ika’y Minamahal)

RELATED READING: Charito Solis, the Empress of Drama

Movie Queens – Vilma Santos & Charito Solis from SFAS – VSR on Vimeo.


Celia Rodriguez ay isang artista sa Pilipinas. Una siang nakitang gumanap sa mga pelikula ng Premiere Production noong huling dekada 1950. Siya ay nanalo ng apat na FAMAS Awards: isa bilang pinakamahusay na aktres ng 1971 para sa pelikulang Lilet at tatlo pa bilang pinakamahusay na pangalawang aktres ng 1964 (Kulay Dugo ang Gabi), 1966 (The Passionate Strangers) at 2003 (Magnifico). (Wikipedia)

Total Number of films with Vilma: 6 (Lipad Darna Lipad, Biktima, Karugtong ang Kahapon, Mga Rosas sa Putikan, Coed, Darna at Ding)

RELATED READING: Lilet’s Little Secret (Or How Celia Rodriguez made my life worth living.)


Lolita Rodriguez, {Dolores Clark in real life} was born on January 29, 1935 in Urdaneta Pangasinan. In 1953, at the age of 18, she entered the movies. She was given walk-on roles. As an extra, she used to earn 5 pesos per appearance. Her first movie was Ating Pag-ibig, followed by Gorio at Tekla, El Indio, Cofradia, Kiko, Reyna Bandida, Sa Isang Sulyap mo Tita and Diwani. (Video48)

Total Number of films with Vilma: 6 (Trudis Liit, Kay Tagal ng Umaga, Hindi Nahahati ang Langit, Kasalanan Kaya?, Sino ang may Karapatan?, Happy Days are Here Again)



Amalia Fuentez Amalia Fuentes was born on August 27, 1940 in Philippines and she is a famous TV and film actress. Fuentes started her career in 1956 with the film called “Rodora”. She acted in many other films and TV series such as: “Inang mahal”, “Pretty Boy”, “Kahit isang saglit.” (FamousWhy)

Total Number of films with Vilma: 5 (De Colores, Bulaklak at Paru-paro, Happy Days are Here Again, Mga Reynang Walang Trono, Asawa ko, Huwag Mong Agawin)



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)

Total Number of films with Vilma: 4 (Ito ang Pilipino, Hatinggabi Na Vilma, Nakakahiya?, Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos)



Nida Blanca Dorothy Acueza Jones, (January 6, 1936 – November 7, 2001) popularly known by her stage name Nida Blanca, was a Filipina actress. She starred in over 163 movies and 14 television shows and received over 16 awards for movies and six awards for television during her 50-year film career. She was named one of 15 Best Actress of all Time by YES magazine. She was stabbed to death in a parking lot in San Juan City on November 7, 2001.

Total Number of films with Vilma: 3 (Ibulong mo sa Diyos, Happy Days Are Here Again, Pag-ibig masdan ang ginawa mo)



Rita Gomez The first Filipino to be billed with a title before her name. On a comeback stint in the Bomba (Bold) Era of Philippine movies, the title “Ms.” was added by her manager before her name to maintain her stature as one of the Philippines’ most revered actresses. (

Total Number of films with Vilma: 2 (Anak ang iyong ina!, Takbo Vilma Dali)

10 Most Loved Babaeng Bakla

Other Filipino Movie Queens who are still active and who made films with Vilma are: Gina Pareno (Ibigay Mo Sa Akin Ang Bukas), Maricel Soriano (Yesterday, Today and Tomorrown), Lorna Tolentino (Sinasamba Kita), Claudine Baretto (Anak), Alma Moreno (Magkaribal), Rio Locsin (Haplos). Hilda Koronel (Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan).


Still a youthful movie queen at 32

When Vilma Santos marked her 32nd birthday recently (Nov. 3) she was exactly 22 years, 8 months and 12 days in the dog-eat-dog world of showbusiness. Her very first movie as a waif in Trudis Liit (the same movie that gave her a best child actress award in the FAMAS) was shown in Manila on February 21, 1963 where all in all she made five films including Anak, Ang Iyong Ina, King and Queen for a Day, Duelo sa Sapang Bato, and Aninong Bakal in that same year.

Vilma celebrated her natal day with a party at the Albergus (a catering service outfit adjacent to Broadcast City) with friends in and out of showbiz but minus estranged husband Edu Manzano, her mother, Mama Santos in the movie circle and current rumored beau, Ralph Recto. Beloved son, Lucky, was with the superstar celebrant though through most of the evening. For the record, Vilma celebrated two birthdays abroad. Her 20th in Las Vegas, USA and her 26th in Paris, France while shooting the movie, Miss X, in Europe in 1979.

Vilma Santos has come a long, long way from her Trudis Liit days. Who would ever think that the former child star who portrayed the young Imee Marcos at the age 12 in Iginuhit ng Tadhana (1965) and at 16 in Pinagbuklod ng Langit (1969) will someday essay the role of a nun who underwent a political awakening in Mike de Leon’s breakthrough film, Sister Stella L., at 30. Vilma was a successful child star who became even more successful as an adult actress earning more accolades and respect both from her colleagues and others.

From a teary-eyed tyke, the young actress has blossomed into one of the most successful (if not the most) performers on screen collecting such titles on her road to superstardom Movie Queen, Box-Office Queen, Superstar, GrandSlam Winner, The Only 3-Time Successive URIAN Awardee, Superactress, Megastar, and now the reigning Video Queen. Her climb to the top was not easy, and that’s putting it mildly because her uphill struggle was stormy to say the least.

During the early seventies the juvenile Vilma had to content herself playing second fiddle to the brown phenomenon. Like her arch rival, the young actress did and appeared most in nonsensical films with then favorite partner, Edgar Mortiz, giving the Guy and Pip loveteam a run for their money during the height of the bakya era. But until then Vilma was only generally considered a far second, almost like an afterthought to the then reigning Bicolana superstar. But things began to change as the years went by.

It was only in 1973 when the movie Lipad, Darna, Lipad (another Mars Ravelo innovative remake) hit the screens and became a certified and recordbreaking blockbuster did people begin to take real notice of her potentials as a bankable star. The new box-office champion made two more Darna movies and the last one, Darna at Ding, the fourth, with Nino Muhlach was shown on February 8, 1980. Vilma made several fantasy movies that catered mostly for children. The movie Dyesebel, another remake like Darna, was an entry at the Manila Film Festival in 1973. At this stage in her career Vilma was already an acknowledged Box-Office Queen.

The controversial movie Burlesk Queen reasserted her boxoffice supremacy when it created a lot of controversies after the awards night of the Metro Manila Film Festival in 1977. The movie was so successful that on its fourth-week run, it was still showing in some 15 theaters! Quite a record and a feat for any movie both local and foreign. Then came the real turning point in the actress’ career. Her film, Rubia Servios megged by Lino Brocka, was another festival entry in 1978. Not a few were expecting (including Vilma herself) her to win the best actress plum at the awards night on January 3, 1979, held at the CCP.

But she lost to Nora (for Atsay) but that defeat only made the moviegoers more curious as they came in droves to watch the film. And for several more weeks after the festival was over, Rubia Servios was still showing in downtown theaters long before all the other entries were already doing the rounds in the provincial circuits. As a proof of the producers and the public’s faith in the actress, she made 12 pictures in 1979. And from that year on, Vilma was a perennial absentee at the award giving ceremonies in the succeeding festival years. In fact, she doens’t seem to mind not having an entry movie at the festival.

Her last entry, the rated A, Haplos was shown in 1982. The birth of Vilma’s son, Lucky, on April 21, 1981 seemed to have harbored more luck for the actress’ career. After Lucky’s birth, more awards and blockbuster movies followed. Her movie Ex-Wife was shown the day after her son was born when all the newspapers in town were carrying Vilma’s delivery on the frontpage, and the movie was an instant hit. How’s that for perfect timing?  The string of hits for that year included Pakawalan Mo Ako (where she won her second FAMAS best actress award; the first one for Dama de Noche she received several years earlier – in 1972), Hiwalay and Karma, a festival entry which won for her another best actress trophy.

In July 1982, the movie Relasyon by Ishmael Bernal was shown.  It was the film that won for her all acting awards for best actress in all major award-giving bodies in 1983.  And thus, the grandslam.  Vilma gave Viva Films its first biggest hit in Sinasamba Kita earning over P7M in Metro Manila alone. Then came T-Bird at Ako (a mild hit), Never Ever Say Goodbye (a sorry miss), Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan? (her biggest hit for that year) and Haplos. As early as January 20, 1983, Vilma began to reap several victories when she was awarded by the Metro Manila Theaters Association on their first Cinehan Awards together with Fernando Poe, Jr. held at the Philippine Plaza.

 National Artist Nick Joaquin, in an article that came out in the Bulletin Today on February 11, 1983 wrote: “By emerging as box-office queen, Vilma Santos proved herself to be the Philippine Cinema’s Superstar – a title, it’s to be realized now, that can be bestowed only by the Cinehan.” So, on Cinehan Awards Night, Vilma was the very picture of the conquering heroine, drawing all eyes as she glowed and glittered, a rapture of radiance in her strapless white gown with lilac sash – and in white gloves yet! In her triumph joined both cinema and cinehan.

Her pictures were all well done – and they also did very well at the box-office. In the same awards night, Ambassador Jaime Zobel de Ayala, another recipient of the Cinehan, upon receiving his award from Dean Lucresia Kasilag said: “I’m only a little bit sorry that Vilma didn’t give me the award. But it’s all right, I’ll try again next year.  You’re my favorite star, you’re my muse!  I’ll suffer in silence.”

Vilma Santos won her first Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) on February 29, 1983 for Relasyon. As a matter of fact, she won all these awards (her first URIAN, Film Academy and 3rd FAMAS) in the span of three months!  She even won the Box-Office Queen trophy on the same night as the URIAN awards on April 15, 1983, she had to rush from the Celebrity Sports Plaza to the Film Center to get both trophies. And because the critically-acclaimed Relasyon was such a hit at the boxoffice, many producers thought that the public was ready at last for well-written, well-acted and well-crafted films.

And not a few writers and directors rejoiced at the prospect of good films being accepted by the public finally. And so, Sister Stella L. was born amidst fears and speculations that it would have a hard time with the censors. But the film was passed and to top it all, it was given the nod as a movie for general patronage. SSL had two screenings on its premiere night at the Rizal Theater in Makati. All the hopes of good filmmakers were nipped-in-the-bud when the film failed miserably at the tills during its regular screen.

While it’s also true that SSL was shown for two weeks in Metro Manila, still many expected it to earn more than it did if only for Vilma who has a string of blockbuster movies to her credit before SSL. She has four rated A movies (Haplos, Broken Marriage, Adultery and SSL) to her name but SSL earned the least at the box-office. But the movie was invited and screened at the prestigious Venice Film Festival. It was also invited at the Cannes Film Festival, but the film didn’t arrive in time for its screening because of some problems with the censors.

And so, Vilma and her producers are back to square one churning out comics rehash and light melodramas to regain lost grounds. Her first movie for this year, Muling Buksan ang Puso was again a hit and it proved once more that it’s the kind of movie the public wants to patronize. How sad. Vilma Santos is also the most successful actress-commercial model to date. She was made to endorse several products-from biscuits to radios to cough syrups to many other beauty products including her recent Eskinol Girl commercial to perk up their sales.

But the most notable of these is the Lux commercial she did in 1974 under the helm of no less than the late Gerry de Leon himself. The wedding scene was shot in a very old church as backdrop and it was the most beautifully photographed TV and magazine layout of Vilma during her younger days. Her team-up with Christopher de Leon is considered the most successful in the movies if only for the fact that they do not only make commercial movies but also critically-acclaimed ones as well like Relasyon and Broken Marriage. They made 15 films in all. The last one was Minsan Pa Nating Hagkan ang Nakaraan during the latter part of 1983.

It’s been two years since then and the fans are eagerly awaiting their next team-up.  Whatever the future holds for Vilma Santos, she’ll surely come out with flying colors. Right now, she’s twinkling brightly, free and easy, twirling sassily, more or less on top of her world of 21 seasons.  But her parting words perhaps convey her true intentions: “I can only say I’m fulfilled when I’ve quit this business.” The superstar actress doesn’t have to prove anything anymore.

Her achievements in the movies can no longer be ignored by anyone.  And while she has her faults, like all human beings do, she’s not the type of person who will intentionally hurt the feelings of others or she will not have lasted this long in the movies.  She has suffered a lot of tragedies in her life and still remained strong-willed and composed even in her most trying times. And so, to the strong woman who has served as an inspiration to a lot of people, many happy returns of the day. – Meg Mendoza, Prime Magazine, Nov 14, 1985

At 28, a changing maturing Vi

I didn’t snub the Metro Manila Filmfest by not attending the awards night. And it’s not true I didn’t expect to win. I did my best in Karma and modesty aside, I knew I had a good chance of winning. But then I had little time left to prepare for the occasion. Duds and I were busy attending to construction workers at the time,” said a more vivacious and vibrant Vilma Santos, adjudged best actress of the 1981 Metro Manila Film Festival for her scintillating performance in Karma, about reincarnation and love eternal.

Vi and hubby Edu are busy looking after the building of their two-storey house on a 683 sqm.lot in United Paranque, Metro Manila. “I’m proud and happy that this is Dud’s gift to me and Lucky,” said Vilma, beaming with joy. “This house is too big for a small family like ours,” she added, referring to the Magallanes house where they’re staying. “We hope to transfer to our new home before the end of the month.” Which also means that Vi is selling her five-bedroom home, complete with swimming pool. The house and lot are being sold for P 1.6 million. “What will I do with a big house like this? We only occupy one room. Maintaining and cleaning the other rooms will just eat up our time. We have other things to pay attention to,” rationalized Vi.

Does the sale have something to do with her BIR problems as some detractors would have it? “Some people are always watching to see what’s your next move. So what if I sell it? I’m not selling somebody else’s property. I know what’s good for me and I know what’s not! My detractors might also want to know that I don’t have any BIR problems any more. I’m thankful to the BIR for helping me,” said Vi, a little tense. At age 28, Vilma Santos’ life is now, “very different” from when she was single. She still has time for friends and reporters, “but I can no longer spend all my time with them now. If people can only see my timetable, they’ll know that I shoot six times a week. I only have Sundays for my family. That one day I don’t want to take away from them,” she said. “But I see to it that I meet my friends at least twice a month. I hope they’ll understand.”

As a married woman, Vilma does not keep a circle of friends. “Frankly, I’ve never had a barkada. Ang barkada ko talaga ay ang pamilya ko. Anyway, my female colleagues from the movies are all my friends.” Vilma denied reports that Edu has been limiting her public appearances. “I want it known that Doods is a very understanding husband. He has nothing against my movie career. He just wants me to give priority to my family and I think he is right. The freedom that he gives me is enough for me not to abuse it,” she said, to straighten out rumors that Edu had asked her to quit acting and that they plan to settle in Canada or in the States. “We’re planning to leave for the US but for a short pleasure trip only.”

Another remarkbale change in Vi is that she can no longer shoot several movies simultaneously. The most is two pictures at a time. Her own ceiling is five movies a year. Before, she used to make an average of one picture a month. She has become choosy about accepting film offers. “At this stage of my career, I can only portray roles that suit my status in real life. Can you imagine a wife and mother playing the role of a carefree, innocent, sweet teenager? I believe that an actress should grow up in her roles. One can’t be a nina bonita forever,” she philosophized.

So far, Vi has accepted only two major film assignments: Relasyon, where she plays mistress to Christopher de Leon; and a still untitled movie to be directed by Eddie Garcia under Viva Films. She has other offers from Sining Silangan, Cinex Films and Mirick Productions, but she is studying them carefully. Vi is managing her own movie career now. Before, she would ask somebody to transact the business with film producers in her behalf. “I was to spoiled and very dependent. But now, I talk business directly with them.” Vi has also limited her alalay to a few. The new set-up challenges Vilma.

This makes life for her more colorful and exciting, and she doesn’t have to have a battery of PROs. “Why should I hire so many of them if I’m trying to do some saving now? Of course, I still need them but I hope they give me a break.” Vilma’s latest MMFF best actress trophy is her fifth major award. She won the FAMAS best actress plum in 1972 for a superb characterization in Dama de Noche. She also won the MMFF best actress statuette for Burlesk Queen in 1977. As a child actress, she romped away (FAMAS) for Trudis Liit, aside from the best actress award she won in 1975 Bacolod City Film Festival for Nakakahiya? Vi sends her heartfelt thanks to Chanda Romero, her co-star in Karma, for her inspiring remarks on awards night:“Lucky girl this Vilma. may Edu na. May Lucky na, may trophy pa!” Vi said she was so touched by Chanda’s unselfish remarks, she tried to reach Chanda by phone, to thank her but she couldn’t.

Vi also extends warmest thanks to her Tito Ed (Rodriguez) for commenting that she, Vilma, is “your favorite and mine.” “For their superlative compliments, I look forward to 1982.” Right now, Vi’s main concern is her son Lucky (born Luis Philippe Manzano eight months ago). Vi and Edu do not approve of their son being public property. There’s nothing wrong with being a movie star, they say.  After all, acting can be ‘inherited’ by their son. But the couple will not go out of their way to force their son into the showbiz world. “I want him to lead a normal life and not to be deprived of the privacy he’s entitled to,” Vi reasoned. One thing sure, she will see to it that Lucky finishes his studies. “ We will not rule his future life. He will decide for himself. If he has artistic leanings, we cannot stop him.  But, repeat, we will not force him to pursue anything he doesn’t like!”

Vi has many things to thank for. First, she has survived keen and cut throat competition for the past many years. Despite new and fresh talents on the scene, she has managed to keep a steady following. All her recent movies have been blockbusters. She’s glad her fans when she was 16 are still her fans today. “Oh yes, just like me, they have matured and grown up. They are the type who do not invade one’s privacy. They know their limitations. But they’re always concerned whenever they hear unpleasant news about me and my family.” Vi is happy that people flock to her movies not because of the ‘boldness’ of the story but because of the character she plays. Posing with her festival trophy, she said with supreme confidence,“ I’ll continue acting so long as my fans like me. From hereon, I promise to make movies that are relevant and will be appreciated by the public.” – Manny B. Fernandez, People magazine, Jan 15, 1982

The Superstar at 18 Vilma Blooms

“Ay naku, musmos pa ‘yan talagang mahilig na sa drama!” And Mrs. Milagros Santos (or Mommy Santos, as she is fondly called by diehard fans), mother of Superstar Vilma, proceeds to relate how her darling daughter religiously followed her favorite soap-operas on the radio in her off-school hours, imitating the airlane actresses later on when the family gathered at the sala. “Umiiyak pa ‘yan,” Mommy Santos goes on, “and she really cried real tears.”

Of course, Vi’s histrionic potentials didn’t escape the attention of her teachers in school. Everytime there was an affair on the campus, she would be there on stage, either delivering a declamation, singing a song or making like a little Rosa Mia in a drama skit. One day in 1962, eight-year old Vi tagged along with her uncle Amaury Agra (a cameraman) to the Sampaguita Studios to watch her favorite actresses and actors act before the cameras. Doc Perez saw her and was so fascinated by Vi’s lovable ways that, there and then, he let her play one of the two waifs in the tearjerker, Anak, Ang Iyong Ina!, a Lolita Rodriguez-Luis Gonzales starrer, afilming at that time. “Doc didn’t even give me a screen test,” Vi cuts in.

Days later, during a shooting lull, Vi wandered around the huge studio and found herself in the office of Doc Perez where some 800 tots were being tested for the title role of the next Sampaguita film. By accident, Vi got into the contest and walked away with the coveted role hands down. “Doc asked me to cry, umiyak naman ako,” Vi recalls, “he asked me to laugh, tumawa naman ako ng husto, ganyan. He asked me to do many other things. He must have been impressed dahil he assigned the role of Trudis Liit kaagad to me.” That was how Vilma Santos broke into the big screen. “My real name is actually Rosa Vilma Santos.  Pero sabi ni Doc, there were several Rosa’s in the movies already, may Rosa Mia, may Rosa Rosal, may Rosa Aguirre, so he decided to drop Rosa from my name.”

For four years, from 1962 to 66, there was hardly any tearjerker without Vilma Santos in the cast.  A born actress, she was very precocious and had a notably alacrity for giving in to what her roles demanded.  She absorbed difficult and emotion-filled dialogues with ease and acted her parts very naturally.   As a child actress, she chalked up more than a dozen movies and had ably pitted acting talents with such drama stalwarts as Eddie Rodriguez, Marlene Dauden, Lolita Rodriguez and Luis Gonzales.  “I have two favorite pictures as a child actress, “ she says. “ang isa ‘yong Trudis Liit nga and the other is Ging where I portrayed the role of a child actress. When I saw the first movie sa sine, I cried because I pitied myself in the movie, kawawa kasi ako doon, e. It was s sob story you know, at kahit siguro ikaw maiiyak ka rin.

