Vilma Santos is a popular multi-awarded actress and politician in the Philippines. She's known as the "Queen of Philippine Movies," "Queenstar" and "Star for All Seasons." She is currently the Congresswoman of District of Lipa, Batangas (Philippines). This site is mostly about her film career.
Carlo Aquino: “Thankful ako sa pagtanggap niya sa akin na anak niya. Malaking malaking bagay iyon. Hindi siya nagdamot kahit isa na siyang Vilma Santos noon…Tinanggap niya ako, inalagaan niya kami ni Serena (Dalrymple) kaya sobrang thankful ako mommy na hanggang ngayon mahal mo ako…Malakas eh. Naging adult ako bigla,” he said in jest…Iba rin ‘yung pakiramdam nung time na ‘yun na ang kaeksena mo si Vilma Santos. ‘Yung hinihingi nga ni direk Chito (Roño) sa akin noon, pagkasampal, humarap ako kaagad. Hindi ako makaharap. Sobrang lakas pero kailangan mo humarap kaagad. Ang daming nangyayari, ang dami kong iniisip…Never nila pinaramdam na superior sila. Talagang kapag kailangan ko ng tulong or ni Serena ng tulong, nandiyan sila…” (ABS-CBS News, 18 May 2020)
Claudine Barretto: “I am really honored to be able to be a part of ‘Anak.’ Kung hindi niyo alam, Vilmanian talaga ako bata pa lang. For me, yun na ang ultimate dream come true ko. Sabi ko nga noon kay tita Malou (Santos) nung inoffer ang ‘Anak,’ okay na akong hindi mag-artista basta makasama si Ate Vi…I had the support of Ate Vi throughout the shooting. She never told me na, ‘Ito ang gagawin mo.’ Yung preparation ko is I had to step up and I really had to focus. Naintindihan ko sobra na kapag nanay ka, kahit ano talaga gagawin mo para sa anak mo. Especially si Ate Vi, kung hindi niyo alam is one of my mentors talaga. When I [was] going through my lowest talaga, nandoon siya…” (ABS-CBN News, 17 May 2020)
Kathryn Bernardo: “…Yes, a lot of times, but I’m good at hiding my feelings. I feel this especially with the senior actors. Kinikilig ako! I used to just watch them, but now I’m able to hug them, to bond with them….I would definitely feel starstruck with veteran actress, Vilma Santos…I hear a lot of stories about how it’s like to work with her, about how great an actress she is. I imagine that I won’t know how to react in front of her, too…” (Marinel Cruz, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 08 June 2020)
Rosa Rosal: “You know Vilma is really one of my favourites…at nuong pa talagang pinagmamalaki ko na ako’y talagang Vilmanian…naging 25 years na siya sa showbiz and the reason for this is because she is a very very good daughter, napakabait po niya na anak, napakabait na kapatid…and she is a wonderful person…alam ko marami sa inyo na hindi n’yo nakakaalam nito, alam ba niyo several times na I’ve been here in Damayan, pagkamayroon akong appeal, bigla-bigla na lamang may susulpot halimbawa, the next time I go on the air, na sasabihin na ganoon oh tita Rose padala ito ni Vilma Santos, I was so touch and siguro siya lang ang artistang nagganuon eh na sumasagot sa aking mga appeal…natatandaaan ko nung ikinasal siya tuwangtuwa ako, nung manganak siya bigla akong sumulpot sa Cardinal Santos, una kong nasilip si Lucky, when she got separated from Edu, I cried, I was hoping for a reconciliation and ofcourse aftwards they did reconciled but then again ngayon magkahiwalay na naman sila pero just to show you what kind of person she is look at the relationship that she has with Edu, and I think this is what makes Vilma, the Vilma Santos that well loved by everyone, so to you Vilma Happy 25th anniversary, I am sure you’ll be there for a long long time and may Gob bless you, not just personally but to everything that you do and also to your family.” (Vilma’s 25th Showbiz Anniversary, 13 Nov 1986)
Maja Salvador: “Hi Mommy Vi, ako po and inyong Baby, Baby April. Nagkasama po tayo sa MMK at hinding hindi ko po iyon makakalimutan dahil mas na-inspire po ako sa trabaho ko nang dahil po sa inyo. ‘Yun pong paguusap natin po sa set ng MMK dahil sobra-sobra po akong natutunan. Maraming-marami salamat po. kung anuman po ang mga na-achieve ko ngayon, isa po kayo sa mga dahilan nun at sana po maka-trabaho ko po kayo muli. I love you mommy.” (Magadang Buhay, November 2017)
Eugene Torre: “”I didn’t watch the premier. In fact, I just watched it in a theater somewhere in Bicol a year after it was released, but Vilma [Santos] is very professional, a good actress and she’s very kind. I don’t know if she will still remember me. It was a long, long time ago.” (Josef Ramos, Business Mirror, 25 April 2021)
Judy Ann Santos: “Sa totoo lang, hindi pa kami nakakapagusap ni Ate Vi kasi wala pang chance na magkaroon talaga kami ng moment na makapag-usap…Matagal ko ng nilalambing ‘yan sa Star Cinema, ang dami lang talagang ganap, kaya please! Please! Sana talaga matuloy [the movie project with Ate Vi]…Lagi ko talaga request kay Ms. Malou Santos na ‘Sana magkaroon ako ng movie with Ate Vi.’ Siya na lang kasi talaga yung hindi ko pa nakakasama. At parang kulang eh, kulang ang pagiging artista mo kapag hindi mo siya nakatrabaho. Lahat ata ng artista gusto talaga siya na makasama at isa ako doon. “Dapat maganda at isang obra yung materyal na ibibigay samin ng Kapamilya network.” She says she will make time for it when the right project comes along. “Ako kung ano ang i-offer ng Star Cinema sa akin, basta ready ako at maganda ang proyekto, bakit hindi Basta feeling nila kaya kong itawid, gagawin ko. I trust Star Cinema with so many things, naghihintay lang naman ako ng magandang istorya.” (Vance Madrid, Lionheartv.net, June 2017)
Isang babaeng nakasakay namin sa dyip ang nakakilala sa amin at nagsabi: “O, ngayong tapos na ang Star Awards, siguro, isusulat mo na kung sino ang binoto mong best actress. Sinabi mo ‘yan sa column mo.” O, siya, Gigi (sorry, I forgot your last name), heto na ‘yon. Personally, we voted for Vilma Santos (na siya ring nagwagi sa “Movie Magazine” and we have a feeling, siya ring magwawagi sa darating na Urian Awards on March 31). Magaling si Nora Aunor sa “Bilangin” and we believe na ang hindi niya pagkakanominate man lang sa Catholic Awards is a big oversight on their part. Sa gagawin naming paliwanag for our choice, we don’t expect na maimpluwensiyahan ang diehard Nora fans dahil kapag fan mentality ang pinairal, no amount of rational explanation will do to change their opinion.
Pero kami, napatunayan na naming wala kaming ganyang kaisipan noong maging nominado si Vi for “Tagos ng Dugo” and we cited our reasons why we favor Lorna Tolentino in “Maging Akin Ka Lamang” over her. To the untained eye, very impressive si Guy sa “Bilangin” dahil ang performance niya is mainly a series of big highly emotional scenes that call for confrontations with Tirso Cruz III, Gloria Romero, Miguel Rodriguez and Ana Margarita. This is the kind of acting that call for grand, tour-de-force manner of emoting, with glaring eyes, flaring nostrils, quevering voice and all. Sabi nga, the works. All stops are pulled to really impress the audience n “Hoy, this is good acting and you should correspondingly be properly impressed.” To Nora’s credit, she relies entirely on her instincts and this works as Elwood Perez has never been known as an actor’s director and Nora naman is the kind of actress na even when she is left to her own resources, still manages to come up with an arresting performance, no matter how florid.
Sa kaso ng pagkakaganap ni Vilma as Juliet in “Pahiram,” it is a credit not only to the actress but also the director. Vi’s innate talent shines, pero alam mong malaki ang naitulong sa kanya ni Bernal to further hone it and polish it and make it truly oustanding in the totality of its effect. Makikita ito sa succession pa lang ng opening sequences. Nagsimula ang movie na masayang masaya ang tono nito, with Vi rambunctiously singing “Material Girl” sa kanilang Christmas Party, without a trace of the impending tragedy that she will face. Then she goes to the CR, starts to feel bad, and after that ay nalaman na niyang mgay cancer siya’t may taning na ang buhay niya. Vi is not shown vehemently reacting to this. Instead, ipinakita lang siyang tahimik na naglalakad, her shoulders hunched na tila ba nasa mga balikat niya ang daigdig. She then attends this family reunion sa parents niya, which ends in disaster dahil inaway lang siya ng ate niyang si Dexter Doria. Wala pa ring reaction dito si Vi kahit nilait siya ng mga kamag-anak niya.
Sa susunod na scene, nagwawala ang anak niya si Billy Joe dahil lumayas ang yaya nito’t ayaw nitong pumasok sa school. Vi goes to the kitchen to prepare breakfast at habang nagbabati siya ng itlog, doon pa lang ipinakitang una siyang nag-breakdown. And this is shown nang nakatalikod siya sa camera. No overtly ornate kind of emoting na akting na akting ang dating. Pero damang-dama mo pa rin (if you’re a trully perceptive, sensitive viewer) ang mga emotions the character goes through dahil sa buildup nito. This is apparent in various other scenes in the film. Bale ba, ang estilo rito ni Vi ay hindi ‘yung trying to ingratiate herself with the audience to please them, which she is went to do in the past. Dito, basta she becomes the part (lalo na sa eksena nila ni Gabbly Concepcion sa simbahan na binalikan nila kung paano sila nagkasira), and if you notice that she is good, well salamat po. Sa second viewing ng movie naming lalong napansin ang subtle nuances ng performance ni Vi, up to her death scene which confirms our supposition that the movie is not really so much about death than a celebration of life, what with all the panoramic shots showing the beauty of nature and the world around us, na enough reason for anyone to want to survive.
