Quotes from Peers (Repost)


Nangangatog ako ng una kong ma-meet si Vilma Santos in person. Ganoon pala talaga ang feeling kapag naka face to face mo ang idol mo. – Ana Capri

Hindi complete at walang katuturan ang pagiging producer ko kung hindi ako makagawa ng pelikula na bida ang hinahangaan kong si Vilma Santos – Donna Villa

Kahit one-fourth lang ng tagumpay ni Ate Vi. Ang marating ko masayang masaya na ako. Talagang idol ko siya. Idol siya ng buong pamilya ko – Kristine Garcia

I first worked with Vilma when she was just a child star. From then, alam kong malayo ang mararating niya as an actor dahil bata pa mahusay na. Hindi ako nagkamali. Hindi lang siya basta naging artista, kundi naging isa sa pinakamahusay at pinakasikat. – Gloria Romero

Simula ng mapanood ko si Vilma sa Trudis Liit naging Vilmanian na ako. Nobody comes close to her. – Armida Siguion Reyna

Naging Huwaran ko si Ate Vi hindi lang sa career ko kundi maging sa personal kong buhay. I am very proud to be a Vilmanian. – Snooky Serna

Bata pa ako hindi pa ako artista talagang idol ko na si ate Vi. Pinupuntahan ko pa yan sa bahay niya para lang makita at maka-usap kahit ako lang mag-isa.- Sharon Cuneta

Vilma is the most versatile actress in our time. Kahit anong role kaya niyang gampanan ng buong husay. Ang sarap makatrabaho ang isang Vilma Santos – Celia Rodriguez

Kung alam lang ni ate Vi kung ilang beses akong nadapa sa paghahabol na makita siya. Siya ang naging inspirasyon ko sa pagpasok ko sa showbiz. – Ai-Ai Delas Alas

Simula noon hanggang ngayon pagbalibaligtarin man ang mundo Vilmanian pa rin ako. – Korina Sanchez

Once you encounter and know ate Vi, you will realized how nice and thoughtful she is. She is always been an inspiration to me. Masarap siyang maging kaibigan. – Kris Aquino

Si Vilma Santos ang idol ko. Maganda na, magaling pa. – Amy Austria

Mahusay talaga si Vilma kahit saang aspeto. Napakagaan niyang katrabaho. Isa sa mga dream ko ang mai-direct si Vi. – Gina Alajar

Vilma Santos can compete with the top caliber actresses in Hollywood. She is an epitome of a real queen of Philippine Cinema. I really look up to her. – Lea Salonga

Makasama ko lang si ate Vi sa pelikula gagawin ko kahit libre. – Dawn Zulueta

Ng makasama ko si Mama Vilma sa pelikula feeling ko puwede na akong mamatay. – Carlos Agassi

Ang isa sa pinakamagandang nangyari sa buhay ko sa pagpasok ko sa showbiz ay ang makasama ang pinakamahusay na aktres na hinahangaan at nirerespeto ng lahat. Marami akong natutuhan kay Mama Vilma – Piolo Pascual

It would be a great fullfilment if I make a movie with my favorite actress Vilma Santos – Alvin Patrimonio

Actually, mag-cousin pa kami ni Ate Vi. Walang hindi Vilmanian sa pamilya namin – Raymart Santiago

Vilma is my favorite actress. She is the only actress I love to watch on local screen. She’s Great. – Martin Nievera

Bago ako naging artista, die hard Vilmanian na ako. Nakikipag-away pa nga ako dahil kay Vilma. – Rosanna Roces

Bata pa ako ginagaya ko na ang mga acting ni Ate Vi. Idol siya ng Nanay ko kaya naging idol namin siya – Glydel Mercado

I am very flattered when Lino Brocka said that I am the next Vilma Santos. But Vilma Santos is Vilma Santos, she is incomparable. – Ruffa Gutierez

Vilma Santos is the Greatest Actress of all times. Walang Katapat – Eric Quizon

Si Vilma ang isa sa madalas magpadala ng tulong kapag may mga pangangailangan o project kami sa Red Cross at Damayan. Iilan lang ang katulad niya na kusang tumutulong na hindi na kailangan pang ipaalam sa publiko. – Ms. Rosa Rosal

I am a closet Vilmanian before, pero ngayon nagladlad na ako. Maraming katangian si Vilma na talagang hahangaan mo – Boots Anson Roa

Type ko siya. Ang husay husay niya. – Rio Locsin

Bago ako pumasok sa showbiz, die hard Vilmanian na ako. Nakikipag-away pa nga ako dahil kay Vilma. – Jaclyn Jose

For me Vilma Santos is the Greatest Actress of all times. – Gabby Concepcion

Somebody would come from the Philippines and they’d bring in Vilma Santos films, and I just remember, ‘Oh, this woman is making me so emotional, I think I’m a Vilmanian. That’s what they call it, I think. – Mig Macario