In Ging, nahirapan ako ng katakut-takot because it was heavy drama. Pero it gave me a very good chance to really act dahil it had a little of everything, a little drama, a little musical, a little comedy, a little of marami pang iba.” She had to stop appearing in the movies after finishing grade school. “I wanted to concentrate on my studies, that’s why I enrolled at the St. Mary’s Academy. I wanted to take up Fine Arts after graduation. I loved to paint noon, you know, pero ngayon, hindi na masyado.” But once an actress, so the saying goes, always an actress. Vi was in her third year high school when she felt an irresistable itch to work again before the cameras.

At first, her parents (Mr. and Mrs. Amado Constantino Santos) were reluctant but a compromise was reached: no shooting during her class schedules. By this time, Vilma was growing up to be a lady. This was mid-1969. The advent of 1970 brought new prospects for Vi and her young colleagues. Susan Roces and Amalia Fuentes had got hitched and there was some sort of a “search for another queen” in local filmdom.   Because she had a strong public appeal and very endearing ways with her legions of followers (Vilmanians!) Vi was easily considered a possible successor to the throne left vacant by Susan and Amalia.

But she had a rival in the person of Nora Aunor. “There’s realy no personal rivalry between us,” she assures. “Friends kami, e.” It was when she got paired with Edgar Mortiz (Vi’s boyfriend on and off the camera) that Vi’s star shone doubly brighter in the movie firmament.   The team up also did good to Edgar. First paired in Sampaguita’s Young Love (where they appeared with Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III), Vi and Edgar have now finished more than two dozen films, all of them veritable box-office hits.  The two are under contract with Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions but they have an option to make pictures with other outfits with the proper consent of TIIP bosses. “I like Bobot (that’s how Edgar is called by Vi and their fans) naman because mabait siya at gentleman,” Vi smiles.

The crowning glory of their careers came early this year when they won as Mr and Miss Philippine Movies in a nationwide popularity contest conducted by a vernacular magazine. Their coronation grabbed the headlines when some fans of defeated stars staged a rampage, prompting Mommy Santos to announce on the microphone that “it was not our side that started the commotion. ” Aside from being good neighbors in a subdivision in Quezon City, Vi and Edgar are ‘always together’ anywhere they go. In addition to their movie work, they have also two regular shows on television, The Sensations (which was made into a movie) and Edgar Loves Vilma, both on Channel 2.

They also did several recordings together, all of them a sellout. Vi waxed her first (solo) single when she was 16 and the title of the song was Sixteen. But Vi has a drawing power all her own. No matter who her leading man is, her movies invariably attract moviegoers. Ikaw Lamang, where she had Paolo Romero for her love interest, was acclaimed topgrosser in the Quezon City Film Festival last September. One of her latest pictures, Teen-age Senorita with Manny de Leon, grossed no less than P40,000 on its first day showing in two theaters. (The movie was made by Zodiac Films, an outfit owned by Manny’s family.) Vi celebrated her 18th birthday last November 3 in a style befitting a superstar. There was a whole-day celebration; fans from as far north as Ilocos and as far south as Cebu came to greet her.  The unforgettable day was capped with a formal ball at The Plaza where Vi had no less than Manda Elizalde, the senatorial candidate she and Bobot had campaigned for in the last elections, as a special guest. And like a faithful boyfriend, Edgar stayed close to Vilma throughout the affair.

Two weeks later, the two left to make two movies in Hawaii and USA. At 18, you may ask, what else does Vilma Santos crave for? “Not much”, she says. “I just hope that good things will continue to happen to me, that my fans will remain loyal and true.” Despite success, Vi has remained level-headed; she has admirably kept her sweet and charming disposition. Even when confronted with malicious gossip about her, she just remains calm: “I don’t mind rumors very much. As a movie star, I am susceptible to gossips, but I choose to ignore them.” And because she is truly aware that stardom is temporary, Vilma Santos doesn’t mind working hard now, accepting the many offers that come her way as long as they don’t endanger her health -and her image. “My philosophy is simple,” she says, “Make hay while the sun shines.” Mommy Santos could only nod in agreement. – Written by Ricardo F. Lo The Sunday Times Magazine – Dec. 5, 1971

Vilma, the Glad Girl

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Unlike Nora la Dolorosa, the durable Vi Santos has made happiness her career By Quijano De Manila

Durable is a word that shifts nuance when applied to Vilma Santos. Yes, you can say that, for instance, Gloria Romero, Nida Blanca and Charito Solis are durable because they are still on view as performers, if no longer at center stage. But when you say that Vilma Santos is durable you mean she is still at center, in front, on top. Now that’s phenomenal because in Philippine cinema 10 years seems to be the limit for female stardom. After 10 years you slip to character and supporting roles. But Vilma is on her 28th year in showbiz and the spotlight is hers yet as leading lady, the only one to match the record of Dolphy and Ronnie Poe. When she started out, Amalia Fuentes and Susan Roces were the glamour queens. Then she and Nora outshone them. Today, after several changings of the guard, the prima donnas are Sharon Cuneta and Gretchen Barretto. Nora Aunor is no longer in the running, at least not at the moment. But Vilma is. Very much so. And she can romance a whole new generation of leading men like Gabby Concepcion and Richard Gomez with no sense of strain or disparity.

Ishmael Bernal, who claims to have directed Vilma’s best pictures, believes she has endured because she has physical, emotion and mental endurance. ‘She could work for 24 hours straight without getting tired, without flagging in her acting. There were times when we had to shoot for three or four successive days, getting very little sleep, but there Vilma would be: fresh, enthusiastic, rarin’ to go. Physical endurance is very important to a star. Another thing I noticed was her strong sense of competition. At that time, though of course, she didn’t say so, it was Nora she wanted to beat. Vilma was out to be the bigger star, the better actress. And so she geared her career for a zoom to the top.” Bernal first directed her in Inspiration (1971), produced by Tagalog Ilang-Ilang from a script by Nestor Torre. ‘This was at the height of the Nora-Vilma rivalry and the competing love teams were Nora-Tirso[Cruz] and Vilma-Edgar[Mortiz]. But in Inspiration, Atty. Laxa decided to pair Vilma with a rising new star: Jay Ilagan. That early, I noted that Vilma had the potential to become a great dramatic star. At that time she was not yet doing actress roles, only juvenile fan movies. Her assets were the expressiveness of her eyes, very important for the camera; the creaminess of her complexion, very important on the screen; and the ability to make her audience sympathize if not identify with her. Another thing I noticed was that she’s perfectly relaxed in front of the camera: no sense of compulsion. She just stands there and with a flick of the eye, a movement of the hand, she communicates whatever emotion has to be communicated to the audience. Unlike theater actors who feel they have to use the entire body to communicate, she achieves her effects with the simplest gestures. She already had perfect timing.” 

Inspiration was a comedy and Vilma, to Bernal’s delight, needed very little rehearsal. ‘She didn’t enjoy too much rehearsing, preferring to give all on take one, confident in her spontaneity. Which was what her director wanted. Another thing I remember about the early Vilma: she was a travelling department store. She had a van that looked like the fourth floor of Rustan’s filled with clothes, clothes, clothes, and hundreds of shoes, hats, bras, panties, and costume jewels, all of them nursed by loving alalays who followed her everywhere she went. If the director required an evening gown, a negligee, a pajama top, she had it in her van.” Bernal next worked with Vilma in 1972, on Now and Forever, scripted by Rolando Tinio and co-starring her with Edgar Mortiz and Tommy Abuel. It was a dismal flop, says Ishmael Bernal: ‘So let’s not talk about it.” It wasn’t until six years later that he and Vilma worked together again, on Dalawang Pugad, Isang Ibon. ‘It was written by Jose Nadal Carreon, the former police reporter and UP literary apprentice, and currently one of our best directors. It was an adult film and it started a new trend for Vilma: playing the other woman. The film was very hot copy because it was the comeback vehicle of Romeo Vasquez, with whom she was then having an affair. I found Vilma different: she had already matured. She must have been around 23 or 24. She was up in the clouds, being very much in love with Romeo Vasquez, and having already beaten Nora in the game of Who’s No. 1? This was in 1978. Nora was doing action movies like Super Gee that were flopping miserably. But Vilma’s career had taken a new path: heavy drama.”

The change in Vilma was not all to be good. ‘I noticed that she was often tired, often had difficulty keeping up her energy or concentration. The message projected was that the business of acting and the pressures of showbiz in general were beginning to tell on her.” The prime reason was the exhausting affair with Romeo Vasquez. ‘That affair was blown up by the press to scandalous proportions and I could feel that she was under pressure. Still, she tried to keep up a brave front, to be always polite: the smiling professional, and to hide from the public her inner turmoil. She was getting a bad press because of this affair with an older man, a notorious playboy, but the affair was a big factor in the maturing of Vilma Santos. When she made Dalawang Pugad, Isang Ibon she was saying goodbye to adolescence. She was saying: ‘I am a woman, I am entitled to happiness, I am entitled to the love of the man I want to love!’ It was during this period she uttered the most famous of Vilma quotes when she said of those who were bad-mouthing her: ‘To hell with all of them!’ this was her declaration of independence, of adulthood, of resistance. The film proved to be a very big success, nominated for various awards, though she didn’t gain an acting award.”

Vilma’s next Bernal film was 1978’s Ikaw ay Akin, again scripted by Joe Carreon, and starring Vilma and Nora together, with Christopher de Leon as their leading man. In this film, says Bernal, was set the persona Vilma would portray in a series of sex melodramas. ‘She played a liberated woman who had grown up in the States: very witty, very nervous, very aggressive, a chain smoker and fast talker, who’s trying to steal Christopher de Leon from Nora Aunor. Her character was neurotic, a free spirit, unpredictable; and I noticed again that Vilma herself was on edge from too much hard work. I could understand her arriving late on the set because I knew she was doing four or five movies at the same time. She would just sleep in the car while rushing from one location to another and she would arrive looking groggy and exhausted. Sometimes she would just give up and beg that the shooting be postponed because her body just couldn’t take it any more.”

She was then the top box-office queen and the top dramatic actress and it’s always a strain to keep on top. But the ‘glad girl” that’s the basic Vilma Santos continued to shine through the murk of those harrowing days, as Bernie Bernal recalls. ‘However tired or sleepy, she remained carinosa, always polite, and all smiles to the crew. She would buy them merienda and at the end of shooting would throw a feast for them: lechon and pancit. She was always considerate with the crew.

Some movie stars get carried away by a sense of their importance: they know they are carrying the movie, are responsible for its success, are making big money for their producers. And so they become temperamental. Vilma is quite aware of her importance and make no mistake about it: she has the qualities needed for survival in a cruel ungrateful world. She is a fighter, she has a killer instinct. All movie stars, especially the superstars, necessarily have this instinct. But in Vilma it goes with a real concern for others. And she wants her public image to be positive.”

So, even in a time of crisis, Vilma preserved her image as a glad girl – while Nora was busy setting herself up, or down, as la Dolorosa. If Vilma works at happiness, Nora has made a career of masochism. Bernal says that in Ikaw ay Akin Vilma was already conscious of her own particular style of acting, which can be described as minimal: less is more. The fewer and simpler the gestures, the greater the effect. The stripped style won her a grandslam when she did Relasyon with Bernie, which he rates as her most memorable film. It got her all the awards on the market. ‘In Relasyon Vilma made the character of a mistress very human and sympathetic, not just a contravida. The film was her comeback after her pregnancy. She and Edu Manzano had just had their baby boy, Lucky. Her next film, Broken Marriage, set another trend for her; the role of a modern urban working girl, as sophisticated as her Makati office and her personal problems. Her fans are growing up and Vilma’s image is becoming more and more complicated.

But it was in the last film we did together, 1988’s Pahiram ng Isang Umaga, that I noticed the big change in Vilma. She had become an artist. She was no longer just a movie star following the director’s instructions. She was very hyper, very high, eager to experiment: a cooperative and mature actress. She had studied the script in advance and she had sensible suggestions about it. I felt I was no longer working with a movie star but that she and I were two artists collaborating on an objective statement about life and death and human relationships.” How did a girl who began as purely ‘pang-masa” develop into so fine an artist? Vilma herself gives the credit to her willingness to learn. The process was sometimes painful but, says Vilma, she knew it was all part of her education. I am now 28 years in this business and everything I have learned has made me a stronger woman. Even the troubles, the intrigues – they have made me a stronger woman. I’m always learning. For example, there was a part of my career that was for me a very expensive education.” She had set up a production company of her own that, it turned out, was mostly producing debts.‘ That was about 15 years ago. I tried producing and I made about five movies for VS Films, my own outfit. It was managed by my mother, not by me personally, and Mama is so good people take advantage of her. Before I knew it I was drowning in debt. I was pregnant at the time, 1980, when I learned I had a debt of six million pesos! And I didn’t even know if, after giving birth, audiences would still accept me. How was I to survive? I prayed; I told God I was willing to work, sarado ang mata, just to pay off all those debts. And with his blessings I was given a second chance. After giving birth to my son, my career got a second chance and became even more successful: not only did I continue to be box-office but I was winning awards right and left.”

Before Lucky’s birth she had no contract with any studio but after his birth the two leading studios, Regal and Viva, asked to place her under contract and she signed up with both! ‘It was arranged that everything they paid me went straight to the banks, to pay off my debts. Not a centavo of my movie earnings passed through my hands. We lived on my television earnings. I had been offered this TV show, VIP Vilma in Person. It was a Sunday show and Sunday was the only day I could spend with my family but I had to sacrifice my day with them because that weekly show provided us with maintenance money. Unfortunately, my marriage suffered because of that. At that time, Edu wasn’t active in the movies yet; he was working in an office and, of course, his schedules and my schedules were in conflict. I think he suffered some kind of culture shock. Oh, he tried to be understanding but imagine him coming home at seven o’clock in the evening and me coming home at four o’clock in the morning. That won’t work – but I had to work.” She says

she didn’t feel guilty about the marriage breaking up. ‘Definitely not. If that was bound to happen to our life, what could I do? Even if I had just stayed at home, our marriage would have suffered, because of all my debts. And what would have happened to us without any money?” She knows the importance of money because she grew up in security and has learned that insecurity is being without money. ‘I wasn’t born poor but I wasn’t born rich either. I had a comfortable childhood. I went to a private school, St. Mary’s Academy, and I had a new pair of shoes whenever the school year opened. We could buy what we liked and though our house wasn’t very big it was a cozy home.” Her father was in the government service and she had an uncle, Maurie Agra, who was a cameraman for Sampaguita Pictures.

It was this uncle who got her to audition for Sampaguita when she was only nine years old. ‘Whenever he came to the house I’d sing and dance for him. I loved to watch TV and listen to radio dramas and at school I was always on the programs. Once, my uncle watched me imitating Pilita Corrales, a white sheet all over me for evening gown, and he asked would I be interested in going into showbiz and I said I’d just love to become an artista.” The role she was called to Sampaguita to test for was as Rita Gomez’s daughter in Anak, ang Iyong Ina, but on the same day Sampaguita was testing about a hundred other children for the role of Trudis Liit, a komiks character. The little Vilma kept wandering into that larger group where, as her mother kept telling her, she didn’t belong. But here was Doc Perez himself, head of Sampaguita, beckoning to the child. ‘Mama says I don’t belong there,”said the little Vilma. ‘But I want you,” said Doc Perez. Ang Mama consenting, Vilma took the test for Trudis Liit: speaking a line or two of dialogue, crying out when hit by Bella Flores, even ad-libbing already. ‘And I was chosen to play Trudis Liit! So, my first time in movies, I was into two movies right away: Trudis Liit and Anak, ang Iyong Ina. And I got the Tessie Agana treatment: chicken and apples every lunch. Sampaguita was very nice to me. I was its baby.”

And she was its No. 1 fan, gaping to see Gloria Romero passing by and chasing after Amalia Fuentes for her autograph. ‘Ate Nena snubbed me. She just said: ‘Later!’ But I loved her and we’re very close now.” Vilma the child star was in a string of movies playing the daughter of Lolita Rodriguez or Luis Gonzales or Dolphy. And she was also in the TV soap opera Larawan ng Pag-ibig with Rosita Noble, Willie Sotelo and Eva Darren. That six o’clock p.m. tearjerker rose to No. 1 in the ratings. Meanwhile, what was happening to Vilma the growing girl? ‘What was happening was a lot of school absences and a lot of special exams. The Sisters at St. Mary’s were very understanding: if I had too many absences, they gave me special exams. But when I was in fourth year high school I was practically not attending classes any more because that was the height of the Nora-Vilma competition. What was done, with the permission of the Bureau of Education, was that I had a tutor during shootings and then I was given the test for the last grading period. Thanks to God, I passed it and I got my high school diploma. But there could be no thought of going on to college.” She had by then graduated from child star to teenage superstar.

‘Despite showbiz, I was able to enjoy my childhood. It was my teens that suffered. Those were the days of jam sessions (no discos yet) and I missed them. I was dying to attend but I couldn’t. I was too busy promoting my love team with Bobot Mortiz. So I didn’t have the chance to be a teenager. But when I reached my 20s that was when I experienced iyong being a woman: going out on dates, candlelight dinners, enjoying life. I enjoyed my 20s.” During her teens she was mostly a song-and-dance girl on the screen, but after seeing The Miracle Worker she dreamed of tackling roles like the one done by Patty Duke in that film.  However, she felt her true line was dancing: ‘Definitely not singing; I sing just for the sake of my fans.” Doing pop teen movies by the score, would she ever have a chance to act like Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker?

Loveteams were then the wheels of teenage superstardom. Vilma and Edgar Mortiz were a prize pair of wheels. The Nora-Tirso tandem formed the rival pair of wheels. It was an endless frenzied race. Vilma says that during her Bobot Mortiz phase she was doing multiple movies at the same time. ‘Actually Edgar didn’t start with me. He started with Nora and Tirso: they were a triangle. My loveteam then was with Jay Ilagan: we were doing Operetang Putol-Putol on the radio and going out on personal appearances for the fans. Jay was still slim then, very good-looking. Bobot was already chubby but not as fat as he would become later: he was guapo and moreno. Tirso was truly the mestizo type. Nora was even shorter than me though I think she’s older by a year; she was very thin then, with long hair. It’s our complexion that’s usually compared: she is kayumanggi and they say I am fair. Edgar dropped out from their triangle when it was noted that the public preferred Nora to be paired with Tirso. And Jay Ilagan dropped out when I was paired with Edgar. So when we all went on TV, on rival programs, it was the loveteam of Bobot and me versus the loveteam of Guy and Pip. That was in 1967.”

Inevitably, Bobot Mortiz came to share more than the spotlight with Vilma. ‘He was my first boyfriend, though ours was no more than puppy love. He’s a nice guy, very intelligent. In fact, I suspect that the ideas in Going Bananas are mostly his. No, we never talked marriage. We were a team for about five years. Then I did movies solo.” More serious was her next love affair, with Ronnie Henares, son of the famed news columnist. ‘I met Ronnie on TV, when he was guesting on shows with Jojit Paredes. He started courting me – this was in the early ‘70s – and our relationship had the blessings of our families. His family and mine became very close. We planned to marry but I felt I was not ready yet: I was still too concentrated on my career – though at the time the movies I was doing were merely pang-masa, nonsense musical like Lets’ Do the Salsa. I was not yet very conscious of artistic cinema: I wanted my movies to be for the boxoffice, Ronnie was the kind of boyfriend who gifts you not with rings or flowers but with books. I never went to college but Ronnie was a good equivalent: I learned a lot from him. He corrected my English, improved my pronunciation, and introduced me to new words, all through the use of cue cards that he made for me and made me read aloud to him. He gave me books to read and helped me understand them by explaining their meaning. Our relationship lasted a year and a half. We had our lover’s quarrels and the sweet thing is that even during our breaks our families stayed close. And Ronnie and I are still friends today. He composed a song for me.”

Tantamount to the Erap episode in Nora’s life is Vilma’s moment of appasionata with Romeo Vasquez, an older man with a past. ‘Romeo Vasquez was a turning point in my personal life. I really gambled with my life when I fell in love with him. He had come back to the country after being away for years. He was already separated from Amalia. Then I met him and we were offered a movie to do together: Nag-aapoy na Damdamin, for the Santiagos. The time we were together he was okay. We also did Dalawang Pugad, Isang Ibon, and Pulot-gata. And the movie that had him and me together with Nora nad Tirso: Pinagbuklod ng Pag-ibig. Our relationship lasted two years. Even after we parted, we still did a movie together.”