So…’yan ang opinion namin. You may agree or disagree but tha is our prerogative kaya you may take it or leave it. – Mario Bautista, People’s Tonight, 1990
About Mario E. Bautista, is a respectable and popular film critic and columnist in the Philippines. He regularly write articles for People’s Journal, Malaya, Pinoy Gazette and his own entertainement website, Showbiz Portal
“Salubong” – “Forgive us for quoting a YA novel, but it seems pretty apt: “Art [isn’t] supposed to look nice; [it’s] supposed to make you feel something,” said Park in Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. As if to prove that, many artists have gone from producing aesthetically pleasing works to creating art that triggers strong emotions, positive or not. Creations often become disputable when they go against the accepted norms. Let’s take a look at 10 works by Filipino artists that drew criticism, controversy, or outrage for exploring themes which were described as shocking, weird, or offensive. Read at your own risk…Dante Hipolito’s oil painting, “Salubong,” was intended to be a welcome gift for Pope Francis when he visited the Philippines in January 2015. It went from being viral to controversial as the painting that was supposed to depict everyday Filipinos instead featured celebrities and politicians like Gov. Vilma Santos, Gary Valenciano, Marian Rivera, Dingdong Dantes, Coco Martin, Sen. Grace Poe, and Kris Aquino dressed up as farmers surrounding the Pope. “The painting contradicts the concept of realism as it shows nothing about the submerged reality of the nation’s agricultural workers,” said Michael Beltran, chair of Kabataang Artista para sa Tunay na Kalayaan (KARATULA), in a statement. Hipolito, however, explained that the painting was also a gift for his wife, who was a fan of celebrities. “Mundo ko ito, e. Ito, nag-e-exist ito sa utak ko lang na inilabas ko…Kaso, na-misinterpret ng tao…” – Dante Hipolito, The Most Shocking Works by Filipino Artists, SPOT.ph, 16 May 2020 (READ MORE)
Spotlight on Vi – “Philippine Movie Press Club photographers, amateurs and professionals alike, trekked to Majayjay, Laguna two Sundays ago to take pictures of Vilma Santos, the first model in the club’s ongoing photo-journalism contest. Result of the said contest will be announced before July, when PMPC current president Ronald Constantino’s (first) term ends. Other models in the photo contest are Alona Alegre, Alma Moreno, Nora Aunor, Dolphy and Fernando Poe, Jr.” – Mod Magazine Vol X. No. 340, 24 February 1978 (READ MORE)
“Bold is the order of the day and even the “sweetest” of our stars are slowly being drawn into it. Vilma Santos, for one is doing a movie with Merle Fernandez, something with the suggestive title Mga Rosas sa Putikan. Editor-in-chief Ernie Evora Sicco serves you the piece, still piping hot, along with the juiciest bits concerning local filmdom in her Starliners.” – Mod Magazine Vol X. No. 340, 24 February 1978 (READ MORE) Oh My Love – The romantic comedy drama show, “Oh My Love,” highlights two popular love teams of Pepito Rodriguez and Liza Lorena and Edgar Mortiz and Vilma Santos, with added star support of Ben David and Betty Mendez. Directed by Tony Santos, Sr., it is televised every Wednesday evening on Channel 2 from 7 to 8 o’clock. (READ MORE)
Kampus Star – “…The biggest fear of Borlaza was when Agrix Films’ “Kampus?” was booked one week after the opening of VS Films’ Pagputi ng Uwak, pag-itim ng Tagak. The Celso Ad. Castillo film was an artistic triumph, and Borlaza felt following it up with another Vilma-Bembol starrer would put them at a great disadvantage. The Vilma-Bembol fans might still be raving over Pagputi… instead of discussing Kampus. As it turned out, people let Pagputi pass and waited for Kampus judging from the comparative gate receipts of the two movies. What makes Maning Borlaza’s movies tick? We chanced on Maning during the shooting of VS Films’ current production, Coed. “Sabi ni Mama Santos, ako daw ang pumatay sa kanilang Pagputi…, eto ang parusa ko, bigyan ko daw sila ng isang Kampus? so I’m making for them Coed. You see, when I was working on Kampus? at the UP Los Baños, I has the opportunity to chat with some students, and I realized their problems and lifestyle can be source of even 10 movie materials. At kapag student force pala and nag-patronize sa Tagalog movie, and laki ng audience!” Borlaza revealed…Is star value the main thing in selling a movie? “In the case of Kampus?, yes, because Vilma Santos was my main star and she’s the curernt box office queen…” – Manny B. Fernandez, Expressweek, November 9, 1978, Posted by Pelikula Atbp (READ MORE)
Kasalukuyang Maligaya – “…Seryoso si Vi sa kanyang buhay. Anuman ang dumarating sa kanya, tinatanggap niya ng maluwag sa kanyang dibdib at pilit pa rin siyang nagpapakaligaya. Paulit-ulit nga niyang siansabi: “Si Lucky ang inspirasyon ko. Lahat ng ginagawa ko ngayon ay para sa kanya. Kung wala man kami ni Edu ngayon, gaya ng mga sinasabi nila, natatanggap ko na rin. Sanay na ako. Siguro, isa nga ako sa biktima ng mga sinasabing relasyong showbiz. Sa umpisa, maganda, pero sa bandang huli, nababalewala kahit gaano katatag, dahil na rin sa differences namin at intri-intriga!” Dugtong pa ni Vi, “Anuman ang mga nagaganap ngayon, wala akong pinagsisisihan. Kahit anupang intriga ang naririnig ko tungkol sa relasyon namin ni Edu, hindi ko iniintindi. Kung hindi man kasing tamis ng una ang relasyon namin ngayon, maligaya pa rin ako dahil sa sarili ko, wala akong ginagawang mali. Naniniwala akong hindi namin kagustuhan ang nangyari, kundi panahon ang may likha nun!” Kung minsan, inaamin ni Vi, nasasaktan na rin siya sa mga sabi-sabing kung sinu-sino ang dahilan nang hindi nila pagkakaunawaan ni Edu. Gaya nung magsama lang sila madalas ni Danny Zialcita sa pelikula natsitsismis na may relasyon na raw silang dalawa. Nung mili silang magtambal ni Romeo Vasquez, umusok naman ang balitan nagbalik ang datil nilang relasyon, na wala namang katotohanana. Dahil diyan, ito lang raw ang hulign masasabi ni Vi: “Alam ko, bahagi ng kapalaran ko bilang babae, bilang asawa, bilang ina at bilang artista ang lahat ng nangyayari sa akin. Pinagtitiisan ko, pero pinaglalabana ko rin. Kung sa mga sinasabi ko, hindi sila naniniwala, wala na akong magagawa. Basta bukod sa aking anak, ang higit kong inaasikaso, lolo akong pang pag-igihan ang pagaartista ko dahil matagal pa bago ako umalis dito. If ever na aalis na ako, gusto ko, matagumpay lahat ng nagawa ko. At ayokong aalis ng umiiyak, maski, anong mangyari, kailangan, maging maligaya ako, tulad ng kasalukuyan!” – Michelle Duenas, Movie Flash Magazine, 07 April1983, Posted by Pelikula Atbp (READ MORE)
Rich “Kumot” Queen – “…At 26, Vi still feels confident. “Kahit na sabihin nilang old maid na ako. I’d rather marry when I’m sure. ‘Yang kasal naman hindi mo alam kung kailan darating.” For the time being, Vi is paying full attention to her carer. “Iknow naman where my money goes. Mama takes care of that.” Contrary to what has been said by detractors, Mama Santos has invested Vilma’s earning well. To date, Vi has a big house in Magallanes Village, one in Tahanan where Vi will transfer to when she gets back from Amsterdam, and one in Los Angeles where she will run to when the pressure gets to be a bit unbearable. She’s worth about five million and half in assets which also include VS Films, seven and a half hectares of fruit bearing trees in Tanay and other investments in real estate. That, plus her jewelries and a personal savings account (sabi sa tsismis, almost a million in cold cash) indeed make Vilma Santos a very rich woman. Vi is the only actress whose films get patronized whether they’re meant for adult viewing or for general patronage. “People thought that came by accident, but Mama planned it that way. For every film I make that is meant for people above 18 Mama accepts one that is intended for general viewing. Tingnan mo, hindi ba’t after “Magkaribal,” there was “Rock, Baby, Rock?” Ang next month, after “Halik sa Paa, Halik sa Kamay” is shown, susundan naman ito ng “Buhay Artista Ngayon.” That, I guess is the secret of my success.” Another factor for Vilma’s consistency in the box office is the fact that she may be daring but so far she hasn’t gone so bold. “Hanggang takip lang ako ng kumot,” Vi said. “So far I still have to do a real bold wet look scene, but I don’t think I ever will.” Unlike most sex symbols, Vi has a sense of peace, self-esteem and contentment. She is not just acclaimed for her looks, she is also admired for her work…” – Douglas C. Quijano, Expressweek, September 20, 1979, Posted by Pelikula Atbp (READ MORE)
Image Blockage -“…Alona Alegre was busy hustling fron one TV show after another, first in her brother, Leroy Salvador’s Showbiz with the Salvadors then in Nora Aunor’s Superstar and at the late hour in JQ’s Seeing Stars, all in one day. Actually, she could have just sat back and counted the terrific box office receipts, but like the new Alona that she is now, she would never leave anything to chance. At the last report, she was the top grosser with her Ishmael Bernal’s Isang Gabi Sa Iyo Isang Gabi sa Akin during last weekend, but a Romeo Vasquez fan spoke up, “That was because she had Bobby and Mat Ranillo III in the picture. Bobby especially because that guy is “buenas” no mater what you hear of him. Remember how Vilma Santos was a superstar since her teens, but it was not until her team-up with Bobby that she managed to hurdle her “image blockade.” After the Vi-Bobby team-up, she was accepted as a mature star, ready and convincing in any role she plays, as far as her audience was concerned!” This is just one man’s opinion, and a lot of Elizabeth Oropeza fans would surely have an opinion too!…” – Super Star-liners, MOD Magazine, 07 July 1978 (READ MORE)