She crosses over from politics to showbiz and back. She can say one thing and it can be about motherhood, or love, or stardom, or politics….ang taong for all seasons – award season, holiday season, election season, even back-to-school season. Over time I’ve had the chance to meet her, and nabigyan niya ako ng acting tips. She has validated my work and given me her friendship. – Jon Santos

Source: V magazine Volume 1, Issue 4 2005 + Updates 2012

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Quotes from Peers (Repost)


As I browsed my compilations of old magazines, I can’t help but awestrucked and fascinated by how Vilma Santos is being admired and respected by her colleagues in show business. All of them have high regards and appreciations to the one and only Star for all Seasons. Here are some of their commentaries:

Nangangatog ako ng una kong ma-meet si Vilma Santos in person. Ganoon pala talaga ang feeling kapag naka face to face mo ang idol mo. – Ana Capri

Hindi complete at walang katuturan ang pagiging producer ko kung hindi ako makagawa ng pelikula na bida ang hinahangaan kong si Vilma Santos – Donna Villa

Kahit one-fourth lang ng tagumpay ni Ate Vi. Ang marating ko masayang masaya na ako. Talagang idol ko siya. Idol siya ng buong pamilya ko – Kristine Garcia

I first worked with Vilma when she was just a child star. From then, alam kong malayo ang mararating niya as an actor dahil bata pa mahusay na. Hindi ako nagkamali. Hindi lang siya basta naging artista, kundi naging isa sa pinakamahusay at pinakasikat. – Gloria Romero

“Vilma is a better actress (as compare to her rival)…she has wider range ..a puede kahit anong role(and can do any role)…” – Charito Solis

Simula ng mapanood ko si Vilma sa Trudis Liit naging Vilmanian na ako. Nobody comes close to her. – Armida Siguion Reyna

Naging Huwaran ko si Ate Vi hindi lang sa career ko kundi maging sa personal kong buhay. I am very proud to be a Vilmanian. – Snooky Serna

Bata pa ako hindi pa ako artista talagang idol ko na si ate Vi. Pinupuntahan ko pa yan sa bahay niya para lang makita at maka-usap kahit ako lang mag-isa.- Sharon Cuneta

Vilma is the most versatile actress in our time. Kahit anong role kaya niyang gampanan ng buong husay. Ang sarap makatrabaho ang isang Vilma Santos – Celia Rodriguez

Kung alam lang ni ate Vi kung ilang beses akong nadapa sa paghahabol na makita siya. Siya ang naging inspirasyon ko sa pagpasok ko sa showbiz. – Ai-Ai Delas Alas

Simula noon hanggang ngayon pagbalibaligtarin man ang mundo Vilmanian pa rin ako. – Korina Sanchez

Once you encounter and know ate Vi, you will realized how nice and thoughtful she is. She is always been an inspiration to me. Masarap siyang maging kaibigan. – Kris Aquino

Si Vilma Santos ang idol ko. Maganda na, magaling pa. – Amy Austria

Mahusay talaga si Vilma kahit saang aspeto. Napakagaan niyang katrabaho. Isa sa mga dream ko ang mai-direct si Vi. – Gina Alajar

Vilma Santos can compete with the top caliber actresses in Hollywood. She is an epitome of a real queen of Philippine Cinema. I really look up to her. – Lea Salonga

Makasama ko lang si ate Vi sa pelikula gagawin ko kahit libre. – Dawn Zulueta

Ng makasama ko si Mama Vilma sa pelikula feeling ko puwede na akong mamatay. – Carlos Agassi

Ang isa sa pinakamagandang nangyari sa buhay ko sa pagpasok ko sa showbiz ay ang makasama ang pinakamahusay na aktres na hinahangaan at nirerespeto ng lahat. Marami akong natutuhan kay Mama Vilma – Piolo Pascual

It would be a great fullfilment if I make a movie with my favorite actress Vilma Santos – Alvin Patrimonio

Actually, mag-cousin pa kami ni Ate Vi. Walang hindi Vilmanian sa pamilya namin – Raymart Santiago

Vilma is my favorite actress. She is the only actress I love to watch on local screen. She’s Great. – Martin Nievera

Bago ako naging artista, die hard Vilmanian na ako. Nakikipag-away pa nga ako dahil kay Vilma. – Rosanna Roces

Bata pa ako ginagaya ko na ang mga acting ni Ate Vi. Idol siya ng Nanay ko kaya naging idol namin siya – Glydel Mercado

I am very flattered when Lino Brocka said that I am the next Vilma Santos. But Vilma Santos is Vilma Santos, she is incomparable. – Ruffa Gutierez

Vilma Santos is the Greatest Actress of all times. Walang Katapat – Eric Quizon

Si Vilma ang isa sa madalas magpadala ng tulong kapag may mga pangangailangan o project kami sa Red Cross at Damayan. Iilan lang ang katulad niya na kusang tumutulong na hindi na kailangan pang ipaalam sa publiko. – Ms. Rosa Rosal

