Daria Ramirez in The Healing – July 25 2012

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Sexy Stars – “…The 70s saw the rise of several talented and sexy stars besides the so-called Crown Seven beauties namely Chanda Romero, Elizabeth Oropesa, Daria Ramirez, Alma Moreno, Lorna Tolentino, Beth Bautista and Amy Austria. Stars like Vivian Velez, Leila Hermosa, Carmen Ronda, Barbara Luna, Janet Bordon, Trixia Gomez and Rio Locsin also made their mark in the movie world in the 70s. They were launched to stardom though most of them had a brief and short movie career…” – Simon Santos (READ MORE)

Best Actress – “…The 1977 Urian Awards further established the reputation of the Manunuris as discoverers of new or ignored talents. Word spread around that “you don’t have to spend a cent for PR to win in the Urian” after Daria Ramirez (Sino’ng Kapiling, Sino’ng Kasiping) bested formidable co-nominee Vilma Santos (Burlesk Queen) for the best actress plum. The choice of Ramirez was not a popular one either, for her portrayal of a middle-class wife was devoid of the “pang-FAMAS” hysterics usually equated with good acting in Philippine movies. The most significant event of 1977, however, was the debate on which criterion should take precedence in choosing the best film: cinematic style or filmic content? It had been decided before that if two films were equally well-made, the film with the more significant content would be chosen. But the application of the criterion became very difficult with the two films being deliberated on: Robert Arevalo’s Hubad na Bayani and Ishmael Bernal’s Dalawang Pugad, Isang Ibon. Hubad is a truthful portrayal of the peasant uprisings of the 30’s, but it was marred by technical flaws. Dalawang Pugad, centering on the problem of infidelity, was narrower in scope but was just as truthful in its portrayal. Hubad had its good moments but was uneven as a whole, while Dalawang Pugad had a tighter orchestration of cinematic elements…” – The Urian Anthology 1970-79 (READ MORE)

Daria Ramirez is a veteran Filipino character actress who started in the movie industry during the 70’s. She had two children, Kempee and Chenee from actor/comedian, Joey de Leon. Ramirez has earned two awards and several nominations from different award-giving bodies. – Wikipilipinas (READ MORE)

Daria Ramirez and Vilma Santos

“…Nagkwentuhan naman si Vi at Daria Ramirez tungkol sa huling pelikulang pinagsamahan nila kung saan sa lighthouse (parola) sa Lobo, Batangas nag-shoot ang nasabing movie. Pag pumupunta daw si Daria sa Lobo ay dumadaan siya dun sa pinagsyutingan ng Ibong Lukaret…” – Alfonso Valencia (READ MORE)

The Healing (2012) – “…Stories about the Filipino tradition of going to faith healers for guidance and treatment of ailments have not yet been tackled in-depth in movies. And in our film, the viewers will not just be horrified, they’ll somehow be challenged to think as to how faith healing has already been part of our culture…” – ABS-CBN News (READ MORE)

Big Ike’s Happening (1976) – “…Enrique “Big Ike” Lozada (August 13, 1940-March 8, 1995) was a Filipino comedian, actor and TV host. He was born on August 13, 1940 in Iloilo City. He started acting at the age of 11 on the movie Mga Bituin ng Kinabukasan with the younger Susan Roces. He died on March 10, 1995 in Manila, of heart attack. He was 54. His had lain at Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City…” – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Ibong Lukaret (1975) – “…Before he was Vilma’s leading man in Makahiya at Talahib, Rudy Fernandez played a supporting role in Ibong Lukaret. Both films were released in 1975…” – The 28th (READ MORE)

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The Healing (2012)

“…Gagawin ko po lahat kahit ano, gumaling lang po ako…” – Cookie (Kim Chiu)

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Basic Information: Direction: Chito Roño; Cast: Vilma Santos, Kim Chiu, Pokwang, Mark Gil, Martin del Rosario, Allan Paule, Cris Villanueva, Daria Ramirez, Ces Quesada, Ynez Veneracion, Simon Ibarra, Abi Bautista, Joel Torre, Chinggay Alonso, Mon Confiado, Carmi Martin; Production Co.: Star Cinema; Release Date: July 25 2012

Plot Description: “…Stories about the Filipino tradition of going to faith healers for guidance and treatment of ailments have not yet been tackled in-depth in movies. And in our film, the viewers will not just be horrified, they’ll somehow be challenged to think as to how faith healing has already been part of our culture…” – ABS-CBN News (READ MORE)