Vilma dismisses as mere chismis the rumor that Ronnie Poe became wildly enamored of her after they did Batya’t Palupalo and Bato sa Buhangin. But local cinema legend has the King coming to blows with Romeo Vasquez because of this jealous rivalry. Even the scene of the duel is specified: the lawns of a Joseph Estrada abode, during an Erap birthday party. An amused Vilma, however, shakes her head in denial. ‘Fernando Poe and I became close but we did not have any relationship. I’ll admit I was very impressed by him when we made our movies together. Totoong humanga ako sa kanya. He knows how to ‘carry’ people, how to deal with them in such a way as to command their respect. He is really the King. We became very very close: he’d send me food, like a dish of fish, during shootings. But that was all.”

While recovering from Romeo Vasquez, Vilma became a disco habitue, and in these excursions to the haunts of night people she often bumped into a young man who thus became a nodding acquaintance: someone she knew by face long before she knew him by name. One movie she did during this period was Yakapin Mo Ako, Lalaking Matapang, with Lito Lapid, which was shot in Cebu City. And as usual at night she went disco-hopping. And one night, at one disco, there he was again, this young man who had become a nodding acquaintance: Edu Manzano. ‘That was the first time we had a chance to talk. He’s really a charming guy and very handsome. We danced, we chatted, we danced – gano’n. Then I went back to my hotel.” She was getting ready for bed when the phone rang: Mr. Edu Manzano calling. ‘But how did you get my number?” ‘You know me, I’m resourceful. When do you go back to Manila?” ‘Tomorrow,” said Vilma. ‘What time is your flight?” ‘Two o’clock. What time is your flight?” ‘Three o’clock,” said Edu. ‘Bon voyage. And good night.” Next day, loaded with the mandatory hojaldres and rosquillos, she boarded the afternoon plane for Manila. And who should be sitting across the aisle from her but Mr. Manzano. Well! He really was resourceful. But they couldn’t converse. She was sitting beside Lito Lapid; Edu was sitting beside an Iranian. Only upon landing could they snatch a moment of exchange. Of course he wanted to know if he could date her.  “Can I invite you out or do you have a boyfriend?” “No.” “No, I can’t take you out?” “No, I don’t have a boyfriend.”

But a week passed; two weeks; a whole month – and no word from Edu. He’s not taking me seriously, shrugged Vilma. ‘Ako naman, at that time,” she says now, ‘I wasn’t taking him seriously either.” Then one night, at the Alibi Bar, she saw him again. But she was with a date with whom she went nightclub-hopping until four in the morning. When she came back to her hotel, there was a note from Edu: he was waiting in the lobby. She went down to see him, and he invited her to breakfast. What a terrific topping for the night before and her morning after. ‘So we stepped out again and had breakfast at the Manila Hotel. We talked and talked until daylight. Then he brought me back to my hotel. And that was how it started. After that, we were seeing each other every day.” During the Grand Passion that was Romeo Vasquez, her critics had hooted that she was Vilma the mad girl. But La Belle, La Perfectly swell, Romance with Edu Manzano was the real coming-out party for Vilma the Glad Girl. Miss twinkletoes had met the boy next door. Of the men in her life, Vilma Santos says it was Edu Manzano who had the most stunning style of courtship. He didn’t treat her like the superstar, the love goddess, the sex symbol, the glamour queen that she was; he treated her as if she was an ordinary kanto girl.‘ He didn’t take me to dine at five-star hotels; we ate at small pizza houses. We didn’t go dancing at elegant ballrooms; he took me to little discos. It was completely the opposite of how I had been treated by other suitors: kabaligtaran ng lahat. And how I loved it! Once, early in our relationship, he invited me to lunch. I assumed we would be going to a luxury bistro and so I dressed to the teeth. But he arrived on a motorcycle, wearing Levi’s and rubber shoes. When he saw me in all my finery, he flipped. He told me to go back up and change. So I change to jeans and rubbers. And off we sped on his motorcycle, me behind clinging to him.” Naturally, all those who spotted her – bus passengers, street vendors, pedestrians on the sidewalks – could hardly believe their eyes. ‘Si Vilma! Si Vilma!” they cried in amazement. And there indeed was the superstar, the love goddess, the sex symbol, the glamour queen, in jeans and rubber shoes, riding bumper on a motorcycle.  Vilma says it was as if she had moved into another world. ‘I really enjoyed it: riding on his motorcycle, walking in the rain. And then, after three months, he asked me to marry him. This was in 1980.” She was about to leave for the United States, to shoot a movie. She said to him: ‘Let’s give ourselves time, let’s test each other. This movie will take two months to do over there. If after two months we still feel this way, then we are really meant for each other. And we’ll get married. But not now, not right now when I’m going away.”

The decision was to make no decision yet. And Vilma left for California. She really was testing herself, for the stateside movie she was doing was with Romeo Vasquez. Had she really and truly got over him? Was she really and truly in love with Edu? The answer hit her like a bolt from the blue when Edu Manzano suddenly showed up on location and she felt, not annoyed, but enraptured, though he had broken their agreement to stay apart for two months. That he had so impulsively followed her bespoke ardor on his part. She did wonder if her producer, Atty. Espiridion Laxa, had anything to do with the surprise. But: ‘Definitely, it pleased me!” The news that lover boy Edu had leapt across the Pacific to join his lady love had Philippine moviedom ga-ga with the thought of how bigger a blockbuster than a Vilma-Romeo movie would be a Vilma-Edu picture.

The Vilmanians, as her fans are tagged when arrayed against la Aunor’s Noranians, were clamoring for a view of their glamour queen’s consort. Vilma, ever astute as businesswoman, was only too glad to deliver. ‘But before making that movie, we got married in the States.” Actually, it was an elopement. ‘My Mama didn’t know about it. Edu and I simply ran away. We got wedded in Las Vegas and we honeymooned in Disneyland and at Knottsberry Farm. Two weeks we were in hiding. Then we went back to Los Angeles. And that was when we broke the news to Mama. She cried. Oh, my Mama is good: sobrang bait nga. She was never a stage mother – except in the matter of singing, which she was always pushing me into. ‘Go ahead, sing,’ she would tell me, even if I didn’t want to. Maybe I used to be too dependent on her, as in the time of VS Films, when her goodness was being abused and when I learned about that it was too late.  One thing about my marriage; there were never any differences between Mama and Edu.”

In Los Angeles Vilma really worked at housekeeping. ‘Edu and I made a home for ourselves, just for the two of us. And I was a real housewife. I made the beds, I swept the floor, I did the cooking, or tried to. But in the States you can buy everything ready to cook. I had to be housewife because Edu is conservative and I had to be the kind of wife he wants for a wife. He called me Babes, I called him Doods.” She says that as a husband Edu was ‘mabait’. ‘He had already done a movie, Alaga, but was not yet well known. I promised him that on returning home I would lie low as movie star and just attend to being housewife. Unfortunately, on arriving in Manila, I found I was pregnant: Lucky is a honeymoon baby. At the same time I learned I had a six-million -peso debt. I told Edu about it and he said he would find some way we could work it out. But there was really not much he could do about so huge a debt. So, after giving birth to my son, I returned to work. Of course, that meant I had little time for my husband and my baby. There was a yaya to take care of the baby and as much as possible I tried to mother him but of course I couldn’t give him one hundred percent attention. Edu wanted me to be home at least by ten o’clock in the evening but it was oftener four o’clock in the morning before I could rush home.” With her feeling so exhausted and him feeling so neglected, impatience could not but become their ambiance during their four years of marriage.‘ 

In fairness to Edu, he did try to understand the situation. And he did care for me. But I simply couldn’t give up my career until I had paid off my debts. I only finished paying in 1987. And by that time Edu had left.” Possibly, for Edu Manzano, the real cruz of the marriage was having to suffer being Mr. Vilma Santos. But she says that theirs was a very loving parting. ‘We had a beautiful talk, the two of us. We agreed that our love was still there but, because we kept clashing, we shouldn’t wait until we started hating each other. We should give ourselves time to breathe and to think, apart from each other. That was already our fifth separation; the first, second, third and fourth had all ended within two months. I was expecting the fifth to end just as quickly but when it had lasted eight months already I wondered if we had not indeed gone our separate ways. Kanya-kanyang buhay na. Then I learned he had a girlfriend. He was first.” If she had hoped for a happy ending to their fifth separation it was for the sake of their son. ‘ Before Edu and I parted, we stepped out, the three of us: Lucky was then four years old. And we explained to him what was happening. We felt it was better to be honest with the child: when he grew up he would understand. He himself would not be affected: Edu and I assured him that both of us would take care that he was not affected. He is nine years old now and his name is Louis Philippe Manzano. He weighed 7.7 pounds when he was born on April 21 – and 21 is a multiple of 7. That’s why we call him Lucky.”

Vilma says she felt bad when she heard that Edu was running around with another girl. ‘I said to myself: ‘My God, why should I go on suffering like this: I’ll only grow old.’ I decided I’d like to run around too, enjoy myself. So I went out but I chose a safe place: King Kong, a club frequented by movie people, owned by Marilou Diaz-Abaya. That was the first time I had stepped out since the separation and that was the first time I met Ralph Recto. He’s a nice young man, very intelligent, very down to earh. He has a degree in economics and is taking his masters now, at the UP. I learn a lot from him, my substitute for college, like Ronnie Henares. He is very interested in politics but I don’t meddle in his politics. Our relationship is now on its sixth year. When we met, Lucky was only four and now he is nine. Lucky and Ralph are very close. No, we don’t talk marriage.” The decade since her marriage has seen Vilma developing, as Ishmael Bernal says, into an artist. Vilma smiles to recall that she started out just wanting to dance. What’s singular about Vilma’s career is that, as a child star, she went through no awkward age, and now, as superstar, she seems to have been set no deadline.

The nine-year-old who starred in Trudis Liit had a steady four years of playing little daughter of Lolita Rodriguez and Marlene Dauden but never suffered an ugly-duckling phase of no-longer-a-child and not-yet-a-teener. The difficult 13-14-15 period was smoothly bridged by roles like that of Imee Marcos in Iginuhit ng Tadhana and Pinagbuklod ng Langit. And right afterwards she became the teen queen in the pop entertainments she did with Bobot Mortiz. Then at 19 she began to veer towards heavy drama. ‘I was 19 when I made a film with Eddie Rodriguez, playing a girl falling in love with an older married man. The wife was Barbara Perez. If I remember right, that was the first time I wore a bikini.” Nary a hitch in the Vilma career; no pauses in the action as she grows up from child to girl, or from sweet young thing to red-hot mama. Or from innocuous movies to daring films. ‘Compared to my teenage partners, Eddie Rodriguez was far and away the leading man, the actor, the gentleman. Very different in manner, in the way he moved, the way he carried his clothes. He helped me refine my acting and little by little I learned poise.”

The decisive divergence is Burlesk Queen. ‘I took a risk playing Burlesk Queen, Celso Ad. Castillo directing. I was 24. My American manager, William Leary, had persuaded me to accept the role. He had been my manager since he convinced me to do a record, Sixteen, that made good. I was no longer with Sampaguita but I went back there from time to time to make sweet sweet movies or musicals. That was my style. Then I did Burlesk Queen. It turned out to be a turning point. I won an acting award. Suddenly I was the drama queen. Celso Ad. Castillo is really good. In a way it was that film that made me a real actress. It changed my sweet image. And it made good at the boxoffice. ”However, later relations with Castillo proved to be painful. ‘I already had my production company, VS Films, and I got him as director for Pagputi ng Uwak. He really gave me a hard time on that film: it was two years in the making! And it sank VS Films into debt. Celso and I had a fight. As a director he’s very good but as an artist he has his quirks: merong sumpong. I hear he now works in Malaysia: sayang, he was good for Philippine movies. Pagputi ng Uwak nearly ruined me, financially and mentally, but it turned out to be a firstrate film and it won a lot of awards, it won VS Films a lot of prestige. But I still prefer Burlesk Queen.” The five productions of VS Films, which included Rosas sa Putikan, directed by Maning Borlaza, and Halik sa Paa, Halik sa Kamay, costarring Vilma with Eddie Rodriguez, all made money, including Pagputi ng Uwak. Nevertheless, by the time she had to shut it down, VS Films had her drowning in six million pesos’ worth of red ink. It took her some seven years to pay off that montrous debt. And it meant having to go back to making movies that were ‘pambata at pangmasa” movies like Darna and Dyesebel and Wonder Vi.

Still, this ‘comeback’ period (after the birth of Lucky) was also the start of a series of vintage pictures, beginning with Relasyon, where she played a free soul living in with her lover. The lover was played by her most compatible co-star, Christopher de Leon. ‘Christopher, of all my leading men, is the one I’m most comfortable with. We really make a team. And yet we never had any relationship, except on the screen.  Just how comfortable I am with him can be seen in the fact that it’s with him I have made the biggest number of movies: around 18 or 20. There was a year when we made four movies together! So often did we play opposite each other that we felt we had to vary the situations, to avoid becoming monotonous. We’d say: Let’s sit down and think of a new situation in which to find ourselves. But there came a time when we simply could no longer think of anything new for us to play. We seemed to have exhausted all the possible love angles. And that’s when we decided to stop teaming up for a while. I went on to trying other leading men. Actually it’s not I who choose my leading men but the producers. I just accept whoever they pick for me.” A kind of homage is paid her when she’s paired with younger stars like Eric Quizon and Aga Muhlach.

‘Definitely, I feel flattered. But then I feel very very secure in my age and with myself. It’s a matter of self-confidence, of knowing that when they look at you they see a woman, period. Age doesn’t matter: I have no insecurities about it.” She knows she can look as young as, or younger than, her new leading men – as long as she herself feels young inside. Her effect on the folk around her has been most graphically expressed by, of all people, director Lino Brocka, who directed her in three of her most applauded vehicles: Rubia Servios, Adultery and Hahamakin Lahat. ‘When you work with Vilma,” says Brocka, ‘you get this feeling of having just emerged from a bath and of being drenched all over with Johnson’s baby cologne. You feel so fresh, so youthful.” He adds that when they first worked together she seemed scared of him. Now he gushes: ‘Ang sarap niyang katrabaho.” The chief reason, of course, is: ‘She has matured and grown up as an actress. At this point of her career, she is very good, she is really big. Before, she had a hard time making herself cry, but now how fast she can do it. And she has become sensitive to direction: in that repect she has overtaken Nora.” Brocka says that the sensitivity he noticed at once in Nora Aunor was what he missed when he started directing Vilma. ‘So I assumed that, as an actress, she was really just second to Nora. But Vilma takes good care of herself not only physically – there’s always this aura about her – but intellectually too: so she grows and develops tremendously. The second time I worked with her, in Adultery, I realized she had become as good as Nora, or better. And by the time of Hahamakin Lahat there was the complete sensibility already – a difference in the way she expressed pain and hurt. Talent was welling out like spring water, and flowing from her most naturally, no longer courtesy of Vicks or whatever.”

What would explain this outburst of talent? ‘Possibly her coming of age as a woman. She had become more sure of herself. And this self-confidence grew as her private life became calmer, as she found herself with fewer problems, both financially and emotionally. How a director would feel about her at the moment is that he can do anything with her now. She has become so supple that his tendency would be to challenge her still further, make her come up still higher, open up more doors. She can give you so much more now.” Brocka snorts at the complaint Vilma is currently making: that so utterly has she done all the roles she can do there’s no new role left for her to do. ‘She can do the same role over and over again as long as, with the right direction, she does it always a bit more profoundly than the last time and makes it a bit more complex than the last time. She should have no problem at all with roles. In fact, I would advise her now to play roles that are not glamorous. Yes, she’s too associated with glamour to do that. But maybe in another year or two she can afford to take off her make up and act her age. Then she’ll really be on par with Nora, whose chief concern is seldom her looks. With Nora, it’s not her face that’s on sale. The problem with Vilma is that she feels she has to live up to her image as The Glamour Girl. I’m waiting for the day when glamour will have no truck -walang pakialam! – with the acting.

Bemusing how up to now Vilma continues to be bracketed together with Nora, so that to speak of Vilma is to speak of Nora. They have been rivals, opponents, antagonists for so long that it’s impossible to tell their careers apart. Spur to each other from the start, they have realized they need each other as goad and goal, the achievement of one goading the other to an equal, or greater, achievement. Vilma-Nora is the back-to-back monster of Pinoy showbiz. Vilma sees it as sibling rivalry. ‘If Vilma is there, Nora is there. There was a point in our career [note that Vilma uses the collective singular] when we were both so affected that the rivalry became a personal feud between us. There was even a point in our career when we were fighting each other – for honors, for awards, for acting prizes. But there also came a point in our career when we realized we were not getting any younger and we started becoming very close. I think that was the time her father died and I went to the wake. We hadn’t been together since we did a movie together when we were feuding hotly: no talking to each other during the shooting; she stayed on one side with her fans, and I stayed on the other side with my fans: no communication. But when I attended her father’s wake, that was when we realized we could be friends. And we started helping each other: she’d invite me to guest on her TV show, and vice-versa. Then her mother died and again I went to the wake. And that was the time when Nora and I became so close we were telling each other the most intimate details of our life.”

And the details range from ledger to boudoir. ‘Today Nora and I are still competing but it’s a friendly competition now; in fact, I’m the godmother of her adopted child. We want that there should still be a competing between us, but with nothing personal to it. So it has become a healthy competition. Nora is a very sensitive person. Me, I’m not very sensitive. But make no mistake about Nora: she is also a strong woman. What I know of Nora: though there may be many advising her, ultimately it’s her own feelings she follows. She does what she wants to do; it’s herself she obeys: that’s her attitude. I guess what she needs at present is the right person. Nora is 37 years old now. I am 36 – a true friend who loves her. A friend who will love her whether she’s down, whether she’s up, or whatever.”

What puzzles is the difference in image between Nora la Dolorosa and Vilma the Glad Girl despite the fact that actually both of them underwent very similar experiences: rash infatuations, career ups-and-downs, a failed marriage, business fiascos, the heavy cross of huge debts. Why did such ordeals produce the sad look in one but a glad look in the other? To be sure, there are those who say that Vilma’s image as the Glad Girl is just that: an image; and that the reality behind it may not be quite as pleasant. The real Vilma, aver these know-it-all’s, is cold-blooded: sweet na sweet pero deadly; nothing matters to her but her career. She was playing herself ruthless in films like Hahamakin Lahat. When she found she couldn’t displace Nora as the nation’s sweetheart, she did violence to her own persona by enacting Burlesk Queen, the kind of role Nora cannot do: she risked her career because that was the only way to beat Nora. Vilma herself shrugs off such misreadings of her history with the remark that the intrigues of others only help her become ‘a stronger woman.” Even the world’s malice can’t be made useful in building up character. ‘I am Rosa Vilma Santos, who grew up in Bambang, Trozo, and then in La Loma, and my life is an open book. What people say about me – that’s a problem I must live with. I guess it’s the price I pay for my career: the price of no privacy. I can’t do anything about that anymore. However I may want to keep my personal life private, it’s impossible: lalabas at lalabas talaga. However discreet I may try to be, I’m sure to be found out.” So she chooses to let it all hang out. ‘Of course, I hate having no privacy: I’m really suffering from that. Sometimes I wish I were an ordinary person so I can go where I like, go shopping for groceries with my son, go for a walk and enjoy it. But how can you enjoy it when you’re always getting mobbed? But, as I said, that’s the price you pay.” And certainly she has no intention of retiring just to gain that precious privacy. ‘Nor no plans either of getting married. Not yet. maybe someday, yes. As of now, I’m very comfortable and happy with my personal life. But another marriage? I’m not prepared for that.” 

What she’s prepared for right now is more career. ‘I have reached a position when I’m not contented with just acting: I’d like to experience all the other works of moviemaking. But most of all I want to be a director. I want to be given a chance to direct a movie. So that this time I myself will be the captain. I have ideas I want to try out.” She confounds the Cassandras by expressing hope and confidence in the Philippine cinema. ‘There has been progress, there has been improvement. We started in black-and-white: now we’re in color. Yes, there are frustrations. It’s frustrating to come up with a film of relevance, to upgrade the cinema in general, and see it fail at the box-office. A painful experience – like my movie Sister Stella L. I felt bad when it didn’t make good because I like that movie very much. It wasn’t my first time to do a quality movie that had to be yanked out in seven days. You can’t blame the producers: it’s their money at stake. If I were in their place, would I risk my money on something that won’t sell? And yet how I wish there were some producers willing to risk their money on movies with significance… I hear even the scriptwriters are feeling frustrated because, when they do a quality script, they only see it changed into something with lots of shrieking and slapping. But those are the movies that sell.” Nevertheless, she looks forward to a classier tomorrow for Philippine cinema.