I am a closet Vilmanian before, pero ngayon nagladlad na ako. Maraming katangian si Vilma na talagang hahangaan mo – Boots Anson Roa

Type ko siya. Ang husay husay niya. – Rio Locsin

Bago ako pumasok sa showbiz, die hard Vilmanian na ako. Nakikipag-away pa nga ako dahil kay Vilma. – Jaclyn Jose

For me Vilma Santos is the Greatest Actress of all times. – Gabby Concepcion

Somebody would come from the Philippines and they’d bring in Vilma Santos films, and I just remember, ‘Oh, this woman is making me so emotional, I think I’m a Vilmanian. That’s what they call it, I think. – Mig Macario

She crosses over from politics to showbiz and back. She can say one thing and it can be about motherhood, or love, or stardom, or politics….ang taong for all seasons – award season, holiday season, election season, even back-to-school season. Over time I’ve had the chance to meet her, and nabigyan niya ako ng acting tips. She has validated my work and given me her friendship. – Jon Santos   Source: V magazine Volume 1, Issue 4 2005 plus updates 2012

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)

RELATED READINGS:
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
Remember The Face: BERNAL FILM DIRECTOR
Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors

Filmography: Wonderful World of Music (1971)

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Basic Information: Directed: Armando De Guzman; Story: Quentin De Guia; Screenplay: Natalie De Guzman; Cast: Vilma Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Snooky Serna, Arnold Gamboa, Beth Manlongat, Tweeny, Von Serna, Armando De Guzman Jr., Tony Ferrer, Boots Anson-Roa, Lourdes Medel; Original Music: Danny Subido; Cinematography: Fortunato Bernardo; Film Poster: Video 48

Plot Description: No Available Data

Film Achievement: Best Musical Picture – 1971 The Manila Film Festival; One of three films Vilma Santos and Tony Ferrer did together, one was Wonderful World of Music and the other one was Darna and The Giants where Vilma played Darna and Tony as Tony Falcon, Agent X-44 (ala-James Bond). Sapagka’t is also one of Vilma films with Boots Anson Roa, the others, “The Wonderful World of Music” and “Mano Po III: My Love.”

Film Review: “…She continued her singing stints with an album most Vilmanians seems to forget, All I See Is You carried the folk song, Ati Cu Pung Sing-sing and Wonderful world of Music. The later song became a title of a musical film that paired Vilma with Edgar and co-starred with Snooky, Tony Ferrer, and Boots Anson Roa. The demand for Vi & Bot’s recordings increased and Willears produced Sweetheart, perhaps a confirmation album of the real score between the two young teen stars. Out of 25 films Vilma and Edgar made in 1970, both Sweethearts and Sixteen stands out as two of their certified hits both as films and recorded albums…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…Songwriter George Canseco won the Manila Film Festival best movie theme category for his work in the movie “Kapantay ay Langit,” produced by Virgo…”The Wonderful World of Music,” produced by Tagalog Ilang-Ilang, was judged best musical in the Manila Film Festival. The picture stars, Vilma Santos and Edgar Mortiz, both artist of Wilear’s…” – Oskar Salazar, Billboard Magazine, 24 July 1971 (READ MORE)

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Filmography: Mano Po III: My Love (2004)

“Aalis ka rin ba, Judith? Naiintindihan mo ba kung para saan yung ginawa nila?…sanay akong tinatalikuran at iniiwanan. Alam mo bang yan ang istorya ng buhay ko.” – Lilia Chiong Yang

“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

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Basic Information: Directed: Joel Lamangan; Story: Lily Monteverde, Roselle Monteverde-Teo, Roy Iglesias, Joel Lamangan; Screenplay: Roy C. Iglesias; Cast: Vilma Santos, Christopher De Leon, Jay Manalo, Boots Anson-Roa, Carlo Aquino, Amy Austria, Sheryl Cruz, Eddie Garcia, Jean Garcia, Patrick Garcia, Karylle, Angel Locsin, Angelica Panganiban, Allan Paule, Cherry Pie Picache, John Prats, Dennis Trillo, Gardo Versoza; Executive producer: Charo Santos-Concio, Malou N. Santos; Original Music: Jesse Lucas; Cinematography: Rolly Manuel; Film Editing: Tara Heinberger; Production Design: Rodell Cruz; Sound: Albert Michael Idioma; Theme Songs: “Pagbigyan Ang Puso Ko” composed by Ito Rapadas, sung by Karylle and Jerome John Hughes and produced by Bella Tan’s Universal Records, music video was directed by Jeffrey Tan

