The Truth – “…When you are young, malakas ang loob mong maghiwalay because it marks new beginning in your life. There are options to take and it was easy to let go. I tried to save my marriage and worked hard for it, and every time we’re back into each other arms, I felt God heard my prayers,” she reveals…Gina hopes to regain her self-esteem and self-respect with the decision she made. “I finally accepted the truth that the situation is real. I used to entertain false hopes. Not anymore, I feel totally free…” – Remy M. Umerez, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Jan 1, 2002 (READ MORE)
The Roles – “…Yes, I am aware that theater-owners have a say on the kind of movies they would exhibit in their theaters and they usually have suggestions on the stars producers should hire to recoup their investments,” she had said. . “But you can’t argue against formula movies. They make money for the producers and they are good business for theater exhibitors. However, I need not figure in those formula movies although I find myself in some of those predictable projects. But making movies is also about good craftsmanship, it is also about the fine art of acting and not always primarily about making oodles of money. In most of my movies, I sometimes sacrifice the fees I deserve to be identified with film projects you believe in.”…She garnered two trophies as a child star: one for Ang Kaibigan Kong Sto. Nińo (FAMAS) and Wanted: Perfect Mother (CMMA). She bagged three Best Actress awards from Urian (Brutal, Salome, Kapit sa Patalim) and one each from CMMA (Andrea) and Metro Manila Film Festival (Shake, Rattle and Roll). The last came from the Film Academy of the Philippines (Kaya Kong Abutin ang Langit) and one each from Urian, CMMA and FAMAS (all for Biktima). She was the struggling singer Kathy in Moral, the guilt-ridden Cynthia in Brutal by Marilou Diaz Abaya or the unforgettable child-woman in Salome directed by Laurice Guillen. Lino Brocka farther honed her acting prowess when he got her as the dissident’s wife in Orapronobis and an ill-fated worker’s wife in Kapit Sa Patalim all of which made waves in film fests abroad….
…Lino (Brocka) taught me how to act straight from the heart; Laurice (Guillen) taught me how to make the most of my body as an acting instrument and Marilou (Diaz-Abaya) taught me the value of spontaneous acting by constant rehearsals, how to make the memorized lines come naturally. I credit all of them for what I am now. That they trusted me with those sensitive roles was something I would always remember regardless of how the films fared at the box office.” Even if well-made films did not always translate into box office triumphs, she remembered those films for something that they had imparted to the moviegoers. She had pointed out in the past. “I am proud of Orapronobis, Kapit Sa Patalim, Salome, Moral and Brutal because I find joy in being part of a film that gave us all a lesson. I watch other good pictures to pick up something and be compelled to think – regardless of whether they are about love, friendship or family relationship. I like a film if it gives me something I can adapt to my own life. I do not dislike a film just because I disagree with its message. I also watch film to see other people’s point of view…” – Pablo A. Tariman (READ MORE)
Child Star – “…Ms. Alajar was a child star herself. She started acting when she was eight years old, so she knows the pressures of being a child star. “I am not against child acting because we need child stars. In fact, there are many acting greats who started out as child stars. I just want to make sure that laws on children are properly implemented when dealing with these child stars, for example, not staying up late beyond their sleeping hours. Although, these children do it because of the fulfillment that they get,” she said. Ms. Alajar recalled that when she was a child actress, she couldn’t sleep after eight in the evening because there are still shots that need to be taken after dinner. “So, I slept at 10 in the evening. Then, they woke me up at 2 in the morning. When they did that, I didn’t want to get up. Now, I don’t sleep at 10 in the evening until one in the morning because I get irritable when people wake me up. Somehow, I traced it back to when I was younger,” she said. Now, Ms. Alajar is 42 years old and still looking young and flawless as ever. “I’m glad I lasted this long. Well, I had nothing else to do. I love acting. The passion for acting made me stay,” she said…” – Kathy M. Villalon (READ MORE)
