Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors 6/6

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

Here is a recap of our count-down…
10. PABLO SANTIAGLO / MARYO DELOSREYES
9. LUIS ENRIQUEZ / ELWOOD PEREZ
8. DANNY ZIALCITA
7. EDDIE GARCIA
6. EMMANUEL H BORLZA
5. LINO BROCKA
4. LAURICE GUILLEN
3. CHITO RONO
2. CELSO AD CASTILLO

…and our number one director is…

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

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

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

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

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




Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors 2/6

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

TIE 9. Elwood Perez is a virtuoso of the camera and is the man behind numerous classic Filipino movies. His intuitive approach to filmmaking and scriptwriting is something worth emulating not because they are campy and sexy but they discuss social ills and promote solutions while tickling the most delicate part of our consciousness—our emotion. Born during the near end of World War II on Feb. 4, 1945 in Mabalacat, Pampanga, Elwood Perez started watching movies at the age of three. He practically grew up breathing, feeling, and thinking about movies. “I want [a] vicarious experience. That’s the only thing I want in my life. I hate the effort to go, let’s say for example to Venice. That’s why I watch films every day. Until now,” the 64-year-old director says. He wrote, directed and acted the lead role in his first Filipino play, Ander di Saya. And he was only nine years old then. From then on, Perez knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. At age 25, Perez marked his debut as a film director with Blue Boy in 1970. The film was a flop at the box office but it was revered by critics. Maturing as a scriptwriter and film director, in 1973, commercially successful Lipad, Darna Lipad! was released. Award-winning actress Celia Rodriguez essayed the role of Medusa-like villainess, Valentina, nubile Vilma Santos played the Filipino supergirl (a role that launched her in a series of Darna flicks). To Filipino film industry insiders, Perez is known as the most sought-after movie director of his generation. He consistently churned out hit movie after another. His unsurpassed track record of money-makers and trend-setters include Zoom, Zoom, Superman!; Bawal: Asawa Mo, Asawa Ko; Isang Gabi, Tatlong Babae; Divorce: Pilipino Style; Masarap, Masakit ang Umibig; Summer Love; Till We Meet Again; and Ibulong Mo sa Diyos. Today, films he directed in the ’70s and ’80s like Pakawalan Mo Ako (a Vilma Santos-Christopher de Leon starrer) and Ang Totoong Buhay ni Pacita M, as then enfant terrible of Philippine Cinema, enjoy regular reruns on primetime television and in select movie houses as examples of the award-winning film or the commercially-rewarding art film: true classics of film as entertainment for everyman, the 20th century’s quintessential art form. His life’s mise en scene “During the height of my career, I didn’t like publicity. Do you know any director who sold a movie on a count on the fact that he directed the film? I was very quiet then, because nobody would watch a film because of the director. Stars pa rin ang pinapanood ng tao,” Perez conveys – Nickie Wang

HIGHLIGHTS: Elwood Perez and Vilma Santos collaborated in seven films. The first one was the trilogy that he co-directed with two other directors, Borlaza and Gosiengfiao (these three are the most underrated and under appreciated directors in the Philippines), the remake of Mars Ravelo comic super hero, Darna in Lipad Darna Lipad. The film was a record-breaking hit film. They followed “Lipad…” with more mature project as Vilma started to transform her sweet image to serious mature/versatile actress. The film was “Masarap Masakit Ang Umibig” in 1977 that also featured Christopher de Leon and Mat Ranillo III. The Perez-Santos team produced seven blockbuster hits that gave Vilma two FAMAS best actress awards. The last one was in 1988 for “Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos” that elevated her to FAMAS highest honour, the FAMAS Hall of Fame award (She won for Dama de Noche 1972, Relasyon 1982, Pakawalan Mo Ako 1981, Tagos Ng Dugo 1987 and Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos 1988).

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 4 (#10 Lipad Darna Lipad 1973, #43 Pinay American Style 1979, #42 Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos 1988, #25 Pakawalan Mo Ako 1981)

Total Number of Films = 7 (Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos 1988, Lipad Darna Lipad 1973, Magkaribal 1979, Masarap Masakit ang Umibig 1977, Nakawin Natin ang Bawat Sandali 1978, Pakawalan Mo Ako 1981, Pinay American Style 1979)

RELATED READINGS:

TIE 9. Luis Enriquez Born Luis Clemente Enriquez on August 23, 1932 in Zamboanga City, Philippines. Famous for his dramatic films with Marlene Dauden and Lolita Rodriguez in the 60s. He wrote, produced and directed films using his birth name Luis Enriquez. On September 12, 2001, Eddie Rodriguez died at the young age of age 69. FAP: One of the greatest dramatic actors of Philippine cinema, he starred in such classics directed by Gregorio Fernandez as Kundiman ng Lahi, Luksang Tagumpay and Malvarosa with Charito Solis, Rebecca del Rio and Vic Silayan for LVN Pictures, Inc. He won a best actor FAMAS trophy for his performance in Sapagkat Kami’y Tao Lamang where he co-starred with Lolita Rodriguez and Marlene Dauden (who won as best supporting actress) under the direction of Armando de Guzman for Hollywood Far East Productions. He tried his hands in secret agent films like Paolo Staccato and Perro Gancho. He formed Virgo Productions with wife Liza Moreno, an actress-writer who wrote stories which Eddie acted in and directed. These films included Babae, Ikaw ang Dahilan, Kasalanan Mo, Ang Pagsintang Labis, Kapag Pusoy Sinugatan, Iginuhit sa Buhangin, Alaala mo, Daigdig ko, Bakit Ako Pa?, and Ikaw. Dubbed as the country’s drama king, he also directed Kung Kailangan Mo Ako (with Sharon Cuneta and Rudy Fernandez), Maging Sino Ka Man and Di Na Natuto (with Sharon Cuneta and Robin Padilla) Minsan Pa and Kahit Konting Pagtingin (with Fernando Poe Jr. and Sharon Cuneta). His real name was Luis Enriquez from Zamboanga City.

HIGHLIGHTS: Luis Enriquez aka Eddie Rodriguez first directed a young Vilma Santos in 1968’s “Kasalanan Kaya,” another love triangle genre starring the dramatic trio of Marlene Dauden, Eddie Rodriguez and Lolita Rodriguez. Vilma received an early acting recognition from this film, a FAMAS Nomination for Best Supporting Actress. When Enriquez directed Vilma again, it was a calculated risk. The film allowed a still young Vilma into a bikini-clad lead role opposite her director, Eddie Rodriguez as her leading man. The film was “Nakakahiya,” a May-December love story and an entry to 1975 Bacolod City Film Festival. Aside from making the the film a smash hit, Vilma received the festival’s Best Actress. Enriquez directed Vilma in five more films, the last one was in 1981’s “Ex-Wife.” In this film credits, Rodriguez surprisingly used his actor’s screen name – ‘Eddie Rodriguez and dropped his most known director’s name, “Luis Enriquez.”