Harmony on the Set – “The last time movie scribes were on Vilma Santos’ set of “Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak” in Majayjay they notice the most cordial atmosphere on the set. Someone even naughtily noted that Vi and her leading man, Bembol Roco seem to that “close” to each other. But both stars insist that they have become the best of friends since they were thrown together by their common interests, and their common respect for their career. Remember that one of the first “hassles” of this picture was reportedly Bembol’s having shaved his head for his role in another movie? This director Celso Ad Castillo did it too, shaved his head clean, that is, but Bembol has nothing to do with it. Remember that he is currently filming “Dalaga” with Rio Locsin in the tile role and himself, CAC, as the leading man. A picture of many “firsts,” this is filmed in black and white and is considered by the director as his personal baby, to prove that he is a starmaker indeed, and a best picture producer to boot. CAC plays the role a mentally retarded character in love with his leading lady. During the scribes’ visit, everyone was impressed by the harmony on the VS set. Vi said that they have four more days to go…to complete the picture. Then the “never” can be “now” showing in due time. She’s slated to to finish three more movies before leaving for abroad to make a picture with Atty. Espiridion Laxa as producer and Christopher as her leading man…” – Super Star-liners, MOD Magazine, 04 April 1978 (READ MORE)
Another Best Actress – “Actress for All Seasons Ms. Vilma Santos won another Best Actress trophy at the 5th Makati Cinemanila International Film Festival Awards Night held Aug. 21 at Onstage, Greenbelt, Makati. She earned the award for her performance in Star Cinema’s “Dekada ’70,” directed by Chito Roño and which received the Special Jury Award. We asked Mayor Vi how she felt and she said “I’m so happy Ate Cris, at least hanggang ngayon humahataw pa ang “Dekada ’70,” I did not expect to win yet another best actress trophy.” So how many has she amassed to date? “I don’t know, marami na. Including the citations and plaques of appreciations, di ko na mabilang.” Vi was evidently delighted by her latest award and at first she didn’t know what to say. But she went on to thank Star Cinema, her director Chito Roño, her co-star Christopher de Leon, her children in the movie (Piolo Pascual, Carlos Agassi, Marvin Agustin, Danilo Barrios and John Wayne Sace), her family and loved ones, her constituents in Lipa “for their love and support and for their understanding…” – Crispina Martinez-Belen, Manila Bulletin, August 2003
Ina ni Dophy, Vilmanian – “First shooting day ni Vilma Santos sa “Buhay Artista Ngayon” na ginanap sa Bohol Avenue, Quezon City, kasalukuyang kinukunan ang isang malaking tagpo sa pelikulang ito ng RVQ Productions, nang biglang dumating ang kanilang service jeep. Bumaba ang isang matandang babae, na agad sinalubong ni Georgie Quizon at humalik ng kama sa matanda. Tamang-tama na nakauupo ang matandang babae, nang matapos ang ekesena ng dalawa. Agad na lumapit si Dolphy sa matanda, at hinalikan sa noo. Kasunod pala si Vilma na niyakap ng matanda nang makalapit ito. Tatawa-tawang lumapit si Dolphy dito, “Ang nanay ko talaga, kahit na nahihirapan ay nagpunta pa rito sa set, makita lamang si Vilma. Kahit noon pa ay tagahanga na ‘yan ni Vilma, kaya’t tuwang-tuwa ng malamang gagawa ito sa RVQ Productions.” Ang mahal na ina ng pangunahing komedyante natin ay may 76 taong gulang. Siya’y si Ginang Salud Quizon, kung saan hinango ang pangalan ni Sahlee Quizon. Dati-rati’y bihirang makita sa set ng pelikula ni Dolphy si Ginang Quizon. Pero buhat ng gawin ng RVQ Productions ang “Buhay Artista Ngayon” ay naging madalas na ang pagdalaw sa set ng matanda, lalo na kung naroon at nagsisiyuting si Vilma. Kung minsan ay inaabot ng mahabang oras doon ang matanda, at buong kasiyahan pinanonood ang bawat eksenang gawin nina Dolphy at Vilma. Minsan pa nga any inaabot ng antok ang matanda sa set, at kapag pinakiusapan siya ni Dolphy na umuwi na ay tumatanggi at parang bulang nawawala ang kangyang antok. Sa ngayon kay Dolphy, laging ibinibilin ng kanyang ina na sa tuwing si Vilma ang kukunan ng eksena ay sunduin siya sa bahay. Kaya noong minsang hindi nasabihan at malaman na may siyuting si Vilma ay bigla na lamang dumarating ito na nakataksi, at napapailing na lamang si Dolphy. Si Vilma naman kapag nakita na ang matanda ay lumalapit agad, at niyayakap, Kaya tuloy, lalo siyang napapamahal sa mahal na ina ni Dolphy. At buhat nang magsimulang magsiyuting si Vilma sa nasabing pelikula, maka-apat na ulit na dumalaw sa set ng pelikulang ito si Ginang Quizon.” – Berting Paz, Unnamed magazine, 22 September 1978
Stoned float at Festival Parade – “…The crowd started to gather along the route as early as 9 a.m. yesterday, some of them coming from as far sa Batangas in the sourth, and Tarlac in the north. The biggest response was given to Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III. Wearing pink and black kimonos, the two superstars threw sampaguita flowers along the way as their fans, yelling friendship, waved their pinted thumbs wildly. The floar to the two superstars was also surrounded by 20 Manila policemen and 15 blue-uniformed private security guards. At one point at the Luneta, an old woman, between 60 and 70 years old, was hoisted by policemen to reach up to Nora, who gave the old woman a big hug in return. Nora and Tirso are appearing in “Winter Holiday,” a production of Sampaguita-VP Pictures filmed in Tokyo. The other float witht he wildest applause was that carrying Vilma Santos and Edgar Mortiz, who will appear in “Remembrance,” a Tagalog-Ilang-Ilang presentation. However, the float was stoned twice and it left the parade before it reached the Jones Bridge.” – Philippines Sunday Express, 18 June 1972
Box Office King and Queen of 1983 – “Pormal na namang iginawad kay Dolphy ang titulong Box-Office King at Kay Vilma Santos ang Box Office Queen sa isang maranyang seremonyang idinaos sa Celebrity Sports Plaza noong Marso 30 na kung saan ay sinaksihan ng maraming tagapagtaguyod ng Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Foundation, Inc. sa pamamahala ni Gng. Corazon Samaniego. Ang may dalawang oras na seremonya na tinampukan din ng mga awitin at sayawan ay isinatelebisyon ng BBC-2 sa direksyon ni Bernardo Bernardo na siya ring tumayong emcee kasama si Malou Maglutac. Itinampok din ang mga natatanging businessmen and businesswomen ng Bulacan na kung saan ay naging panauhingn pandangal si Minister Jesus Hipolito ng Publick Works and Highways, na recipient din ng recognition award for government services, together with Mayor Joseph Estrada an ang umabot ng plaque ay ang kanyang panganay na si Jinggoy Ejercito.” – Anonymous, 30 March 1984
Our Cover – “Before the camera is Vilma Santos, one of the better known young singers in the country today. In fact, in point of popularity, Vilma is considered among the top. She has branched out from recording to moviemaking and indications are she is making good in both. Cover photo is by E. F. Nievera.” – The Sunday Times Magazine, 03 December 1971
Billboard’s Manila Updates – “…Film artist Walter Navarro (Vicor) will have his first LP, “King of Balladeers,” this month. He is a contract star of Lea Productions and principal mainstay of the El Bodegon Club. Navarro is doing a film musical with Vilma Santos (Wilear’s) with Mirick Productions…the film musical “Winter Holiday,” which stars Nora Aunor (Alpha) and Tirso Cruz III (Vicor), was second top grosser in the recently concluded Manila Film Festival. The team’s movie musical “Guy and Pip” was the top grosser last year…”Remembrance,” another film musical was chosen “Best Musical” in the Manila Film Festival. The film stars Vilma Santos (Wilear’s) and Edgar Mortiz (Wilear’s). The film also won in the categories of best film editing, best sound and best script…Vicor artist Victor Laurel will do a film with Lea Productions opposite Hilda Koronel.” – Oskar Salazar, Billboard, 29 July 1972 (READ MORE)
Star For All Seasons – “When she first appeared on the big screen in Trudis Liit, the fans already knew she was destined to be famous. The studio bigwigs knew they has a potential superstar in their hands, so they molded her to become a teeny-bopper, moving and grooving with the likes of 70s shakers Edgar Mortiz, Espie Fabon and Darius Razon. Before she hit 21, she won her first major acting award – as twins (one good, one evil) in the classic melodrama Dama de Noche. Soon, she became the most in-demand actress in the silver age of cinema; her projects ranging from action camp (Lipad, Darna, Lipad) to romance fantasy (Kampanerang Kuba) to sex drama (Burlesk Queen). Versatility was the name of the game, and Vilma Santos shone with a brightness never before seen in show business. More quality movies followed: Rubia Servios. Karma. Pagputi ng Uwak…Pag-itim ng Tagak, Relasyon, Broken Marriage, Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa. Throughout the eighties, she reigned as the Box-Office Queen. She was also the first Grand-Slam Actress in R.P. film history. She also had her share of controversies, but “Ate Vi” rose above them all. Last year, she gave an unforgetable performance as a housewife in both political and personal turnmoils in Dekada ’70. Today, as the incumbent mayor of Lipa City in Batangas, Vilma Santos-Recto continues to share her talents and her gifts with the public who can’t seem to get enough of her…” – J.R. Mercado, Woman Magazine 20th Anniversary Special Issue, 30 April 2003