Re-launched – “…After the breathing spell, the teenage Alajar was re-discovered by the late producer Dr. Jose Perez of Sampaguita Pictures, who signed her to an eight-year build-up contract. In Sampaguita, she did teen-aged supporting roles in such films as My Little Brown Girl, Isa, Dalawa, Tatlo, Magtago Na Kayo, Young Dreams and Sweet Sixteen. A year later, she starred in Cofradia, a re-make of a successful film in the 1950s starring Gloria Romero. In this production, which was to launch her career as a star in her own right she met Michael de Mesa, who would later become her husband. Unfortunately, her stint with Sampaguita was interrupted by the death of Dr. Perez. She was thereupon released from her contract and, for a time, her acting career was in limbo. The situation was made worse by the upsurge of sex films in the country. She was thus compelled to take roles that she now herself considers forgettable. Her days as a sex symbol were short-lived, she recalls, for she had neither the heart nor the guts for such vehicles. In the late 1970s, her career was re-launched a second time, there was no looking back. The early 1980s saw her metamorphose into a serious actress via such films as Brutal, Salome, Playgril, Manila by Night and Kontrobersiyal. In Brutal, she distinguished herself winning the best supporting actress award in metro Manila Film Festival. She was also chosen 1980 best actress by the film critics’ group, the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, for Brutal. She duplicated the feat by winning the best actress for Urian in Salome in 1981. In 1988, Alajar did only three films: Hiwaga sa Belete Drive, Minsan Pa Yakapin Mo Ako and Birds of Prey. In 1989, she appeared in a film by Lino Brocka, which was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in France. The film Fight for Us, says Gina, “was inspired by certain people and events in the country…” – Justino M. Dormiendo (READ MORE)
Gina Alajar and Vilma Santos
Sister Stella L. (1984) – “…Sa pagkamatay ni Ninoy, ang napagbuhusan namin ng panahon nina Mike at Ding ay isang documentary na pinamagatang Signos at ang pelikulang Sister Stella L. Isang kanta mula sa binabalak na Brechtian zarzuela ang ginamit na isa sa mga theme songs ng Sister Stella L: ang “Aling Pag-ibig Pa,” na binigyang-tinig ni Pat Castillo sa pelikula at sa plaka. Nang ipalabas ang Sister Stella L. sa 1984 Venice International Film Festival, ang pamagat nito ay Sangandaan (Incroci sa Italyano, Crossroad sa Ingles). Pinagtiyap na sa unang storyline ay Sister Corazon de Jesus ang pangalan ni Sister Stella L. Ang nasa isip ko noon ay hindi si Corazon Aquino, kundi ang Sagrado Corazon de Jesus…” – Pete Lacaba (READ MORE)
Big Ike’s Happening (1976) – “…All star casts din ang pelikulang handog ng Larry Santiago at Ike Lozada Productions na Big Ike’s Happening (February 27, 1976) na tinampukan nina Vi, Tirso Cruz III, Walter Navaro, Ike Lozada, Aurora Salve, Gina Alajar, Jojit Paredes, Dondon Nakar, Winnie Santos, Arnold Gamboa, Maribel Aunor, Allan Valenzuela, Doyet Ilagan, Edward Campos, German Moreno, Inday Badiday, Ben David, Lilian Laing, Aruray, Nora Aunor, Perla Bautista, Charlie Davao, Esperanza Fabon, Eddie Peregrina, Bella Flores, Lito Legaspi, Christopher de Leon, Van de Leon, Pinky Montilla, Alma Moreno, Dencio Padilla, Andy Poe, Jerry Pons, Ric Rodrigo, Gloria Romero, Daria Ramirez, Darius Razon, Marianne de la Riva, Eddie San Jose, Ricky Santiago, Lorna Tolentino, Eddie Villamayor at Vic Vargas sa direksiyon nina Pablo at Bobby Santiago…” – Alfonso Valencia (READ MORE)