Film Achievement: 9th USTv Students’ Choice Awards – Best Local Full-Length Film – Star Cinema/ABS-CBN Film Productions; PMPC Star Awards 2012: 11 Nominations – Movie of the Year – Star Cinema; Movie Director of the Year – Chito Roño; Movie Actress of the Year – Vilma Santos; Movie Supporting Actress of the Year – Kim Chiu; Child Performer of the Year – Abby Bautista; Movie Screenwriter of the Year – Roy Iglesias; Movie Cinematographer of the Year – Charlie Peralta; Movie Production Designer of the Year – Erick Torralba, Richard Somes, Fritz Silorio; Movie Musical Scorer of the Year – Jerrold Tarog; Movie Editor of the Year – Jerrold Tarog; Movie Sound Engineer of the Year – Mike Idioma

Netizens’ Choice Awards – Favorite Movie of the Year (Star Cinema); Favorite Movie Actress of the Year – Kim Chiu; Vilma Santos’ 50th Anniversary Movie; The Cinema Evaluation Board of the Philippines gave this film a “Graded A” and MTRCB rated this film Rated-13 (censored version) and Rated-18 (director’s cut); Ranked 3rd on the Highest-grossing Local movies of 2012, earning 2.06M US$ (85.96M PH); Star Cinema is very happy with the box-office result of Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos’ (photo) latest movie, The Healing, which has grossed more than P130M so far (and counting!).

100-million mark – Heavy rains may have flooded Luzon but that didn’t hinder to the success of Chito Rono’s most recent masterpiece “The Healing“. While expected to reach the 100-million mark, The Healing as of it’s 3rd week has grossed P85.96 million in ticket sales. The Healing actually started with an awesome 7-day gross at P80 million as reported by Star Cinema and P74.39 according to Box Office Mojo Philippines. That’s only a 6-million difference, but let’s say we consider P80 million as the first week gross of The Healing. After riding that week of wave of success, The Healing began to see a decrease in the box office earnings which may be caused by the storm that entered the country about two weeks ago (while the film was on it’s second week). And with Star Cinema’s The Reunion coming into theaters this week! I’m not sure if The Healing can still make it to the 100-million mark. Two other factors are Disney’s Brave (with 55-Million 2 weeks gross) and Philippines’ most awaited Hollywood movie event “The Bourne Legacy” which raked P110-million on its first week. Additionally, MTRCB’s two film rating cuts for The Healing (R13) and The Healing R18 might have affected their earnings. Like seriously! The malls where I went to watch The Healing are so damn strict that they looked for any identification/certification that I’m 18. Going back, the movie was given a grade “A” by the Cinema Evaluation Board and was well-received by moviegoers and even the country’s top critics. “The Healing” is starring Vilma Santos, Kim Chiu, Janice de Belen, Mark Gil, Martin del Rosario, Jhong Hilario, Allan Paule, Cris Villanueva, Daria Ramirez, Ces Quesada, Ynez Veneracion, Simon Ibarra, Abby Bautista, Joel Torre, Chinggoy Alonso, Mon Confiado, Carmi Martin and Pokwang. The Healing is still on its 4th week! – Mark Glenn Cabrera (READ MORE)

‘This one’s really made for Ate Vi’ – “…Horror is one of those genres na hindi talaga siya kumukupas. Once it’s done well, everybody loves to watch horror movies. Kahit na ako. masaya siya eh. Lalo na pag may matatakutin kang kaibigan, ang sarap (laughs). It’s an experience na like no other. It’s like comedy where tawa kayo ng tawa. Kasi kapag iiyak ka, medyo nahihiya ka pa. pero this one’s really made for Ate Vi. Talagang role tailor made for her. Matagal na niyang hiningi ito,” he shares during The Healing’s bloggers conference held last July 23 at the ABS-CBN compound. Direk Chito says he and Vilma had talked about making a movie together as early as three years ago. After doing movies like Bata, bata Pano Ka Ginawa? and Dekada 70, The Healing is their reunion movie after almost ten years. He adds the multi-awarded actress has already proven her worth after 50 years in showbiz. “This is our fourth movie. I’ve always said na nakita ko na ang galing ng isang Vilma Santos sa ilang dekada, sa ang daming great movies na nagawa. Parang she’s one of those people na kailangan pa ba niya i-prove ulit? Yung parang I know she now always demands for something na medyo mas substantial. Huwag naman yung mediocre. Sabi ko the concept of the movie is bagay na sa stature niya. We’ve seen her do a lot of great scenes in most of her movies. The famous monologue scenes, the famous long takes. Ate Vi yan pag sinabi mong three pages na monologue, automatic na yan sa showbiz. Bihira na lang sa industriya yung kaya gawin yan. I’m very happy na pumayag si Ate Vi na ensemble ang pelikula…” – Push, 25 Jul 2009 (READ MORE)