REAL Wedding: Vi and Ralph
Wedding of the Decade – Wala na ngang makakahadlang sa pagpapakasal nina Vilma Santos at Ralph Recto. Isa si Fanny sa punong-abala sa gaganapin kasalan kaya minabuti na rin naming hingan ng opinyon si Fanny Serrano hingil sa nabanggit na espesyal na bahagi ng buhay ni Vilma. “Tama yung prediction nila na magiging wedding of the decade ang kasal nina Vilma at Ralph!” unang pahayag ni Fanny. “I can say na mas bongga ito kesa sa wedding nina Rudy at Lorna. Ang ikina-bongga lang naman ng kina Rudy-Lorna, sa tagal nilang nagsasama at kasal na, hindi ini-expect ng mga tao na magtsa-church wedding pa sila. “Tapos, nakapag-create pa sila ng motif ng wedding na Filipiniana at hindi showbiz na showbiz ang dating ng simbahan at pati sa reception. “After that wedding, marming nangarap na makasal din tulad ng Rudy-Lorna style. Actually maraming kumuha sa akin na ganun’ nga ang ginawa, minus lang ‘yung pagsakay ni Lorna sa karuaje. “Ngayon, itong kay Vilma, iba ‘to, magkasama kasi ang showbiz at saka politics. Sa nakita kong line-up ng kanyang mga bisita, talagang grabe. “Piling-pili rin ang mga artista at governement officials na naimbitihan. “Sa ninong na lang e, talagang bogga na. Pagsama-samahin ba naman si President Ramos, Cojuangco, naroon pa si Bong-bong Marcos e, wala, na talaga akong masabi sa kasalang ito!” Kasama si Fanny sa committee na namamahala ng kasalang pinakahihintay ng lahat. Anu-ano nga ba ang kanilang paghahanda? “Kasama namin sa committee si Danny Dolor, Super Morales, Danilo Franco, Marizette Recto at isa pang hindi ko na matandaan ang pangalan. “Four months kaming nagmimeeting, tapos inaabot kami ng alas dose hanggang ala-una, samantalang nagsisimula na kami ng 7 pm. Pinag-aralan talaga naming mabuti ang lahat. “And then, ‘yung preparation ng wedding na gagawin sa Lipa, that is something? “Saan ka naman nakakita ng church na may video wall sa labas na ipinapakita kung ano ang nangyayari sa loob. Iyon ang regalo nina Ralph at Vi para sa mga taga-Lipa. “Kaya sa Lipa gagawin dahil imposible namang dalhin pa sa Manila ang mga taga-Lipa to attend the wedding. Hindi lang naman tagaroon, pati na ‘yung kalapit bayan, tiyak na dadalo. “Close door ang pagdarausang simbahan dahil ayaw ng paring magkakasal na maging magulo na parang palengke ang paligid kaya ‘yung may stub lang ang makakapasok. “After that, magpa-parade na sila patungong Manila Hotel. Siguradong mauuna ako sa reception. I’ll be the one riding the helicopter para i-prepare na ang mga gamit ni Vilma sa presidential suite. “Gusto kasi ni Vilma na mauna na ako roon. Baka raw kasi matraffic pa ako, paano naman ang re-touch ng make-up niya at another set-up ng damit para sa reception. “Ang masarap kay Vilma, nati-tense siya sa maaring mangyari, anthough taga-remind na lang siya dahil may humahawak naman.” kuwento pa ni Fanny. Bilang fashion designer, ano ang masasabi niya sa dalwang gown na isusuot ni Vilma? “Maganda!” may diin niyang sabi. “Danilo Franco is always Danila Franco. Bow ako at talagang hats off sa kanya. Eight pieces ‘yung pinagpilian namin although ang final yes na kay Vilma. “Magtu-two months na niyang ginagawa ‘yun at ang materials, hand made ‘yun na pinasadya pa ni Danilo. Talagang impressive, wala talaga akong masasabi!” – Ron Romulo, Unnamed magazine, 23 December 1992
Voloptuos Vi – “At 50, ibang-iba na siyempre ang itsura ni Baby Vi. Puwedeng makipagkumpitensiya na siya sa itsura ng favorite showbiz mother namaing si Milagros Santos. Voloptuos na. Tipong mga babae sa painting nina Raphael at da Vinci at Goya. Siyempre, sa edad na ‘yan, hndi niya pinangarap na makita pa rin ang sarili sa showbiz. Panahon na ang pagbawi ‘yan sa mga normal na bagay na hindi niya natikman. Nasa kanya na siyempre ang lahat ng panahon para gawin ang gusto niya…Tinatanong ko namang lagi noon si Baby Vi kung paano niya nakikita ang kangyang sarili sa edad na ganyan. Say naman niyang lagi, isang normal na buhay na walang syuting at call slip at interbyu. Inimdadyin din kaya niya ang pagiging stage mother din? Halimbawa’y magartista’t maging super-sikat din ang Lucky niya? Eh, lalaki naman daw ang anak n’ya. Basta’t ang gusto lang naman daw niya kay Lucky ay makatapos ng pag-aaral (obsesyon kasi ito ni Baby Vi at ang hindi niya nakamtam ay gusto niyang maabot ng kaisa-isang niyang anak) at pagkatapos ay bahala na siya? Vilma at 50? Ayokong mag-Carmen Rosales siyang drama_na pa-Greta Garbo. Gusto ko’y maging original siya. – Gil Villasana, Moviestar, 10 September 1986
Win some, Lose some – “Recent Famas best actress winner Vilma Santos looks like she is on her way to being elevated to the award giving body’s Hall of Fame. If that happens, she’ll be joining fellow artits Josephe Estrada, Fernando Poe Jr., Charito Solis and Eddie Garcia (the last one was elevated to Famas’ best supporting actor Hall of Fame). Vilma has scored four Famas trophies in a span of 15 years. Out of four Famas awards she got, Vilma if we look at it objectively, deserves only two of her trophies. Her first Famas statuette (for “Dama de Noche”) which she got in 1973 at the age of 20 should never have been given to her because lets face it, she still did not know how to act that time. She was also underserving of her second Famas trophy for “Pakawalan Mo Ako,” a mushy melodrama release in 1981. Gina Alajar should have won the Famas that time for her role in “Salome.” But there is no question about Vilma winning the Famas statuette the following year for playing the part of a sympathetic mistress in “Relastyon.” She was wonderful in that movie. All the award giving bodies that time agreed that she was that year’s best actress winner. Remember her grand-slam that time? She won the Famas, the Urian, the First Film Academy of the Philippines best actress trophy, the Catholic Mass Media Award and even in Arminda Siguion-Reyna’s “Let’s Talk Movies” which honored for its anniversary presentation some of the outstanding achievements in film that year. Vilma’s most recent Famas trophy (for “Tagos ng Dugo”) is also well-deserved, even if it was not a bad idea had the statuette gone instead to either Lorna Toletino (for “Maging Akin Ka Lamang”) or Susan Roces (for “Paano Kong Wala Ka Na?”). But looking at it fairly, and studying all the angles of her performances in “Tagos ng Dugo,” Vilma deserves her latest Famas best actress trophy. Vilma may have been undeserving of two of her four famas statuettes but at the same time, she was also robbed of two other Famas trophies. 1983 was a bad year for Tagalog movies. There were very few good film products that year. As a result, there were only a handful of outstanding performances among the actors and the actresses. Among the leading ladies we can only cite Loran Tolentino (for “Init sa Magdamag”), Cecille Castillo (for “Karnal”) and Vilma (for “Broken Marriage”). Lorna that time was still what we consider “hilaw” when it comes to acting. She was already improving as an actress that time, pero kulang pa. The same thing can be said of Cecille who has dissappeared since. Vilma should have won the Famas that year with her portrayal of a career woman temporarily separated from her husband (Christopher de Leon). But it was Charito Solis who won in the Famas that year for “Don’t Cry for Me Papa” which was ignored by the other award giving bodies. The following year, Vilma failed to bag the Famas prize for her masterful performance in Sister Stella L.” The Famas people did not think she deserved the award. Why? Because she was in the United States during the awards season and could not maek it to the Famas Night.” – Joone C. Reyes, Unnamed tabloid, circa 1989
“Kung nasa Roma ka, kumilos ka at magsalit na tulad ng isang Romano. At kung nasa sarili mo kang bansa, kumilos ka at magsalit sa iyong natural. Aywan ko kung ganito nga ang pagsasalin ng naturang kasabihan, ngunit sinunod ito ng superstar na si Vilma Santos ngayong siya ay nasa malayong Amsterdam, pook ng labingwalong oras na lakbayin sa eroplano mula sa Pilipinas. Isang Pilipina si Vi pero ngayon ay nagsasalita at kumikilos siya na parang siya ay tunay na tagaroon. Sa pamamagitan ng long distance, nakausap namin si Vi, si Mrs Santos at ang kolumnista at PRO na si Ethel Ramos. At sa may kulangkulang 20 minutong pag-uusap na pagsalin-salin sa tatlo ay nakakuha kami ng first-hand na impormasyon. “Mahigit na isang linggo na kaming nagsisiyuting,” ani Vi. “pero naisingit na namin ang pamamasyal. nalibot na namin ang pinakamagandang lugar dito sa Amsterdam gaya ng Valley Dome na kinaroroonan ng mga windmills, Queen Juliana’s Palace at Doms Square. “Nagcanal ride na rin kami at talaga palang napakaganda ng pook na ito” patuloy ni Vi. “Maginaw dito, daig pa ang Baguio at patuloy daw na lalamig pa sa mga susunod na araw. Kasama ko sina Mama, Papa at Ethel sa pamamasyal. Makaluma ang mga tao rito at makikia iyon sa kanilang pananamit.” wika naman ni Mama Santos. “Hindi rin gaya ng Maynila na napakaraming tao. Parang maliit lamang ang populasyon. Siguro ay aabutin ng mga isanlibo ang mga Pilipinong naninirahan at nagtatrabaho rito. Katunayan, sa bahay ng isang Pilipino kami nakatira.