Plot Description: Anti-crime crusader Lilia Chiong Yang (MISS VILMA SANTOS) seems to have everything a woman could want and need: a husband (JAY MANALO) who pampers her; children (PATRICK GARCIA, KARYLLE, ANGEL LOCSIN) whom any parent would be proud of; and the respect & admiration of the most powerful people in the land. But just as Lilia prepares for her 25th wedding anniversary celebration, a chance encounter in Thailand with her first love Michael (CHRISTOPHER DE LEON) throws Lilia’s life into chaos. So begins the resumption of a relationship that threatens to unravel the delicate threads connecting Lilia to the other people in her life. “Mano Po 3” is a heartfelt tearjerker which was declared Best Picture at the 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival Philippines. Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon also won well-deserved awards for Best Actress and Best Actor, respectively, in this moving film about the choices we must make for the sake of those we love. Also starring: Karylle, Angel Locsin, Patrick Garcia, Angelica Panganiban, Carlo Aquino, John Prats & Dennis Trillo – Regal Films

Film Achievement:  2004 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Picture – Mac Productions; 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Actress – Vilma Santos; 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Actor – Christopher de Leon; 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Story – Lily Monteverde, Roselle Monteverde-Teo, Roy Iglesias, Joel Lamangan; 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Production Design – Rodell Cruz; 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Original Theme Song – Ito Rapadas; 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Festival Parade Float – Mac Productions; 2004 STAR Best Actress – Vilma Santos; 2004 STAR Best Supporting Actor – Jay Manalo; 2004 STAR Best Theme Song – Ito Rapadas; 2004 FAMAS Best Musical Score – Jesse Lucas; 2004 Philippine Official Entry – 2005 8th Shanghai International Film Festival; 2004 Gawad Suri Best Picture – MAQ Productions; 2004 Gawad Suri Best Actress – Vilma Santos; 2004 Gawad Suri Best Director – Joel Lamangan

Other Film Achievements: 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival, Male Star of the Night – Christopher de Leon; 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival, Female Star of the Night – Vilma Santos; 2004 FAP Best Actor nomination – Christopher De Leon; 2004 FAP Best Actress nomination – Vilma Santos; 2004 FAP Best Screenplay nomination – Roy C. Iglesias; 2004 FAP Best Supporting Actor nomination – Eddie Garcia; 2004 URIAN Best Actress nomination – Vilma Santos; 2004

Film Reviews: They say if you strike the third time, you’re out. Thank goodness, it’s not a strike the third time, instead, it’s a homerun hit for the third sequel of this franchise. “Mano Po 3: My Love” was as grand as the first two but with simple well-written story line. The film managed to iron out the past and present events through flashbacks and thanks to the editor (Tara Heinberger), the continuity of each scene were smooth. Mano Po 3: My Love is a life story of Chinese-Filipino anti-crime crusade, Lilia Chiong Yang. A Chinese couple who left Fujian, China in 1959, brought her here. Her mother beg this couple to bring her with them because she’s going to be put into the orphanage just because she is a girl and having so many baby girl, the Chinese government will not support them financially. Living now in the Philippines and now a young adult (Angelica Panganiban), Lilia met and fell in love with Michael (Cogie Domingo), her classmate and fellow activist. Together with Paul (Patrick Garcia), their classmate, they engaged into activism during the martial law. One night, during the curfew hours, they got into trouble and were hunted down by the military. Michael sacrificed himself and was caught. Lilia was pregnant with Michael’s child but he already left the country and so, Lilia fell to the hands of Paul.

Now, a mature Lilia (Vilma Santos), her quiet life was rattled when Michael (Christopher DeLeon) came back. They accidentally met in Thailand; Michael decided to win her back. Both were surprised to learn that Paul (Jay Manalo) deceived them by not giving all of Michael’s letters to Lilia when he left the country. With Lilia being a popular media personality, people have started talking, gossiping about Lilia’s secret affair with another man particularly in the Chinese community. It also added stress to her family and eventually they turned their back to their own mother. Finally, it all comes down to Lilia making decision on which man to choose. She finally decided to stay with her husband despite her undying love for Michael. Then the tragic end. Lilia’s anti-crime activism created her enemies. One of them tragically killed Paul. Again, her family blamed her. The end part of the film was a typical Regal tradition – that of reconciliations. Lilia’s family accepted her again and all wounds got heal. And what happened to Lilia and Michael? They remained friends as Lilia realized they are not really meant for each other.

People are saying that her scene in the car where Paul (Jay Manalo) was shot was reminiscent of her death scene in “Relasyon.” Yes, there was a touch of it but the scene in MP3 was more intense because it’s shorter and the pacing was faster. Christopher as Michael deserves his best actor award during the film festival. Finally, Lamangan managed to control Christopher’s dialogue mannerism. Christopher has the tendency to starts his line with “well….” Probably because the MP3’s script was tighter and requires him to follow strictly each lines because each lines most of the time have other meanings. For example, when the three of them finally met, Christopher said: “Isa sa mga natutunan ko nuon sa kilusan is Honesty.” Which he is actually saying to Paul that he is dishonest and deceitful; particularly for not giving to Lilia, all of his letters when he left the country during the martial law years. As Paul, Jay Manalo, despite his young look managed to convinced us with his restraint performance. I wonder if Philip Salvador would give as strong performance as Jay Manalo in this role. Jay showed us that he’s indeed one of our great actors today. Sheryl Cruz didn’t do much as Bernadette. Her performance was one dimensional, a trap for villain roles. And all can be blamed to the three writers – Roy Iglesias, Lily Monteverde and Joel Lamangan. Maybe because they concentrated their efforts to established the three main characters and so they neglected the others. Eddie Garcia and Boots Anson Roa played the usual supporting roles but Boots gave us the most memorable lines in all of the movies showed in 2004: “hindi ka puedeng magmahal sa dalawa lalake…” of course, with her Chinese accent.