Film Review: “…Director Chito S. Roño is a veteran in doing horror movies. In 2004, he helmed the box-office hit Feng Shui, an answer to the Asian horror movie phenomenon. The Healing, on the other hand, can be considered an answer to Hollywood’s torture-and-gore horror movie phenomenon. It may be the first local horror film to do so, and thus it is refreshing to watch. There is no shortage of shocking gore in The Healing. There are lots and lots of blood; horror movie fans will not be disappointed. The movie is also made more fun by moments of fan service, that recalls several niches of pop culture that seem to be taboo in Philippine mainstream cinema. There’s a small child wielding a ninja weapon killing groups of monks, before jumping to her death. There’s a beheading using a giant knife. There are many more.

The story also offers something new, away from familiar themes like haunted houses and vengeful ex-girlfriends. It exploits the Filipino tradition of faith healing, and the consequences of tapping this alternative form of therapy. What’s most admirable is the fact that The Healing’s actors went to great lengths to provide credence to the story. Vilma Santos, for instance, gets stabbed multiple times that you’d wonder how she can take these intense physical scenes at her age. Kim Chiu should also be praised for her handling of her character, Cookie. Her early scenes when she needs to act sick are believable and downright affecting. In summary, The Healing is suited for Pinoy horror fans. It is fun as it is shocking, and non-squeamish viewers should have no problem having a good time…” – Mark Angelo Ching, PEP, July 30, 2012 (READ MORE)

“…Santos’ spine-tingler is far from original, but as it tweaks the narrative conceit that has made “Final Destination” a box-office-busting film franchise, the movie finds innovative ways to establish an atmosphere of impending doom that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats: You feel that something gruesome is about to transpire, you just don’t know how it will play out—or when! The Star for All Seasons decided to make the film because she wanted to add something “new” to her formidable oeuvre—and, with “The Healing,” Santos accomplishes exactly that. The role doesn’t require her to do much except run in circles or look worried or scared. But, she displays flashes of dramatic brilliance when she is hounded by guilt, a motivation that presents her with forks in the road that just might lead to the resolution of the horrifying story’s main conflict. More than anything, it’s a treat to see the durable actress on the big screen again. The horror-thriller genre she dabbles in effectively introduces her to a younger (and wider) viewing demographic that derives pleasure from getting scared out of its wits….” – Rito P. Asilo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 28, 2012 (READ MORE)

“…The reason I like Chito Rono’s horror movies, and the reason I see most of them in the theatre, is because suspense-horror is a completely original genre, completely divorced from the hang-ups and expectations of movies that involve real people doing somewhat credible things. I remember when Chito Rono did a suspense project DAHAS, topbilled by Maricel Soriano and Richard Gomez. It was one of a kind. Very engaging just like the Healing. Kim Chiu, among other characters has lesser exposure here but a huge revelation. She epitomizes the typical Asian character on every horror films we watched. Her make-up was perfect and she looks so fresh on the movie. Pokwang, Janice and Martin Del Rosario did a great job as support role. Their characters are very important and happy to see Janice De Belen again on the big screen. Pokwang gave a little taste of comic on her dialogues, which gave everyone to catch their breath in preparation to next scene. Martin Del Rosario is a real charmer. Again the focus of the film is the story, its suspense package and for Vilma Santos, which they succeeded. I suggest everyone should watch the uncut version, brave the director’s cut as there seems to be obvious reason why some of the scenes are not included on R13. DISLIKE: There’s one thing I don’t like, they are trying to blur some of Vilma Santos physical feature. That looks very obvious on the big screen. But you will love the color coding (that’s for you to find out). Star Cinema gave another reason for everyone to go back to movie houses and appreciate local films. It’s another excellent film of 2012…The Movie is in honor of Vilma’s 50th anniversary, Star Cinema gathered an all-star highly acclaimed powerhouse cast composed of Kim, Janice de Belen, Mark Gil, Martin del Rosario, Allan Paule, Cris Villanueva, Daria Ramirez, Ces Quesada, Ynez Veneracion, Simon Ibarra, Abi Bautista, Joel Torre, Chinggoy Alonso, Mon Confiado, Carmi Martin and Pokwang. I am giving THE HEALING 10 out of 10…” – Rod Magaru (READ MORE)