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 3 (#30 Ex-Wife 1981, #38 Nakakahiya? 1975, #39 Hindi Nakakahiya 1976)

Total Number of Films = 7 (Ex-Wife 1981, Halik sa Kamay Halik sa Paa 1979, Hindi Nakakahiya 1976, Ikaw Lamang 1971, Kasalanan Kaya? 1968, Nakakahiya? 1975, Simula ng Walang Katapusan)

RELATED READINGS:

8. Danny Zialcita is a fun-loving gifted and colorful filmmaker who left his mark as one of the best in the stimulating era of the ’60s and ’70s. Then without any warning he left the industry. Stories of drug addiction, withdrawal from the world, and worse, loss of sanity dogged his absence until even his colleagues lost touch with him and didn’t know what to believe. Zialcita is a master of improvisation on the set, he also had the knack for casting the right actors, choosing the right material, and pleasing his producers. One of his favorite actors was Dindo Fernando whom he termed “the complete actor” and cast him in such movies as Langis at Tubig, Karma, Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan, Mahinhin at Mahinhin, its sequel Malakas, si Maganda at si Mahinhin and Ikaw at ang Gabi which gave Dindo his first Urian Best Actor trophy. Other favorites were Vilma Santos cast in Karma, T-Bird at Ako, Langis at Tubig; Pinky de Leon; Laurice Guillen; Ronaldo Valdes; and Beth Bautista who won Best Actress award in Hindi sa Iyo ang Mundo Baby Porcuna. – Bibsy M. Carballo, The Philippine Star (READ MORE)

HIGHLIGHTS: Zialcita’s first movie with Vilma was the 1980 festival entry, a drama about bigamy, Langis at Tubig. The following year, Zialcita and Santos joined forces again in antoher festival entry, Karma. The film earned Vilma her second Metro Manila Film Festival Best Actress. The following year, Ziacita’s Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan broke box office record, Earned P7.3 million during its first day of showing in Metro Manila and assured Vilma Santos the box office queen of 1982.

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 3 (#17 Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan? 1982, #26 Karma 1981, #44 Langis at Tubig 1980)

Total Number of Films = 4 (Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan? 1982, Karma 1981, Langis at Tubig 1980, T-Bird at Ako)

RELATED READINGS:

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Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors 1/6

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

SPECIAL MENTION: First, here are the directors who made a considerable impact but not lucky enough to be included in our list…

JOEY GOSIENGFIAO (#51 Hatinggabi Na Vilma 1972, #65 Takbo, Vilma, Dali 1972, #10 Lipad, Darna, Lipad 1973, #75 Promo Girl 1978); MIKE DE LEON (#34 Sister Stella L. 1984); GIL M. PORTES (#36 Miss X 1980); RORY B. QUINTOS (#12 Anak 2000); JOSE DE VILLA (#16 Trudis Liit 1963); OLIVIA M. LAMASAN (#21 In My Life 2009); JOEL LAMANGAN (#24 Mano Po 3: My Love 2004); WENN V. DERAMAS (#31 D’ Lucky Ones 2006); ANTONIO JOSE PEREZ (#42 Haplos 1982); LEROY SALVADOR (#46 Muling Buksan ang Puso 1985); NILO SAEZ (#48 Kampanerang Kuba 1974); MARILOU DIAZ-ABAYA (#52 Alyas Baby Tsina 1984, #54 Minsan pa Natin Hagkan Ang Nakaraan 1983)

Here is our top ten starting with number 10…

TIE 10. Pablo Santiago was the father of actors Randy, Rowell and Raymart. He was known for his big-budgeted action movies, many of them starring Fernando Poe Jr. He made his directorial debut at 19 with Larry Santiago Productions’ Lo Waist Gang, which catapulted Poe to stardom. For nearly fifty years, Santiago made award-winning films such as Batingaw, Nueva Vizcaya, Perlas ng Silangan, Ibong Adarna and Digmaan ng mga Angkan, a 1974 Metro Manila Film Festival blockbuster starring Ronnie Poe and Joseph Estrada. His last movie starred FPJ opposite Anjanette Abayari in Ang Syota Kong Balikbayan, in 1996. He died in 1998 at the age of 67 from lingering kidney ailment(Sol Jose Vanzi).

HIGHLIGHTS:Santiago first directed Vilma Santos in a Joseph Estrada movie, Batang Iwahig in 1966. Eight years afterward, He will direct Vilma again, this time as the leading lady of the Joseph Estrada’s rival, the late Fernando Poe Jr in light comedy and a smash hit, Batya’t Palo-palo. He will direct three more projects with Vilma, the follow up of the FPJ-Vilma teams in 1976’s Bato Sa Buhangin, the forgetable, Big Ike’s Happening in 1976 and the action film Vilma Vente Nueve in 1975 starring Vilma and action star, Jun Aristorenas.

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 2 (#37 Bato sa Buhangin 1976, #40 Batya’t Palu-Palo 1974)

Total Number of Films = 5 (Batang Iwahig 1966, Bato sa Buhangin 1976, Batya’t Palu-Palo 1974, Big Ike’s Happening 1976, Vilma Viente Nueve 1975)

RELATED READINGS:
Randy Santiago: After you, Dad!
IMDB: Pablo Santiago
Randy Santiago, now a full-fledged director
Batyat-Palu-palo at cinema Sept 27, 1974

TIE 10. Maryo J. De los Reyes is a film and television director from the Philippines. He began his career in the 1970s(Wikipedia). Reyes’ most significant works are the critically acclaimed Magnifico (2004), Tagos Ng Dugo (1987) and the commercial hits, Bagets (1983), Annie Batungbakal (1979).

HIGHLIGHTS: In 1987, Maryo De Los Reyes directed Vilma Santos that critics considered one of the most shocking film that year, “Tagos Ng Dugo.”  The film was hailed as feminist as seldom a Filipino woman was seen on screen as a murderous serial killer.  It earned Vilma Santos her fourth FAMAS Best Actress.  Ironically, the conservative Catholic church’s award giving body, Catholic Mass Media Awards, agreed with the FAMAS.  They gave Vi their Best Actress award while the critics’ group, Gawad Urian refused to hand-out their yearly award citing there were no deserving films that year.  Reyes last directed Vilma in another memorable off-beat role, the 1992 drama, “Sinungaling Mong Puso.”

Total Number of Films and Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 2 (#13 Tagos ng Dugo 1987, #28 Sinungaling Mong Puso 1992)

RELATED READINGS:
IMDB: Maryo J. De los Reyes
Maryo J. delos Reyes unveils his 4th Sine Novela Presents
Maryo J – Magnifico – Delos Reyes

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Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors 3/6

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

Here is the continuation of our list…

7. Eddie Garcia (born Eduardo Verchez García on May 2, 1929 in Sorsogon, Philippines) popularly known as “Manoy” is one of the top Filipino film actors and also a Movie Director. He is the most awarded and nominated person in the long history of the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) Awards. He garnered a total of 34 nominations (13 for Best Supporting Actor, 10 for Best Actor and 11 for Best Director). Out of these, he got 6 Best Supporting Actor wins, 5 Best Actor wins and 5 Best Director wins, 3 Hall of Fame Awards, 1 Lifetime Achievement Award and the Fernando Poe, Jr. Memorial Award. He was awarded his first FAMAS Award in 1957 and his last FAMAS, a Hall of Fame for Best Actor, in 2003 (Wikipedia).

HIGHLIGHTS: Eddie Garcia first directed Vilma in the Marcos film, “Pinagbuklod Ng Langit.”  She reprised the role of Imee Marcos and again co-starred with movie queen, Gloria Romero and dramatic actor, Luis Gonzales after “Iginuhit ng Tadhana.”  Garcia directed Vilma again in 1982′s record breaker, “Sinasamba Kita.”  Overall, the two collaborated in five more films after “Sinasamba,” giving us two of the most memorable Filipino movie lines – confronting the mistress Dina Bonevie, Vi said: “Para Kang Karinderyang bukas sa lahat ng gustong kumain (translated literally into “You are like food restaurant! Open to all who wanted to eat!”) from the movie “Palimos Ng Pag-ibig” and then confronting the rich snotty old Alicia Vergel, Vi said: “Si Val, si Val, si Val na walang malay! (literally translated to “Its Val! its Val!, Its always Val, The one who is innocent!”).