Vilma also will not be far behind with her lines: “hindi ka ba sasama sa kanila Judith? Alam mo ba kung para saan ang kanilang ginawa?… sanay na akong tinatalikuran at iniiwanan yang ang storya ng buhay ko…” Vilma’s performance here was an example of how she matured and became an A1 actress. From the start to the end, she transformed herself to be the character. She became Lilia Chiong Yang.  Here are the highlights…

Her scene in Tagaytay Highland.

Her breakfast scene with her family, where all except for one, left her.

The scene where she and Paul finally met Michael in a restaurant was full of irony and sarcasm.

The scene where Bernadette and three other relatives one of them was Boots Anson Roa confronted Lilia. Like a true fighter and speaking in Mandarin, she told them, she’ll be back in five minutes and if they’re all still in her office they will see the worst of her.

The scene where Lilia and Paul were in a middle of an argument and suddenly they calmed themselves down because their dressmakers arrived (to measure their sizes for the clothes their going to wear on their wedding anniversary) was poignant and funny at the same time.

Then Paul’s death scene that followed the hospital scene.

All in all, a controlled, restraint, riveting performance. How can someone not noticed? If I will evaluate “Mano Po 3: My Love”, I will give the film an A for its excellent production and magnificent performances.

Vilma versus Nora – In seeing both films, Vilma gave a far more superior performance than Nora Aunor’s “Naglalayag.” Again, how can anyone not noticed? I mean, it could probably be blamed to their directors. Lamangan able to come up with a far more superior script and direction than De Los Reyes. Vilma’s role composed of so many highlights that are so hard to pick which one is the best compare to one from Nora’s film. Funny both Vilma and Nora’s film has some similarities. Both have a scene were they both accepted an award and they have to do speeches in front of adoring audiences. Another similarities, the two characters have to dealt with the gossiping and the bad publicity that their personal lives creates affecting their respective communities. Although in Naglalayag, Nora’s character wasn’t fully established as how’s her overall standing/status in the community. Now the difference, Vilma’s crisped delivery of lines came as natural, even when she talks in Tagalog, English or Cantonese/ Mandarin but Nora’s delivery of lines were as awkward as a kid trying to learn how to speak English for the first time. Her tendency to make “SSSS” sound in every English word she has on her lines were very distracting to audience and at times laughable. Her clothes are dated too, for a rich judge, one may wonder if she’s just a thrifty judge or just don’t know how to dress up, the opposite can be said with Vilma, her pink/orangey gown on the death scene was elegant. Admittedly, both Vilma and Nora have no fear of showing their age. There was a scene in both movies where they didn’t wear any make up and their faces showed their real ages. Overall, Nora’s performance lacks control and finesse while Vilma’s performance excels in restraints and effectiveness. Nora’s not credible as Dorinda, the judge while Vilma became Lilia Chiong Yang, the anti-crime crusade activist and businesswoman. – RV

Other Reviews: The performances of Christopher De Leon and Vilma Santos are great. It’s a great movie, the director made a good job. The flow of events and the pace of the story are nicely plotted. You won’t feel unease when Michael Lim (Christopher) come back to Lilia Chiong (Vilma) and interfered with her “happy” married life. Compare to the passed 2 Mano Po movies, Mano Po 3 doesn’t have enough Chinese tales, it can stand alone as a pure love story movie without involvement of Chinese culture. In my personal opinion, if Christopher De Leon character was a pure Filipino, and if the reason why he was separated from Vilma was due to rejection from Vilma’s Chinese parents, and Vilma was arranged-marriage “kai-siaw” to Paul (Jay Manalo), then this would be a better Chinese foundation as the background for Christopher and Vilma to met after 25 years. It might not be a happy ending, but it was a rational ending given the circumstances of the events. This movie will definitely make you cry in the end. – IMDB