“…Vilma is subjected to a lot of stressful scenes in the movie as she fights for dear life. We have to suspend our disbelief a bit in the scenes where she gets violently mauled, stabbed, hit by a chair, repeatedly hurled down into the floor, but it did elicit a lot of deafening screams from the theatre crowd. Some of her fans feel she should have just done another drama but we can understand her desire to flex her wings and do a vehicle of this sort. When we saw the movie, a lot of viewers were young people who enjoy watching scary films like this. With this, Ate Vi has successfully reached out to a new demographic, with the help of a young star like Kim Chiu, who in all fairness, also does well in her dual roles. For us, it’s a very wise decision indeed. And Chito Roño shows here to younger horror directors like Topel Lee, Richard Somes and Jerrold Tarog (Tarog did a fine job of scoring and editing the movie) that he remains to be the master of the genre who can be even playful with the orchestrated color scheme of the costumes worn by his characters in the movie…” – Mario Bautista, Malaya, Aug 6 2012 (READ MORE)

“…Roño elevated gore in this horror. From a decapitation scene in the middle of the street to a massacre inside a temple, the director inspired the MTRCB to give the film dual versions: The director’s cut rated R-18 and a trimmed R-13 that allows the fans of Kim Chiu into the cinemas. While the spooks work (including a stroke of brilliance of a popped, moving left eye when the victim becomes possessed), acting was also solid in “The Healing.” Vilma, who owns most of the frames, is convincing whether consoling her friends, guilt-ridden, confused, terrified. She’s even perfect as the ex-wife who, despite the fact that she was the one left behind for a new family, remained careful and concerned when dealing with her son and the daughter of her ex-husband because she always consider how her ex and his new wife would feel. Supporting performances are as engaging. Kim Chiu, whose Cookie is also healed but scheduled to die if Seth fails to stop the terrifying chain, traded convincing scenes with the actress/politician. Robert Arevalo and Allan Paule (Greta’s husband) offered moments of laughter and chances to exhale from the jolts and gore. Joel Torre and Jhong Hilario stole bits of the thunder in their moments leading to the climax…” – Kaye Villagomez, Manila Bulletin, Aug 07 2012 (READ MORE)

“…Vilma Santos is an icon and it is cool that she is accessible to a new generation of movie-goers. Ate Vi, this time without the benefit of long monologues or cinematic crying, proves her virtuosity as an actor in a horror movie, a genre she’s not really known for. But the good governor is indisputable as the leading lady within a great ensemble cast, including Joel Torre, Alan Paule, Janice de Belen, Cris Villanueva, Kim Chiu, and Pokwang among others. Look closely and you’ll find her photographed lovingly (by cinematographer Charlie Peralta) in almost soft-focus -is that what they call a two stocking shot? -running around in her platform mules and designer handbags. She’s awesome at looking surprised and seemed suitably spooked when a black crow flies in her face. (I will not mention any plot spoilers because the story is way too convoluted to summarize here, but I will say that yes, there is an ugly black bird in this movie)…” – Ria Limjap, Spot.ph, Aug 03 2012 (READ MORE)

To Rono’s credit, each “death scene” would top the last one as far as gore and blood are concerned. The cast did well, too. Vilma Santos is Vilma Santos. She will always be bigger than her roles. This is not to say that she did not perform well; she did. But, watching her, you see Vilma more than Seth – too strong to ignore. Kim Chiu appeared in very few scenes despite her second billing. As with her performances on TV, she would have done better if she injected more energy into her role. I did not know Martin del Rosario before this movie, but he delivered very well in his crucial role as Jed. I’m not really sure why Ynez Veneracion had to show her right boob in a scene – maybe for old times’ sake. Several camera angles used by Mr. Rono were very well-planned and executed, maximizing the tension onscreen. Like other productions (movies and theater plays) I watch nowadays, there was color coordination in the outfits/costumes of the characters onscreen. In “The Healing,” though, I did not quite get why a certain color was chosen to be the “theme” of a scene. It was too obvious, that when a scene’s color scheme continued into an unrelated scene, it became distracting. Many common scare tactics and music were employed in the film. Thankfully, there was no Sadako-like creature in this one (if you still don’t know who Sadako is, Google “The Ring” Japanese version — or search on YouTube). Overall, “The Healing” is okay. It is similar to other horror films in the way the friends of the lead female character are dying around her and it is up to her to break the curse. If it was Kris Aquino who played Seth instead of Vilma Santos, the movie would just be “Feng Shui” all over again…” – Fred Hawson, Rappler, Aug 12 2012 (READ MORE)