Si Ethel Ramos ang sumuod naming nakausap at higit siyang maraming balita. Alam n’yo naman si Ethel reyna sa dami ng movie tsistmis. “Alam mo ba na nalibot na rin namin nina Via ang mga red house dito? Yaong tinatawag nilang red light district?” aniya. “Dito kasi ay legal ang prostitution business kaya para ka lamang pumasok sa isang department store. Sa mga banketa ay nagkalat sila, may nakaupo na parang namamasyal lamang sa parke. Lapitan mo at sasabihin niya agad ang presyo at iaabot ang kanyang palad. Gaya ng napabalita noon, totoong makikita mo lamang ang iba sa kanilang eskaparate,” patuloy ni Ethel. “Ituturo mo lamang ang prostiture na gusto mo na parang nagtuturo ka ng ulam at ayos na. Papapasuking ka sa kanilang cubicle na napakalilinis naman. Parang kuwarto ng isang masinop na dalaga at mabango pa ang mga silid. maraming magaganda sa kanila. Ipagpaunmanhin sana ng mga masasagasaan, pero alam mo ban na mayroon sa kanila na kahawig ni Rio Locsin at may kahawig pa ni Lourdes Medel? Excuse lang ha? Hawig lang naman e. Pero may roon ding matataba at mayroong mga payat at hindi magaganda. May halos kasintaba ng mga reporter na sina Mama Mocha (Ramon Teodoro) at kasingpayat ni Vir Gonzales. May ilan sa kanila na pumapayag lang pag may condom.” Ayon pa rin kay Ethel, si Vilma ay ilang araw munang nagmasid at nag-aral nang personal sa mga kilos, pagsasalita at paghalakhak ng mga tunay na puta at prostiture doon. Ibig kasi niyang makuha ang talagang tamang pagganap na parang natural na natural. nagtatanong pa rin siya at nakipag-usap sa ilan sa pamamagitan ng interpreter at makaraan lamang ang ilang araw ay may ialng nang salitang Dutch na alam si Vilma. May isang Dutch din na may crush sa kanya. Max ang pangalan. Mataas. Pero 23 years old lang.
Sa naturang pelikula ng Sining Silangan na “Miss X” ay isa ngang prostitute ang labas ni Vilma. Isang Pilipina siya na na-recruit para magtrabaho nang maganda roon pero sa isang bahayan nga ng mga kalapating mababa ang lipad ang kanyang binagsakan. Ngayon ano kaya ang magiging ayos niya? Makapal ang make-up? Malakas humalakhak? Kasabik-sabik ito sa mga fans ni Vi at tiyak na maganda ang pagkakagawa dahil Gil Portes ang direktor at walang magaganap na bitinan sa shooting. Kay Mrs Santos naman nakalipat ang telepono bago magpaalaman at ganito naman ang kanyang idinagdag: “Gilders ang tawag sa pera dito at masyadong mahal ang mga bilihin. Mas mataas ang gilders sa dollars. Ako ang cook nila rito at mayroon ding bagoong na mabibili. Tulad ng dati, hindi natutulog si Vi sa gabi at sa umaga natutulog hanggang tanghali. Pati tuloy kami ni Ethel ay nagkakaroon ng insomia. Pagkatapos ng shooting ni Vi ay tutuloy siya sa Europe, Paris at iba pang lugar para makapamasyal at makapamili nang gusto niya. Kami ni Papa ay pupunta naman sa Amerika at titingnan namin ang bahay na nabili namin doon. Mga second week na siguro ng Nobyember ang uwin namin. Iay ang mga unang repot mula sa Armsterdam. Sooth naman ang shooting nila at ang iba pang naroon ay sina Mark Gil, direktor Portes, Roger Vivero at mga prodyuser ng Sining Silangan. Naroon na rin daw sina Mother Lily ng Regal Films, Douglas Quijano at Lolita Solis. Sa susunod na tawg ay muli kaming magbabalita tungkol sa mga happening doon.” – Efren M. Esteban, Jingle Extra Hot Magazine, 5 November 1979, posted by James DR, Pelikula ATBP, 26 January 2021 (READ MORE)
Note: This was Ricky F. Lo’s last birthday article for Film Legend, Vilma Santos-Recto.
As she turns 67 today, Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos (shown on her birthday last year) says she thanks the Lord for all the blessings, ‘Life has been very good to me’
Whether she was six ( when starting out in showbiz as Ging and Trudis Liit) or sixty- seven ( as she turns today, Nov. 3), Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos will always be Ate Vi not only to her Vilmanians but also to showbiz- watchers. She hasn’t changed at all and not a part of her was altered by science ( contrary to what some people may claim). Her life is an open book read and reread and dissected inside- out, every detail bared in public.
Her birthdays have always been a private affair with her husband, Sen. Ralph Recto, and their children Luis Manzano (“I love you, Lucky!” Remember how she would greet him at the end of her then show VIP?) and Ryan Christian ( who is getting good marks in school), and other members of the family ( her siblings and close friends).
But due to the pandemic that has kept her at home ( attending sessions via Zoom), Vilma is celebrating her 67th in another way. Here she is in an exclusive interview with Funfare: How different will your birthday be this year? “It will just be a very intimate celebration at home with my family unlike in the past years when we would go out- of- town for short trips to celebrate my birthday. Basta we are all together and healthy, happy na ako kahit dito lang kami sa bahay.” What are your thoughts as you turn 67? “It is yet another year for being grateful, for new learnings, of facing new challenges, for appreciating and loving the Lord, my family, friends and the people around me.”
As you look back, mayroon ba dapat baguhin sa buhay mo?
“I can’t wish for anything else, except for the continued protection and safety of my family, as well as continued guidance on how to properly serve the people who have trusted me. I am very grateful to our Lord for all the blessings. Life has been very good to me. Salamat, Lord!” Do you have any regrets about something that you did or didn’t do?
“I have been saying ever since that I do not have any regrets in life. For every downfall I experienced, there were always lessons learned. Ito ang nagpatibay sa pagkatao ko.”
During this pandemic, have you assessed what are the essentials that you have to focus on or things that you have taken for granted?
“I have learned to value and cherish life more, and not to take anything for granted. Life is a gift. Being healthy is a gift. Makalakad lang sa labas ng bahay mo is a gift. Magkaroon ka lang ng trabaho is a gift. Mabigyan mo ng pagkain ang pamilya mo is a gift. Patuloy akong nagdarasal na matapos na ang mabigat na pagsubok na ito hindi lamang sa atin kung hindi sa buong mundo.”
Among your many achievements, what are the three that you are proud of?
“As a wife and mother, my family. As an artist, my acting and box- office awards. As a public servant, my Presidential Lingkod Bayan award.”
Nasa iyo na ang lahat, ano pa ang kulang sa buhay mo? “Apo!” What are the top things on your bucket list? “To become a full- fledged grandmother, to visit the Holy Land and to become a film director.”
Aside from your famous panyolito, what is in your bag every time you leave the house? What’s the story behind your famous hanky?
“My rosary, cellphone, wallet, cologne, lipstick and powder. As for my panyolito, I have so many, I have lost count. I have given so many away. Dami humihingi! I was still single when one day, my very good friend Coney Reyes saw me na pawis na pawis. She advised me to always carry and use a handkerchief to keep me looking fresh. Since then, I always have a panyolito with me. It’s my ‘ security hanky’.” Are you not worried about getting old? “Of course, I am worried but I tend to focus more on how to live and lead a meaningful and fulfilling life. These are what matter more. Lahat tatanda pero ang mahalaga ay meron kang pinagkatandaan.” How do you want to be remembered? “I want to be remembered as a God- fearing woman who tried her very best to become a good wife and mother, a loving daughter, a supportive sister, an artist who has hopefully made relevant contributions to the industry, and a public servant who cared for and gave honest service to the people she served.” (READ MORE)
E- mail reactions at rickylophilstar@ gmail. com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www. philstar. com/ funfare or follow me on Instagram @ therealrickylo.
About Ricky: – Ricardo “Ricky” Fua Lo (April 21, 1946 – May 4, 2021) was a Filipino entertainment writer and commentator, and TV host. Lo died on May 4, 2021, from a stroke.
Lo, born of Chinese descent, was a native of Las Navas, Northern Samar, where he finished grade school. He finished high school at the bilingual Tabaco Pei Ching School in Tabaco, Albay, and took up AB English at the University of the East. A fan of feature films, he aspired to be a gardener of actress Susan Roces.
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, Vilma Santos, and to make her career information available to future generations. We believe this is NOT an infringement of any such copyrighted materials as in accordance to the fair dealing clauses of both the Canadian and U.S. Copyright legislation, both of which allows users to engage in certain activities relating to non-commercial/not for profit 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. – Wikipedia.
Butch Francisco, Manunuri Ng Pelikulang Pilipino, 2017
It Took her almost a decade to win her first acting trophy from the Gawad Urian from the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (MPP) which was created in 1976. Vilma Santos got her first Urian best actress award in 1982 (for Relasyon) – when both Nora Aunor and Gina Alajar had already won two trophies each. Vilma was already a superstar and a much-awarded actress then. The long wait gave her the impression that she wasn’t a “Manunuri favorite.”
“But it was only after I got the award from the Manunuri that I felt na actor na ako,” reveals Vilma. “Totoo ‘yan!”
She never could have guessed then that after her initial victory she was going to set a record by winning the Urian best actress award three years in a row and now holds the distinction of having the most number of Urian trophies: 11 in all – eight as best actress, two as best actress of the decade and one as producer of the 1978 best picture, Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak.
And as the MPP turns 40, Vilma Santos is given the organization’s highest honor, the Natatanging Gawad Urian – a fitting tribute to an actress who has displayed unparalleled excellence in her movies.
She is not the first in her clan to make it big in show business. Forties and Fifties superstar Carmen Rosales, like her, a legendary movie queen, was a grand aunt on her father’s side (esteemed movie journalist Ronald Constantino is also an uncle).
Vilma fondly remembers how Ms. Rosales – a recluse in her late years – would visit her at her Magallanes village home in the ‘70’s. “Lola mo ‘ko, ha!” Carmen would remind Vilma, who was always all ears, listening to her grand aunt’s tales and tips on “how to choose the right men.”
Oddly enough, the two women were unable to trace familial roots while they were both in Sampaguita Pictures, and Carmen, then one of the most influential women in showbiz, had no hand in Vilma’s entry to the movies.
It was cinematographer Amaury Agra who was instrumental in bringing Vilma to Sampaguita. The ace lensman, noted for his expertise with the hand-held Agriflex camera, was a regular guest at the Santos home during the La Loma fiesta. He noticed Vilma’s eagerness to perform before her parents’ visitors. Would she care to come with him to Sampaguita and get an audience with star-builder Dr. Jose Perez? The studio was about to start another drama, Anak, ang Iyong Ina. Maybe Vilma, then nine, could get a part in the film.