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 5 (#11 Imortal 1989, #18 Paano Ba ang Mangarap? 1983 #19 Sinasamba Kita, #22 Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-ibig? 1987, #45 Palimos Ng Pag-ibig 1986)

Total Number of Films = 6 (Imortal 1989, Paano Ba ang Mangarap? 1983, Palimos Ng Pag-ibig 1986, Pinagbuklod ng Langit 1969, Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-ibig? 1987, Sinasamba Kita 1982)

RELATED READINGS:
Eddie Garcia: Actor, director, icon, Philippine cinema’s one-man totem pole
An Urian Lifetime Achievement Award for Eddie Garcia
Veteran actor Eddie Garcia misses work as director
Eddie Garcia shares his secret of long and healthy life
Brocka’s “Tubog Sa Ginto” 1971 (VIDEO)
Eddie Garcia stars in indie film ‘Fuschia’
Video 48: Eddie Garcia, FAMAS Three Time Hall of Fame Awardee

6. Emmanuel H. Borlaza aka Maning Borlaza is a 1957 Palanca Awardee for “May Pangako ang Bukas” and theaterical drama trained by National Artist Severino Montano. Appointed by Pres. Noy Aquino as Movie and Television Review and Classifications Board (MTRCB) Vice Chairman this year, Borlaza directed 24 films with Vilma Santos and was credited with her transformation to a reluctant singing competitor of Nora Aunor to bankable superstar with such hits like Dyesebel, Lipad Darna Lipad, Darna and the Giants.

HIGHLIGHTS: Borlaza gave Vilma Santos her very first best actress, winning the 1972 FAMAS for via Dama De Noche. He is also credited in narrowing the popularity gap between her and the musical era’s darling of the 70s, Nora Aunor.

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 4 (#10 Lipad Darna Lipad 1973, #32 Dyesebel at ang Mahiwagang Kabibe 1973, #48 Darna and the Giants 1973, #49 Dama De Noche 1972)

Total Number of Films = 24 (I Love You, Honey 1970, Renee Rose 1970, Angelica 1971, Aloha, My Love 1972, Dama De Noche 1972, Don’t Ever say Goodbye 1972, Leron, Leron, Sinta 1972, Remembrance 1972, Darna and the Giants 1973, Dyesebel at ang Mahiwagang Kabibe 1973, Lipad, Darna, Lipad 1973, Maria Cinderella 1973, Tsismosang Tindera 1973, Makahiya at Talahib 1976, Mga Rosas sa Putikan 1976, Bakit Kailangan Kita? 1978, Kampus 1978, Coed 1979, Gusto Ko Siya, Mahal Kita 1980, Romansa; 1980 Yakapin Mo Ako, Lalaking Matapang 1980 Asawa ko, Huwag Mong Agawin 1986, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow 1986, Ibigay Mo Sa Akin Ang Bukas 1987)

RELATED READINGS:
an Emmanuel H. Borlaza films and other directors
Borlaza: Its Payback Time!
1st shooting day ng Darna and the Giants
Visiting Forces body has new set of officials

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Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors 5/6

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

Here is the continuation of our list…

3. Chito S. Roño also known as Sixto Kayko, is a Filipino multi-awarded TV and film director. He is the director of the blockbuster films Feng Shui and Sukob. In 2010, he is one of the directors of the top-rating supernatural–fantasy horror TV series Imortal on ABS-CBN (Wikipedia). In 1984, Roño directed his first feature film, titled “Private Show” starring Jaclyn Jose. It was released locally in 1985 and won Jose the Star award for Best Actress. Chito used the pseudonym Sixto Kayco in the credits.

HIGHLIGHTS: Roño gave Vilma Santos her first international recognition winning the best actress in 1999 Brussels International Festival of Independent Films. At the same time, he was recognized as the festival’s Best Director both for Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa. The film also gave Vilma Santos her third grand slam winning all the best actress awards from several local award giving bodies. In 2003, Vilma received another international recognition, this time from Cinemanila International Film Festival winning the Best Actress for Dekada 70. The film was screen in the international film festival circuit and was the official entry of the Philippines in the 76th Academy Awards (OSCAR) for the best foreign language film category.

Total Number of Films and Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 3 (#2 Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa? 1998, #3 Dekada’70 2002, #36 Ikaw Lang 1993)

RELATED READINGS: IMDB: Chito S. Roño
Wikepedia: Chito S. Roño’s Filmography
Dekada 70, Chito Rono’s filmization of a tumultuous era
An Original Movie Musical by Chito S. Rono
video 48: Sixto Kayco’s “Private Show” (1985)

2. Celso Ad. Castillo began directing films mid-60’s at an early age, but he has since then gained reputation for many other aspects of the craft particularly scriptwriting and acting. In the Filipino movie industry, he holds the unique repuation of being controversial, trendsetter,enfant terrible and messiah of Philippine cinema, and his track record justifies it: he introduced artistry and commercialism in sex films (nympha) when the two were considered incompatible, and introduced sex in artistic projects ( Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa/The Most Beautiful Animal on Earth)when moralistic repression was in vogue. An unfortunate and unfair consequence of the controversy is the recognition due him as one of the finest film commentators on the Philippine social scene, with a visual fluency unmatched by any other contemporary filipino film director. – CELSOAD.tripod.com

HIGHLIGHTS: Castillo gave Vilma Santos her first mature role in Burlesk Queen resulting with her first local film festival best actress award. He also directed Pagputi Ng Uwak Pagitim Ng Tagak where Vilma Santos starred and produced. The film received several best picture awards and was considered one of Castillo’s best works.

Total Number of Films and Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 3 (#1 Burlesk Queen 1977, #15 Pagputi ng Uwak Pag-itim ng Tagak 1978, #20 Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw 1975)

RELATED READINGS: Lumbera’s Review of Pagputi
Video 48: Vilma Santos As “Burlesk Queen” (1977)
The Maverick Director Celso Ad Castillo
Celso Ad. Castillo’s Biography
QandA With Direk Celso Ad Castillo Part One Two Three Four Five (VIDEO)

…next our number one director!

Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors 4/6

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

Here is the continuation of our list…

5. Catalino Ortiz Brocka (April 3, 1939–May 21, 1991), director for film and broadcast arts, espoused the term “freedom of expression” in the Philippine Constitution. Brocka took his social activist spirit to the screen leaving behind 66 films which breathed life and hope for the marginalized sectors of society — slumdwellers, prostitute, construction workers, etc. He also directed for theater with equal zeal and served in organizations that offer alternative visions, like the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) and the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP). At the same time, he garnered awards and recognition from institutions like the CCP, FAMAS, TOYM, and Cannes Film Festival. Brocka has left behind his masterpieces, bequeathing to our country a heritage of cinematic harvest; a bounty of stunning images, memorable conversations that speak volumes on love,betrayal and redemption, pestilence and plenty all pointing towards the recovery and rediscovery of our nation. To name a few, Brocka’s films include the following: “Santiago” (1970), “Wanted: Perfect Mother” (1970), “Tubog sa Ginto” (1971), “Stardoom” (1971), “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang” (1974), “Maynila: Sa Kuko ng Liwanag” (1975), “Insiang” (1976), “Jaguar” (1979), “Bona” (1980), “Macho Dancer” (1989), “Orapronobis” (1989), “Makiusap Ka sa Diyos” (1991) (NCCA.gov.ph). On May 21, 1991 Brocka met an untimely death in a car accident in Quezon City, Metro Manila. In 1997 he was given the posthumous distinction of National Artist for Film.(Wikipedia)

HIGHLIGHTS: Brocka gave Vilma one of the most controversial film after “Burlesk Queen,” her milestone role as a rape victim in 1978′s “Rubia Servios.”  The film failed to secure Vilma the local festival’s best performer award after so much speculations despite this, the film was a big hit.  Brocka will direct Vi two more times, “Adultery” in 1984 and “Hahamakin Kita” in 1990, a year before his untimely death in May 21, 1991.