Dugo at pag-ibig sa kapirasong lupa (1975) – “…A Must for the Filipino History Students and for everyone who wants to awaken the innate nationalism in them. These series of stories depicting the fight of the Filipinos against colonialism of Spain, Japan and even their fellow Filipinos abusing the power in the government. A seemingly serious film but spiced with the star-studded cast like Fernando Poe Jr., Ramon Revilla, Joseph Estrada, Nora Aunor, Dante Rivero, Eddie Garcia, Vic Vargas, Goerge Estregan and the other all time favorite artists. This movie even highlighted the comparison between the love of country and the other kind of love we offer to our family and to our beloved as the story featured love stories in the midst of tragic and bloody war happening in our society…” – Kabayan Central (READ MORE)
Mga Batang Bangketa (1970) – “…By late 1969, movie producers had been tapping a Vilma Santos-Edgar Mortiz love team. Edgar was a Tawag ng Tanghalan winner. They started to be together in the movies, My Darling Eddie (1969) and The Jukebox King (1969)…In 1970, the love team of Vilma Santos and Edgar “Bobot” Mortiz was officially launched in the movie Young Love, together with the another popular love team during that time, Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III. The Vi and Bot love team went on to do 14 more movies in 1970—The Young Idols, Songs and Lovers, Sweethearts, Sixteen, Love Letters, Love is for the Two of Us, Mga Batang Bangketa, My Pledge of Love, Renee Rose, Baby Vi, Because You Are Mine, Edgar Loves Vilma, From the Bottom of My Heart, and I Love You Honey. All did well at the box-office…” – Rommel R. Llanes (READ MORE)
Sixteen (1970) – “…The success of Sixteen can be attributed to the playfulness and simplicity of the song selections. It suited the sweetness and purity of Vilma’s almost child like voice. The album earned Vilma her first golden record award and a remarkable signature song, “Sixteen.” The album established her as a successful recording artist. If I will compare her to today’s list of contemporary artists, I will compare Vilma to the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, and Madonna. Jennifer, Britney, and Madonna has thin but sweet voices just like Vilma. Like Vilma, these pop superstars have to work hard to achieve almost perfect products that their fans loved. Like Vilma, the three pop stars are great dancers which they all used to the max in their choreograph production numbers. The reluctant singer came out on top. Vilma Santos’s debut album made history. Sixteen made Vilma Santos a remarkable singer…” – RV (READ MORE)
Pinagbuklod ng Langit (1969) – “…Pero higit na tumatak si Luis nang gampanan niya ng dalawang beses si Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos. Ito’y sa kontrobersyal na pelikulang “Iginuhit ng Tadhana” bago tumakbo si Marcos bilang presidente noong 1965. Sinundan ito ng “Pinagbuklod ng Langit” noong 1969. Si Imee Marcos, na ginampanan noon ni Vilma Santos, naalala ang galing ni Luis na mahirap na daw tapatan ngayon. “His acting was understated. A great actor and a good friend. He played a big role in our lives. Halos naniniwala na ako na tatay ko siya dahil sa boses. Mahal na mahal namin si Luis Gonzales,” sabi ni Imee. Ayon sa kanyang kabiyak, huling hiling ni Luis na ipa-cremate ang kanyang labi…” – Mario Dumaual (READ MORE)
- Gina Alajar describes relationship with ex-husband Michael de Mesa
- Gina Alajar prefers to portray women who are not necessarily kind, but who have minds of their own
- Empathy prompted Gina Alajar’s Facebook message
- Gina Alajar holds acting workshop
- Gina Alajar: From “Oreng” to “Salome” (Movie Ads Circa 1967-81)
- They remember Luis Gonzales as a fun person
- Moral (1982)
- High School Scandal (1981)
- Playgirl (1981)
- Cofradia (1973)
- Salome (1981)
- Salome (1981) Film Clip (Video)
Nangangatog ako ng una kong ma-meet si Vilma Santos in person. Ganoon pala talaga ang feeling kapag naka face to face mo ang idol mo. – Ana Capri
Hindi complete at walang katuturan ang pagiging producer ko kung hindi ako makagawa ng pelikula na bida ang hinahangaan kong si Vilma Santos – Donna Villa
Kahit one-fourth lang ng tagumpay ni Ate Vi. Ang marating ko masayang masaya na ako. Talagang idol ko siya. Idol siya ng buong pamilya ko – Kristine Garcia