“…The movie has a cohesive plot. The editing is brisk. The story telling is to the point. The jolts, the surprises, the building tension as the plot thickens makes you squirm from your seat. You can’t take your eyes off the screen so as not to miss the details, the foreshadowing, the conflict resolution. From the impressive opening credits, to the alternate theme colors of blue, red, yellow & white, you know the movie is special. The ensemble acting reminds you of such sleuth movies as Murder on the Orient Express & Death on the Nile, where Rono is able to flesh out the best from each actor or actress, no matter how small the role is, whether in a group or singly . I particularly like Janice De Belen, Pokwang, Robert Arevalo (in a groovy role that Sildenafil users could relate to), Kim Chiu, Joel Torre & Martin Del Rosario. Vilma Santos is in almost every frame. It is a most restrained performance, akin to her Urian winning Amanda Bartolome character in Dekada 70 where she has mastered “doing less is more.” As the key figure or the cause of the sad fate of her friends, Vilma is able to effectively use her eyes to show fear, guilt, sadness, even remorse. Her best scenes are when she tells her son Martin to not leave Kim from his sight, while calling from a cell phone, her confrontation scene with Kim in a car while Martin is driving the van & her hair raising, thrilling confrontation scene with Kim, the evil twin…” – Mar Garces (READ MORE)

“…The Healing spends a great deal of time needlessly attempting to make sense of the plentiful contrivances it filled its plot with. Simplicity is not one of Roño’s priorities. The film indulges in so many points that require tiring explanations and expositions, some of which seem too farfetched to be believed or to be appreciated. While the genre relies heavily on the supernatural and the unexplainable, Roño’s story seems too all over the place, forcing everything to cohere seamlessly like a completed jigsaw puzzle. Unfortunately, the film’s insistence on forcing the details mostly backfires, creating a story that meanders a little bit too much. The key to good horror is not necessarily what is overtly shown and depicted but the quality and the extent of what is left to the imagination. Roño invests a lot in The Healing’s visual design. Practical effects are abandoned for computer-generated effects, allowing grislier and more deranged sequences to exist with absolute ease. Instead of heightening the tension, the computer-generated effects only deflates it, inviting humor with how closer it resembles cartoons than macabre realism instead of fear. The acting is also unnecessarily pronounced and hysterical, despite the characters’ unnatural reaction to impending amorality and death. There is just too little left for the audience. The film is just frustratingly cluttered, serving details and elements, motivations and reactions, all of which do not necessarily fit the material they are forced to support. The Healing is commendable only for the fact that it attempted to stray from the inanities of uninspired horror cinema that has occupied Philippine cinema for far too long. It bears ideas and an execution of such ideas that evince an ambition and effort to break away from tired conventions. Sadly, everything ends up in forgettable confusion…” – Oggs Cruz (READ MORE)

“…The film is, by turn, violent and the sexy episode given clinical treatment. The breast of Ynez Veneracion (as Greta) is fondled matter-of-factly to show that the cancerous lumps are no longer there. The series of death – suicide and murder, keep the moviegoers on the edge, screaming here and there and up to the very end when the ‘sanib’ victim Kim Chiu (as Cookie) opens her eyes. Rono has a perfect acting ensemble to make this film credible and engaging. Even with the limited exposure and dialogue that she had, Daria Ramirez was great acting personified in The Healing. Pokwang (as Alma) was another revelation. Here, Rono doesn’t allow her to take another crack at her comic talents and emerges a natural performer. Everyone has defining moments in this film from Kim Chiu (as Cookie), Janice de Belen (as Cita), Robert Arevalo (as Odong), Martin del Rosario (as Jed), Mark Gil (as Val), Carmi Martin, Cris Villanueva (as Ding), Allan Paule (as Ruben), Ces Quesada (as Chona), Chinggoy Alonzo and Simon Ibarra (as Rex), among others. Joel Torre -as the healer’s brother- turns in another winning performance. This is my first horror film with Vilma Santos in it and I must say that she acquitted herself very well. Her subtle acting in The Healing was reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark. I think she should do more horror film with Rono. Like it or not, The Healing is my Horror Film of the Year…” – Pablo A. Tariman (READ MORE)