Total Number of Films and Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 3 (#6 Rubia Servios 1978, #14 Adultery: Aida Macaraeg 1984, #27 Hahamakin Lahat 1990)

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4. Laurice Guillen is an award-winning Filipino director and actress. She was born on January 29, 1947 in Butuan City. She is married Johnny Delgado, a notable and prominent actor. Daughters, Anna and Ina Feleo are both into stage acting as well. Laurice won international notice for her direction of the 1981 film, Salome(Wikipilipinas).

HIGHLIGHTS: Guillen gave Vilma her fifth and sixth Gawad Urian Best Actress awards for 1991’s Ipagpatawad Mo and 1993’s Dolzura Cortez. The later also gave Vilma her second grand slam, winning all the best actress awards from local award giving bodies.

Total Number of Films and Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 3 (#4 Dahil Mahal Kita The Dolzura Cortez Story 1993, #24 Ipagpatawad Mo 1991, #34 Kapag Langit Ang Humatol 1990)

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next…

an Emmanuel H. Borlaza films and other directors

Emmanuel H. Borlaza directed 24 films with Vilma Santos, mostly during the musical era of the 70s and in the 80s where movies were predominantly adapted from serialized comics/novel. His films became a lucrative moneymaker that he was allowed to brand them with the tag line: “an Emmanuel H. Borlaza film.” From musical, drama, comedy, fantasy, sex or horror genres, name it and Borlaza did them all.

His films lack the arthouse style and social relevance that critics loves most in a Brocka or Bernal films but who cares about the critics when the paying public loves them. And the producers demand his service, from Doc Perez of Sampaguita Pictures, Atty. Esperidion Laxa of Tagalog Ilang Ilang Productions and later on, Vic Del Rosario of Viva Films and Lily Monteverde of Regal Films. Clearly, his films exists with one purpose, to entertain the masses not to depress or remind them with the country’s sad fate of economy or the below poverty line lives of many.

The success of the Vilma-Borlaza films gave Vilma Santos versatility and preparation to a more serious acting career. It also narrowed the popularity gap between her and the musical era’s darling of the 70s, Nora Aunor. These are perhaps, the most significant contributions of Emmanuel Borlaza to Vilma’s career. Vilma who was considered only second to Nora couldn’t matched her singing talent and so, Borlaza countered this lack of singing with films that showcased Vilma’s acting versatility.

From the folklore mermaid in Dyesebel at ang Mahiwagang Kabibe to fighting giants in Darna and the Giants to a fast-talker-gossip-mongering vendor in Tsismosang Tindera and to good-hearted prostitutes in Mga Rosas sa Putikan, Borlaza let Vilma Santos experience a wide range of roles, from comedic fantasy to dramatic adult roles.   These experiments prepared her to a later more serious and versatile acting career.   Their success made other directors interested in giving her roles oftenly considered for her closest rivals.  Projects lined up and awaits her availability.   Borlaza and Santos’ collaboration produced a string of box office hits from early 70s’ Dama De Noche to their last outing in late 80s’ Ibigay Mo Sa Akin Ang Bukas.   Their success established their career as one of the most bankable and in-demand director/actor team, making her the longest reighning box office queen of all time and him a money maker director.

When time for Vilma to moved on with other collaborators, Borlaza handled other stars with much success!  He directed Alma Moreno in smash hit, Eva Fonda 16;  Sharon Cuneta in her memorable rag to riches films, Bituin Walang Ningning and Bukas Luluhod Ang Mga Tala; Snooky Serna in her fantasy hit, Blusang Itim and Marecel Soriano as the spoiled brat in Yesterday Today and Tomorrow. These films gave us some of the most memorable movie lines that most Filipinos would still remember like Cherie Gil’s campy dialouge: “You’re Nothing but second rate Trying hard, Copy Cat!” or Sharon’s promise of revenge: “pinapangako ko inay…bukas luluhod ang mga tala! (I’ll promise you mother, tommorow the stars will kneel down, something to that effect, litterally.)”

In 2003, Borlaza who was trained by National Artist, Severino Montano, received recognitions from his peers with the Gawad Direk award from the Directors Guild of the Philippines.   He lamented, “If I were to live my life again, I would still choose the same line of work. It is now payback time to the industry that gave me the best years of my life.”  Referring the “pay back time” with trying to do more for the industry who gave so much blessing in his career as he retired his director’s chair.   He continue his “pay back” with his involvement with two organizations thats very dear to him, the directors and screenwriters guilds.  In most recent years, he became more involve through his work for the NMPP or Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Pelikulang Pilipino (the united workers of Filipino films).  One of NMPP initive, a project that Borlaza worked so hard was to have a low cost housing for movie industry workers.  This year, he was appointed by President Aquino as the deputy chaiman of the Movie and Television Rating and Classification Board.

AWARDS: Palanca Awardee; DGPI’s 2003 Gawad Direk; FAMAS 1969 Best Screenplay – Pinagbuklod ng Langit (Heaven’s Fate); FAMAS 1968 Best Screenplay – Psycho Maniac; FAMAS 1988 FAMAS Best Director Nominations – Paano Tatakasan Ang Bukas?; FAMAS 1971 FAMAS Best Director Nominations – I Love Mama, I Love Papa; FAMAS 1969 FAMAS Best Director Nominations – Kapatid Ko Ang Aking Ina; FAMAS 1968 FAMAS Best Director Nominations – Psycho Maniac; FAP 1990 Best Story Adaptation – Kapag langit ang humatol; FAP 1988 Best Director – Paano Tatakasan Ang Bukas?; Gawad Urian 1994 Best Screenplay Nominations – Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang?; Gawad Urian 1990 Best Screenplay Nominations – Kapag langit ang humatol

Some Trivia:  (1) In addition to the box office hit films, Borlaza gave Vilma her very first best actress award via Dama De Noche.  (2) They did two films in the USA, Aloha My Love and Don’t Ever Say Goodbye.  Both films paired Vilma with on and off the screen love team, Edgar Mortiz.  (3) Later on, Borlaza and Vilma did another film in the USA, Romansa, with now ex-husband, Edu Manzano. (4) Vilma did four Darna movies, two of which was directed by Borlaza and were considered the most successfull in terms of revenue.  (5) Lipa Darna Lipad was considered the most memorable of the four.  Unfortunately, there is no copies of the film in existence today.   (6)The Darna role has been re-invented and redone so many time by so many local actresses but the most memmorable and considered the best Darna ever is Vilma Santos.

FILMS BY THE NUMBERS

NUMBER ONE: WITH 24 FILMS!  EMMANUEL H. BORLAZA – 1970 I Love You, Honey; 1970 Renee Rose; 1971 Angelica; 1972 Aloha, My Love; 1972 Dama De Noche ; 1972 Don’t Ever say Goodbye; 1972 Leron, Leron, Sinta; 1972 Remembrance; 1973 Darna and the Giants; 1973 Dyesebel at ang Mahiwagang Kabibe; 1973 Lipad, Darna, Lipad; 1973 Maria Cinderella; 1973 Tsismosang Tindera; 1976 Makahiya at Talahib; 1976 Mga Rosas sa Putikan; 1978 Bakit Kailangan Kita?; 1978 Kampus; 1979 Coed; 1980 Gusto Ko Siya, Mahal Kita; 1980 Romansa; 1980 Yakapin Mo Ako, Lalaking Matapang; 1986 Asawa ko, Huwag Mong Agawin; 1986 Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow; 1987 Ibigay Mo Sa Akin Ang Bukas

…and other directors!

8 Films:  ISHMAEL BERNAL- 8 (Broken Marriage, Dalawang Pugad Isang Ibon, Good Morning Sunshine, Ikaw ay Akin, Inspiration, Now and Forever, Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga, Relasyon);  LEONARDO L. GARCIA- 8 (Edgar Loves Vilma, Nag-aapoy na Damdamin, Pinagbuklod ng Pag-ibig, Ayaw Kong Maging Kerida, Eternally, Little Darling, Phantom Lady, Pulot-gata Pwede Kaya?)