‘And what’s tomorrow for Vilma Santos? I’m trying to be more stable because I know that show business is not stable. I’m planning to produce a movie next year. This time I’ll manage production myself. I’ve already started with telemovies. The first was Lamat sa Kristal, with Richard Gomez. Next was Katuparan, directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya. And the third is this one I’m doing right now with Aga Muhlach, Once There Was a Love, directed by Maryo J. delos Reyes.” Her own TV show just celebrated its 10th anniversary – and with a scandal yet. It got kicked out of its usual venue, the Metropolitan Theater, because, complained the Met honchos, Vilma’s live audiences wrought havoc with the Met’s upholstery. Which, to take the Pollyanna, or Glad girl, approach, proves that Vilma’s audiences today are not matrons and seniors but still the young, the wild, the reb. She says she has no hang ups about age. But how does she keep herself looking young? ‘I don’t know. I don’t do anything special. I used to swim but I don’t have the time now. I don’t cut down on anything. I drink occasionally but I’m not really a drinker. My true enemy is tobacco:

I smoke. Aside from that, I know no other vices. On facing the camera, whether movie or TV, I put on make up. But Vilma Santos the person, when in her house, puts nothing on her face.” She is positive it’s not make-up that makes her go over on the little or big screen as young-looking. ‘But like the old beauties of Sampaguita Studios. I know that someday I will be the ex-superstar. When that time arrives, I hope I’ll be stable – financially stable enough to ensure a future for my son, present comfort for my family, and for myself a personal life that’s tranquil because I have a stable business and a comfortable income. Those are my dreams now that I am 36.” Not that she has any complaints about the present tense. ‘More than half of my life has been spent in show business,” says the Glad Girl. ‘For all the blessings I am enjoying, I should be thankful!” Happiness, Inc.

Publisher’s Note:  Quijano de Manila (Nick Joaquin) is a National Artist for Literature, while both Ishmael Bernal and Lino Brocka are National Artist for Film.  Our cover story is about the indestructible and unfading screen beauty, Vilma Santos, who has become even more accomplished and seductive as the years pass. Quijano de Manila (Nick Joaquin in journalistic disguise) captures the secrets and the charms of this enduring beauty, a triumph of art over time. – Juan P. Dayang

Source: Written by Quijano De Manila (Nick Joaquin), Philippine Graphic Magazine 05 November 1990

News Clippings Is Back! 2/3

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Takot sa Ahas – Sa paggawa ng pelikula, kung maringgan man ng pagdaing si Vilma Santos ay bihirang-bihira. Nangyayari lang ito kung ipagpalagay nating siya’y may dinaramdam, hapong-hapo at talagang hindi na makakaya ng katawang humarap sa kamera kahit ibigin niya. Gayon man, kung nagkataong napakahalaga ng eksena at kinakailangang gawin niya, kahit anong sama ng pakiramdam niya’y humaharap siay sa kamera. At sa pagtungo niya sa set o location, lagi siyang nasa oras. Kung maatraso ma’y saglit lang. Ganyan ka-professinal si Vilma Santos. Ngunit sa Lipad, Darna, Lipad ay dumaraing siya. Hindi sa hindi niya enjoy gawin ito. Ang totoo’y sa pelikulang ito lang siya na-involved. Ibig na niyang matapos na ito’t makita ang pinagpaguran niya. Talaga palang mahirap gumawa ng costumes picture. Lalo pa’t kung tulad nito! Una ang naging suliranin namin ay ang Darna costumes ko. Kasi kinakailangan maging maliksi ang kilos ko bilang Darna, kaya kailangang alisin na ang padding. Kaso nga lilitaw naman ang malaking bahagi ng aking katawan. Mabuti na lang at sumang-ayon ang aking fans. “Pangalawa, nag-aalala ako sa mga eksenang bakbakan namin nina Gloria Romero, Celia Rodriguez at Liza Lorena. Kasi baka masaktan ko sila nang di sinasadya. Ang pangatlo ay ang likas ng pagkatakot ko…sa mga ahas. Kasi may bahagi roong tungkol sa Babaing Ahas, si Valentina. Dito, laging kailangan ang ahas sa mga eksena. Mga sari-saring ahas. Maliliit at malalaki. At makamandag! Ang pinakamahirap sa lahat ay ang pag-su-shooting. Kailangan naming tapusin ito anuman ang mangyari. Kaya nasasagap ko ang lamig ng gabi at init ng araw. At ang suot ko nga’y labas ang malaking bahagi ng katawan! At alam n’yo namang kailang lang ay naospital ako dahil sa respiratory defects!” Ito ang daing ni Vilma Santos sa pinakamahirap niyang pelikula, ang Lipad, Darna, Lipad. Ngunit mahihinuha naman ninyo na ang pagdaing niya’y parang paglalambing lang. Dinaraan pa nga niyang lahat sa biro. Pagka’t ang tutoo, mahal na mahal niya ang pelikulang ito. Dahil ito nga ang pinakamahirap. At sa isang artista, kung alin ang pinakamahirap ay siya namang pinakamasarap! – Cleo Cruz, Love Story Magazine, 1973

Makulay Ang FAMAS Awards Night sa MET! – “…Tears and joy ang kabuuan ng FAMAS Awards Night last November 21 sa MET. Halos sumabog ang said theaters sa dami ng tao, may involvement o wala sa showbiz ay naroroon that memorable night. Surprisingly, ang daming mukhang hindi dumadalo sa nakaraang FAMAS Awards ay nagsulputan! They expected a lot sa mga nagbabagong magaganap dito. At hindi naman sila nabigo sa kanilang expectations. Tunay na iba ang naganap sa FAMAS ngayon, compared sa mga nakaraan. The simplest ito. Puro madarama ang katapatan ng layunin ng mga taong nagpapagalaw ngayon. Kahit paano ay umabot pa sa ganoon ang FAMAS, kahit sakat sa kagarbuhan ay buhay pa rin ito. Pampadagdag sigla sa local movie industry. Iyan ay dapat ipagpasalamat! Makikia sa mga photos na naririto ang hindi maipaliwanag na kaligayahan para msa nagwagi. Deserving naman ang kanilang pagkapanalo. Iyan ang bunga ng kanilang pagsisikap at pagtitiyaga at pagbibigay kulay…ang FAMAS trophy! Nanalo si Mat Ranillo bilang Best Actor, Susan Roces as Best Actress. Sina George Estregan at Angie Ferro naman as Best Supporting Actor/Actress. Tinanggap ng VS Films ni Vilma Santos ang karangalan para sa Best Picture category sa pelikulang “Pagputi ng Uwak, Pagitim ng Tagak” at Best Director si Celso Ad. Castillo. Best Child Performer naman sina Niño Muhlach at Julie Vega. Iyan ay para sa year ’78 ng FAMAS. Para duon sa mga hindi nagwagi, sabi ngaý better luck next time. Alam ng lahat na nagsikap din sila, at iya’y isa nang magandang pahiwatig na may malaking pag-asa sila para sa FAMAS ay darating na panahon. At paghahandaan na nila ng dobleng sikap. Congratulation para sa lahat at inaasahan naman magtatagpo pang muli sa next FAMAS Awards Night!…” – Nards Sangalang, 3 December 1979

Hindi Kami Close – “…Nakakataba sa puso ko nung sabihin niya sa akin na sia ako sa mga hinahangaan niyang artista noong nagsisimula pa lang ako. Ilang beses daw niyang pinanood ang Trudis Liit. Kahit pa sabihing kami ang tunay na magkaribal talaga sa showbiz, the fact remains pa rin na magkumare kami. Hindi namin hinahaluan ng ka-showbiz0an ang aming friendship. Pinag-aaway man kami, e sa pelikula lang ‘yon. Hindi naman pinaabot ito sa ulo. Kung close friends kami, ang totoo niyan, magkaibigan kami, pero hindi talaga kami ganun ka-close. Ang mga maituturing kong close friends, e sina Coney, Helen at Tina. Yes, dati-rati, e madalas kaming magtawagan sa telepono, lalo na kapag may problema siya. Kaya lang ngayon, e hindi na. Masyado na kamign busy pareho! Nami-miss ko na nga yung time na madalas pa kaming nagki-keep in touch eh. Pero overall, wala akong masasabi sa kumare ko. Tagahanga rin niya ako sa kanyang pag-arte. That’s true! Hindi showbiz ‘yon. Kami ba naman e maglolokohan pa?” pabirong wika ng Star For All Seasons…” – Monti C. Tirasol, Bandera Magazine, November 1991

Hindi Naiinggit – Naiinggit siya kay Vilma ngayon dahil mas sikat ito sa kanya. “…Bakit naman ako maiinggit? Kahit papaano, e, pinaggaaman kami niyan. Kumare ko pa siay. No. Hindi totoo yon. Siguro noon, e pumapasok sa isip namin yung mga ganoong bagay, dala na rin ng aming kabataan at that time na the height ng aming kasikatan. Pero ngayon e, hindi ko masasabing naiinggit ako sa kanya. Ang totoo pa nga niyan e masayang masaya ako para sa kanya! Sa aming pagkakaibigan lalo na ngayon, yung pagnanais na magtagumpay ang sinuman sa aming dalawa ang nangingibabaw. Walang halong kaplastikan ito. Sinasabi nila na naiinggit ako dahil may weekly show siya, tapos e mas madalas siyang gumawa ng pelikula sa akin. Wala ‘yon sa akin e. Pana-panahon naman yun e di ba? Basta ako, kung sakaling manalo man siya ng awards, magkaroon siya ng bagong show, matuloy na yung kasal niya, basta everything na positive at good news, kahit na hindi mangyayari pa sa akin, I am very happy para sa kanya! Matatanda na kami para magkainggitan huh!…” – Monti Tirasol, Bandera Magazine, November 1991

Vi Likes Meng Fei – “…Si Vi likes Meng Fei, but she emphasize that liking is very much different from loving. Biniro namin siya na para sa kanya’y maaaring ganoon. But how about Bot? “Ang Mommy Cleo naman! Parang di na kabisado si Bot! Oo, noo’y halos type niya noon. Pero, hindi na ngayon. Ang Tutoo, like ni Bot si Meng Fei! Mukhang okey naman daw ito’t isang maginoo. Gagalangin daw ako. He considers Meng Fei na any other na manliligaw sa akin. Pagka’t binata raw si Meng Fei, there is nothing wrong kung lumigaw siya sa akin. Na, isang dalaga naman. Kaya bakit naman daw siya magagalit?” then she laughed mischiviously…Batay sa mga balita, inevitable na dumating ang “pangyayari” ang lumigaw na si Meng Fei sa kanya. What then? Kunwa’y napahumindig si Vi. “Aba di hayaan natin siyang dumiga! Para didiga lang? Saka wowi si Meng Fei yata yan! Pero kidding aside, I wouldn’t think too much about it. Di pa naman nangyayari. Sabi nga burn your bridges after crossing them. Bakit ko poproblemahin ang bagay na hindi pa dumarating?…Pero it would be nice kung tulad ni Meng Fei ang manligaw sa isang dalaga, ano Mommy?” Tapos, kinurot ako ng superstar at nagbibiro lang daw siya. Tumawa nang tumawa pagkatapos. – Cleo Cruz, Showbiz Reporter Magazine, 25 August 1973

Sportsmanship Among Movie Stars – Naging masigla ang opening ceremonies ng liga ng basketball sa KBS, na kinabibilangan ng media and tv talent teams. Ang palarong ito ay lumalayon sa magandang sense of sportmanship among entertainment players at sa pagpapanatili ng magandang samahan ng mga taga-KBS. Ilan sa mga plyars ng Radio Talents Team sina Tirso Cruz III, Edgar Mortiz, Lito Legaspi, Eddie Gutierrez, Bert Leroy Jr, Pepot at ang kanilang muse ay si Vilma Santos. Sa mga larawan, mapapasayon ang magandang kahulugan ng cooperation and camaraderie ng mga artista at kanilang kasamahan through the number one sport in the Philippines – basketball. – Ric S. Aquino, Pilipino Reporter Magazine, 1973

Superstar na si Vi – Tulad ng dati, humble pa sin si Vilma Santos. Hindi pa rin niya na maamin na siya’y isa nang superstar. Sa katunayan kapag sinasabi mo sa kanyang sikat na sikat na siya ay iiling lamang si Vi at magalang na magwiwikang “hindi ho naman.” Talagang superstar na si Vilma Santos pagkatapos patunayang ng kanyang mga pelikulang “Lipad, Darna, Lipad” at “Dyesebel.” Biruin ninyo, nang itanghal ang “Lipad, Darna, Lipad” ay kasabay ng pelikula nina Joseph Estrada at Nora Aunor subali’t mahigpit na nakipagtunggali ang nasabing pelikula. Sa nakaraang Pista Ng Pelikulang Tagalog, ang pelikula ni Vilma na “Dyesebel” ay sumunod naman sa lakas ng kita sa pelikula nina Fernando Poe Jr at Joseph Estrada. Iyan ay pagpapatunay lamang na superstar na si Vilma Santos. Napakaraming pelikulang gagampanan ngayon si Vilma Santos. Isa na sa ginagawa niya ngayon ay ang “Anak Ng Asuwang” para sa Roma Films. Sa pelikulang ito na pinamamahalaan ni Romy Susara, si Vilma ay gumaganap bilang anak ni Gloria Romero. Hindi batid ni Vi na ang kanyang ina ay isang vampira at asuwang. Kaya lamang niya natuklasan ang katotohanan ay nang mapatay ng mga tao ang kanyang ina datapuwa’t matapos iyong mailibing at masaksihan ng kanyang mga mata ay muli niyang nakita na kanyang ina na buhay na buhay. Iyon pala, kampon ng dilim ang inaakala niyang patay na ina… – Amelia Arcega, Movie Queen Magazine, 1973

Recording Superstar – Basta’t araw ng Huwebes, makakaasa kayong nasa Cinema Audio si Vilma Santos at nagsasaplaka ng kanyang pinakabagong awitin para sa Vicor. Ito ang araw na inilalalaan niya sa recording upang sa gayon ay mapabilis ang pagtatapos ng kanyang unang plakang LP para sa Vicor, ang “Sing Vilma Sing.” Ilnag mga awiting na lamang ang dapat niyang maisaplaka. Natutuwa naman si Vilma sapagka’t halos karamihan sa kanyang mga inaawit ay katugon ng kanyang panlasa. “Mahusay talagang pumili ng mga selections si Kuya Orly. Alam niya ang mga kantang babagay sa akin at iyong mga hindi.” Isa lamang sa mga selection na kinalugdan ni Vilma ay ang “Tweedle Dee.” “Okay sa aking ito sapagka’t mabilis at madaling tandaan. Isa pa paborito ko na ang awiting ito kahit noon pa man.” Kung hindi nagre-recording si Vilma, lubha siyang abala sa kanyang mga assignments sa pelikula. Marami siyang alok na tinatanggap at masusu niyang pinag-aaralan kung alin ang dapat tanggapin. Malapit ng matapos ang “Wonder Vi” at “Anak ng Aswang.” Isusunod na niya ang pelikulang pagtatambalan nila ni Meng Fei. Anupa’t mapa-recording at mapa-pelikula, mawiwikang superstar ngang talaga si Vilma Santos. – Movie Queen Magazine, 1973

Ang Hirap Ni Vi sa Anak ng Asuwang – Nang ginagawa ni Vilma ang Lipad, Darna, Lipad sinasabi niyang marahil iyon na ang pinakamahirap at challenging pic niyang nagawa. Kasi, dito’y nabilad siya ng husto sa init ng araw. Nalubog pa sa putik. Alam naman ninyo ang balat ng top superstar…manipis, maputi at sensitive. Tinubuan siya tuloy ng skin rashes. Sa Lipad, muntik na rin magkaroon ng nervous collapse si Vi. Dahil sa pakikipaglaban niya sa maliit na sawa. Heaven knows na gaano na lang ang takot ni Vi sa tulad nito and other slimy, crawling things. And so, akala nga ni Vi ay ang Lipad na ang pinakamahirap niyang pic na nagawa. But she was wrong. Pagkat, sa Dyesebel ay lalong hirap ang inabot niya. Nabilad siya rito sa init ng araw, nababad pa siya nang todo sa tubig. Ang God! ang difficulties niya sa paglipat-lipat sa sets. Paano siya makakakilos e, naka-buntot siya? At matatandaan pa ba ninyo na ilang ulit na naospital ang top superstar pagka’t nanganib na mapulmonya? Kaya minsan pa’y nasabi ni Vi na ang Dyesebel na ang pinakamahirap na pic niyang nagawa. Nguni’t sa paggawa niya ng Anak ng Asuwang para sa Roma Films, tambak na hirap na naman ang inabot niya. Masasabi ninyong hindi naman gaano marahil. Pagka’t dito’y hindi naman naka-costume ang superstar di tulad sa Lipad at Dyesebel. – Cleo Cruz, Bulaklak Magazine, 1973

Atoy Co – “…Ito nga pala ang regalo ng mama ko noong pasko, ang ganda, ano?” ang pagmamalaki ni Vi, pointing to a colored tv set. She switched on sa isang basketball game, Crispa versus U Tex. “Ay sayang, hindi n’yo makikita ang kulay, hidndi colored ito.” “Huwag mo nang baguhin, diyan na lang, may laro ang idolo mo, so Ko (meaning Atoy Co, the highest pointer ngayon ng Crispa). Bakit mo ba favorite iyon? Hindi naman pogi,” biro ni Bobot. “Kasi ako, gusto kong player si Papa.” “Sa papa mo ikaw, sa papa ko ako, ang papa ko? Lasing na!” at humalakhak si Vi, in the mood siyang magbiro, at ginawa ngang comedy ang isa niyang commercial. “Pero kidding aside, talagang idolo ko si Co. O ayan, tingnan mo how swift he moves…hay, su-shoot…shoot!” sigaw si Vi at tulad ng inaasahan, nai-shoot nga ang bola. Palakpak si Vi, umiiling si Bobot. “Belat, daig si Papa!” “Bot, sabi ni Vi, pabor daw siya sa early marriage. E, di pagdating niya ng twenty, ikakasal na kayo?” bulong namin kay Bot. “Ha? Aba…” tingin si Edgar kay Vi. “A, hindi pa yata. Hindi ba Edgar?” matagal na nakatitig si kay Bobot. “Ano? A…oo!” “Ang daya n’yong dalawa. Vi hayaan mong si Bobot na lang ang sumagot. Nagsi-secret pa kasi kayo,” kantyaw namin. “Hindi…malabo pa…hindi pa kami handa,” malinaw ang sagot ni Bobot. “O, kita n’yo. Sabi nang hindi pa. Si Bobot na ang sumagot niyan ha.” At dinilaan kami ni Vi. “Naku, teka, hayan, hayan si Edgar sa tv…” and she sank into a loud ringing of laughter. Itinuro niya ang isang four feet na matabang mama, hardly seen sa hard court where six-footers tower. “Ang daya mo,” kunwari ay babatuhin ni Edgar ng throw pillow si Vi pero hindi n’ya itinuloy. “E, ikaw, ikaw iyan,” sabay turo sa janitor na nagmo-mop ng hard court. “Belat, tagalinis Ka!” “Ulitin mo nga?” kunwari ay magju-judo si Vi. “Wala, panalo ka na!” sabay tawa ni Bobot…” – Baby K. Jimenez, Bulaklak Magazine, 05 February 1973