Some people were pointing out that there was nothing new shown in this movie that was not already shown in previous films. However since this is the first Mano Po movie I have watched I actually found the screenplay satisfactory. Nothing great but nonetheless it was ample. One thing that I found refreshing was the fact that this film was less of a mellow dramatic soap opera type of drama, which is prevalent in Philippine movies. Yes there are no shouting and slapping matches in this one. There were some sub-plots, which seemed unnecessary such as the story of the children of Lilia. In terms of performances, I thought that the lead actors did a splendid job in acting out their roles. Vilma Santos did a great job and really deserved her best actress honour at the MMFF. Certainly her efforts overshadowed those of here co-stars, Christopher De Leon and Jay Manalo. It’s a shame really that her duties in Lipa are keeping her from other movies. Eddie Garcia, I thought could have done a better job in delivering his lines. I realize that he is playing a character that was not that fluent in Filipino but some of his words were just garbled and found it hard to understand. My only gripe maybe in the casting of Jay Manalo as the husband of Lilia. In the story Manalo is portrayed as the same age as De Leon and Santos which frankly I find hard to believe since Manalo looks many years younger. In terms of production, I thought Regal Films did a good job in setting an overall atmosphere by bringing in good costumes and props. It was also nice to see them speaking in Chinese so as to make the situations more authentic and believable. – IMDB

It is indeed a sad day in Philippine cinema when this movie, mano po 3 (which is an installment in a series of stories, totally unconnected with each other, about filipino-Chinese in the Philippines), won in the Metro Manila Film Festival. It is as if the film festival has turned into an award giving that celebrates mediocrity. What ever happened to the high standards that the film fest clung to in the past? Indeed, it is sad to see GERIATRIC actors Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon portray roles that they have exceptionally portrayed before in their lustrous 40 years in Philippine show business. To even think of casting these superb actors in roles that are at least 15 years their junior, that defies their age, is indeed insulting to the intelligence of the Filipino viewers. But hey! Nobody’s complaining! Right? In fact, they both won the Best Actors awards in the said film fest! Sad, sad, sad… (Trivia: It seems that Vilma Santos cannot appear in any movie without clinging to a white hankie, see for yourself!) Question: Is there a dearth of good Filipino actors? Why can’t the director, Joel Lamangan, cast actors that befit the role… I used to admire Mr. Lamangan but after seeing this movie, I don’t know anymore…And the movie is just a futile exercise in method acting, and is just full of empty rhetorics. I’m sure the Chinese community in the Philippines were scandalized by this shallow portrayal of their values, of their identity and of their personalities! I mourn for Philippine cinema! I’m sure Lino Brocka must be turning in his grave now for the sad state of the movies in the Philippines. – IMDB – Matthew Ashley from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

“Mano Po 3: My Love” is far better off than the previous Mano Po movies. If the other to MP movies talked about family and home, this 3rd franchise talks about the most universal language of all: Love. This is about Lilia Chiong-Yang (Vilma Santos) a Chinese-Filipino woman. She was torn from her first and only love, and ended up marrying the person she didn’t want (Jay Manalo). One faithful day, she met up with her old love Michael (Christopher De Leon) and things began to get rocky then. He wanted her to choose between her family and the only man she truly loved. The good thing about this movie is she made a decision in the end. For me, this third and last installment was the best among the rest. The movie made me laugh, cry, angry, sad and everything else. That’s really rare the Philippines’ movie industry now. Vilma Santos did a wondrous job in portraying her role. After her 2-year absence in the movie industry, she still had the touch. The only thing i didn’t like about the movie was Jay Manalo. He really was too young to be Vilma’s husband in the movie. They were supposed to be the same age though, but remarkably he did a very good job playing his role as well. How can we not forget Boyet? He was marvelous! Without him, this movie wouldn’t be the best one yet. People say this is such an ordinary love story, but in my eyes, this is the best Filipino movie ever made in my time. Teenagers like me and adults could easily understand the plot. I’m not surprised why when I tried to watch the movie, it was sold out. It’s THAT good. – IMDB

The measure of a good movie is if it can transport you to another world or another time and make you forget na hindi pala totoo ang nakikita mo on screen. Dahil sa magagaling at pinagkaka-gastusan na pelikula abroad, we have higher standards each year, even for our own Metro Manila Film Festival. Mano Po III, My Love is one of the entries of Regal Entertainment. Regal’s matriarch Lily Monteverde says the film outfit really spent for this movie kasi last na ito sa Mano Po series.

It is a love story that spans generations. Lilia Chiong (Vilma Santos) is born in China to a poor family. Ipinanganak siya sa isang family na marami ng anak na babae, something that was considered a curse in China at that time. Her mother gave her away to spare her life, and she ended up with a couple who brought her and raised her in the Philippines. The young Lilia (played by Angelica Panganiban) has a childhood sweetheart Michael Lim (the young one is played by Carlo Aquino). The two are inseperable and vow eternal love against the wishes of their loved ones. Their best friend Paul Yang (John Prats) helps them through troubled times. During Martial Law, the three friends are in danger of being caught by the military and Michael sacrifices himself for his friends. Michael leaves the country and is never heard from again. Since Lilia is carrying his child, Paul marries her and cares for their eldest (Patrick Garcia) as his own.