Her parents initially weren’t receptive to the idea. They didn’t’ see Vilma working at such an early age. They weren’t rich, but they could provide for their children’s needs, especially since both of them were gainfully employed. Vilma’s father, Amado, was working for the GSIS, while her mother, the former Milagros Tuazon, had a stable job at Aguinaldo’s department store (today’s version of Rustan’s). Eventually, they agreed to indulge the daughter’s dream of joining show business.
As per Agra’s instruction, Vilma was simply to present herself to Dr. Perez, who was going to check her out for a possible part in Anak, ang Iyong Ina. When she and her mother reached the Sampaguita compound, there was a long line and Vilma joined the queue along with the other children, who were trying out for a small melodrama Trudis Liit.
She didn’t stay in the long line, though. Vilma even then already stood out from the rest of the crowd and was plucked from that long queue by the audition masters Bella Flores, Boy Alano and Dr. Perez himself. Vilma was made to cry and was instructed to memorize a dialogue. “Not only did I delivered the line. Nag-adlib pa ‘ko!”
For playing the title role in Trudis Liit, Vilma was paid P700. Part of the package included a whole fried chicken for lunch, plus an apple.
Vilma also shot Anak, ang Iyong Ina with Rita Gomez and, later, went to Premiere Productions to play another title role – Ging, with the studio’s resident villainess Carol Varga and comedians Aruray and Georgie Quizon.
While studying with the RVM nuns at St. Mary’s, Vilma appeared in the TV soap, Mga Batong Buhay, and co-starred with Katharine Ross and Doug McLure in the Hollywood B-movie The Longest Hundred Miles, which had principal location in Bicol.
In 1965, she was cast as First Daughter Imee Marcos in the Ferdinand Marcos biopic Iginuhit ng Tadhana and in 1969 the sequel, Pinagbuklod ng Langit.
In between, she appeared mostly as the teenage daughter of lead stars in dramatic movies and received a best supporting actress prize (for Kasalanan Kaya) in a film event organized by San Beda College.
By the late ‘60s, Nora Aunor had paved the way for a new generation of young female stars: petite and not necessarily of Castilian extraction. Nora was so popular that she was given two leading mean: Tirso Cruz III and Edgar Mortiz. Maybe because Nora and Tirso were truly in love with each other, Edgar was shut out from this love triangle. Edgar needed a new leading lady and it was Cornelia “Angge” Lee, a studio hanger-on back then, who suggested the name of Vilma.
Not quite 16, Vilma was chubby, had baby fat, but was gifted with translucent fair skin. More importantly, she had charisma. She was then doing radio with teen partner Jay Ilagan. “Nagtampo pa nga si Jay nu’n. He said: ‘Di ba tayo ang mag-partner? Bakit ka sasama du’n?’” Vilma recalls their parting.
The Vilma-Edgar tandem developed its own following and was pitted against Nora and Tirso. The rivalry was so intense between the two love teams that during the staging of one Mr. & Miss RP Movies tilt (the forerunner of today’s Box-Office Awards) at the Araneta Coliseum, Vilma was horrified to see fans hurling chairs and empty bottles at one another. At one premier night, she was pricked with a pin by a fan, obviously from the rival camp.
Although Vilma admittedly was behind Nora in terms of popularity, the people running her career made sure she stayed in the race. Nora’s obvious edge over Vilma then was in the field of singing and singing was never Vilma’s forte. But she was made to wax records anyway – which all sold! “Never underestimate this voice! Naka-gold record ‘to!” Vilma says, laughing at herself.
After a string of Vilma-Edgar movie hits, producers tried pairing her with other leading men – with equal success. Her FAMAS win as best actress for the 1972 film Dama de Noche helped boost her stock even further. It wasn’t long before she reached Nora’s level of popularity.
Vilma started attracting moviegoers who did not necessarily belong to the so-called “bakya crowd” (hoi polloi). The Filipino middle class who otherwise would not be caught dead watching Tagalog pictures patronized her Takbo, Vilma series, Dyesebel, and several editions of her Darna, movies. At an early age, she was a master of reinvention.
Viewers admits intrigued with Nakakahiya 1 & 2 (where she romances with an older, married man) and Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw (about kissing cousins) signaled a fully grownup mature actress who appealed strongly to Filipino women who were still tradition-bound in spite of the women’s liberation movement that was sweeping western countries.
She was then ready for the most daring role of her career – that of a burlesque dancer and stripteaser in Celso Ad. Castillo’s Burlesk Queen. “That was the most difficult movie I ever did,” says Vilma.
The finale, re-shot four times and using multiple cameras, showed her gyrating on stage in a bikini for several agonizing minutes until she bleeds to death. It is a delicate scene that has her dancing half-naked in front of an all-male audience. The location was a theater in Cubao that featured real stripteasers.
That scene caused delays in production. Vilma kept begging off. Her mother mediated on her behalf: “Maybe my daughter is still young to do that!” The producer promised her everything – the moon, the stars, plus a brand-new Mercedes Benz – just for her to do the scene. The answer was still no. She relented when she was threatened with a lawsuit.
In the end, the film turned out to be the turning point of her career. It was box-office bonanza and she won as best actress at the 1977 Metro Manila Film Festival and gained the reputation of a serious performer. As for the Mercedes Benz, it was never delivered, prompting her to buy a blue Benz for herself.
The following year, she hoped for a two-in-a-row win as film fest best actress. Her entry was Lino Brocka’s Rubia Servios, where she plays a rape victim.
Everyone said she was a shoo-in for best actress. Even fortune tellers were unanimous in saying this at a gossip show on television. Her producer, Marichu Maceda, was so sure of her victory that she gifted the actress with a P10,000 dress to wear during the Gabi ng Parangal, an amount that could cover an entire bridal entourage.
But come awards night, Mrs. Maceda got hold of a copy of the winners before the show and broke to her the news: “Talo ka.” At the moment, she still had the option to leave, but graciously stayed on to watch arch rival Nora Aunor ascend the stage as the winner (for Atsay). After the show, she and Mrs. Maceda proceeded to the actress’ Makati condo and got drunk on champagne.
Things went downhill from there. Her career was rocked with a Betamax scandal which wouldn’t raise eyebrows in the more jaded early 21st century. Supposedly the video was in wide circulation but nobody really saw it. No copy ever surfaced because there was never one. Ironically, years later, Vilma truly became a Betamax Queen when videos of her Viva and Regal movies became the best sellers in video shops here and in Filipino communities in the US.
After the Betamax issue, she went through another trial: she found herself buried in debt. Vilma always had faith in real estate and had invested well in choice properties but dipping her hands into movie producing was a faux pas. While proud of her movie venture Pagputi, the production cost of the film wiped out her finances. For one, it took the director, Celso Ad. Castillo, three years to finish the project. “First time kong nagkaroon ng kaaway – at nabato ko pa si Celso,” grimaces Vilma.
And then, an aide she thought could trust mishandled her finances. Bills that were supposed to be settled remained unpaid – until the interest started accumulating. And in the meantime, BIR duties were neglected. She mortgaged properties, only later to be repossessed. Her posh Dasma residence, house in Marikina and Tahanan Village, plus a three-hectare lot in Tanay that had 52 mango trees – were all taken away from her. The Magallanes Village home where she lived that time was saved – “pero may utang pa rin du’n.” She lost even her blue Mercedes.
It was Mrs. Maceda and he late Atty. Espiridion Laxa who helped fix her money mess. First, the P80,000 monthly household was trimmed down to P5,000. “I practically measured even the patis (fish sauce) she used in the kitchen,” volunteers Mrs. Maceda, who also trafficked all talent fees from Vilma’s projects. “Many Ichu would only show me my cheques: ‘O, this was what you earned from making this movie.’ And then derecho pambayad na ng utang ‘yun. Never ko na-enjoy ‘yung kinita ko doing those films,” recalls Vilma of that dark period that went on for years.
By God’s grace, she remained a bankable star all throughout. There was even a bright light in this chapter of her life: She met her first husband and father of her first child.
It was the height of the disco craze when she was introduced to Edu Manzano. She and director Elwood Perez had gone discoing that night and had repaired to the Manila Pen for an early breakfast. Edu, a top model then, asked Elwood to introduce him to Vilma.
A short courtship followed until Edu, then already an actor, followed Vilma to the US (where she was doing two movies) and proposed marriage. “Edu arrived in LA, rented a car and off we went to Las Vegas to get married.”
While honeymooning in the US, they did one movie together (Romansa) before returning to Manila where Edu bade the movies goodbye in favor of office work. While Edu did not exactly expect Vilma to quit showbiz, he expressed his wish for her to at least slow down a bit. But how could she when she still had to settle her debts that by then had ballooned to about P8-M due to compounded interest?
To her relief, she never lost her fans in spite of the fact that she was already married with one kid (Luis, currently the busiest host on TV). She did Relasyon not only because she liked the story (about the sacrficies of a mistress), but also because – “pambayad din ng utang ‘yun.”
“And I won my first Urian there,” Vilma says with pride.
Although it was a grand-slam win for her, “pinaka-precious sa akin ‘yung Urian.” To her frustration, she wasn’t even able to deliver an acceptance speech. She had come from Celebrity Sports Plaza where she was crowned Box-office Queen. Hosts Behn Cervantes and Tessie Tomas were already wrapping up the show by the time her car pulled over at the Manila Film Center where the Urian was held. As soon as she entered the hall, the earth shook – literally – from some minor tremors. She was unfazed by the earthquake and as she charged in, she kept crying: “Bernie! Bernie!” (her director in Relasyon) sand cried on his shoulder.
Her marriage to Manzano had already totally collapsed by the time she worked on Broken Marriage, which gave her her second Urian. Vilma was still deep in debt that time and had to continue working. There was no time for domestic bliss, except to attend to the needs of her child, Luis.
To be fair to Edu, he offered to help settle her debts, but his income from office work was not enough to solve his wife’s financial problems. (He only returned to the movies in 1984, finally tasting showbiz success via Bernal’s Working Girls.)
By the mid-‘80s, Vilma could already command a salary of P700,000 per film. For Mayro J. de Los Reyes’ Tagos ng Dugo, she was paid a million pesos.