7 Films:  LUIS ENRIQUEZ – 7 (Ex-Wife, Halik sa Kamay Halik sa Paa, Hindi Nakakahiya, Ikaw Lamang, Kasalanan Kaya?, Nakakahiya?, Simula ng Walang Katapusan);  ELWOOD PEREZ – 7 (Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos, Lipad Darna Lipad, Magkaribal, Masarap Masakit ang Umibig, Nakawin Natin ang Bawat Sandali, Pakawalan Mo Ako, Pinay American Style)

6 Films:  ROMY SUSARA – 6 (Anak ng Aswang, Ang Kundoktora, Carinosa, Hiwalay, Tatlong Mukha ni Rosa Vilma, Vilma and the Beep Beep Minica); EDDIE GARCIA – 6 (Imortal, Paano Ba ang Mangarap?, Palimos Ng Pag-ibig, Pinagbuklod ng Langit, Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-ibig?, Sinasamba Kita);  ARMANDO DE GUZMAN – 6 (Basta’t Isipin mong Mahal Kita, Mga Batang Bangketa, Naligaw na Anghel, Sa Bawat Pintig ng Puso, Sapagkat Sila’y Aming mga Anak, Wonderful World of Music)

5 Films: PABLO SANTIAGO – 5 (Batang Iwahig, Bato sa Buhangin, Batya’t Palu-Palo, Big Ike’s Happening, Vilma Viente Nueve);  JOSE DE VILLA – 5 (Give Me Your Love, Iginuhit ng Tadhana, Mother Song, Sixteen, Trudis Liit);  FELY H. CRISOSTOMO  – 5 (Karugtong ang Kahapon, Love is for the Two of Us, May Hangganan ang Pag-Ibig, Mga Reynang Walang Trono, Tok, Tok, Palatok)

4 Films:  JOEY GOSIENGFIAO – 4 (Hatinggabi Na, Vilma, Lipad Darna Lipad, Promo Girl, Takbo Vilma Dali);  DANNY ZIALCITA – 4 (Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan?, Karma, Langis at Tubig, T-Bird at Ako);  CONSUELO P. OSORIO  – 4 (I Do Love You, Mardy, My Darling Eddie, The Jukebox King);  CIRIO H. SANTIAGO – 4 (Ang Galing-galing Mo Mrs. Jones, Ging, Happy Days are Here Again, Modelong Tanso)

3 Films:  NILO SAEZ – 3 (Biktima, Kampanerang Kuba, Pag-ibig ko sa iyo lang Ibibigay);  MAR S. TORRES – 3 (Anak ang Iyong Ina, King and Queen for a Day, Iginuhit ng Tadhana);  LUCIANO B. CARLOS – 3 (Let’s Do the Salsa, Pag-Ibig, Masdan ang Ginawa Mo, Teribol Dobol); LINO BROCKA – 3 (Adultery: Aida Macaraeg, Hahamakin Lahat, Rubia Servios); LEODY M. DIAZ – 3 (Because You’re Mine, Dulce Corazon, Sweethearts); LAURO PACHECO – 3 (Hindi Nahahati ang Langit, Kay Tagal ng Umaga, Mga Mata Ni Angelita);  LAURICE GUILLEN – 3 (Dahil Mahal Kita The Dolzura Cortez Story, Ipagpatawad Mo, Kapag Langit Ang Humatol); CHITO S. RONO – 3 (Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa?, Dekada’70, Ikaw Lang); CELSO AD CASTILLO – 3 (Burlesk Queen, Pagputi ng Uwak Pag-itim ng Tagak, Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw); A. GREGORIO – 3 (From the Bottom of my Heart, My Pledge of Love, Songs and Lovers)

2 Films:  VICENTE DE VILLA – 2 (Aninong Bakal, Larawan ng Pag-ibig); TONY SANTOS  – 2 (The Sensations, Young Lovers); TONY CAYADO – 2 (Kamay na Gumagapang, Young Love);  TITO C. SANCHEZ – 2 (Bertang Kerengkeng, Ibong Lukaret); MARYO J. DELOS REYES – 2 (Sinungaling Mong Puso, Tagos ng Dugo); MARILOU DIAZ ABAYA – 2 (Minsan pa Natin Hagkan Ang Nakaraan, Alyas Baby Tsina); MARIA SARET – 2 (Amorseko: Kumakabit Kumakapit, Susan Kelly Edad 20); MANING SONGCO – 2 (Sweet Sweet Love, Dalagang Nayon);  JOSE MIRANDA CRUZ – 2 (Duelo sa Sapang Bato, Eagle Commandos);  JOSE ‘PEPE’ WENCESLAO – 2 (Baby Vi, Teen-Age Senorita);  GIL M. PORETES – 2 (Miss X, Never Ever Say Goodbye); DING M. DE JESUS – 2 (Maria Cecilia, Sino ang may Karapatan?); CESAR GALLARDO – 2 (Ito ang Pilipino, King Khayam and I); CARLO J. CAPARAS – 2 (Lipa: Arandia Massacre, Rizal Alih, Zamboanga Massacre); ARMANDO GARCES – 2 (Darna vs. the Planetwoman, De Colores);  AL QUINN – 2 (Disco Fever, Swing it Baby);

1 Film:   YANG SHIH CHIN – 1 – Twin Fists for Justice; WENN V. DERAMAS – 1 – D’ Lucky Ones;  TONY CRUZ – 1 – Ikaw Ang Mahal Ko;  RORY B. QUINTOS – 1 – Anak;  RONALD REMY – 1 – Sa Baril Magtutuos;  PABLO S GOMEZ – 1 – Ding Dong; OSCAR MIRANDA – 1 – Rock, Baby, Rock; OLIVIA M. LAMASAN – 1 – In My Life;  MIKE RELON MAKILING – 1 – Doctor, Doctor, We Are Sick;  MIKE DE LEON – 1 – Sister Stella L.;  LEROY SALVADOR – 1 – Muling Buksan ang Puso; JOSE JAVIER REYES – 1 – Nag-iisang Bituin; JOEL LAMANGAN – 1 – Mano Po 3 My Love;  J. ERASTHEO NAVOA – 1 – Darna at Ding; IKE JARLEGO JR – 1 – Hanggang Ngayon Ika’y Minamahal;  G. F. C. – 1 – Mapagbigay ang Mister Ko;  FRANK GRAY JR. – 1 – Buhay Artista, Ngayon;  DON WEIS – 1 – Longest Hundred Miles;  DANNY OCHOA – 1 – Twin Fists for Justice;  DANILO CABRERA  – 1 – Relaks ka Lang, Sagot Kita;  CONRADO CONDE – 1 – Iginuhit ng Tadhana;  CLOYD ROBINSON – 1 – Darna at Ding; CELIA DIAZ LAUREL – 1 – Ophelia at Paris; GENEROSA SANTIAGO – 1 – Big Ike’s Happening; BOBBY SANTIAGO – 1 – Vivian Volta; BEN FELEO – 1 – The Young Idols; AUGUSTO BUENAVENTURA – 1 – Mga Tigre ng Sierra Cruz; ARSENIO BAUTISTA – 1 – Wonder Vi;  ARMANDO HERRERA – 1 – Dugo at Pag-Ibig sa Kapirasong Lupa; ANTONIO JOSE PEREZ – 1 – Haplos;  AMALIA MUHLACH – 1 – Mga Reynang Walang Trono; ABRAHAM CRUZ  – 1 – Love Letters; (no data available: directors unknown) – Ito ang Dahilan, Hampaslupang Maton, Vilma My Darling, Morena Martir, Love at First Sight, Nobody’s Child, Our Love Affair, Bulaklak at Paru-paro

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Filmography: Lipad Darna Lipad! (1973)