I first worked with Vilma when she was just a child star. From then, alam kong malayo ang mararating niya as an actor dahil bata pa mahusay na. Hindi ako nagkamali. Hindi lang siya basta naging artista, kundi naging isa sa pinakamahusay at pinakasikat. – Gloria Romero
Simula ng mapanood ko si Vilma sa Trudis Liit naging Vilmanian na ako. Nobody comes close to her. – Armida Siguion Reyna
Naging Huwaran ko si Ate Vi hindi lang sa career ko kundi maging sa personal kong buhay. I am very proud to be a Vilmanian. – Snooky Serna
Bata pa ako hindi pa ako artista talagang idol ko na si ate Vi. Pinupuntahan ko pa yan sa bahay niya para lang makita at maka-usap kahit ako lang mag-isa.- Sharon Cuneta
Vilma is the most versatile actress in our time. Kahit anong role kaya niyang gampanan ng buong husay. Ang sarap makatrabaho ang isang Vilma Santos – Celia Rodriguez
Kung alam lang ni ate Vi kung ilang beses akong nadapa sa paghahabol na makita siya. Siya ang naging inspirasyon ko sa pagpasok ko sa showbiz. – Ai-Ai Delas Alas
Simula noon hanggang ngayon pagbalibaligtarin man ang mundo Vilmanian pa rin ako. – Korina Sanchez
Once you encounter and know ate Vi, you will realized how nice and thoughtful she is. She is always been an inspiration to me. Masarap siyang maging kaibigan. – Kris Aquino
Si Vilma Santos ang idol ko. Maganda na, magaling pa. – Amy Austria
Mahusay talaga si Vilma kahit saang aspeto. Napakagaan niyang katrabaho. Isa sa mga dream ko ang mai-direct si Vi. – Gina Alajar
Vilma Santos can compete with the top caliber actresses in Hollywood. She is an epitome of a real queen of Philippine Cinema. I really look up to her. – Lea Salonga
Makasama ko lang si ate Vi sa pelikula gagawin ko kahit libre. – Dawn Zulueta
Ng makasama ko si Mama Vilma sa pelikula feeling ko puwede na akong mamatay. – Carlos Agassi
Ang isa sa pinakamagandang nangyari sa buhay ko sa pagpasok ko sa showbiz ay ang makasama ang pinakamahusay na aktres na hinahangaan at nirerespeto ng lahat. Marami akong natutuhan kay Mama Vilma – Piolo Pascual
It would be a great fullfilment if I make a movie with my favorite actress Vilma Santos – Alvin Patrimonio
Actually, mag-cousin pa kami ni Ate Vi. Walang hindi Vilmanian sa pamilya namin – Raymart Santiago
Vilma is my favorite actress. She is the only actress I love to watch on local screen. She’s Great. – Martin Nievera
Bago ako naging artista, die hard Vilmanian na ako. Nakikipag-away pa nga ako dahil kay Vilma. – Rosanna Roces
Bata pa ako ginagaya ko na ang mga acting ni Ate Vi. Idol siya ng Nanay ko kaya naging idol namin siya – Glydel Mercado
I am very flattered when Lino Brocka said that I am the next Vilma Santos. But Vilma Santos is Vilma Santos, she is incomparable. – Ruffa Gutierez
Vilma Santos is the Greatest Actress of all times. Walang Katapat – Eric Quizon
Si Vilma ang isa sa madalas magpadala ng tulong kapag may mga pangangailangan o project kami sa Red Cross at Damayan. Iilan lang ang katulad niya na kusang tumutulong na hindi na kailangan pang ipaalam sa publiko. – Ms. Rosa Rosal
I am a closet Vilmanian before, pero ngayon nagladlad na ako. Maraming katangian si Vilma na talagang hahangaan mo – Boots Anson Roa
Type ko siya. Ang husay husay niya. – Rio Locsin
Bago ako pumasok sa showbiz, die hard Vilmanian na ako. Nakikipag-away pa nga ako dahil kay Vilma. – Jaclyn Jose
For me Vilma Santos is the Greatest Actress of all times. – Gabby Concepcion
Somebody would come from the Philippines and they’d bring in Vilma Santos films, and I just remember, ‘Oh, this woman is making me so emotional, I think I’m a Vilmanian. That’s what they call it, I think. – Mig Macario
She crosses over from politics to showbiz and back. She can say one thing and it can be about motherhood, or love, or stardom, or politics….ang taong for all seasons – award season, holiday season, election season, even back-to-school season. Over time I’ve had the chance to meet her, and nabigyan niya ako ng acting tips. She has validated my work and given me her friendship. – Jon Santos
Source: V magazine Volume 1, Issue 4 2005 + Updates 2012
If we do not act, who will act? If not now, when?