Gigantic Happening – “…While showbiz is agog sa big news na ito, mukhang another equally gigantic happening ay nasa planning stage. The King himself, FPJ, ay makakasama naman ng sweet na si Baby Vi, Vilma Santos. So may Guy si Erap pero si Ronnie may Vi. Aba, sapak rin. Ano, mas mabigat ba? No huwag natin silang i-compare. Dahil hindi naman sila talu-talo. As far as some scribes are concerned, Nora and Vi have kissed and made-up. Ngayon, kung may kaunti pang samaan ng loob na namamagitan sa kanila, despite publicities and printed materials na nagbati na sila, that is for the two to decide. Whereas kind Ronnie at Erap, alam natin ang real score…para silang magkapatid, parang nag-blood compact. Ilang taon nang tested ang friendship nila. Come hell or hi-water, nadoon pa rin ang dalawang chokaran, together they stand, divided they fall. So, marmi ngang nagulat nang napadalaw si Ronnie sa shooting ni Vilma. More than once. At ang malimit na biro ni Ron, malapit silang magkasama sa isang super-production. Noon ngang unang dalaw ni Ronnie sa set ni Vi, ang biniro niya ay sina Jay Ilagan at Edgar Mortiz who happened to be her leading men sa ginagawang pelikula. At ang bulong ni Ron kay Vi, “Huwag mo na ngang pansinin ang dalawang iyan. Marami naman silang chicks.” Kaya nga the loudest whisper ay ito, although it isn’t on the record yet. May kasunduan ang TIIP at FPJ. Na malamang, makasama si Ronnie sa war picture ng TIIP where he co-stars with Jay, Edgar and some young stars. Na matapos ito, sina Jay naman ang gagawa sa FPJ. Though maliwanag na malapit na ring magsama sina Ronnie at Vilma, malakas rin ang posibilidad na mag-change partners sina Joseph at FPJ…” – Bee Kay Jay, Bulaklak Magazine No.66, 05 February 1973

Na-perfect Na Role – “…Ang madalas magpaangat sa pelikula ay ang acting cast. Dahil mas malaman ang kanyang papel at tila naperfect na ni Vilma Santos and agony ng other woman mas nangibabaw ang kanyang performance kay Hilda Koronel. Kahit na mas marami ang nagsasabing si Hilda ang mas angat dito. Pasulpot-sulpot ang papel ni Hilda at may kahinaan ang motibasyon (isipin mong siya pa ang nagtulak sa sariling asawa sa ibang babae!). Medyo nakaka-distract ang kanilang mga kasuotan (mga gawa ni Christian Espiritu), gaya rin ng ayos ng mga bahay at kasangkapang tila nakikipagkumpetensiya sa tauhan. Epektibo rin ang pagganap ni Dindo Fernando bilang Louie na nakati ang puso para sa dalawang babae. Magagaling din ang supporting cast, lalo na si Suzzanne Gonzales, ang yayang sosyal at ang batang si Alvin Joseph Enriquez. Kahit maikli ang kanilang papel, mahusay rin ang rehistro nina Tommy Abuel, ang doktor na nanliligaw kay Vilma, at si Chanda Romero, bilang matalik na kabibigan ni Vilma…” – Justino Dormiendo, Manunuri Ng Pelikulang Pilipino, Jingle Extra Hot Magazine 1982

Demanding Movie – “…Sang ayon agad si Doods sa sinabi ni Vi na mas demanding ang pelikulang Palimos ng Pagibig kaysa sa Romansa. “Noon kasi, parang bakasyon lang kami noon sa States, tapos, ayun nga kasabay ang paggawa namin ng pelikula,” pagkukuwento niya. “Kapag naisipan naming doon mag-shooting sa gano’ng scenic spot, di pupunta kami roon at doon masu-shooting for that day. Para bang laro-laro lang noon. We played the role of Filipinos na nagkakilala sa Amerika, noong una’y nagka-asaran, and later on, nagkagustuhan. Noong una, napagkamalan pa nga siya akong Iranian doon sa movie. Ibang-iba ang Palimos ng Pagibig dahil tungkol talaga ito sa mabigat na problemang hinarap ng isang mag-sawas. The situation are entirely different and much more challenging. But with Eddie Garcia directing us, palagay ko naman we did justice to out respective roles.” Ayon kay Vi, hindi lamang daw sa acting nag-improve si Doods kundi pati na rin sa iba pang aspect ng personality nito. “For instance,” sabi niya “IN the way he deals na lang with the press, Dati-rati, napagkakamalan siyang aloof sa press, na suplado raw niya kaya lagi siyang tinitira. Ngayon, he is more relaxed with writers and reporters. Naging kabiruan ng nga niya ang marami sa kanila. Nagugulat nga ako dahil akala ko, hindi pa niya kakilala ang isang reporter tapos nag-uusap na silang para bang they’re like old friends, nag-improve talaga ang PR niya…” – Mario E. Bautista, Movie Flash Magazine, 16 May 1986

Big Prep for Big Budget Darna – “…Kabilang sa mga napagusapan sa pulong ay ang tungkol sa costumes na isusuot ni Vi bilang Darna at ang cotumes na isusuot ng mga makakasagupa niya: ang Babaing Lawin, ang Babaing Impakta, at si Valentina. Ibig kasi nila na ang pagkakayari ng mga costumes ng ma ito’y maging makatutohanan. Na pag isinuot ng tatlong villains ay talagang lilitaw ang kanilang kasamaan at kakilakilabot na mga anyo. Tulad ng mga pakpak ng Babaeng Lawing. Gusto nila’y lumitaw itong animo mga tutuong pakpak na tumubo sa likod ng gumaganap na babaeng lawin. Pinag-aralan din nilang mabuti kung paano magagawang natural ang pagkampay nito. Sa ganang costumes ng Babaing Impakta at ni Valentina, hindi rin sila titigil haggang maging realistic ang mga ito. Na pag nakita ng manonood, tutoo silang hahanga and at the same time horribly fascinated. Ang higit nilang pinagtuunan ng pansin ay ang Darna costume ni Vi. Ang alam na naman natin ang screen image ni Vi. Maging sa tunay na buhay ay very sweet siya t unthinkable na magsusuot siya ng anumang daring suit. Ang precisely, hindi ba’t ang original Darna costume ay delightfully daring? Pero, this will run contrast nga sa image ni Vi. Sabagay, nagawan na nila ng konting innovations ang original design ng costume. Gayon man, pilit pa rin silang naghahanap ng remedyo para huwag naman masira ang image ni Darna. Na kung mamasda’y reservoir ng superhuman strength. Pero at the same time nama’y may aura rin ng maganda at graceful femininity. “Tapos, bagama’t alam na nila kung saan-saan ang locations na gagamitin para maging tumpak na tumpak sa istorya ng Lipad, Darna Lipad nagpalabas ng scouts para maghanap ng more suitable locations, kung mayroon pa silang makikita. marmi kasing eksena sa Lipad, Darna Lipad that calls for eerie atmosphere, although marami rin namang nagsasaad ng masyang atmosphere. Ang isa pang mahalagang bagay na pinagpulungan nila ay ang tungkol sa mga camera tricks na marami sa naturang pic. Ayaw nila kasing lumabas na corny ang mga ito at halatang artipisyal…” – Cleo Cruz, Bulaklak Magazine No. 66, 5 February 1973

Vi-Bot & TIIP Group sa AFP Camp in Zamboanga

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Kamakailan, nag-personal appearance sina Vilma Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Tony Ferrer, and were ably assisted by Rhodora Silva, Chanda Romero, Janet Clemente, and believe it or not Direk Maning Borlaza, sa isang AFP Camp sa Zamboanga. Isa ang naturang pook sa kanilang itinerary nang sila’y mag-Mindanao bound bilang pagpapaunlak sa paanyaya ni Defense Sec. Juan Ponce Enrile na sila’y mag-personal appearnace nga sa mga army camps doon. Ano pa nga’t big hit ang show ng group. Isa-isa, the young stars rendered out pop songs.

Si Vi at Bot ay nagduweto rin sa buong kagalakan ng mga kawal and their families. Nag-drama din sila ng kaunti sa pamamahala ni Direk Borlaza. At kaya nasabi naming “believe it or not…Direk Maning Borlaza” sa unang paragraph ay pagkat kinumpitensiya nito sina Dolphy, Cachupoy, etc., sa larangan ng comedy. Naging superkalog din siya sa isang comedy skit at ihitan ng tawa ang audience with his antics. Sa musical portioin, nagtanghal din ng dance number and troupe at dito humanga ang lahat kay Tony.

Hindi lang pala daw champion karatista ito kundi, tops din sa sayaw. Siyang-siya ang army audience sa show ng grupo kaya’t sa bawat number, applause na katakut-takot. Mangha sila sa ganda ng pagtatanghal. Kasi noon lang daw sila nadalaw ng mga artista na bukod sa kuwela performers na, sikat na sikat pa. Sa panig naman ng grupo? The feeling was mutual, pagkat very hospitable ang reception ng mga taga-roon sa kanila. Nagenjoy pa sila sa maririkit na tanawing nagpasikat sa Zamboanga.- Cleo Cruz, Bulaklak Magazine No. 66, 05 February 1973, reposted by Pelikula Atbp (READ MORE)

Kung May Guy si Erap, May Vilma si Ronnie

Tuloy na tuloy na. Anytime now the cameras will grind. At ang magkakasama ay ang pinanabikan ng lahat sina Erap at Guy. Yes si Mayor Joseph Estrada at si darling bulilit Nora Aunor. Together, tiyak na theyèll be a riot twosome sa pelikulang Erap is My Guy. Sa titulo na lang, click na. And for sure, pipilahan ito. Just right for the new pair. No hindi sila love team. More of Magka-sidekick.

While showbiz is agog sa big news na ito, mukhang another equally gigantic happening ay nasa planning stage. The King himself, FPJ, ay makakasama naman ng sweet na si Baby Vi, Vilma Santos. So may Guy si Erap pero si Ronnie may Vi. Aba, sapak rin. Ano, mas mabigat ba? No huwag natin silang i-compare. Dahil hindi naman sila talu-talo. As far as some scribes are concerned, Nora and Vi have kissed and made-up.

Ngayon, kung may kaunti pang samaan ng loob na namamagitan sa kanila, despite publicities and printed materials na nagbati na sila, that is for the two to decide. Whereas kind Ronnie at Erap, alam natin ang real score…para silang magkapatid, parang nag-blood compact. Ilang taon nang tested ang friendship nila. Come hell or hi-water, nadoon pa rin ang dalawang chokaran, together they stand, divided they fall.

So, marmi ngang nagulat nang napadalaw si Ronnie sa shooting ni Vilma. More than once. At ang malimit na biro ni Ron, malapit silang magkasama sa isang super-production. Noon ngang unang dalaw ni Ronnie sa set ni Vi, ang biniro niya ay sina Jay Ilagan at Edgar Mortiz who happened to be her leading men sa ginagawang pelikula. At ang bulong ni Ron kay Vi, “Huwag mo na ngang pansinin ang dalawang iyan. Marami naman silang chicks.”

Kaya nga the loudest whisper ay ito, although it isn’t on the record yet. May kasunduan ang TIIP at FPJ. Na malamang, makasama si Ronnie sa war picture ng TIIP where he co-stars with Jay, Edgar and some young stars. Na matapos ito, sina Jay naman ang gagawa sa FPJ. Though maliwanag na malapit na ring magsama sina Ronnie at Vilma, malakas rin ang posibilidad na mag-change partners sina Joseph at FPJ.

Chances are matapos ang pelikula nina Erap at Guy, si Guy naman ang gagawa sa FPJ. And Erap’s next target might be Vilma. While patuloy nga ang paglakas pa sa takilya nina Erap at FPJ as the real McCoy superstars, marami rin ang nagtatanong kung darating pa ba raw ang panahon na maabot ng ibang young male stars ang kanilang kinaroroonan. Jay Ilagan in place of FPJ – that is if the latter decides to retire.

Kasi, hindi mo basta mapapalitan ang isang institusyon like FPJ. Para siyang haligi na kahit dumating pa ang lindol o bagyo ay maiiwang nakatindig. Ang who’ll succeed Erap? It could be anyone – like Pip? or Cocoy? Edgar? We can’t think of anyone na hindi bantog sa music world ang puwedeng kandidato. The trouble nga with out young stars ay napakarami nila. Pero kaunti lang ang gusto ng publiko. Kakaunti ang pumapasa.

Mas marami ang mga bumabagsak. At this stage, marami rin ang humuhula: If Erap is paired with Guy and Ronnie with Vilma, then malaki rin ang posibilidad na the following witll emerge: Susan-Jay starrer; and Amalia-Pip flick; at ilang pang combination ng senior at junior superstars. Pero ang maganda nga nito, beautiful ang kanilang samahan. Walang intrigue at no professional jealousy. – Bee Kay Jay, Bulaklak Magazine No.66, 05 February 1973, reposted by Pelikula Atbp (READ MORE)

Shines in 2017

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2017 GEMS Best Actress – Everything About Her
2017 Gawad Tanglaw Special Presidential Jury Award
2017 Gawad Pasado Best Actress – Everything About Her
2017 The Eddys Best Actress – Everything About Her
2017 MPP Natatanging Gawad Urian
2017 PMPC – Star Awards Best Actress Nom – Everything About Her
2017 PMPC – Star Awards Lifetime Achievement
2017 Women’s Journal Outstanding Women of the Year
2017 Star Awards Best Actress – Everything About Her
2017 Star Awards Ginintuang Bituin Ng Pelikulang Pilipino
2017 7th EdukCircle Awards Most Influential Film Actress of the Year
2017 16th Gawad Amerika Awards Lifetime Achievement Award

Support and Inspire – “…I am hoping for a more positive 2018 for everybody. It seems many people are angry these days. Let’s just continue to support and inspire each other, instead…Things change when you become a mother. I am no longer important. My priority will always be my family and children. After all, Christmas is all about the family…” – Hon. Congresswoman Vilma Santos-Recto, Reported by Bayani San Diego Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer, 18 December 2017

My Vilmanians – “…Solid na solid pa nga palang talaga ang mga Vilmanian ni Lipa Representative cum Star for All Seasons na si Vilma Santos-Recto. No wonder, Ate Vi refers to them as her ‘My Vilmanians.” A number of them were at the premiere of the restored version of Ate Vi’s 1981 movie, Karma, which was held at the Trinoma nu’ng Friday October 27. The restoration of Karma, directed by the late Danny Zialcita, who died in the year 2003, was made possible by the ABS-CBN Restoration Department headed by Leo Katigbak. Karma co-starred Ate Vi with Ronaldo Valdez and Tommy Abuel. In supporting roles were Aurora Salve, Suzanne Gonzales, Renato Robles, Fred Montilla and Chanda Romero. Gumanap naman ng special roles sina Leila Hermosa at Christopher de Leon. Remember them?…Of the Vilmanians, they are now, of course, like Ate Vi, are senior citizens. At karamihan din sa kanila ay “made” na, professionally and otherwise, like Ate Vi. Ate Vi, who had left Thursday yata with husband Senator Ralph Recto and son Ryan Christian for abroad where she will celebrate her birthday on November 3, was not at the premiere. Ganunpaman, dumating si Ronaldo, who were congratulated for a job well-done, not only in Karma but for his still currently showing movie na Seven Sundays…during its nearly three weeks run, reportedly grossed more than P200M na…” – Nel Alejandrino, Journal, 28 October 2017

Under Pressure – “…Baka lalong ma-pressure si Luis Manzano na pakasalan na ang girlfriend na si Jessy Mendiola anytime soon. Hindi lang pala ang mommy niyang si Lipa Congresswoman Vilma Santos-Recto ang eager na magka-apo na sa kanya kung hindi maging ang daddy niya na si Edu Manzano. Luis has two younger siblings with Edu na parehong nag-aaral sa abroad. Ang kanyang kapatid naman na si Ryan Christian with Ate Vi is only in his 20s at nag-aaral pa din…” – Nel Alejandrino, Journal, 15 October 2017

Pretty Legs – “…Magkatabi kami…at ang dami naming napag-usapan including my first FAMAS Best Actress for Dama de Noche which he directed and my movie Lipad, Darna, Lipad…at mga movies ko na sa kanya ang screenplay. We talked about the problems of the movie industry, including problems in my personal life noon na alam na alam niya. Adviser ko siya sa buhay ko. Sad news. Kung saan man ako ngayon at ang status ko sa career, recognition na nakuha ko, malaki ang parte niyang si direk Maning Borlaza. Ang dami kong ginawang movie na siya ang director. I will definitely miss him…Siya ang direktor na may pinaka-magandang legs!!! Alam niya ‘yan at ipinagmamalaki niya…” – Hon. Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, reported by Ricky Lo, The Philippine Star, 14 October 2017

Kaparte ng Tagumpay ni Vi – “…My!! Enough of sad news! (Anyway, last saw him sa wake ni Mario H. Magkatabi kami/tayo Jun…At dami napag-usapan including my first Famas Best Actress sa movie naming Dama de Noche…na siya rin director and my movie Lipad Darna Lipad…mga movies ko na sa kanya ang screenplay! Pati mga naging problema ko sa personal kong buhay nuon…alam niya. Adviser ko rin siya sa buhay ko. Sad news. Kung saan man ako ngayon at status ko sa career…recognitions na nakukuha ko…malaki ang parte nyan ni direk Maning Borlaza!…” – Hon. Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, reported by Jun Nardo, Abante, 13 October 2017

Happy Childhood – “…“I never felt na naghiwalay ang Mom at Dad ko (Vilma Santos at Edu Manzano). They never made me feel na hiwalay sila dahil pareho silang laging nasa buhay ko, anytime I need them. Sa mga school activities lalo na sa sports na kinahiligan ko, naroon sila pareho. At hindi ko kailanman nakita na nag-aaway sila…I had a happy childhood…tang-kita naman ang ebidensya. Lagi akong masaya. At ang mga shows na ibinibigay sa akin sa ABS-CBN ay masaya lagi. Sabi nga ni Aga, sakali mang hiwalay ang parents, hindi sila dapat sisihin ano man ang maging kapalaran ng mga anak. May sarili silang buhay…Kahit half- brothers or sisters, totoong magkakapatid kami. Walang kapatid sa ama o ina. Close kami ng lahat ng mga kapatid ko. I owe my happiness to my Mom and Dad, ganun din sa mga kapatid ko. At ang pagiging masaya ko, hindi naman secret ang humor ni Dad na namana ko…” – Luis Manzano, Reported by Chit Ramos, Journal, 08 October 2017

Incroci – “…With the assassination of Ninoy Aquino the following year, De Leon conceived of a more critical movie about the Philippines under the dictatorship. He got José “Pete” Lacaba to write the script with José Almohuela about the growing activism of religious sisters on the union front. And since Regal Films boss Lily Monteverde was looking for another project to cash in on the box-office magic of Vilma Santos, the proper financing and casting were obtained. The result was the classic “Sister Stella L,” released in 1984. Among many superlatives of the historic movie was its original sound track that included two key songs written by Lacaba and musical director Ding Achacoso, “Aling Pag-ibig Pa?” and “Sangandaan,” which means “crossroads.” When the movie was accepted to the main competition of Venice in 1985, its title was changed to “Incroci,” Italian for “crossroads…” – Lito B. Zulueta, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 18 September 2017

Kadiri-PaMORE – “…The nerve, di ba? Senador ka Tito Sen, hindi ka taong-grasa. Hindi ka taong-kalye para hayaang malagay sa kapahamakan ang mga mahihirap mong mga kababayan na left and right na pinapatay sa araw-araw na ginawa ng Diyos. Ito ang ahensiya na nag-aalaga at nakikipaglaban sa buhay ng mga taong bumoto sa iyo na pinapatay ng mga alagad ng batas na binigyan ng pangulo natin ng basbas on his campaign against drugs. Hindi ka ba naaawa sa mga pobreng binibiktima ng kapulisan? Sabihin man nating hindi lahat ay isinisisi ang mga nangyayaring patayan ngayon sa mga pulis pero sana naman maisip mo ring dapat ay bigyan ng patas at fair na budget ang CHR dahil kasama ang mga anak at apo mo sa pinangangalagaan nila. Tapos ang sasabihin mo kontra nang kontra kasi ang ahensya kay Digong? Wait lang, you mean kahit mali ang pinaggagagawa ng pangulo at mali ang kanyang panuntunan ay kailangang sundin lamang para walang isyu? Mali naman yata ito Sen. Sotto? Kung tama si Pangulong Duterte, okay sa amin. Pero pag mali, doon lang naman kami pumapalag. Bulag ka na ba, bingi ka na ba? Dahil lang ba sa pulitika kaya ka nagkakaganyan? Nakakadismaya ka, Sen. Sotto. This is not the Tito Sotto na nakilala namin at minahal. If only for this, we truly admire Cong. Vilma Santos’ stand – na hindi tama ang ginagawa nilang panggigipit sa CHR. Dapat bigyan ng sapat na pondo ang ahensyang ito para meron silang enough resources to protect human rights. That’s truly admirable of the congresswoman from Batangas. Hindi man nakapagtapos ng pag-aaral si Vilma ay nagamit naman niya ang wastong pag-iisip na galing sa puso. As we read our Facebook page, nakikita namin ang pagpapalitan ng kuro-kuro at opinyon ng mga netizens. Naloloka kami sa mga trolls at fanatics ni PDutz, ang argument nila palagi ay mas marami raw ang namatay nu’ng panahon nina Tita Cory Aquino and Noynoy Aquino kumpara ngayon. Mas marami raw ang namatay noon kaysa mga alleged EJKs ngayon. Maliban sa mga hunghang yata ang mga ito, talagang mahihina ang kukote, di ba? Ano ba ang tingin nila sa buhay natin? Paramihan ba ito ng napapatay? Iba noon, iba ngayon. Kung merong EJK noon, dapat natuto na tayo at hindi na ito nauulit ngayon. Kaso, mas lumala, hundredfolds pa. Kaloka ang mga netizens na ito, hindi nag-iisip. Lalo na ang mga taga-showbiz na sipsip – nakakadiri kayo…” – Jobert Sucaldito, Bandera, 17 September 2017