In present-day Philippines, Lilia is a prominent anti-crime advocate. Her life in endangered when she pinpoints police officers involved in crime. Meanwhile, on a business trip in Thailand, Lilia meets up with Michael after many years. In their reminiscing they discover that Michael had been writing Lilia for a long time but Paul (older version played by Jay Manalo), out of love for Lilia, hid his letters from her. Since Paul’s wife had since died, Lilia is now struggling about whether she should leave her faithful (yet deceptive) husband of 25 years. In the meantime, she is losing her family with the rumors going around about her and Michael. The best part about this film is the decision Lilia makes in the end so I will not spoil that for you.

The film is shot in the Philippines, China and Thailand and all its sets are remarkably authentic. The bluish hue in the shots in old-time China give it a sad feeling of poverty and hardship. The bright colors and amazing scenery of Thailand give the sense of excitement and anticipation. Parts of the film were also taken in tagaytay Highlands, a perfect site for Michael to profess his love for Lilia. Also notable are the shots of traditional Chinese theater performances and festivities like the dragon dance. Karylle, who plays Lilia’s daughter, does a song and dance number with traditional Chinese dress.

Authentically Chinese –I noted that there were some Filipino-Chinese members of the audience who were delighted at some phrases used in their language. I was amazed at how convincingly the cast spoke although I’m no expert. What is truly portrayed is the Chinese love for family and respect for tradition. The role of Eddie Garcia, who plays Lilia’s devoted adoptive father, is one of the most touching in the film. Though not her biological father, the Chiong patriarch is loving, faithful and understanding of his daughter to the very end.

Undying love – Mano Po III is definitely a showcase for Philippine cinema. It is basically a love story, but without any melodrama. Kudos for Joel Lamangan who brings out much emotion without ranting and violent tears that other filmmakers find so necessary to tell a story. Christopher de Leon and Vilma Santos are both subdued but effective in their portrayal of restrained lovers. One particular scene with Christopher, Vilma and Jay is a highlight of the film. It is a scene where the three are having a seemingly innocent conversation about business but with underlying dialogues about love and betrayal. The screenplay written by Roy Iglesias is exceptional, witty and effective. The credible acting would not be possible without such a script. In all, Mano Po is a must-see this filmfest. It was sold out the first time I tried to see it, but it was worth the wait. – ABS-CBN

“For the purported final entry in an envisioned trilogy. Regal matriarch Lily Monteverde has pulled out all the stops. The story is centered squarely on Mayor Vi and Boyet, whose cozy chemistry still crackles with a romantic thrill even after 24 movies together.” – Andrew Paredes, Manila Standard

“As a love story, it is romantic as romantic can be – passionate even. And you really have to give it to the durable love team of Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon to be able to pull off a material like Mano Po 3 and give the kilig effect of expected by most viewers and fans of love stories. It is handsomely-mounted, glossy and very entertaining. Its production values are far more superior compared to other local movies.” – Butch Francisco, Philippine Star

“Kahanga-hanga ang ipankitang pagpapahalaga ng pelikula sa pamilya at pagaasawa.” – CINEMA  (Catholic Initiative for Enlightened Movie Appreciation)

MAQ Productions’ “Mano Po 3: My Love,” starring the legendary screen pairing of Mayor Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon, began principal photography last week. The energy of the cast and crew was electric, everyone knows that there is something unique and special about the project. Directed by Joel Lamangan from a screenplay by Roy Iglesias, “MP3” will be the last in executive producer Lily Yu Monteverde’s anthology of dramatic, culturally-enriching films about the experiences of Chinese-Filipinos of Chinoys in the Philippines. “Mano Po 3” also stars the most popular artists of film and television, including Boots Anson-Roa, Sheryl Cruz, Jay Manalo, Carlo Aquino, John Prats, Angelica Panganiban, Angel Locsin, Dennis Trillo, Karylle, Patrick Garcia, and Eddie Garcia.

The main cast members recently returned from an exhausting but creatively rewarding pictorial in Beijing, China to shoot publicity stills and scenes to be used in the movie. The photogenic actors were filmed in distinctly Chinese environs such as Wangfujiang Street, the Summer Palace, Ming�s Tomb and the Great Wall of China. MAQ is proud to share these exclusive photographs with this publication. The beautiful photos were taken by award-winning lensman Raymond Isaac under the creative supervision of Jun Poblador. Ace photographers Richard Chen and Jay Alonzo shot second unit stills. The general public will also have a chance to see the best photographs from the film in the special “Mano Po 3” exhibit which will coincide with the film’s release this Christmas.