The Plot: Sister Stella L. is the award-winning masterpiece by Mike De Leon. It’s about a nun, Sister Stella Legaspi, who becomes involved in labor strikes after learning about the government’s neglect of the poor and the working class. Her sworn duty to fight for the poor and the oppressed turns personal when her journalist friend Nick Fajardo is tortured and the union leader Dencio is kidnapped and killed. What follows is her eye-opening and the tear-jerking battle against cruelty and injustice. The film broke censorship barriers back in 1984, during the final years of the US-backed Marcos dictatorship, for its realistic portrayal of labor struggles, and extrajudicial killings, hauntingly mirroring the reality of Philippine society today under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. – Filipinas for the Rights and Empowerment
The Reviews: Hindi kami nakakilos sa aming inuupuan matapos panoorin ang “Sister Stella L”. Para kaming sinampal, tinamaan ng kidlat right between the eyes. Masyado kaming naapektuhan. Gusto naming sumigaw. Talagang gagalitin ka ng pelikula. Kay raming eksena ang talagang titiim ang bagang mo. Manggigigil ka, magngingitngit ka. At pahahangain ka. Gusto mong sigawan ng bravo, yakapin at suubin ng papuri ang mga gumawa nito. Si Mike de Leon na siyang direktor. Si Lily Monteverde na naglakas-loob na i-produce ito. Ang scripwriters, ang mga artista, at lahat na ng kaugnay sa pelikula. Alam mong itinataya nila ang kanilang kaligtasan sa paggawa ng ganitong uri ng pelikula. At bilang manunulat, naroon ang hangarin mo upang tulungan ang pelikulang ito na mapanood ng lalong nakararaming mga pilipino. ..nang walang putol!
Ang “Sister Stella L” ay kasaysayan ng isang madre, ng isang Pilipino, at ang pagkakamulat ng kanyang mga mata sa mga kaapihang sosyal na nagaganap sa kanyang paligid. Sa pagsisimula ng istorya as siyam na taon nang naglilingkod sa kumbento ng Caritas si Sister Stella Legaspi (Vilma Santos). Guidance counselor siya sa mga taong may problema na tulad ni Gigi (Gina Alajar), isang unwed mother. Minsa’y dinalaw siya ni Nick Fajardo (Jay Ilagan), isang peryodistang dati niyang katipan. May sinusulat itong artikulo tungkol sa mga aktibistang pari at madre. Agad inamin ni Stella na siya’y “walang masyadong alam sa socio-political involvement ng mga madre at pari.” Siya ang ginawang ehemplo ni Nick sa artikulo nito ng mga madreng kulang sa kamulatan. Nag-react dito si Stella at sinabi sa kanya: “ Hindi ba involvement din ang trabaho ko rito sa Caritas?” Madalas ma-depress si Gigi at kay Stella ito sumasandal. Nang minsang sabihin sa kanya ni Stella na kaya niyang dalhin ang kanyang mga problema ay sinumbatan siya nito: “Madaling magsalita. Hindi naman ikaw ang nahihirapan. Paano mo alam, hindi ka naman dumaan sa hirap? Nagbuntis ka na ba? Laging masakit ang suso mo. Nahihirapan kang tumae.” At nang patuloy pa ring malamig si Stella ay sinabi nito: “Bakit hindi ka gumaya sa ‘kin? Nagagalit, nagmumura, nagpapabuntis?”