CHR’s Budget-Cut (The agency’s budget to P1,000 from the original proposal of P623.4 million Philippine Peso) – “…I am against cutting the budget of CHR. They have a duty to perform as mandated by the constitution. With so much crimes/EJKs (extra judicial killings) – they need more resources to these investigations. Ito ang ahensyang tumutulong sa karapatang pangtao!…” – Hon. Congresswoman Vilma Santos-Recto, Reported by ABS-CBN News, 13 September 2017

Film Marketing – “…Gusto ng audience na iyong love ang mangibabaw, iyon ang ibinigay natin. Kaya ang dapat isipin ng mga gumagawa ng pelikula, kung ano ang gusto ng audience iyon ang ihain natin,” sabi ni direk. “Natatandaan ko noong araw, nasa shooting pa lang kami ng pelikula, talagang umaandar na ang promotions. Hindi ba nagpupunta pa kayo sa set, at saka iyang promotions, mahalaga iyan sa pelikula. Manonood ang mga tao sa mga unang araw dahil sa promo. Kung ma­ganda ang pelikula mo, mabilis kakalat na maganda ang pelikula, magiging malaking hit iyan. Tingnan mo na lang iyang Colgate, mas malaki ang gastos nila sa advertising kaysa sa toothpaste. Hindi na nga toothpaste ang tawag eh, Colgate na. Ganyan kahalaga iyang promotions at advertising. Eh tingnan mo ngayon, ni wala ka nang makitang movie ads sa mga diyaryo, sino ang manonood niyan? Ang nakakalimutan ng mga gumagawa ng pelikula ngayon iyong marketing. At saka kailangan may panggulat. Natatandaan mo ba iyong Dama de Noche ni Vi, may binago rin ako sa istorya noon. Ginawa kong dual role si Vi. Ginawa ko iyon para may maiba. Naglalaro tayo noon sa istorya dahil iyon ang pinanonood ng mga tao. Kung si Vilma lang ang gusto nilang makita, manood na lang sila ng TV. Pero nagbabayad sila dahil gusto nilang mapanood si Vilma na iba ang kuwento, at hindi nila iyon mapapanood sa TV. Eh ngayon, iyan ang ginagawa sa TV, tapos iyong mga pelikula natin hindi mo maintindihan ang kuwento. Ano nga ba ang mangyayari…” – Maning Borlaza, Director and MTRCB Vice Chairman, reported by Ed De Leon, Pang-Masa, 8 September 2017

Masama bang maging pangit? (on criticism about her visible eyebags) – “…Nakaka-miss talaga ang showbiz. Pamilya ko na kasi ito eh. Huwag lang naman sana sa ganitong okasyon tayo nagkikita-kita…Mahirap din kasing magmukhang wala kang alam ‘pag nagdedebatehan na sa committees…Hindi ko naman kasi pinaplano ‘yan eh. At least sa Congress may mga break sa session…Pag nasa executive ako, 24/7 ang trabaho ko. Kung pinaplano ko ang political career ko, tumakbo na sana ako bilang Vice President…Wala pang magandang story eh. Gusto ko namang may bagong ipapa­kita once gumawa uli ako ng movie. May sinabi sa akin si Direk Joyce Bernal. ‘Yung pagsasamahan namin ni Judy Ann (Santos). Maganda ‘yung idea dahil bago. Pero sabi ko, script muna ang gusto kong mabasa…Hayaan na lang natin sila. Hindi na ako naaapektuhan ng ganyang paninira. Saka masama bang maging pangit? Hindi nila alam ang story behind it kaya malaya silang sabihin ang gusto nilang sabihin…Kinaya ko naman kasi ang katawan ko that night kahit may dinaram­dam pa rin ako. Mas marami naman siguro akong napasaya nu’ng Star Awards, ‘di ba?…” – Vilma Santos, Reported by Jun Nardo, Abante, 08 September 2017

The Promise – “At long last, the certified queens of Philippine movies got to share the same stage again. Superstar Nora Aunor and the Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos graced the Star Awards for Movies, spearheaded by the Philippine Movie Press Club and held at the Resorts World Manila last Sunday. For the first time since the return of Ate Guy (as Aunor is known) from the United States in 2011, she bumped into screen rival Ate Vi (as Santos is called in the biz), in a glitzy event. They were the recipients of the Ginintuang Bituin ng Pelikulang Pilipino honor. They also tied as best actress; Guy won for “Kabisera”; Vi, for “Everything About Her.” “Nagkumustahan kami,” Guy told the Inquirer. “Sinabi ko na nawala ang cell phone ko kaya hindi ako nakapag-text sa kanya.” “[That’s why] I gave my phone number to her,” Vi related. “It was really nice seeing Mare again. The last time was when my movie, ‘In My Life,’ was shown in Los Angeles in 2009.” “Ngayon na nagbigayan na kami ng contact number, puwede na kaming magtawagan at mag-textan tulad noong nasa States ako,” Guy said. “Nagkuwentuhan kami about life. After five decades, nandito pa rin kami,” Vi remarked. “We are very thankful sa fans, sa press, para sa recognition. We kept talking all night. We promised to keep in touch…” – Bayani San Diego Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer, 06 September 2017

Sense of Unpredictability – “The Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC), in its more than three decades of recognizing stars and movies in local industry, has been notorious in giving out the same award to two nominees in a specific category on its awards night. And last Sunday, for the nth time, was no exception…in the Best Actress category, audiences raised their eyebrows and plastered the big question “why” on social media. Superstar Nora Aunor and actor-turned-politician Vilma Santos shared the top acting honors at the 33rd edition of PMPC Star Awards for Movies. Aunor and Santos were both proclaimed Best Actress winners for their roles in Kabisera and Everything About Her, respectively. Yes, they’re both great actors, so why not? This decision to split the coveted acting plum between two legendary actors was a tricky decision. But obviously, the members of the PMPC didn’t want to offend any of the two celebrated local movie stars who both showed up at the venue. The same thing applies to the ardent supporters of the “Superstar” and the “Star for All Seasons” who, up until now, could launch a massive word war. You see, they were uncertain on who to honor, but one thing was certain though, they didn’t want to make any bold decision to clean up their dubious credibility or at least give their award show some sense of unpredictability. It was a lost chance…Meanwhile, in the Best Actor race, Daniel Padilla walked home with the top acting honors winning over legitimate film critics’ favorite Paolo Ballesteros (Die Beautiful)…Sure, two or three among these actors mentioned have given better performances compared to the young actor. But they weren’t the choice of the members of PMPC. And that gives people an idea of PMPC’s benchmark when it comes to choosing the best in this art form.” – Nickie Wang, The Standard, 05 September 2017

Advice of Mommy Vi – “…When we were doing Dekada ’70, I was just starting out in the industry. Mommy Vi told me that she got into film production and all sorts of things, but what saved her were the properties she bought. Since then, what I would do, when I would get a big paycheck, I would buy a piece of land. I never (take out a) loan. I only did one time for my car because I didn’t have enough. Then when the recession hit the States, we got into US real estate…Now we’re in stage two, we’re partnering with different companies for commercial businesses. We’re building…” – Piolo Pascual, reported by Bianca Gonzalez, The Philippine Star, 27 August 2017

Dyed-in-the-wool Vilma Santos Fan – “…Playwright-director Chris Martinez, normally quite shy and averse to interviews, agreed to sit down with the Fabcasters to talk about the movie–among other things. It was a hoot…Other tidbits we gathered: He and his signature actress Eugene Domingo (Best Supporting Actress for 100 in the 2008 Cinemalaya Film Festival) go a long way back, even living together for a while–as friends. The movie’s title (spoiler alert!) refers to the hundred things Mylene Dizon’s stricken character sets out to do before she dies–though there are actually 102 tasks included in the film (I made sure to ask that). Since he likes dialogue-driven films, Woody Allen is his favorite director. And he is a dyed-in-the-wool Vilma Santos fan–the reference to Pahiram ng Isang Umaga at one point in the film is a dead giveaway. “Di ba dapat naman siya ang idolohin, the way she’s lived her life?,” he quipped. “Ang mga ina-idol natin dapat yung mga pasulong sa liwanag!” Laughter all around. Money quote (well, because I lobbed the question-on the claim by some that “Cinemalaya seems to be losing its way because mas marami na ang mainstream actors and actresses who are getting the parts there, and sila rin ang nananalo”): “I don’t find anything wrong with casting name actors… For me, the distinction between independent and mainstream [film] is just economics. But aesthetically, dapat walang distinction. Hindi naman ibig sabihin pag independent film kailangan unknown actors, or gumagalaw-galaw ang camera mo, or poorly lit. At di rin naman ibig sabihin pag mainstream e kailangan laging glossy. Sa akin, ang aesthetics iba yun sa economics. Ang goal naman yata ng bawat independent filmmaker is to get the mainstream audience–to get as many people to watch the film. Otherwise, hindi masu-sustain ang artist, di siya makakagawa ng mas marami pang pelikula…” – Gibbs Cadiz, 19 November 2008

Vilma may K para maging National Artist – “…Isinusulong pala ng Vilmanians na maging National Artist ang Star for All Seasons na si Vilma Santos-Recto. Why not? May karapatan si Mama Vi na i-declare bilang National Artist dahil sa mga achievement niya bilang aktres at sa kanyang mga kontribusyon sa local entertainment industry. Magsasalita na ako ng tapos, walang aktres ang makaka-duplicate sa mga naabot ni Mama Vi na na­ging mayor,governor at ngayon, house representative. Kung nasangkot man si Mama Vi sa mga kontrobersya, mga usual na intriga sa mga artista ang pinagdaanan niya. Hindi natin siya nabalitaan na nalulong sa paggamit ng illegal drugs, nagsugal at kung anik-anik na katsipan na ginawa ng ibang mga artista na hindi pinahalagahan ang mga bonggang biyaya na kanilang natanggap mula sa Itaas. Sana nga, matupad ng Vilmanians ang dream nila na magawaran si Mama Vi ng National Artist award dahil deserving siya para sa nabanggit na parangal…” – Lolit Solis, Pang-Masa, 13 August 2017

The Uncredited Makeup/Prosthetic Artist of Lipad Darna Lipad – “…Now considered a lost film, Lipad, Darna, Lipad! (1973) was groundbreaking, not only in its highly camp self-awareness and pure pop-culture-meets-European-arthouse sensibility, but in its directors’ thoughtful application of special effects and prosthetics. Carvajal and Cecille transformed perennial bad girl Celia Rodriguez into Darna’s snake-domed nemesis Valentina like never before in the series’ previous three decades; likewise, Gloria Romero morphed into Impakta, and Liza Lorena became Babaeng Lawin. Cecille would continue her association with Darna in Darna And The Giants (1973) and Darna vs The Planet Women (1975), both starring Lipad…’s Vilma Santos, and the rebooted Darna (1991). “I enjoy so much working on Darna, because I have lots of episodes. In one film I was doing all of it – sometimes I do the makeup also, sometimes I do the effects. At that time there was not much production design, only costume and makeup. So I made already prosthetics of the different enemies of Darna, for example Darna and Valentina, Darna and the Giants, and I made up Helen Gamboa into an outer space alien, then the head was blown out. The effects man forgot, but that’s my head, we worked with. All the prosthetics there, I did…” – Cecille Baun, Reported and written Andrew Leavold, Andrew Leovold Blogspot, 08 January 2017

Still Relevant – “…Ate Guy and I had a great time shooting that movie (#TBirdAtAko). OK kami (we were on good terms), and it was a happy set…It was fun working with her. With Direk Danny guiding us, we would discuss the best way to execute our scenes together…We both liked our characters kasi—because the roles assigned to us played well to our strengths as performers. Everybody knows that I express myself well via body language, while Guy is noted for her subdued portrayals. So, when we’re together, our acting styles complement each other, at lalong napapaganda ang eksena (and the scenes are better because of them)! Now more than ever, ‘T-Bird at Ako’ shows how timeless it is because its theme is as relevant as ever—napapanahon pa rin s’ya!…” – Rito P. Asilo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 31 July 2017

Ganda at Talino – “…Vilma was picked dahil sa kanyang husay at galing sa pagganap na umani ng parangal mula sa lahat ng mga organisasyong pampelikula na nagbibigay ng gawad…Taglay n’ya ang ganda at talino ng artistang hinahangaan ng marami sa publiko, subalit namumukod s’yang higit hindi lamang dahil sa pisikal n’yang katangian, ngunit dahil sa kanyang kabatiran at tagos-kaluluwang pagganap sa kanyang bawat katauhang binigyang-buhay sa pelikula…” – Bienvenido Lumbera, Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, Reported by Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo, Philstar, 21 July 2017

Pang-Abono – “…Iyon namang ibang award giving bodies, nominated pa rin si Ate Vi. Nanalo siya kamakailan sa The Eddys bilang Best Actress. Ang katuwiran ng ibang award giving bodies, aktibo pa naman bilang aktres si Ate Vi kahit na nga sabihing bihira na rin siyang makagawa ng pelikula dahil sa kanyang iba pang tungkuling kailangang gampanan. Pero paminsan-minsan, nakakasingit pa rin naman siyang gumawa ng pelikula lalo na at may magandang proyektong iniaalok sa kanya. Iyon kasi ang malaking kaibahan ni Ate Vi sa ngayon. Noong araw, ang pagiging artista ay isang propesyon para sa kanya. Talagang ito ang kanyang hanapbuhay. Ngayon, dahil sa naging katayuan nga niya sa buhay, at noong panahong isa siyang aktres ay nakapag-ipon naman siya ng pera, bukod pa nga sa mga napasukan niyang negosyo, makakapamuhay na siya nang walang problema. Sa pulitika ay alam naman nating walang kita at kadalasan abono pa, kaya nga siya gumagawa ng pelikula kung minsan, “para may pang-abono”. Kung minsan ang kita niya bilang artista, itinutuloy na niya sa foundation na itinatag niya para tumulong sa mga mahihirap. May plano rin siyang isa pang foundation para naman sa Vilmanians. Marami pang iniisip na proyekto si Ate Vi na makatutulong sa industriya at sa mga taong gumagalaw dito. Kaya palagay namin bagay nga sa kanya iyang “natatanging gawad” na iyan…” – Ed De Leon, Pang-Masa, 21 July 2017

Full Force Fans – “…Full force ang #JaDine fans, ang fans nina Elmo Magalona and Janella Salvador, Kisses Delavin and Marco Gallo, Julian Trono and Ella Cruz, Edward Barber and Maymay Entrata at maging ang fans nina Richard Gutierrez and Sarah Lahbati. May mga dala pa silang banner pero may particular size lang na puwedeng ipasok sa Kia Theater kaya ang iba’y ipinaiwan sa labas. Pero grabe ang tilian nila talaga. At ang nakakatuwa, hindi nagpatalo ang Noranians at Vilmanians na sumugod din sa venue ng awards night. Tili rin sila nang tili. At ang isa pang nakaka­tuwa sa ibang fans, nag-effort silang mag-formal. Hindi sila basta lang naka T-shirt o tsinelas. Mga nakabihis. Parang bumalik ang da­ting panahon na nagbibihis ang fans para mag-attend ng awards night…” – Salve Asis, Pilipino Star Ngayon, 11 July 2017

Maindie – “…Quantum started the maindie trend when it entered Jeffrey Jeturian’s Ekstra (The Bit Player) in the 2013 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival. Maindie marries qualities of the mainstream film with the indie film. When put together, it produces a quality film with commercial intent. Ekstra is a Vilma Santos starrer, a light movie about bit players supported by bit players with Piolo Pascual, Marian Rivera, Richard Yap, among others, in cameo roles. True enough, it won special jury prize, audience choice, NETPAC Prize, best actress for Vilma and turned out to be the highest grosser and had an out-of-festival commercial screening. So Quantum found the solution seven years ago that indie filmmakers cannot reconcile up to now, and that the 2017 Executive Committee is theoretically implementing this year. It seems irreconcilable because indie filmmakers aim to make themselves the standard, unwilling to work on a compromise. Trouble here is that the Film Development Council of the Philippines cannot take sides and decide that quality is almost not enough…” – Edgar Cruz, Tribune, 08 July 2017

Request kay MNS – “…Wow! Hindi ko pa alam, promise. Talaga ba? Sana talaga matuloy. Sa totoo lang, hindi pa kami nakakapag-usap ni Ate Vi. Kasi wala pang chance na magkaroon talaga kami ng moment na makapag-usap…Matagal ko nang nilalambing sa Star Cinema, ang dami lang talagang ganap. Kaya please, please sana matuloy. Lagi ko talaga request kay MNS (Malou N. Santos) na sana magkaroon ako ng movie with Ate Vi. Siya na lang kasi talaga ‘yung hindi ko pa nakakasama. Parang kulang eh, kulang ang pagiging artista mo kapag hindi mo siya nakatrabaho. Lahat yata ng artista gusto talaga siyang makasama at isa ako doon…” – Judy Ann Santos, Reported by Boy Abunda, Pilipino Star Ngayon, 08 June 2017

Survivor of Life’s Trials – “…Perfect ang description kay Vilma ng isang respected showbiz authority na nasubaybayan ang lahat ng mga pangyayari sa personal at professional life niya. “Vi is a beautiful survivor of life’s trials and has earned the public’s sustained respect and admiration because she has kept her dignity on and off camera, and she doesn’t inflict her privates pains, imagined or otherwise, on the public. “Remember, respect begets respect. Vi is the perfect role model not only of her colleagues but of the public as well…” – Jojo Gabinete, Abante, 06 June 2017

Signature Director – “…Gil (Portes) is one of the “most passionate filmmakers” I had ever worked with…He’s my signature director. And he used to call me his signature actress, too, because we did a lot of projects together…‘Munting Tinig,’ ‘Homecoming,’ ‘Barcelona’ and ‘Liars’…Direk Gil was an artist and a mentor in every sense of the word. He used to tell me, ‘O, Alex, ’naku, pang-best actress ito ha! Galingan mo, kalaban mo na naman si Ate Vi!…” – Alessandra de Rossi, as reported by Allan Policarpio, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 27 May 2017

Vilma Santos, The Batangueña – “…However, the most telling evidence of how well a person can suit language and lifestyle lies in Vilma Santos-Recto, who now peppers her conversations with traditional Batangueño lines spoken with the right attitude. Vilma has taken to calling friends as Ka Nitoy or Ka Celia, ka being a term of endearment among Batangas old-timers. Ka is also used as a term of respect to another person, usually older. In the late 70s, Vilma acted in a film called Vilma Veinte Nueve (29) where she played a balisong-wielding fighter of a character. She was Batangueña, but of course…” – Nestor Cuartero, Tempo, 22 May 2017

On Bashers – “…People say that I should take the high road in dealing with bashers, but I will be the one to tell you—bastos po ako, palamura ako. I will not pretend to be clean. If a basher hits me, he or she should be ready to be hit back. Our being TV personalities doesn’t give other people the right to attack us…They say the art of deadma is divine; I say, ‘To each his own.’ I don’t hate bashers. I actually enjoy dealing with them. Being on TV doesn’t make me a better person. I tell you, I’m the opposite of everything my parents are…” – Luis Manzano, Reported by Marinel R. Cruz, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 23 April 2017

Fashion Trademarks – “…Everyone has that one thing or two that most people remember them at. Especially for public figures where their fashion statement, more often or not, becomes their “identifier.” It can also reach that point where a style becomes iconic when people are donning it in costume events like Halloween! To prove that fashion statements leaves a mark, here are 7 Filipino celebrities whom became known for their all-time fashion trademarks…Vilma Santos-Recto: With her title as the “Star for All Seasons,” Vilma Santos-Recto also developed her fashion trademark overtime. The actress turned politician became iconic in her colorful suits and her trusty handerkerchief at her right hand. Trivia, the hanky is there simply wipe sweat and dust…” – Sherry Tadeja, Iniside Manila, 18 April 2017