“…The cast delivers a believable performance in The Healing. For a horror film, it sure has some good humor on it. The humor usually comes from Seth’s (Vilma Santos) father Mang Odong (Robert Arevalo). But never forget that this is a horror film, you when you least expect it the film delivers this sucker punch jump scare. The Healing has a good number of jump scares which you can either love or hate. I personally prefer the more psychological and creeping form of scare when it comes to horror films. Don’t get me wrong, The Healing has these creepy elements as well. The scares in the Healing are okay which have been generally enhanced by CG-effects…Star Cinema’s The Healing is a good horror film which has some pretty suspenseful and creepy moments…The Healing is worth the time, money, and effort. The film is more of a suspense than a horror in the latter part of the film which is not bad which doesn’t diminish how the story progressed. Pinoy Movie Blogger gives The Healing (2012) an 8 out of 10 (4/10) film review rating…” – Chris A., Pinoy Movie Blogger (READ MORE)

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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: Ibong Lukaret (1975)

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Basic Information: Directed: Tito Sanchez; Story: Maria Theresa; Screenplay: Jose Flores Sibal; Cast: Vilma Santos, George Estregan, Alona Alegre, Nick Romano, Marissa Delgado, Rudy Fernandez, Arnold Mendoza, Daria Ramirez, Joe Sison, Franco Guerrero, Lucita Soriano; Original Music: Danny Subido; Cinematography: Ricardo Herrera

Plot Description: Vilma witnessed the traumatic death of her mother that made her crazy until she met the murderer again.

Film Achievement: No Available Data

Film Review: “…Estregan won critical acclaim for many of his performances. In 1972, he was named FAMAS Best Actor for Sukdulan, and would win two other FAMAS Awards for Best Supporting actor for Kid Kaliwete (1978) and Lumakad Kang Hubad sa Mundong Ibabaw (1980). He was nominated for the FAMAS Award three other times, as Best Actor for Lumapit, Lumayo ang Umaga (1975) and Lalake Ako (1982), and for Best Supporting Actor in Magkayakap sa Magdamag (1986). He also received a nomination from the Gawad Urian as Best Actor for Hostage: Hanapin si Batuigas (1977)…” – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

“…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…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…Before he was Vilma’s leading man in Makahiya at Talahib, Rudy Fernandez played a supporting role in Ibong Lukaret. Both films were released in 1975…” – The 28th (READ MORE)

Filmography: Big Ike’s Happening (1976)

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Basic Information: Directed: Pablo Santiago and Bobby Santiago; Writing credits: Tommy C. David, Santiago and Lozada; Cast: Tirso Cruz III, Walter Navarro, Ike Lozada, Aurora Salve, Gina Alajar, Jojit Paredes, Dondon Nakar, Arnold Gamboa, Maribel Aunor, Winnie Santos, German Moreno, Allan Valenzuala, Inday Badiday, Doyet Ilagan, Ben David, Edward Campos, Lilian Laing, Aruray; Special Guest Stars: Vilma Santos, Nora Aunor, Perla Bautista, Charlie Davao, Esperanza Fabon, Bella Flores, Lito Legaspi, Christopher De Leon, Van De Leon, Pinky Montilla, Alma Moreno, Dencio Padilla, Eddie Perigrina, Andy Poe, jerry Pons, Ric Rodrigo, Gloria Romero, Daria Ramirez, Darius Razon, Marianne Dela Riva, Eddie San Jose, Ricky Santiago, Lorna Tolentino, Eddie Villamayor, and Vic Vargas; Executive Producer: Larry Santiago; Original Music: D’Amarillo; Cinematography: Joe Batac Jr.

Plot Description: No Available Data

Film Achievement:   Ranked 32nd on Top-US-Grossing Tagalog-Language Feature Films Released In 1976

Film Review: Enrique “Big Ike” Lozada (August 13, 1940-March 8, 1995) was a Filipino comedian, actor and TV host. He was born on August 13, 1940 in Iloilo City. He started acting at the age of 11 on the movie Mga Bituin ng Kinabukasan with the younger Susan Roces. He died on March 10, 1995 in Manila, of heart attack. He was 54. His had lain at Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

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