“Ding, ang bato! dali!” – Narda/Darna

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Basic Information: Directed: Emmanuel H. Borlaza, Elwood Perez, Joey Gosiengfiao; Story: Mars Ravelo; Screenplay: Joey Gosiengfiao; Cast: Vilma Santos, Gloria Romero, Celia Rodriguez, Liza Lorena, Eddie Garcia, Marissa Delgado, Ernie Garcia, Dick Israel, Ruel Vernal, Angie Ferro, Angelito, Nanette Lizares, Rod Dasco, Cloyd Robinson, Mary Walter, Adul de Leon, Bobby Roldan, Edgar Oira, Karlo Vero, Francisco Cruz, Chanda Romero, Gilda Gomez, Ellen Esguerra, Oskar Peralta, Urduja, Louie Acosta; Executive Producer: Victor Gosiengfiao; Original Music: Jonas Sebastian, Demetrio Velasquez; Cinematography: Rodolfo Diño

Plot Description: After a long period of absence, Vilma Santos resurrected the Filipino version of Wonder Woman, Darna, in a fantastic trilogy. Despite the lack of height familiar with previous Darnas, Vilma Santos’ bubbly youthful portrayal as Darna and the alter ego character Narda radiated the screen against Philippine cinema’s senior screen queens, Gloria Romero as the “Babaing Impakta (Vampire Woman),” Celia Rodriguez as “Babaing Ahas (Snake Woman),” and Liza Lorena as “Babaing Lawin (Hawk Woman).” The film was release on March 23, 1973 to a massive crowd in Metro Manila. Tagalog Ilang Ilang Production who produced the film reportedly distributed Darna dolls and Coca-cola drinks to the moviegoers. The film was a trilogy that focuses on the fights scenes between Darna and her nemesis with great effect and with the help of Darna’s equally perky young brother, Ding portrayed by child star, Angelito. The special effect that was considered way ahead of its time were in full displayed in this film. The goriness make-up, particularly Gloria Romero’s was a proof that Filipinos were creative and talented, way ahead of Hollywood or even Bollywood. – RV

Film Achievement: Top Record-Breaking Box-office Film of 1973; The first of four Darna films starring Vilma Santos; One of Vilma Santos and Gloria Romero 13 films – (Anak ang Iyong Ina, Iginuhit ng Tadhana, De Colores, Pinagbuklod ng Langit, Anak ng Aswang, Lipad Darna Lipad, Happy Days are Here Again, Karugtong ang Kahapon, Nakakahiya?, Hindi Nakakahiya, Makahiya at Talahib, Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-ibig?, Kapag Langit Ang Humatol) – RV (READ MORE)

Film Review: In the Silver Age era of Darna, the movie “Lipad, Darna, Lipad!” (“Fly, Darna, Fly!” 1973), played by the lovely Vilma Santos, made a new version of the story. In this time, Narda was a teenager in her late teens. She discovered the magic stone after the event of a falling star landed near her home one night. She discovered that the magic pebble gave her superpowers that made her Darna. She and her brother were the only ones who knew the secret and their grandmother was not aware of it in this version. Narda herself becomes Darna and were not two different characters. She was also not from Planet Marte but was just a champion warrior of the forces of light. Every time Darna turns back to her mortal self, the magic stone reappears in her mouth and she takes it out and hides it until she needs it again. Every time the need arises, she has to swallow the pebble again and say Darna to transform. – Silver Age Darna, Supersexyheroines website

In 1951, 2 Darna movies were made starring Rosa Del Rosario, followed by another two starring Liza Moreno in the early 60’s, one by Eva Montes and one by Gina Pareno in 1969. But it was not until 1973’s “Lipad, Darna, Lipad” starring Vilma Santos when “Darna mania” would be rekindled and made this version the highest grossing Darna movie of them all. A feat that has not been equalled to this day. In these 1970s films, Darna’s origin was slightly tweaked with a new twist yet remained faithful to Mars Ravelo’s vision. No longer a little girl, Narda was now in her late teens. Also, she herself becomes Darna, unlike the original where she just “channels” her. Only Ding knows her secret in this version unlike the original where both Ding and their Grandmother knew the secret. Also, the stone comes out of Narda’s mouth every time she changes back from being Darna; she has to swallow it every time she wants to transform (This became standard for following versions). Darna is not specified as coming from Marte, just as a “warrior of Light”. This version of Darna became most people’s idea of the character for about 3 decades. A famous catch phrase by Narda popularized by the movies and NOT the comics version is “Ding, Ang Bato!” (“Ding, the Stone!) – Nostalgia Manila blog site

LIPAD, DARNA, LIPAD (1973) – The quintessential action-fantasy Pinoy flick that appeals to all ages, from generation to generation. This movie is a major milestone for Vilma because it proved that she could really carry a solo movie and bring in the dough (up to now of course!). Vilma’s Darna franchise is the most memorable and successful of all Pinoy fantasy-action genres. Imitated but never equalled, Vilma’s Darna lives on. Unforgettable. Memorable. It grows on you. No Pinoy kid ever grows up without being a part of the Darna magic. The enormous success of Lipad, Darna, and Lipad led to three more Darna movies with Vilma Santos. As a result, the star for all seasons became the star for all Darnas—Santos played her four times, more than any other actress in the super heroine’s history.

Lipad, Darna, Lipad! were thus divided into three separate segments, directed by three different directors. In Darna’s case, the three directors were Maning Borlaza, Joey Goesiengfao, and Elwood Perez—three names that promised an adventure that could do Andy Warhol proud.

First episode: “Ang Impakta” Starring Gloria Romero as Miss Luna, Narda’s school teacher who has a dark secret. She is actually a flying blood sucking creature at night. In this thrilling episode she knows the secret identity of Narda. The most memorable part was when Ms. Luna asked Narda to help her with some paper works. Little that she know, while she was busy checking the papers Ms. Luna excused herself, she then went to the next room and transformed into a scary vampire.

Ding found out that Ms. Luna is the vampire and Narda forgot to bring the magical stone , he rushed to her sister who then was being strugled by the monster. As soon as he got there, he threw the stone to her much terrified sister and she immediately changed to Darna. Followed was the famous aerial fight scene. Nanette Medved and Bing Loyzaga tried to copy the infamous fight scene in 1990 Viva films Darna. Episode one was directed by Maning Borlaza.

Second episode: Vilma also had to battle with Celia Rodriguez, who played a campy Valentina, a supermodel by day and a snake priestess by night. One scene has the actress naked in bed being caressed by a dozen snakes. Indeed, with the likes of Gosiengfao, Perez, and Borlaza at the helm, Darna is sure to get stuck in grotesque situations reminiscent of the Rocky Horror Movie. Their take on Darna is sometimes too risqué and violent for little children; but as a camp fest, the movie works.

In this episode Valentina, tried to steal Narda’s magical stone. Also, there was a scene where Valentina dressed up as Darna. I love the exciting part where Darna and Valentina battled on top of a high rise building. Darna, was almost a no match to her mortal enemy. Dangerously armed with lazer beams coming out from Valentina’s eyes, Darna was helpless and knocked down several times. Until, she stumbled upon into a piece of broken mirror and used it as a shield againts Valentina’s deadly lazer beams. Darna quickly made her looked in the mirror. Her lazer beams bounced back and she turned into a stone. From the roof, Valentina fell hard on the ground and broked into shattered pieces. Anjanette Abayarri and Cherrie Gil almost did the same scene in ” Darna, Ang Pagbabalik! ” Second Episode was directed by Elwood Perez.

Vilma Santos with co stars Ernie Garcia and Celia Rodriguez as Dr. Valentina Vrandakapoor, Phd in reptilian zoology from the University of new Delhi. Not to be overlooked is Darna’s arch-rival Valentina. Celia Rodriguez breathed new life to the term antagonist with her classy portrayal of the serpent-haired villainess. Rodriguez set a new standard by which evil women are to be judged.