Rebel Director – “…Maraming galos si Vilma Santos rito pero di siya nagreklamo. Sobrang bow ako sa kanya. Nagkwento na lamang siya na nahilo siya, may galos siya. Sobrang inspiring makatrabaho si Ate Vi. Di siya nagpapa-importante kahit Batangas governor na siya noon. Di rin siya nagpapa-antay. Mahal na mahal siya ng mga kapwa-artista. Sabay-sabay sila dumating. Di siya nagbibigay ng problema…Iyon ang sobrang sarap kay Ate Vi…I’ve always been a rebel. May sarili akong diskarte o pananaw. Even my father, who had a high position in government (being a local government minister then), never forced me to do things that I did not want. My mother was the one worrying kasi wala naman kita sa art..” – Chito S. Roño, As Reported by Rogelio Constantino Medina, Manila Standard, 10 April 2017

Vilma’s Darna costumes – “…Over the past six decades, more than 15 actresses have portrayed Darna, the iconic Pinoy heroine created by Mars Ravelo. Filipinos have also witnessed more than a dozen variety of Darna’s costume, which is usually a red bikini with a gold star on each brassiere cap and a helmet with ruby-encrusted gold winged medallion. Her accessories include gold cuff bracelets, golden medallion belt with a loincloth in the middle, and red boots. Here’s an extensive look on how Darna’s costume changed through the years…Vilma Santos ruled the ’70s as Darna, and wore four different costumes. In Lipad, Darna, Lipad (1973), she donned the original red bikini with gold stars (left) including the red helmet with gold winged medallion, the red boots, gold medallion belt, and gold cuff bracelets. In Darna and the Giants (1974), she wore an all-gold ensemble (middle) with red details, plus a gold choker. In Darna vs. the Planetwomen (1975), she donned a dark blue bikini (right) with red stars and the same accessories plus the choker…1980s, Vilma took back Darna’s stone for the movie Darna and Ding (1980). This was the last time she played the iconic super heroine, and also her most daring Darna costume ever: from boyshorts, her bottoms were changed into a high-waisted bikini. She also donned a sparkly red bikini top with gold stars and shiny blue shorts with white loincloth. The rest of her accessories were in gold…” – Nikko Tuazon, PEP, 09 April 2017

On #LGBT and The #DeathPenalty – “…Kung maaari nga lang sana, may exclusive laws para sa LGBT, kasi naiintindihan ko situations nila eh…Kasi ang LGBT, may discrimination talaga eh. Parang kapag sinabing lesbian (o gay), may (negative) connotation na agad ang mga tao (sa kanila). (Pero) ang sa akin lang, ‘What’s wrong with that (being gay)?’ Buti nga ngayon, mas libre na sila mag-expose (ng mga sarili nila)…(on saying NO to death penalty) Yun kasi ang prinsipyo ko sa buhay. Iba din ang prinsipyo ng iba na dapat din natin igalang…At the end of the day kung anong makakabuti sa mga tao, ’yun ang sundin natin. Since naninindigan ako sa no, I am ready to accept the consequences of my decision…” – Vilma Santos-Recto, as reported by Regina Mae Parungao, Manila Bulletin, 16 March 2017

Life is simply not ours to take – “…Naniniwala ako sa hustisya. Ang mga nagkasala ay nararapat na patawan ng parusa, karampatan sa nasasaad sa batas. But I also believe that everyone has the right to become productive members of society. Everybody deserves a chance to correct their mistakes. Reformation. Rehabilitation. Reintegration. Those are the three processes that I believe in. Masugid akong sumangguni sa aking mga kababayan tungkol sa pagsasabatas ng Death Penalty. On their behalf, I say an adamant NO to the re-imposition of Death Pe­nalty. I fully understand the consequences of not supporting this bill, but in the question of life and death, our conscience prevails. Life is simply not ours to take. Mabuhay ang mga Lipeño at mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!” – Vilma Santos-Recto, as reported by Alwin Ignacio, Abante Tonite, 10 March 2017

Remembering Danilo – “…The country’s top actors and singers remember fashion designer to the stars, Danilo Franco, fondly. Often described as “a loner and a man of few words,” Franco would rather let his designs—by turns, elegant, intricate and colorfully flamboyant—speak for themselves. Several star-clients were his most ardent supporters, as well—and would proudly don his creations not only onstage (in plays, concerts and awards rites) and onscreen (in movies and on TV shows), but offstage as well…Rep. Vilma Santos wore a Franco Filipiniana gown when she tied the knot with Sen. Ralph Recto in Lipa, Batangas, in 1992. Franco also took care of Santos’ wardrobe when she played a fierce and feisty mogul in the movie, “Everything About Her,” last year…”He was like family. We were together for ages. He did my clothes for years—from the ‘Vilma’ show in the 1980s until his passing. I am so sad. I am continuously praying for him. I love him. He was a very quiet person. Observant, passive, but a true, loving and loyal friend…” – Bayani San Diego Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer, 06 February 2017

Selfie and Other Topics – “…I’m used to it because I’ve been in show biz since I was 9. Yes, it gets distracting sometimes, especially if you need to focus and think about what’s being discussed. At the same time, I also should be thankful because it means they’re interested in me…I’m more careful now (on being outspoken) because I’m aware that whatever I say influences people. You can’t dispense irresponsible advice or issue flippant comments…I support President Duterte’s war on drugs—it’s about time we take the issue seriously. But while we’re aware of the dangers of drug abuse, we can’t solve crimes by killing people. If you ask me, everybody deserves a second chance. Hindi tayo puwedeng basta magbitaw ng kung kaninong pangalan [without proof], at patay lang nang patay. There’s a better way to do this. Kailangang nasa tamang lugar…Expressing contrarian views is a human right. And she (Meryl Streep) is as intelligent a person as she is as an actress…In a way, they rule with an iron fist (Trump and Duterte). But we should give them a chance. President Duterte’s trust rating is very high (86 percent), which means he has the people’s support. Six months aren’t enough to gauge a president’s performance. Let’s hope for the best…” – Congresswoman Vilma Santos-Recto, as reported by Rito P. Asilo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 05 February 2017

Can’t Say NO to Ate Vi – “…I didn’t receive any reply, which was unusual. The next day, Tuesday, I texted him again to ask him if we could meet up and have coffee. Again, no reply. But after about an hour, it was his brother Joey who texted me back using Danny’s phone. He told me that Danny was in the hospital and was already in critical condition…he couldn’t say no to, actress-politician Vilma Santos. At the time of his death, he only had two sewers who were on call at his shop in Singalong, Manila…Sir Dan was one of the pillars of SoFA…He was one of our first few faculty members and he eventually became a major member of our education team. He was one of those we relied on to deliver the SoFA method of design education. He understood the value of the design process and managed to mentor our students through it. He was extremely generous, becoming a lifelong mentor and friend to his students even after graduation…In spite of his full load as a SoFA professor, Dan still continued to serve his clients…He always wanted to retire from designing and move from Malate to a smaller place in Makati near SoFA. But how could he do that when clients like Vilma Santos wouldn’t stop ordering? He was always busy, but always found time to dine out, hang out with designers, co-teachers, and create artworks when his schedule allowed…” – Rene Bisquera, Reported by Alex Y. Vergara, Manila Bulletin, 05 February 2017

The Balisong-wielding Batangueña Fighter – “…Vilma Santos, the Batanguena: However, the most telling evidence of how well a person can suit language and lifestyle lies in Vilma Santos-Recto, who now peppers her conversations with traditional Batangueño lines spoken with the right attitude. Vilma has taken to calling friends as Ka Nitoy or Ka Celia, Ka being a term of endearment among Batangas old-timers. Ka is also used as a term of respect to another person, usually older. In the late ’70s, Vilma acted in a film called “Vilma Veinte Nueve (29)” where she played a balisong-wielding fighter of a character. She was Batangueña, but of course…” – Nestor Cuartero, Manila Bulletin, 27 January 2017

#GEMS Awards for Film – “…Sinadya naming lumiban sa pagbibigay ng blind item sa araw na ito para bigyang-daan ang isang bagong tatag na samahan, ang GEMS (Guild Of Educators, Mentors And Students), na binubuo ng mga akademisyan mula sa iba’t ibang paaralan, mga propesyonal mula sa mga pribadong institusyon at sektor ng lipunan, at mga mag-aaral ng mga prestihiyosong kolehiyo at pamantasan…Best Film (Indie) – Die Beautiful (The Idea First Company); Best Film (Mainstream) – Everything About Her (Star Cinema); Best Film Director (Indie) – Jun Robles Lana (Die Beautiful); Best Film Director (Mainstream) – Joyce Bernal (Everything About Her); Best Supporting Actor – Xian Lim (Everything About Her); Best Supporting Actress – Cherry Pie Picache (Whistleblower); Best Actor – Paolo Ballesteros (Die Beautiful); Best Actress – Vilma Santos (Everything About Her); Special Award, Natatanging Hiyas Ng Sining Sa Pinilakang Tabing – Jaclyn Jose…” – Cristy Fermin, Pilipino Star Ngayon, 12 January 2017

Full Protection for Filipino #LGBT – “…Ang gusto nating isulong ay itong full protection para sa ating mga LGBTs not only in this term. Sana maging permanente po ito through a law not only through a resolution. I hope this committee will support this endeavor…Ultimately, this bill seeks to create a police organization that is able and eager to respond to any criminal or emergency incident, regardless of the gender orientation of the people involved…” – Congresswoman Vilma Santos-Recto, reported by Kristian Javier, Philstar, 03 January 2017

News Clippings Collection is Back! 1/3

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Angel Bows Out of Darna Movie – Due to a medical problem, Angel Locsin will no longer reprise her iconic superheroine title role in the upcoming Star Cinema movie Darna. In a statement, Kane Errol Choa, head of ABS-CBN Corporate Communications, said that Angel had to bow out of the project after she suffered a disc bulge in her spine while training for the movie. The 29-year old actress, who first played the Mars Ravelo comics character on television in 2005, will also need to undergo rehabilitation and treatment. Fortunately, her medical condition is treatable, and recovery may take six to eight months a report on TV Patrol revealed. In a TV interview on Oct 26, Angel publicly broke the news that she has to give up her Darna role as she was diagnosed with an injury to her interverbral disc, where the disc bulges out between the vertebrae and presses on a nerve causing severe pain and numbness. “Kapag amy trabaho, binibigay ko talaga ‘yong best ko. Ganun ko kamahal ‘yong craft. “yong role inaalagaan ko…so kapag may nirequire na mga stunts, ginagawa ko talaga lahat…iniiwasan ko gumamit ng double. Kasi gusto ko ipakita sa mga tao, ako ang binabayaran mo dito. Ako ang gagawa ng mga mahihirap na bagay,” Angel explained. “Kaya habang tumatagal sa dami ng mga stunts na ginawa ko, sa dami ng harness and all…nagkaroon ako ng problema sa spine.” she said. “Kami po ng ABS-CBN, nagkapagusap kami na mas nakakabuti para sa lahat, na hindi ko napo gagawin ang Darna. Nagpapasalamat ako sa ABS kasi iniisip nila ang future ko.” Angel also shared that the pain she feels is unbearable. “May time na ilang days, hindi ako nakalakad. May isang araw gumising na lang ako, hindi na ako makatayo…ni gapang, ni hatak sa sarili ko hindi ko magawa.” She said she was rushed to hospital at that time. “Kinabahan na ako kasi iba siay sa mga dating nararamdama ko.” At present, Angel is undergoing therapy and also considering having a medical operation abroad. Angel assured her fans that she’ll be okay, she’s not leaving showbusiness and she would do those actionn scenes again in the future. “Don’t worry, magpapagaling lang ako. Magpapalakas ako.” she said.” – Planet Philippines London Edition, November 2015 (READ MORE)

Emotional Xian Surprises Co-stars, Press – “Xian Lim got emotional when Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto, Angel Locsin and director Bb. Joyce Bernal gave positive feedback on his work in Star Cinema’s latest offering titled, Everything About Her. It can be remembered that during the film’s principal photography, the Kapamilya star got flaks from bashers, questioning his inclusion in the project considering that its with two award-winning actresses and he hasn’t proven anything yet in the acting department. “I’m really grateful to be part of this wonderful project,” says Xian. “My heartfelt thanks to Star Cinema for the trust. The same goes to Direk Joyce. Tita Vi and Angel. Their encouraging words I will foreverl treasure. They’ve given me the chance to show everything I’ve got. It’s a huge honor to work with them.” The appealing lad considers the experience as part of a learning process. “Yes…If I really want to stay long in the industry. Tita Vi told me that I still have a lot to learn and discover to further hone my craft and I took her advice by heart. That’s why I’m appreciative of all those who expressed their concern on me at the height of the controversy. I’m grateful that they boosted my morale then despite all the criticisms from my detractors.” Speaking of the bad press he got. Xian is clueless why he received such. “It came to my attention when we were already mid-way in shooting the movie. In case many don’t know, I read write-ups about me so I know what to maintain or improve on. In truth, before I started filming, I already had a feeling that issues like this would crop up. In a way, I was really anticipating this angle to be played up. So what I did was to turn the negative into positive. Of course I got hurt with the tirades on my acting, but I didn’t let it ruin my disposition and whole being. Instead, I gave my best in the movie, I gave my best in the movie. I used it as a motivating tool and I guess, it worked!” Hearing the positive remarks from his illustrious co-stars and directors is more than enough for the popular actor. “It really feels good that Tita Vi, Angel and Direk Joyce came to defense. Their nice words are an attestation that I did well. To reiterate, I’m very honored to be part of this huge project. Definitely, it marks another milestone in my career,”ends Xian.” – Joseph Peter Gonzales, The Standard, 25 January 2016 (READ MORE)

Political Climate in 1984 – “Like the fascist dictator, Adolf Hitler, Ferdinand Marcos labelled his political opponents “communists.” The most prominent victim of his communist with-hunt was Ninoy Aquino. To be branded as a communist under the dictatorship meant one could be subject to a warrantless arrest or forced disappearance. With a president delusional with the thought that he was beyond criticism, most Filipinos opted to be politically indifferent during the Marcos regime. This was the position mirrored by Sister Stella Legaspi at the beginning of Sister Stella L.” – Emmanuel Anastacio Reyes, Notes on Philippine Cinema (Collected Writings on Cinema) (READ MORE)

Political Climate in 1984 – “After declaring Martial Law in 1972, Marcos outlawed strikes and rallies to give the country a semblance of economic stability before the eyes of foreign investors. To enforce his edict, Marcos used the military and the police to harass, abduct, torture or murder those who openly challenged his rule. Remnants of this practice continue to haunt the country today.” – Emmanuel Anastacio Reyes, Notes on Philippine Cinema (Collected Writings on Cinema) (READ MORE)

Real Life Drama – “…Luis also took the time to quash rumors that he and Angel had been seeing one another while in realtionship with other people. It was in October last year that both Angel and Luis broke up with their exes, Phil Younghusband and Jennylyn Mercado, respectively. “How is that even possible? For three years na walang text, walang kahit ano. In fact, Angle was even scared to see me for the first time kasi iniisip niya, there’s so much negativity between us. That’s why we also didn’t want to see each other. Naiisip namin, kapag nagkita kami, it would bridge negativity. We were in that stage. So, how could I be the reason of their breakup, and how could she be the reason of my breakup?” he testified. He also emphatically denied that Angel was the reason for his breakup with Jennylyn. “Hell no,” he exclaimed. For her part, Jennylyn has stated that she is moving on and would rather busy herself with work. On the other hand, Angel’s ex-boyfriend Phil denied he was the one who got Denise Oca (daughter of character actress Melissa Mendez) pregnant, or that domestic issues or money matters were the cause of their breakup, while still professing his continuing love for Angel. Since then, Luis and Angel have gotten back together as a couple, and in the process, have become dramatically more open, more loving, and more tender. Having matured much since they broke up nearly five years ago, they are now much more a part of each other’s lives. On Instagram, they often post pictures of themselves kissing and hugging as well as photos of Luis giving Angel a bouquet of scarlet roses for Valentine’s Day on the set of The Legal Wife and Angel even guesting on Minute to Win It, the local franchise of the television game show that Luis used to host. Most heartwarming of all are the photographs of Luis at Angel’s family reunion and of Angel together with Luis’ mother, Star for All Seasons and Batangas Governor Vilma Santos, his stepfather Senator Ralph Recto and his stepbrother Ryan Christian Recto. In and interview with StarStudio, Luis confirmed that Angel get his mother’s vote. “Oo naman, that’s why I could watch them on their own, I was stepping back, I was talking to Ryan (his younger brother Ryan Christian) while they were having a girls’ moment.” He also has the approval of Angel’s family. “I was always in touch with the Ate. Even nu’ng birthday ni Tito (Angel’s father Angelo Colmenares) I would send a bithday greeting…I guess we simply continued where we left ouff after the first relationship. That’s why we still have that bond, we still have that relationship,” he explains…” – Rome Jorge, Francis Simeon, Photo Credit: Allan Sancon, TFC All Access, May-June 2014 (READ MORE)

Angel Locsin is with Vilma Santos in new movie – “Angel Locsin open 2016 by having the privilege of working for the first time with Star For All Seasons Vilma Santos and director Joyce Bernal. Angel described the veteran actress as kind, gracious, very professional, and open to everyone. The award-winning actress and Batangas Governor is also the mother of Angel’s boyfriend Luis Manzano. In the movie entitled “Everything About Her,” Vilma plays Vivian, a cancer-afflicted but strict CEO of a big company, Angel plays Jaica, a nurse tasked to take care of Vilma’s character. Actor Xian Lim is Vivian’s son, Albert, who felt neglected all his life. “Everything About Her” is scheduled to be released on January 27.” – The Filipino Journal, January 20 – February 5, 2016

Mga Tigre ng Isang Mansyon – “…The expansive dining room features an old-fashioned banggera, where table ware and glasses are left to air-dry. This area of the house figured prominently in the 1972 shooting of the Vilma Santos-Dante Rivero-Charito Solis war-themed movie, “Mga Tigre ng Sierra Cruz”. A utility wing is conjoined with the dining area. A small veranda and the white-tiled bathroom are found here, complete with claw foot porcelain tubs and modern plumbing. Space flows from one room to another leading you to the kitchen and semi-enclosed azotea with stairs that you down almost down the Sapang Balen bank. In its prime, the Morales mansion was furnished with the latest furniture from the House of Puyat: 6-footer book shelves to hold Don Rafael’s legal tomes, tryptich tocador, plateras and a hat and cane stand. In the ante-sala, the portraits of the family forebears, Apung Palu and Apung Quintin, cast their steady gaze on arriving visitors. A life-size wedding picture of Don Rafael and Dña Belen was the focal point of the living room. A large mirror with elaborate etched designs also was hung there. The well-tended gardens were lush with rosals, palms, San Francisco, agave and other succulents. Kamias, mango and acacia trees provided fruits and shady canopies all year-round. As late as the 1970s, reunion parties, soirees and basketball games were held in the courtyard and the wide cemented grounds…” – Alex R. Castro, Views From The Pampang, 10 December 2008 (READ MORE)

Vilma, Tsuper Hero winners at Indie Fest – “Vilma Santos (left), as Loida Malabanan in Ekstra (The Bit Player), won the award of Merit Special Mention for Lead Actress, and Tsuper Hero (Filipino Jeepney Driver/Hero), as short film by Ernest John Talusan (right) an Award of Merit in the 7th IndieFest Film Awards in La Jolla, California, USA. Other international actresses who won the Award of Merit Special Mention for Lead Actress were Kris Torhaug and Natalie Neilson for Chasing Rainbows (USA), Corinna Coroneo for La Scultura (Italy) and Jenny Lampa for The Break-in (Sweden). The 11-minute Tsuper Hero “tells the difficulties of a Filipino jeepney driver Radfol Pilones) earning enough money to send his daughter to college even if he ends up risking his own life.” It will be screened in the 8th Tottering Biped Film Festival in Burlington, Canada, March 6 to 7. A global film competition for cinematic gems and unique voices and promoting filmmakers to a global audience, the film awards was established in 2009 to give talented directors, producers, actors, creative teams and new media creators the positive exposure they deserve.” – The Philippine Star, 02 March 2015

There Will Be Blood – “In Philippine Cinema, sex is often depicted as a source of trauma rather than pleasure for a woman. Hence what emerges from her body is blood and we see plenty of it trickling down her legs as when she gets taped, has a miscarriage or an abortion. In Tagos ng Dugo (1987) directed by Maryo de los Reyes, the lead character played by Vilma Santos turns into a killer each time she has her painful menstrual period. The cramps that drive her crazy is a condition that she associates with having been rapes as a young girl.” – Emmanuel Anastacio Reyes, Notes on Philippine Cinema (Collected Writings on Cinema) (READ MORE)