Currently, the inspired cast & crew are working non-stop to bring Mother Lily’s unique vision to the screen in time for the Metro Manila Film Festival, and she’s sparing no expense to bring her most personal project to the screen. In between shooting, the stars are learning how to speak Fookien and Mandarin Chinese from linguist Jubilee Ong. In terms of the sets, an authentic Chinese village is being erected at a cost of over three million pesos. Conceived and executed by award-winning production designer Rodell Cruz, the expensive set will be seen in the film’s opening scenes. “I’m going all out with “Mano Po 3,” declares Mother Lily. “The moviegoers deserve the best movie we can give them, and if that means spending more money, so be it.” The script for “Mano Po 3: My Love” was ranked first among all scripts submitted to the Metro Manila Film Festival Philippines (MMFFP) Committee. – “MP3: A vision becoming a reality”- Manila Bulletin

“Mother (Lily) and I haven’t even discussed money matters yet!” That, according to Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos, is the truth (and nothing but?) about her and the Regal Matriarch. You see, a minor issue cropped up about Vilma’s talent fee for Mano Po 3, intended by Regal Films for the Metro Manila Filmfest in December. Was Vilma really asking for P7 million (later reduced to P4 million)? That was the ticklish P7-million question. “As I was saying,” Vilma said during a phone chat with Funfare (she was in Lipa City busy with the preparations for the celebration of the city’s 57th foundation this week), “ang usapan namin ni Mother ay hindi pa umaabot sa talent fee ko. So far, we’ve been discussing only the script.” But Vilma admitted that she “got hurt” when the matter about her talent fee leaked to the press. “What I know is that I gave a copy of my Star Cinema contract to Regal so more or less they’d know,” said Vilma. “Everything was supposed to be confidential. I don’t know kung paano nakarating sa press.” Vilma added that she was touched when Mother Lily called her up to say she felt sorry for the incident. “How nice of her,” said Vilma. All’s well that ends well.

“The project goes on,” assured Vilma who will play the matriarch (similar to those played by Boots Anson-Roa and Susan Roces in Mano Po parts 1 and 2 respectively) of a Chinese clan, with Judy Ann Santos as one of her children. “May konting inaayos na lang sa script. I have to do the movie because it’s my commitment to Mother. Si Mother pa!” Cameras are expected to, hopefully, start grinding for Mano Po 3 first week of September and principal photography will, hopefully, be finished in time for the Metro Filmfest. “We’re again going to shoot some scenes in Shanghai,” said Mother Lily, “just like we did for Mano Po 1 and 2. Ate Vi will be in those scenes.” Last seen in Star Cinema’s Dekada ’70 (shown at the 2001 Metro Filmfest), Vilma has been begging off from doing movies because of her pressing obligations as Lipa City mayor. But Mano Po 3 is too good a project to let pass. “Besides,” said Vilma, “commitment ko kay Mother, e!” – Ricardo F. Lo, Philippine Star,  August 10, 2004

Joel Lamangan’s Mano Po, My Love dominated the Metro Manila Film Festival awards Wedenesday evening when it won all the top awards – Best Picture, Best Actor (Christopher de Leon), Best Actress (Vilma Santos) and Best Director (Lamangan). In the Philippine movie industry, the term Best Picture actually means the least bad movie of the crop. By that measure, Mano Po 3 perhaps does deserve the award. At least Mano Po 3 is slickly and tastefully produced. It boasts of a prestigious cast and tries to address a few pressing issues that affect the Chinese community in the Philippines. All the looks good on paper and the movie does look good most of the time but the resulting movie, like its two predecessors, falls short on expectations….Without the Chinese trappings, Mano Po 3: My Love is a typical Vilma Santos movie designed to highlight all the wonderful elements that make her a star for all seasons. Again, she sobs, laughs and acts pensive in that distinctive fashion Santos is famous for in one sudsy scene after another. Yet even as an emblematic Vilma Santos movie, Mano Po 3 is below par. The Star was better in other films that had better material. In this movie, screenwriter Roy Iglesias and director Joel Lamangan shamelessly force the star to imitate Meryl Streep in a scene stolen from Clint Eastwood’s Bridges of Madison County (1995). And like the two first installments, Mano Po 3 features some strange casting. Jay Manalo is supposed to be a contemporary of de Leon and Santos but when you see them together, Manalo looks more like their son than a classmate. Lamangan’s storytelling is fluid and deliberate but being deliberate can be deadly when almost every scene is all talk. Talk is fine if the words are inspiring but when the lines are pallid and of the telenovela variety, we’s just rather stick to the Korean soap they show on TV. While actors deliver modulated performances, this writer feels that Christopher de Leon’s role is too small to warrant a best actor nomination and award. I think he should have listed in the supporting category but I’m opening a can of worms here. Let’s just be thankful that this is the last Mano Po movie to be ever made. (Star rating: one star 1/2 out of four) – Dennis Ladaw, The Manila Times, Feb 28, 2005 (READ MORE)

“…Lamangan seems to be fond of this. In Mano Po 3, the teary scene in the car where Vilma Santos must eventually make her choice between Jay Manalo and Christopher de Leon, is an unabashed copying of a similar scene in The Bridges of Madison Country, where Meryl Streep must also make her choice between her husband and Clint Eastwood. Needless to say, Eastwood’s film has more resonance…” – Ian Rosales Casocot, Eating The Sun, blog, Nov 2005 (READ MORE)