Third episode: The final& episode was “Babaing Lawin” ( Hawk Woman), starring Liza Lorena as Babaing Lawin. I barely remember this one, there was this scene where Narda and Ding got caught and almost drowned in a quick sand. In Hawk Woman’s cave there’s this stream, that can make her wings disappear by walking across to it. There was also this character named Agila, a bird man played by Rod Dasco, he’s like the Hawk Woman’s mate. There was some fight scenes in the cave between Hawk Woman and and Darna. At the end of the story Darna and Hawk Woman, mend their ways. – Eric Cueto (READ MORE)

“Due to the Internet, one day soon I’m sure information on all of the cinematic obscurities of the world will be available to us, but at the moment it’s still wonderful to uncover a country’s hidden pop culture hitherto unnoticed by the rest of the planet. Take Video48, a mind-shattering trip into the uncharted realms of Filipino cinema, featuring a menagerie of stills, posters and articles from films I never even dared to dream existed! I stumbled across home-grown super-heroes such as Mars Revelo’s Darna a few years back, and Eric Cueto’s fansite provided a wealth of information on her cinematic adventures, (whilst also revealing tantalising glimpses of her on-screen contemporaries), but I certainly hadn’t realised the extent to which comic book characters pervaded the Philippine big-screen. Chances are the country was second only to Turkey when it came to cinematic Super-heroes – Darna herself has starred in 14 films and two TV series, which certainly puts Wonder Woman to shame…Sadly most of these fantasy films are unlikely to have survived – the condition of the Vilma Santos’ early Darna movies is supposedly so wretched that a DVD release has been permanently canned, and ancient VHS copies of Darna & the Giants and Darna & the Planet Women are jealously guarded by the few collectors who salvaged them from rental shops. Just as in Turkey, these films were probably considered to be as disposable as the comic books on which they were based – but I for one would go ga-ga for a double bill of this years The Dark Knight with 1973’s Fight Batman Fight (fair enough, my brain might melt out of my ears afterwards, but what a way to go…” – Poptique (READ MORE)

“…Vilma, now 20, still looking virginal and sweet kicked 70’s phenomenal superstar Nora’s butt at the boxoffice and earned her box-office wings via this monumental hit. The Emancipation of Baby Vi. Mariah Carey could not agree more. There was no turning back since then. The Fantasy Queen was born. Forty-three year old Tita Gloria gamely and bravely accepted the role of Ms. Luna, teacher by day and Manananggal by night. Movie Queen Gloria was deglamorized and became the evil incarnate as a vampire. Amalia Fuentes was the original movie queen who bravely accepted a daring role such as a vampire that won her a FAMAS statuette in Gerry De Leon’s Ibulong Mo Sa Hangin, and changed her goody-two-shoe image forever. Was she the original queen of reinvention that gave Vilma an idea to do the same via the landmark movie Burlesk Queen? Hmmm…for the first time, La Santos was billed above La Romero. Times have changed. The tables were turned. Vilma Santos is the New Box-Office Champ and Tita Glo and Company could only “bow” to the Reel/Real Queen: Ms. Rita Gomez, Helen Gamboa, Boots Anson-Roa, Barbara Perez and others did not have second thoughts to do a movie with the resurgent Vilma. Who wouldn’t want to be famous again and have fun working with the most hardworking and versatile actress? In my book, the aerial Good versus Evil fight of Vilma and Gloria as Darna and Impakta was one of the most thrilling and unforgettable scenes of my movie-going life. How I wish the movie resurfaces from Indonesia or from Timbuktu and my Vilma collection will be complete. That will be heaven! Where, oh, where is that classic movie? The Manananggal episode of Lipad, Darna, Lipad was so good that the two have to followed up their success via Anak Ng Aswang…” – Mario O. Garces (READ MORE)

“…This four-time FAMAS-winning actress is best remembered for her role as the slithering Dr. Valentina Vrandakapoor in the 1973 film Lipad, Darna, Lipad. In the iconic movie, she donned the reptile headdress for the Medusa-inspired character and gave Darna (Vilma Santos) hell. Although she’s been appearing in less villainous roles, Celia Rodriguez is still active in both movie and television these days. She played a supporting character in Darna’s latest TV incarnation, with Marian Rivera as the superheroine…” – Spot.ph (READ MORE)

Most Popular Darna “…Ding, ang bato!” yells Narda, the adolescent country lass, to her younger brother. Ding obligingly hands over a shiny pebble which Narda swallows to turn herself into the vivacious super-vixen, Darna. Mars Ravelo’s superheroine, clad in crimson bikinis and knee-high stiletto boots, may perhaps be the most famous local fantasy character given life on the silver screen. Though not actually considered a career-defining role, portraying Darna is, nonetheless, highly-coveted. Darna has been portrayed by no less than nine actress in 12 feature films. Rosa del Rosario first wore the scarlet two piece in May 1951. She reprised the role after three months. Liza Moreno, Eva Montes and Gina Pareno followed her. The inter-galactic pebble found its way to Vilma Santos’ throat in 1973 via the flick “Lipad, Darna, Lipad!” Santos, now a two-term mayor of Lipa City in Batangas, is probably the most popular Darna, with a total of four movies in a span of seven years. Some of these were made known to younger generations through afternoon airings on television in the late ’80s. Maybe RPN 9 should do that again so that even younger generations can marvel at Darna’s greatness, albeit antiquated, in such movies as “Darna and the Giants” and “Darna vs. the Planet Women…” – Armin Adina, Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 06, 2003 (READ MORE)

“…And so, yielding to the theory that “misery loves company,” the two failures teamed up. They picked up from where they had left off. Backed up by some enterprising businessmen who firmly believed the duo would make good next time (they were joined by Joey’s brother, Victor, and movie scribe Douglas Quijano and others), they formed Sine Pilipino and turned out the three-episode “Lipad, Darna, Lipad.” Joey and Elwood directed two of the episodes. In an interview, the two directors intimated that, depending on public reaction, it could have been their last stint in the movies. Miracles of miracles, Lipad, Darna,,,broke existing box office records at that time! But alas, despite the movie success, Sine Pilipino closed shop due to “mismanagement.” Undaunted, Elwood and Joey formed another company, this time the Juan de la Cruz Productions. Just the same, the budding outfit folded up because it had a rough time with the Board of Censors. By then, the drive against bomba movies and smut publications were massive and sustained, and the guidelines were different to those of today…” – Manny B. Fernandez, Expressweek, July 12, 1979 (READ MORE)

Darna is Not a ‘Rip-off” of Wonder Woman – “…Because of the character’s immense popularity, several other studios would license the character and produce more Darna movies throughout the next several decades. After Rosa Del Rosario, Vilma Santos (who first played Darna in 1973’s “Lipad, Darna, Lipad”) would be the most well known and the most in demand to play the character. She starred in a total of 4 Darna movies. Her 4th and final one being in 1980. For years after that, no more Darna movies were produced…” – Raffy Arcega, Comic Book Movie (READ MORE)