May kaibigang madre si Stella, si Sister Stella Bautista (Laurice Guillen). Involved ito sa social action work at kasalukuyang tumutulong sa Barrio Agoho, isang factory town, na kung saan ang mga manggagawa sa Republic Cooking Oil ay nagbabantang mag-aklas. Naakit si Stella L. na tingnan ang uri ng trabaho roon ni Stella B. Sa araw ng kanyang pagdalaw sa Agoho ay tiyempo namang pagsisimula ng welga roon. Tuwang-tuwa si Stella B. Sumasama raw siya sa picket line dahil “pag may mga madre at pari sa picket line, nahihiyang pumasok ang mga eskirol.” Sa paglapit niya sa picket ay naabutan si Stella L. ng placard at siya man ay napabilang na rin sa welga. Puno pa siya ng mga katanungan: “Ano ba ‘tong napasukan ko? Anong gagawin ko?” Sabi naman ni Stella B.: “Basta gawin mo lang ang gagawin ko.” Sa paglipas ng oras ay nakausap niya ang mga manggagawang nagwewelga, nakitulong siya sa pagsandok ng kanin, sa paghugas ng plato. Nakilala niya ang lider ng mga welgista na si Dencio (Tony Santos) at ang asawa nitong si Auring (Anita Linda). Nang makita ni Nick ang mga larawang kuha sa welga at kabilang doon si Stella, nasabi nito sa kanyang editor (Liza Lorena): “Kilala ko si Stella. Madali siyang maimpluwensiyahan. Baka kung ano na ang napulot noon sa tokayo niyang radikal.” Nagsimula namang kuwestiyunin ni Stella ang trabaho niya sa Caritas. Binalaan siya ng kanyang superyorang si Juaning (Adul de Leon): “Hindi social action ang linya natin. At tandaan mo ang sabi ng Papa: huwag tayong humalo sa politika.” Sa kanyang mga alinlangan kung tama ang pasiya niyang maglingkod sa Agoho, ito ang payo ni Stella B.: “Paano mo malalaman kung hindi mo susubukan? Hindi ang mga tao ang dapat makinig sa ‘yo, ikaw ang dapat makinig sa kanila.” Dahil sa kanyang karanasan sa Agoho, nasabi ni Stella kay Gigi: “Ang kahirapang nababasa’t naririnig ko lamang ay naging buhay na sa akin. Ako pala’y nangangapa ring tulad mo.” Namulat ang mata niya sa “pang-aabuso sa mga naaapi” at na-touch siya ng “pag-aasikaso ng mga ito.” Aniya: “Sila na ang nangangailangan ay kami pa ang kanilang iniintindi.”
Duda pa rin si Nick sa involvement niya sa welga. Pasulpot-sulpot lang daw siya roon, patulong-tulong. “Kapag nagsawa ka,” anito, “uuwi ka rin sa komportableng kumbento.” Si Stella B. ay kinailangan namang magpunta sa Davao upang tumulong sa isa pa nilang kasamahan doon, lalong nangamba si Stella L. na iiwanan siya nito sa Agoho. “Baka hindi ko kaya,” aniya. Sabi naman ni Stella B. “Puro ka baka, e, kailan mo pa malalaman?” Pinatawag uli si Stella ni Juaning. Sabi nito: “Hindi payag ang kongregasyon sa trabaho mo sa Barrio Agoho.” Sa pagbabalik niya sa Caritas, nagpatiwakal naman si Gigi. Lalong naguluhan si Stella. “Parang bumaliktad ang mundo ko,” aniya. “Marami akong tinatanong. Bakit nga ba ako nag madre?” Sabi naman ni Stella B.: “Madreng lansangan ka pa rin hanggang mamatay ka.” Natuloy ang pag-alis nito, na ang akala’y pinoproblema niya na baka may pagtingin pa rin siya kay Nick. Bilin pa nito: “Kung mahal mo siya, sundin mong feeling mo. Marami namang paraan ngpaglilingkod sa Diyos.” Si Nick ay nagkaroon din ng problema sa trabaho niya. Isang artikulo niya tungkol sa karanasan ni Stella B. sa Isabela na pinamagatan niyang “A Nun’s Story: Military Atrocities” ang hindi pinalathala ng kanilang publisher. “I-rewrite mo,” sabi ng editor niya. “Bawasan mo’ng tapang.” “Ano?” balik niya. “Gawin kong love story?” “Sabi ko, i-rewrite mo, hindi babuyin,” anang editor. Pero sa bandang huli ay nag-give up na rin ito. Tanggapin na raw lamang ang kanilang mga limitasyon. “Hindi lahat ng legal ay makatarungan.” Nagbitiw si Nick sa trabaho niya sa Tribune at lumipat ng pagsusulat sa Malaya.