Although her financial recovery was already in sight, she still smarted from her broken marriage – until she decided to snap out of it. While getting ready for her VIP variety show one Sunday, she waited for Luis to come home from a father-son bonding with Edu. Rushing into her arms, Luis reported to his mother his pizza date with his father – “and some tita.” “Hmm, so there is already a tita,” Vilma muttered to herself.
After her show that evening, she decided “to have some fun” – clean fun, actually, since her dates were Charito Solis, long-time confidante Chit Guerrero and her VIP staff. They met up at the King Kong disco of Marilou Abaya and Ishmael Bernal, probably the most wholesome watering place that time since it was right across St. Paul College at Doña Hemady corner Aurora Boulevard.
Early in the night, a 21-year old La Salle college student approached Vilma and introduced himself as Ralph Recto. May he dance her? Vilma gave her a curt “later.”
Ralph kept coming back to her table every hour, but her answer was the same. At 4 a.m., a sleepy and exasperated Charito told Vilma: “Isayaw mo na nga para makauwi na tayo!” Ralph lost no time wooing her after.
All throughout the courtship, Ralph would watch over Vilma during shoots that lasted till the wee hours of the morning. They waited till Ralph had finished school and had himself elected as Batangas congressman before they got married – in grand fashion at the Lipa Cathedral in 1992.
The year after, she did The Dolzura Cortez Story and the experience was a bittersweet one for her. Sweet because she got the Urian one more time and eventually ended up with another grand-slam. It was bitter because she lost a baby (a case of ectopic pregnancy) while doing the movie.
The next time she got pregnant, she gave up all her work including her award-winning Vilma show, and stayed in bed for five months. That sacrifice gave her and her husband a very healthy boy they named Ryan Christian, now 21 and graduating from college.
In 1998, she entered politics, first as Lipa mayor, a job that kept her away from the movies and even posed a threat to her life. When the 2nd Urian anthology (with her on the cover) was launched in 2002, Vilma was all set to grace the event. But shortly before the affair, she had a shabu laboratory raided (with the help of the DILG). It was a major drug bust that yielded P1.5-B worth of shabu. She received a death threat and was not allowed to go out in public for quite some time and, was in fact, forbidden to talk about the incident.
After three terms as mayor, she completed another three terms as Batangas governor. In 2016, she was elected congresswoman representing the 6th district of the province. She humbly admits, “It was only when I was already a politician that I began to fully appreciate my lines in Sister Stella L.” In the Mike de Leon film, she played the role of a timid nun who grows into a militant labor activist.
As a public official, her name has remained untainted. In the movies, she is forever admired and respected for her artistry and her immeasurable contribution to the industry.
Screenwriter Ricardo Lee, a staunch Noranian, once shared how Vilma would hand him a cheque, telling him: “Ricky, para sa (writing) workshop mo.”
As a superstar, she lent her clout in the industry to make it possible for local directors to attain their dream projects, a lot of which turned out to be among cinema’s best. In fact, seven of her films were Urian best picture winners.
And even while at the throes of financial distress, she risked essaying roles that were not necessarily viable at the box-office, but gave her the chance to create fresh and strong characters, mostly championing the rights of women.
She agreed to do Sister Stella L, a film with strong anti-establishment sentiments, even while Marcos was still in power. Vilma also agreed to do something that was a-no-no in star vehicles – die in Pahiram ng Isang Umaga and in Dolzura Cortez, two films about death and illnesses, subjects that never appealed to moviegoers. Playing the mother of an autistic child in Ipagpatawad Mo was also a gamble given its depressing story.
During the few and rare times she had the opportunity to make movies, given her punishing schedule as a public servant, instead of choosing surefire box-office formulas, she experimented with sociopolitical films like, Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa and Deka 70, both of which earned her more Urian best actress awards.
For the acting brilliance she displayed in all those films – from Relasyon, Tagos Ng Dugo, and Sister Stella L, to Deka 70 and the more recent Ekstra – she enjoys the Manunuri accolade as best actress both officially and unofficially, raising the level of film acting to unprecedented heights. (READ MORE)
Video credit: VSSI Global
Video credit: VSSI Global
Video credit: My Movie World
About Butch Francisco – Butch Francisco writes a column for Philippine Star. He has hosted TV programs and shows. He was the editor of TV Times, Parade Magazine, and We Forum, among others. He was part of the cast of Tukhang, a crime drama series.
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, Vilma Santos, and to make her career information available to future generations. We believe this is NOT an infringement of any such copyrighted materials as in accordance to the fair dealing clauses of both the Canadian and U.S. Copyright legislation, both of which allows users to engage in certain activities relating to non-commercial/not for profit 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. – Wikipedia
Maraming pumupuna nuon na hindi raw pang-masa si Ate Vi at ang kalaban raw niya ang pangmasa. Eto na, matagal nang lumabas ang tutoo. Pero mas lalong lumutang ang katotohanan sa nakaraang dalawang dekada (2000-2020). Bakit hindi ito Tutoo? Dahil sa dami ng ginawa ng pelikula ng karibal, hindi ito tinangkilik ng masa, maging ang mga art house na pestibal o panatiko sa CCP, hindi pa rin ito kasing lakas kumpara sa ibang pelikula at nanood rito. At kung suwertihin naman na mapanood sa malaking sinehan ang pelikula ng karibal ni Vi, nakikiusap pa ang mga prodyuser at direktor na huwag tangalin agad.
Kung ang karibal ni Vi ay pangmasa, bakit pahirapan pa, na hiyakating panoorin ang pelikula niya? Samantala ng umuwi si Josie mula sa Hongkong para makapiling ang mga Anak nuong 2000, nabulabog ang mga sinehan sa haba ng pila, nagpatuloy at nagpatunay ang pagiging Reyna ng Masa ni Vi – sa pelikula man o sa politika. Lahat ng pelikula niya mula kay Josie hanggang kay Vivienne, tinangkilik ng masa, sa kanyang mga di pangkaraniwang papel sa puting tabing. Milyon-milyon ang kinita sa takilya. Maraming nabigyan ng trabaho sa industriya at maraming maliliit na taong pilipinong pinasaya niya sa panonood ng kanyang mga pelikula.
Dahil sa karangalang binigay ng PEP bilang numero unong pinakamahusay na pangunahing aktress ng taon 2000 hanggang 2020. Oh ikaw na! Si Vi na nga! At wala ng iba! Siyempre naman, maraming nagbunyi ngunit mayroon din namang nag-iingay. Patulan ko ba?
Maingay na director – May isang nagiingay na direktor na pilit pinagtatanggol ang karibal ni Vi. Hindi kaya niya nakita na ganuon pa rin ang pagarte nito -na niluma na ng panahon? Kung kaya wala ng nagkakainteres sa masa na panoorin ito? Katulad ng huling pelikula nito na hindi nakitaan ng bahaghari dahil sobrang pilit na drama at nakakatakot na pang-horror na mga mata ng nilumang aktres. Kung kaya naman maging ang mga baguhang starlets ay tinalo siya sa pangdisyembreng online na pestibal at sa kakatapos na Eddys.
Ang sasabihin ng ilan, nagbigay raw by karangalan sa ating bansa, sa mga pestibal sa labas ng bansa, ang pambato ng nag-iingay na direktor. Ang tanong ko lang naman may nakapanood ba ng mga pelikula nito? Anong naging halaga nito kung hindi naibalik ang puhunan mga prodyuser? Sampu-samperang pang-art house daw ang mga pelikulang ito, na aminin man nila o hindi, sila sila lang ang nakapanood.
Hindi ba puwedeng pagsabayin ang komersiyalismo at matinong obra tulad ng pelikula tungkol kay Loida, ang dakilang ekstra na naglakbay sa Amerika at Kanada at kumita ng husto? Kailangang bang paramihan ng pelikulang indie o mas mainam ang may maraming klaseng pelikula na inihahain sa masa at tumatabo sa takilya? Hindi ba nakikita ng direktor na ito na halos pare-parehong tema at pagarte ng kanyang pambato kung kaya walang interes na ang masa rito?
Ang tunay na dahilan – Bakit ba nagiingay ang director na ito? Hindi nga ba’t siya rin ang bumatikos kay Vi ng bumoto ito ng “yes with reservation” sa isang bill na pinasa sa kongreso? Alam n’yo ba na hindi si Vi ang unang bumoto ng ganito? Matagal na panahon na, pangkaraniwang gamit ito ng mga politiko upang magkaroon ng kooperasyon sa ibang partido. Ang pinakamakahulugang dahilan ay kung isa kang miyembro ng menor na partido, kailangang makipagkooperasyon ka upang maihangon mo ang iyong mga minimithi o isinusugod na pakay para sa ikabubuti ng iyong kapuluan na nirerepresenta mo sa kongreso. Kung hindi mo ito gagawin, wala kang maipapasang batas na magpapabuti sa mga mamamayan na iyong kapuluan. Ang mga mahahasang politiko nuon at bumoto na rin ng ganito upang makipagkooperasyon at magkaroon ng solusyong pangkalahatan.
Bagama’t may katapangan sa kanyang desisyon tumayo si Vi, sa kanyang posisyon, katulad ng pagtayo niya kontra sa death penalty o sa pagtutol niya sa pagputol ng prangkisa ng ABS-CBN. Ang tanong ko lang, kung hindi ba siya babae, at hindi siya si Vi magrereklamo ba ang mga reklamador? Ilang taon na rin ang nakakaraan may nangyari bang masama sa naging boto ni Vi? At kung nagkamali ba siya sa pagboto nito, wala na bang halaga ang mga daan-daang kabutihan nitong nagawa sa ating mga kababayang Pilipino, na patuloy na naghihirap? Ano ba ang nagawa ng mga maiingay na reklamador katulad ng bungangerong direktor na ito -na nagpupumilit na magkaroon ng boses ngunit wala namang entablado? Ano ba ang naiambag nila sa masa para magkuwestiyon?
Ganito na nuon, Ganito pa ba ngayon? – Tulad noon, ganito pa rin ngayon. Binigay na, magrereklamo pa. Hindi naman hiningi ni Vi ito, kusang binigay ngunit pinipilit pa nilang kuwesyunin. Tulad ng pang-masang karangalan, ilang ulit nang nilaglag ang bata nila, pinipilit pa rin. Naranasan mo bang lunukin ang sarili mong suka? Kasuklam naman sa panlasa di ba? Kung ipipilit pa rin hindi ba parang binabalahura na nila ang mga Tao sa likod into?