Transformed Fan – “…The enviable task of fetching Vilma from an undisclosed hotel to be brought to the house was assigned to my father. To get to the shooting venue without attracting the attention of the motley crowd to get a glimpse of the stars, Vilma was whisked off to our own house which had a connecting passage to my relatives’place…For the next three days, I fell under the spell of Ate Vi—easily transforming me from a Noranian to Vilmanian. More so when, during a lull moment in the shoot, I had the gumption to talk to her (her co-star Dante Rivero refused to be interviewed!), and I even managed to put on tape our short conversation which began with her greeting ”To all the people of Mabalacat, I love you all!!”. Who wouldn’t be charmed by her sweetness? (Though I bet that was a standard line she said to ALL the people in ALL the towns she visited)…On her own, Vi was just as sensational, assuming iconic roles as Darna and Dyesebel (1973) and jumping into the disco bandwagon with hits like ”Rock, Baby Rock”, “Good Mornings, Sunshine” and “Disco Fever”—all done in the 70s…The winsome “Ate Vi” that I met 4 decades ago, continues to shine like a true star that she is—a star for all seasons, for all Kapampangans to be proud of…” – Alex R. Castro, Views From The Pampang, 10 September 2008 (READ MORE)

Lost Cassette Tape – “…We live right next to my granduncle’s 1924 mansion, an old, rambling two-storey house with a period look and a photogenic façade, located in Sta. Ines. It was no wonder then that a film outfit, Lea Productions, decided to rent the uninhabited Morales mansion for two days, to serve as a shooting location for the wartime movie, “Mga Tigre ng Sierra Cruz”, in the summer of 1974. This was no ordinary movie as it starred no less than the star for all seasons, Vilma Santos, still a teener at that time, whose Kapampangan roots were in nearby Bamban, Tarlac. Of course, our whole family was consumed with excitement—and so was the whole Mabalacat town, as word got around that indeed, Ate Vi, was coming to town! Our family was mobilized by the producers to assist in ensuring a smooth, trouble-free shoot on the day of the filming which was to take place late at night. My father was even assigned to fetch Vilma Santos from her lodge in Dau and taken to the shooting venue through our house. But the moment the shooting lights went on, scores of town people appeared from nowhere to gawk at the cinematic goings-on. Still, being relatives and the unofficial caretaker of the house, we—and a platoon of relatives who came all the way from Manila to stargaze, had the front seats to the shooting. Director Augusto “Totoy” Buenaventura was in command the whole time, calling take after take…The best part of the shoot was meeting the stars of the movie in person. I became an instant Ate Vi fan when she obliged the townpeople gathered outside the gate with a personal appearance, waving her hands to the crowd below from the balcony. The whole town just went mad. Later, with my portable cassette recorder, I even managed to interview Ate Vi, asking how she could possibly retain her composure despite her stardom. I asked a lot of showbiz questions that would put Ricky Lo to shame. I kept playing our recorded conversations for months after that, until I lost the cassette tape…I don’t think “Mga Tigre ng Sierra Cruz” made a killing in the box office, either. Many shootings have been held at the grand Morales mansion since then—the most recent one was undertaken by U.P. film students in March 2009. But old folks who pass by the street still point to the old mansion and refer to it as “the house where they shot the movie ‘Mga Tigre ng Sierra Cruz’ starring Vilma Santos and Dante Rivero”. The magic of that cinematic moment of over 30 years ago still is remembered, enriching the history of the house. Now that’s entertainment!” – Alex R. Castro, Views From The Pampang, 02 November 2009 (READ MORE)

Who Wins The Acting Contest – “…The movie comes to a head when the two women discover each other’s identities. Rex realizes that the thrill he gets when he’s skydiving, a feeling that he belongs to everyone and to no one, is what he has been seeking by indulging in both affairs at the same time. Ultimately, the movie asks: Is love a form of wealth that should be equitably distributed? When Rex finally confesses to both of his female lovers that he cannot live without either one of them, he tells them: “Sino ba’ng makapagsasabing: ‘Ito ay akin.’ ‘Siya ay akin.’ ‘Ikaw ay akin.’” (Who can truly say: ‘This is mine.’ ‘She is mine.’ ‘You are mine.’) Echoes of this same question resonate in one protracted scene right after Tere and Rex have made love. As they shift in bed, when a lover’s arm is on top of the beloved’s body, who is owning whom? The other question begging to be answered is “Who wins the acting contest?” Nora or Vilma? Nora plays Tere as an immovable object, quiet in her practicality. Vilma plays Sandra as an irresistible force, flamboyant in her vulnerability. But the real winner here is the director Bernal who deftly channels his two actresses’ unique gifts into the kinds of characters that each of them can perfectly inhabit. Mr. Bernal layers his scenes with his film’s main theme. When Rex shoots darts, he only plays with three — a red one and two in black. When Rex visits Sandra in the hospital, he lends her three books. It is a deceptively simple movie that is rich with many meanings. If only subtext were a form of wealth that can be equitably distributed across all of Philippine cinema…” – Noel Orosa, Business World Online, 23 February 2016 (READ MORE)

High-wire Balancing Act – “You’ll have a hard time finding an actress busier than Vilma Santos these days, but the seeming ease with which she juggles her chores as a movie queen, a hands-on wife and mother and a dynamic public servant demonstrates how she embodies the prized appellation attached to her name: Vilma is the Star for All Seasons—and Reasons! She works very hard, but she makes the high-wire balancing act look like a walk in the park. Ate Vi, who’s on her last term as the first female governor of Batangas, was in the middle of meetings when we texted and asked her for an interview for this piece last month, but it took her only a few minutes to reply—no annoying handlers, no cordon sanitaire. She doesn’t make you feel like her schedule is more important than yours. One time, she called us at 9 a.m. so we could meet our deadline for an article that we were writing for NUT (Nestor Torre, editor of Saturday Special). Another time, we got a call from her a few minutes after deplaning from her US trip! Would other big stars be as accessible—and approachable? The actress’ answers are as honest as they’re straightforward, but she isn’t beyond asking you for your opinion about the issues being discussed—from Pia Wurtzbach’s triumph as the country’s first Miss Universe in 42 years (“Regardless of the mixup, the crown belongs to her now”) to the phenomenal tandem of Alden Richards and Maine “Yaya Dub” Mendoza (“What they have is a gift—but they need to sustain their popularity with projects that’d prove that they’re more than just overnight sensations”). Her impeccable people skills and her openness for discussion and discourse are among the reasons why the 62-year-old acting icon is good at what she does: She doesn’t just talk—she also listens…” – Rito P. Asilo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 08 January 2016 (READ MORE)

Tita Fe – “…But perhaps the strongest applause, the hardest laughs, and loudest cheers of the night came from the solid Vilmanians. Felicidad Pua, or Tita Fe, made sure that her grandchildren’s school clothes were neatly ironed before leaving her home in Padre Faura, Manila. She looked neat too, wearing a Vilma 50th Showbiz Anniversary Shirt, while holding a magazine where Ate Vi is cover. After all, it was a big night for her, her fellow Vilmanians and their icon. Tita Fe is a member of the Vilma Santos Solid International Inc. (VSSI), an organization of Vilmanians devoted to support the actress-politician’s every endeavor. She claims they have a thousand-strong membership roster, with members coming from all over the world. The group is also actively campaigning to have Vilma Santos declared as National Artist. Judging by her faded VSSI photo card, it wasn’t hard to believe when she said she has been a Vilmanian for well over three decades. (I wonder if Twilight fanatics can remain faithful to their fandom for just as long.) After learning that this blogger is from UP, she said she was there too, when Vilma Santos received the Gawad Plaridel recognition by the College of Mass Communication back in 2005. Tita Fe said she arrived with other VSSI folks in serviced vehicles with members coming from as far as the provinces Ilocos and Pampanga. Most of them were wearing the annniversary shirt (photographed above) in either black or yellow. I asked how she liked the film after seeing it, and she smiles before replying “Kailangan pa bang itanong ‘yan.” And I smiled back. There I was right after a film starring Ate Vi, asking a Vilmanian whether she liked the film she just saw. Just before we ended, she reminded me to cast my ballot and vote for the film as Audience Choice. I said I will. And I did. I may have turned into a Vilmanian without knowing it.” – Aaron, A Little Too Aaronic, 28 July 2013 (READ MORE)

Thinning Hair and Mrs. Coco Roco – “…Despite his thinning hair, Rafael Roco, Jr. instantly became the most sought-after leading man. He was paired with the leading actresses of the day in some of the best movies directed by the greatest Filipino film directors during this golden age of Philippine cinema. He shared stellar billing with Nora Aunor in Mario Ohara’s Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos; with Vilma Santos in Celso Ad Castillo’s Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak; with Hilda Koronel in Behn Cervantes’ Sakada and Lino Brocka’s Hayop sa Hayop; with Chanda Romero in Eddie Romero’s Banta ng Kahapon and Gil Portes’ Sa Piling ng Mga Sugapa, with the latter giving him another best actor trophy from Gawad Urian, and many other memorable films. During the filming of Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak, Rafael Roco, Jr. started wearing a wig due to his thinning hair…Rafael Roco, Jr. married a fashion model, Coco Artadi, who therefore became known from then on as Mrs. Coco Roco. Later, Rafael Roco, Jr. decided to finally get rid of his hairpiece. And he shaved his head permanently. He also replaced his screen name with his real nickname. Thus, Rafael Roco, Jr. became known as Bembol Roco. Although his decision to shave his head limited him to character roles, Bembol Roco remained as one of the country’s most brilliant actors, together with the original Julio Madiaga…” – Nick, Untold Pinoy Stories, 17 July 2007 (READ MORE)

Sirkian Framing in Films – “…Mario O’hara, a previous writer and actor of Brocka, also uses the sirkian framing like de Leon and Brocka. When he used to direct my scripts for Alindog, the window in the set, or a doorway, or even a lattice division between the kitchen and dining room – were all utilized beautifully to frame the characters. Even now, the Sirkian influence could still be seen in many Tagalog movies. The framing makes sense, it adds drama, makes the scene visually beautiful. But, I only wish that the younger filmmakers eradicate the lugubriousness of Sirk’s orchestration of melodrama to solicit emotional response from the audience. But, sad to say, the Philippine movie industry seemed to have got stuck and has been suffering from a fixation known as the “heavy drama obsession.” SINUNGALING MONG PUSO is just one example of Sirk’s influence. But what made this film even more horrific is that all the actors in this film, except Vilma Santos, were a hopeless case of “acting running amuck”. It was definitely patterned from Douglas Sirk’s smash hit films that many starred Rock Hudson: Magnificent Obsession (1954); All That Heaven Allows (1955); There’s Always Tomorrow (1956); Written on the Wind (1956); A Time to Love and A Time to Die (1958); Imitation of Life (1959); to name a few. Next time you watch a Tagalog movie, listen to a radio soap opera, watch a telenovela, read komiks – look for some Sirkian elements in them. Chances are they’re there, blatantly popping its lachrymose head, most especially if you made the mistake of blinking your tearful eyes.” – The Cool Canadian, 09 May 2008 (READ MORE)

Synonymous with Exaggeration – “…In Filipino movies, drama is synonymous with exaggeration. In many films, scenes of cruelty, violence and torrid sex are depicted with little restraint so that they border on distasteful. In Tagos ng Dugo (1987), a young girl is raped after her parents are mudered. While she’s being abused, blood from her murdered mother’s body drips through the ceiling and falls on her forehead. In Kapag Napagod and Puso (1988), a harassed movie director (Christopher de Leon) takes out his frustration on his young wife (Snooky Serna) by smashing her face, pounding her head on the wall and punching her pregnant body black and blue. Once it was sufficient to depict adult activities by implication. To speak of sex on screen, it was enough to show a couple closing a door as they entered a room. A passionate embrace or a kiss is always followed by a quick fade to black. But nowadays, with sexual liberation and the heightened sense of realism demanded by viewers, Filipino movies have become more graphic in their treatment of sexual matters. There is now a greater curiousity for the phenomenon of the woman’s body. It is a must to depict menstruation (Tagos ng Dugo), labor pains (Kapag Napagod ang Puso) and a miscarriage (Burlesque Queen, 1977) by showing blood stains on the garment near the area of the vagina and blood trickling down a woman’s leg. The first signs of pregnancy are always dramtized by showing a woman throwing up in asink (Pasan Ko ang Daigdig, 1987). Abortion scenes have a very clinical look: a woman must be shown lying down with her legs in stirrups as a doctor or quack performs the bloody operation. Since abortion is illegal in the Philippines, it is common to depict abortion scenes ending in tragedy. In Celso Ad. Castillo’s Nympha (1971), a woman is left to die naked, wallowing in her own blood on the floor after doctors fail to stop her bleeding following an abortion. Childbirth scenes are just as graphic. In Nunal sa Tubig (1977), a baby’s head is shown emerging from a vagina…” – Emmanuel Anastacio Reyes, Notes on Philippine Cinema (Collected Writings on Cinema)…” – Emmanuel Anastacio Reyes, Notes on Philippine Cinema Collected Writings on Cinema (READ MORE)

After Rubia and after a period of five years ngayon lang muling nagkasama sa pelikula sina Vilma at Lino Brocka. Although there was a time before that the director wanted the actress for one of his films (Kontrobersiyal), hindi nagkaroon ng katuparan iyon dahil sa very hectic na schedule ni Vilma noon at hindi na nakapaghintay si Lino. The role eventually went to Gina Alajar and the film became one of Lino’s most underrated movies. Sa Aida Macaraeg, muli na namang tatalakayin ang tungkol sa infidelities ng marriage na naging tatak na ng mga pelikula ni Vilma. Sa pagkakataong ito, hindi na siya ang “kabit” kundi siya na ang magkakaroon ng extra-marital relations o sa madaling sabi, siya na ang magkakaroon ng “kabit.” Nangyari na rin ito sa ilang pelikula ni Vilma kung saan ginampanan niya ang papel ng isang babaing may asawa at nagkakaroon siya ng lover tulad sa Hiwalay, Karma, at Minsan Pa Nating Hagkan Ang Nakaraan. Pero sa kakaiba ang mangyayari sa kanya sa Aida Macaraeg dahil dito ay madedemanda siya. How the actess will handle the role which in real life is the exact opposite of herself is something to watch especially now that husband Edu Manzano is back after almost a year of estrangement. For superstar and a highly successful actress who tries hard to hold on to her married life like their is no other, playing an adulterous wife is almost a life like departure for her. As she has always said time and again: “I’m trying my best to make marriage work. Kahit ano pa mang pambabatikos ang gawin nila hindi ko hahayaang masira ang aking married life nang ganoon na lang. Ang pinakamahalaga sa aking ngayon ay ang aking asawa’t anak. Sila ang dahilan kung bakit kinakaya ko ang lahat. Sabi nila, hindi raw puwedeng pagsabayin ang movei career at marriage. But I will try my best that what happened to most of my colleagues will not happen to me. Hindi ko mapapayagang mangyari iyan sa akin. I am willing to compromise for the sake of my marriage. I have always believed in my husband at kung kinakailangang isakripisyo ko ang aking movie career ay gagawin ko huwag lang masira ang aming magandang pagsasama. Hindi ko basta-basta isusuko na lang ang lahat. Mahal na mahal ko sila.” With that kind of belief and devotion, siguro wala nang makapipigil pa sa aktres na itaguyod ang kanyang sariling pamilya. Wala na. Not even her movie career. That a woman! This Trudis Liit now transformed into the “biggest” women in local film history namely Aida Macaraeg, Sister Stella L and Baby Tsina. With that kind of revolutionary women’s role in recent history, who needs a husband? Only Vilma Santos! – Julio Cinco N., Movie Flash Magazine, 05 January 1984 Posted at Pelikula Atbp (READ MORE)

MET Display – “Vilma In Person, first appeared on August 8, 1986. The pilot episode was shown from the Metropolitan Theater as a temporary studio where Vilma Santos and the VIP Dancers performed. Broadcast live from the Met every Friday until the 1990s, the popular musical variety show then moved to GMA Broadway Studios. While several top Filipino celebrities made their debut at the Met, its condition deteriorated in the ’90s due to several factors.” – Posted through Facebook

#AngelLocsin, #XianLim, #MgaTigreNgSieraCruz, #LuisManzano, #SisterStellaL, #Darna, #EkstraTheBitPlayer, #EAH, #EmmanuelAnastacioReyes, #NotesonPhilippineCinema, #TagosNgDugo, #MET

At Home with Vilma and Edgar

“May sakit ako,” bati sa amin ni Vilman when we made pasyal sa kanilang hi-ball isang afternoon. Naka-casual lavender t-shirt siya (her paboritong kulay) and a skirt na hindi naman masyadong maikli. Panay ang brush niya sa kanyang hair, “Naku, ang init ko pa. Tignan nýo nga,” and we made a move para hipuin ang forehead niya. May slight fever pa siya. “Hindi bale, gagaling ka agad. Nandito pala ang iyong doctor,” biro namin as we spotted Edgar. “Oo na, oo na nga!” ayon ni Vi. “Kasi, pag hindi ako pumayag, hindi kayo titigil ng katutukso.” Ang gulo ng kuwentuhan namin sa kuwarto niya. Dumating pa naman ang dalawang pamangkin ni Vi, at nagtig-isa ng kalong sina Vi at Bot. “Ganyan pala ang ayos n’yo pag naging tatay at nanay na kayo,” may nagbiro sa dalawa. Namula si Vi, tumungo si Bobot. “Ito nga pala ang regalo ng mama ko noong pasko, ang ganda, ano?” ang pagmamalaki ni Vi, pointing to a colored tv set.

She switched on sa isang basketball game, Crispa versus U Tex. “Ay sayang, hindi n’yo makikita ang kulay, hidndi colored ito.” “Huwag mo nang baguhin, diyan na lang, may laro ang idolo mo, so Ko (meaning Atoy Co, the highest pointer ngayon ng Crispa). Bakit mo ba favorite iyon? Hindi naman pogi,” biro ni Bobot. “Kasi ako, gusto kong player si Papa.” “Sa papa mo ikaw, sa papa ko ako, ang papa ko? Lasing na!” at humalakhak si Vi, in the mood siyang magbiro, at ginawa ngang comedy ang isa niyang commercial. “Pero kidding aside, talagang idolo ko si Co. O ayan, tingnan mo how swift he moves…hay, su-shoot…shoot!” sigaw si Vi at tulad ng inaasahan, nai-shoot nga ang bola. Palakpak si Vi, umiiling si Bobot. “Belat, daig si Papa!” “Bot, sabi ni Vi, pabor daw siya sa early marriage. E, di pagdating niya ng twenty, ikakasal na kayo?” bulong namin kay Bot. “Ha? Aba…” tingin si Edgar kay Vi. “A, hindi pa yata. Hindi ba Edgar?” matagal na nakatitig si kay Bobot. “Ano? A…oo!” “Ang daya n’yong dalawa. Vi hayaan mong si Bobot na lang ang sumagot. Nagsi-secret pa kasi kayo,” kantyaw namin.

“Hindi…malabo pa…hindi pa kami handa,” malinaw ang sagot ni Bobot. “O, kita n’yo. Sabi nang hindi pa. Si Bobot na ang sumagot niyan ha.” At dinilaan kami ni Vi. “Naku, teka, hayan, hayan si Edgar sa tv…” and she sank into a loud ringing of laughter. Itinuro niya ang isang four feet na matabang mama, hardly seen sa hard court where six-footers tower. “Ang daya mo,” kunwari ay babatuhin ni Edgar ng throw pillow si Vi pero hindi n’ya itinuloy. “E, ikaw, ikaw iyan,” sabay turo sa janitor na nagmo-mop ng hard court. “Belat, tagalinis Ka!” “Ulitin mo nga?” kunwari ay magju-judo si Vi. “Wala, panalo ka na!” sabay tawa ni Bobot. “Hindi bagay sa iyo ang action star. Wala pa rin sa mukha mo. Ginaya mo na naman ang pinaood nating karate picture.” Maya-maya, nagpaalam si Bobot. Uuwi na raw siya sa kabila. Sabay dating ng mga pagkain ni Vi. “Diyos ko, paano na naman ako titigil ng pagkain. Seven pounds na naman ang naragdag!” And she continued munching pears, green mangoes, cookies, at ang paborito niyang mangustan. Nag-isip nga kami. Ano kaya ang itsura ni Vi pag on the way na siya at naglilihi na? Sus, kahit na siguro bituin sa langit pipilitin pa ring pitasin ni Edgar maialay lang sa kanyang mahal. – Baby K. Jimenez, Bulaklak Magazine, 05 February 1973, reposted by Pelikula Atbp (READ MORE)