Gina Pareño – “…Mara­ming naging Darna sa kani-kanilang panahon pero ang unang inabot naming lumabas na Darna ay si Gina Pareño. Aba, kung nakita ninyo si Gina noong panahong iyon, ang ganda talaga niya at hanep ang katawan. ’Tapos ang maraming Darna movies na napanood namin, ang star ay si Vilma Santos, na nagsimula sa Lipad, Darna, Lipad. Iniba ang title dahil ang sinundang pelikula na Takbo, Vilma, Dali ay naging isang napakalaking hit din noong panahong iyon. Aba, isipin ninyo, noong panahong iyon ay nakakagawa ng isang pelikulang black and white sa halagang P120,000 lamang. Eh kinse pesos lang ang sine noon. Ang Darna ni Vilma kumita ng tatlung daang libong piso sa Metro Manila pa lamang at kakaunti pa ang sinehan noon ha. At kung titingnan naman ninyo si Vilma nung nag-uumpisa — maganda, sexy, at maputi. Kung negra ka, ano ang hitsura mo kung magsusuot ka ng costume ni Darna? Baka mapagkamalan ka pang lumilipad na tuko? Pagkatapos ni Vilma, marami ring naging ibang Darna, pero honestly ni hindi na namin napanood ang mga pelikula. Hindi dahil nagsawa kami sa Darna movies ha. In fact, hanggang ngayon mahilig pa rin kami sa super heroes. Nanonood nga kami ng anime eh. Pero hindi namin nagustuhan ang iba…” – Ed de Leon, Pang-Masa, 08 Oct 2013 (READ MORE)

Valentina – “…Iba talaga si Direk Maryo J. dahil he brings out the best in his actors,” says Katrina, whose daughter Katrence turned one year old last Wednesday. “Dito sa ‘Magkano Ba ang Pag-ibig’, tatlo kaming aktres na nag-Valentina ang nagkasama-sama. Una si Tita Celia Rodriguez na nag-Valentina kay Gov. Vilma Santos sa ‘Lipad Darna Lipad’ in 1973. Then si Alessandra de Rossi na nag-Valentina on TV to Angel Locsin’s Darna noong 2005, at ako na nag-Valentina kay Marian Rivera sa 2009 version ng ‘Darna…” – Mario Bautista, Journal, 23 September 2013 (READ MORE)

Intergalactic Warrior – “…There were comic-inspired franchises that never travelled beyond their own borders, such as the Darna series from the Philippines in the 1970s – she was an intergalactic warrior disguised as an earthling – and which helped actress Vilma Santos turn the fame she achieved into a political career that still sees her serving as governor of Batangas province…” – Matt Scott, South China Morning Post, 20 April, 2014 (READ MORE)

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

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Filmography: Tsismosang Tindera (1973)

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Basic Information: Directed: Emmanuel H. Borlaza; Cast: Vilma Santos, Jay Ilagan, Ike Lozada, German Moreno, Chanda Romero, Beth Manlongat, Romeo Miranda, Baby Alcaraz, Boyet Cruz, Angelito; Executive Producer: Espiridion Laxa; Original Music: Danny Subido; Cinematography: Benjamin Lobo

Plot Description: Gossipy street vendor Vilma found love (trouble!) Jay in this comedy directed by Borlaza!

Film Achievement: “…Borlaza gave Vilma Santos her very first best actress, winning the 1972 FAMAS for via Dama De Noche. He is also credited in narrowing the popularity gap between her and the musical era’s darling of the 70s, Nora Aunor. Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 4 (#10 Lipad Darna Lipad 1973, #32 Dyesebel at ang Mahiwagang Kabibe 1973, #48 Darna and the Giants 1973, #49 Dama De Noche 1972)…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…Jay Ilagan and Vilma Santos did twelve films with commercial success except for one, their most critically acclaimed film, Sister Stella L. Total Number of films: 12 (Inspiration, Ang Konduktora, Tsismosang Tindera, Ang Hiwaga ni Mariang Cinderella, Paano Ba Ang Mangarap, Sister Stella L, Coed, Leron Leron Sinta, Ito Ang Pilipino, Remembrance, Karugtong Ng Kahapon)…” – RV (READ MORE)

Film Review: “…Besides teaming up with Edgar Mortiz during her teen years, Vilma Santos also starred and appeared in many movies opposite other leading men…Jay Ilagan — Inspiration (1972), Ang Konduktora (1972), Tatlong Mukha ni Rosa Vilma (1972), Tsismosang Tindera (1973), Ang Hiwaga ni Maria Cinderella (1973)…” – Simon Santos (READ MORE)

“…His films lack the arthouse style and social relevance that critics loves most in a Brocka or Bernal films but who cares about the critics when the paying public loves them. And the producers demand his service, from Doc Perez of Sampaguita Pictures, Atty. Esperidion Laxa of Tagalog Ilang Ilang Productions and later on, Vic Del Rosario of Viva Films and Lily Monteverde of Regal Films. Clearly, his films exists with one purpose, to entertain the masses not to depress or remind them with the country’s sad fate of economy or the below poverty line lives of many. The success of the Vilma-Borlaza films gave Vilma Santos versatility and preparation to a more serious acting career. It also narrowed the popularity gap between her and the musical era’s darling of the 70s, Nora Aunor. These are perhaps, the most significant contributions of Emmanuel Borlaza to Vilma’s career. Vilma who was considered only second to Nora couldn’t matched her singing talent and so, Borlaza countered this lack of singing with films that showcased Vilma’s acting versatility…” – RV (READ MORE)

Filmography: Ang Hiwaga Ni Maria Cinderella (1973)

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Basic Information: Directed: Emmanuel H. Borlaza; Cast: Vilma Santos, Jay Ilagan, Blanca Gomez, Geena Zablan, Janet Clemente, Ike Lozada, German Moreno, Jannie Frias, Jingle, Winnie Santos, Maricel, Jonjon Salvador, Mary Rose Junco, Jerry Jackson, Dondon Nakar, Florence Aguilar, Romeo Miranda, Max Alvarado, Matimtiman Cruz, Joseph Sytangco, Elizabeth Vaughn; Original Music: Tito Arevalo; Cinematography: Tommy Marcelino

Plot Description:   Filipino version of Cinderella.

Film Achievement:   “…Jay Ilagan and Vilma Santos did twelve films with commercial success except for one, their most critically acclaimed film, Sister Stella L. Total Number of films with Vilma Santos – 12 (Inspiration, Ang Konduktora, Tsismosang Tindera, Ang Hiwaga ni Mariang Cinderella, Tatlong Mukha ni Rosa Vilma, Paano Ba Ang Mangarap, Sister Stella L, Coed, Leron Leron Sinta, Ito Ang Pilipino, Remembrance, Karugtong Ng Kahapon)…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…Borlaza gave Vilma Santos her very first best actress, winning the 1972 FAMAS for via Dama De Noche. He is also credited in narrowing the popularity gap between her and the musical era’s darling of the 70s, Nora Aunor. Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 4 (#10 Lipad Darna Lipad 1973, #32 Dyesebel at ang Mahiwagang Kabibe 1973, #48 Darna and the Giants 1973, #49 Dama De Noche 1972)…” – RV (READ MORE)

Film Review: “……Besides teaming up with Edgar Mortiz during her teen years, Vilma Santos also starred and appeared in many movies opposite other leading men…Jay Ilagan — Inspiration (1972), Ang Konduktora (1972), Tatlong Mukha ni Rosa Vilma (1972), Tsismosang Tindera (1973), Ang Hiwaga ni Maria Cinderella (1973)…” – Simon Santos (READ MORE)

“…His films lack the arthouse style and social relevance that critics loves most in a Brocka or Bernal films but who cares about the critics when the paying public loves them. And the producers demand his service, from Doc Perez of Sampaguita Pictures, Atty. Esperidion Laxa of Tagalog Ilang Ilang Productions and later on, Vic Del Rosario of Viva Films and Lily Monteverde of Regal Films. Clearly, his films exists with one purpose, to entertain the masses not to depress or remind them with the country’s sad fate of economy or the below poverty line lives of many. The success of the Vilma-Borlaza films gave Vilma Santos versatility and preparation to a more serious acting career. It also narrowed the popularity gap between her and the musical era’s darling of the 70s, Nora Aunor. These are perhaps, the most significant contributions of Emmanuel Borlaza to Vilma’s career. Vilma who was considered only second to Nora couldn’t matched her singing talent and so, Borlaza countered this lack of singing with films that showcased Vilma’s acting versatility…” – RV (READ MORE)