Kung ang masa na ang nagsasabi. Lagpas sampung obra man o hindi kung inayawan at hindi nila gustong panoorin ang mga pelikula ng karibal ni Vi, ano pa bang patunay ang gusto nila? Naluma na, kung kaya naman -tapos na ang laban.
Sa huli, sa haba na ng panahon, makikita sa “record book” ang marka ng kasikatan ni Vi. Hindi ito sa paramihan ng pelikula, kundi ang iba-ibang putahe na nagpasaya ang masang pilipino. Si Vi ang tunay na Reyna ng pelikulang Pilipino. Salamat sa PEP sa pagpapahalaga sa kanyang ambag sa masang Pilipino. Ito ay patunay na siya ang Nasyonal na Alagad ng Sining, Ng Masang Pilipino. – FRV, 06 May 2021
Ilang linya ng kanyang obrang pelikula (2000-2020)
Josie Agbisit (2000)
“Sana sa tuwing umiinom ka ng alak…habang hinihitit mo ang sigarilyo mo at habang nilulustay mo ang perang pinapadala ko! Sana maisip mo rin kung ilang pagkain ang tiniis kong hindi kainin para lang makapagpadala ako ng malaking pera rito. Sana habang nakahiga ka diyan sa kutson mo, natutulog, maisip mo rin kung ilang taon akong natulog mag-isa nabang nangungulila ako sa yakap ng mga mahal ko. Sana maisip mo kahit kaunti kung gaano kasakit sa akin ang mag-alaga ng mga batang hindi ko kaanoano samantalang kayo, kayong mga anak ko hindi ko man lang maalagaan. Alam mo ba kung gaano kasakit iyon sa isang ina? Alam mo bang gaano kasakit iyon? Kung hindi mo ako kayang ituring bilang isang ina. Respetuhin mo man lang ako bilang isang tao. Yung lang Carla…yun man lang.” – Josie Agbisit (2000)
Amanda Bartolome (2002)
“Buong buhay ko yan na lang lagi ang sinasabi nila sa akin…wala kang magagawa eto ang gusto ng asawa mo…wala kang magagawa eto ang kapalaran mo…wala kang magagawa dahil dapat…putris naman, dapat hindi ganuon…tapos sasabihin ng daddy n’yo hindi lang ang anak ko ang pinatay hindi lang ang anak ko ang dinukot…lalo akong nanggigigil, lalo akong nagagalit dahil kung nanay ka talaga, hindi ka lang dapat nanganganak kundi naipaglaban mo rin ang anak mo dapat kaya mong pumatay para sa anak mo…gusto ko lang malaman bakit nila pinatay ang anak ko…hindi masamang tao ang anak ko, kahit sa oras na ito humarap ako sa diyos kahit sa dimonyo hindi masamang tao ang anak ko…hindi masamang tao ang anak ko!” – Amanda Bartolome (2002)
Lilia Chiong Yang (2004)
“Pinuntahan n’yo ba ako rito para awayin?…silang dalawa,,,mahal ko silang dalawa, bago ko pa man naging boyfriend si Michael, naging asawa si Paul, magkakasama na kami, kaya mahal ko silang dalawa, mahirap bang intindihin ‘yon?…walang batas na nagsasabing bawal magmahal ng dalawa….” – Lilia Chiong Yang (2004)
Daisy Hernandez (2006)
“Kung ang tawag sa mga namamatayan ng asawa ay byudo o biyuda at ang mga anak na nawawalan ng mga magulang ay ulila, ano ang tawag sa mga magulang na namamatayan ng anak?” – Daisy Hernandez (2006)
Vivian Rabaya (2016)
“Pag nagkakamali ba ang nanay, di mo na siya nanay? Pag binigo ka niya, nababawasan ba ang pagkananay niya? Nanay pa rin kami. Nanay niya pa rin ako.” – Vivian Rabaya (2016)
Loida Malabanan (2013)
“…Itaga n’yo sa bato, sisikat din tayo!” “…okay lang po, it’s part of the job!” – Loida Malabanan (2013)
He’s always going to be known as Ryan Christian, althought he doesn’t mind if you call him just Ryan (He has also heard people call him by his dad’s name, Ralph, or by his brother’s name, Luis). Unless you’ve caught his very few TV appearances of late, you might still picture Ryan Christian Recto as a fair-skinned, brown-haired, doe-eyed little boy. He is still all that, except that now he is twice as tall as that little boy and is a 19-year-old college student, taking up management at the Ateneo de Manila University. At the time of the Yes! interview, Ryan is thinking of shifting to another business course, management economics. “I still haven’t made up my mind what to specialize in,” he says. “I’m just exploring everything now.” Yes, even including show business and politics.
Ryan dabbled in acting when he was younger. He had regular guesting stints on the long-running kiddie gag show Goin’ Bulilit (He was in the same batch as Kathryn Bernardo, Nash Aguas, and Jane Oineza). “I’m cool with it,” he says. “I think others want it more than me. It interests me, but not to the point where I’d go to the same lengths as others. More like, if it’s there, it’s there.” Just a normal teenage boy, except that he is not – at least not to us, the public. He is, after all, the son of the Star for All Seasons. He grew up in a world where his mom was already the Ate Vi. To this day, when he comes home from school, there are times when he would look for his mom and jokingly shout: “Ate Vi!” “I didn’t see her before she wasn’t well-known to everyone,” he says.
“I didn’t need to get used to it, you know what I mean? Kasi, for me, that was normal.” It was normal that one day he stumbled upon videos of the Darna series that starred his mother. “The feeling you get, you know,” he says animatedly. “You see Wonder Woman, but I can say my mom did it better! Hahaha! Kasi ako, I’m a big komiks fan and the fact that she played a superhero, that’s…ang galing!” Ryan lists the Darna series, particularly Darna and the Giants, as his favorite in his mother’s filmography. Not many can say that their moms had “playing Darna”in their resume, but Ryan says that, for the most part, his mother is a “regular Filipino mom.” Whenever Ryan had friends over, Ate Vi would welcome them and insist on feeding everyone. “Kahit busog ka, bibigyan ka pa rin.” At home, Ryan says his mom would typically be in a shirt, “short shorts,”and one of those workout headbands. Not in a duster? “She’s too young for that!” Ryan replies, chuckling.
“I’m kidding. Not just her thing.” He says Ate Vi, on her days off from work, can usually be found sitting on the couch in the TV are. “She does everything in that couch!” he says. She works out, eats, watches TV, and even falls asleeep there. “She sleeps with the TV on,” Ryan reveals. “If you turn off the TV, she’ll wake up.” Overall, he says, his mom is “a mix of strict and cool.” He even prefers talking to her when it comes to the subject of girls. Both of his parents “give good advice,” he says. “Pero I like mom’s advice better. Hahaha! If you want to know something about a woman, why would you ask a man? Might as well ask a woman! So girls -Mom. Dad -all of the serious stuff.” Ryan is currently in a relationship and has brought his girlfriend home to meet his parents.
“Napaka-welcoming ni Mom, fortunately. Every time we have a family thing, ‘O, invite your girl,’ like that.” Ate Vi has also encouraged Ryan in music. He had tried diffrent kinds of instruments, but he found that the drum “clicks with me.” he adds: “And like my mom said, pinakamalakas na appeal daw in a band is the drums. Hahaha! Siyempre, my mom, dancer siya, e. So my mom, sa beat siya. You can’t make people dance with the guitar, di ba? There has to be a beat.” He reiterates: “Kaya drummers siguro ‘yong may pinakamalakas na appeal. Hahaha!” Like other boys his age, Ryan is also allowed to have fun and have a few drinks with friends, but not without getting serious reminders from both his parents. They always remind him not to drink and drive, and not to go all out when it comes to alcohol.
“Magtira ka bago umuwi,” he says, repeating his dad’s words. “Let’s say you’re in a friend’s house and you get drunk. Don’t puke in their house. That’s very, very disrespectful to them. Don’t pass out in their house or something. Don’t do that.” Ryan takes his parents’ trust in him seriously. He knows that these freedoms were given to him out of trust. “It’s mostly a matter of me just being responsible. If they see that I am responsible, that I can manage myself when I go out of whatever, that’s fine. But if they didn’t see that, then no.” He makes it a point to give his parents updates on his whereabouts. “Not naman every five minutes, no. It’s more like letting them know where I am, how long I’ll stay.” But, of course, the cool-parenting part ends somewhere.
Ate Vi draws the line when it come to serious matters like schooling. One time, when he was in high school, Ryan got into huge trouble because he was always late for school, which was “literally 20 steps away from our house.” “Inaabuso ko ‘yong the fact na my house is near,” he recalls. “Napupuyat ako palagi. At night, I just think about the next day. Sometimes I watch movies. And because of that, nasanay na.” His tardiness got so frequent that the school sanctioned him and made him do community service. “I had to clean up a beach.” As a result, Ryan got an earful from his parents. Ate Vi tell us later, when it’s her turn to be interviewed by Yes!, about how she scolded her bunso. She told him: “Kahihiyan na ‘yan anak. Mahiya ka dahil ‘yong ginagawa mo, boomerang sa amin.
Parang wala kaming kuwentang mga magulang, you know. Five minutes away sa school, late pa? May memo pa?” Ryan has since learned his lesson. Now that he travels from Ayala Alabang in the south to the Ateneo campus in the north, he leaves the house an hour and a half before his scheduled calss. He is now very punctual, his mom tell us. These days, he even prepares his school stuff, including the clothes he will wear to school, the night before. Ate Vi reports: “Nagugulat ako! ‘Anak, are you sure?’ Nakikita ko na preparing na. ‘This is what I am going to wear tomorrow.’ Nilalabas niya na ‘yong rubber shoes, ayun.” By the looks of it, Ryan is growing up to be a stand-up man, someone who’s reliable and trustworthy, someone you can depend on to “stand up and be counted.” Ate Vi and Senator Ralph must be doing something right. – Candice Lim-Venturanza, Yes! Magazine October 2015 (READ MORE)
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