Nagbalik si Stella L. sa Agoho at naging mas aktibo na siya sa picket line. Nang minsang lalabas ang trak ng mga produkto mula sa pabrika ay siya pa ang nag wika: “Mga kasama, magkapit-bisig tayo.” Samantala’y nagsimula ang pangha-harass kay Dencio at sa pamilya nito. Una’y ginulpi ang anak niyang si Roger, pagkatapos ay binaril ang bahay nila. Ang huli’y kinidnap si Dencio. Nang papaalis na sina Stella at Nick upang humingi ng tulong, sila man ay kinidnap din. Nakita nila ang pagpapahirap kay Dencio. Sila man ay sinaktan din at si Stella ay binastos pa ng mga sanggano. Pinakawalan din sila. Di naglaon, ibinalik si Dencio. Patay na. Sa harap ng mga manggagawa, ipinahayag ng asawa nitong si Auring na tuloy ang welga. Nagsalita rin si Stella at sinabi niya: “Ilang beses akong pinaalalahanan na ako’y isang madre lamang. Pero una sa lahat, ako’y isang tao, ako’y isang Kristiyano.” At isinigaw niya: “Katarungan para kay Ka Dencio. Mabuhay ang uring manggagawa.” Sa last scene ng pelikula’y nagsasalita ng diretso si Stella L. sa mga manonood: “Marami pa akong hindi alam at dapat malaman tungkol sa kasalukuyang kalagayan ng ating sistema ng lipunan. Kailangan pa ‘kong patuloy na mag-aral at matuto. Pero ang mahalaga’y narito na ako ngayon, hindi na nanonood lamang. Nakikiisa sa pagdurusa ng mga di makaimik, tumutulong sa abot ng aking makakaya. Kung hindi tayo ang kikilos, sino ang kikilos? Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?”
More than anything else, ipinakita ni Mike de Leon bilang isang socially committed at responsible na director ang iba pang posibilidad ng pelikula bilang art at bilang medium of communication. ‘Yung mga laging pumipintas sa pelikulang lokal at nagsasabing walang kuwenta’t saysay ang mga ito, panoorin ninyo and “Sister Stella L” for it is Filipino moviemaking at its best: aware, concerned, and with a universally relevant message. It also shows that an artistic film can be entertaining and as a matter of fact, is necessarily intellectually entertaining (but an entertaining film is not necessarily an artistic one).
The movie succeeds in delivering its message because all the elements that went into its completion are excellently executed. It is that rare kind of movie which has no false moves. The screenplay is brilliantly developed and constructed by Pete Lacaba, Jose Almojuela (who is also the assistant director), and Mike de Leon himself. The cinematography of Rody Lacap deserves nothing but superlatives and the musical score by Ding Achacoso is served in a silver platter (napakagaganda ng mga awiting “Sangandaan” at “Aling Pag-ibig Pa” na nilikha niya para sa pelikula). The editing by Jess Navarro and the production design by Cesar Hernando also deserve the highest commendation. We cannot help but gush dahil lahat ng aspeto ng produksiyong ito ay maganda.
The movie is sure to elicit all sorts of reactions from various quarters. The bigoted and the narrow-minded will no doubt readily brand it as the work of communists and subversives. The involved will merely find it interesting. But the enlightened will declare it as a socially committed work of art. No doubt that some concerned quarters will be offended. Some of the speeches are so frank and fearless. Dencio says in a May 1st rally: “Ang mga manggagawa ang lumilikha ng yaman ng bansa. Panahon na para ipakita ang lakas ng ating pagkakaisa, na makamtan ng bayan ang tunay na kalayaan. Ang manggagawa ang nagpapaandar ng makina, nagpapalago ng puhunan.” Pero ano ang nangyayari? Tayo ang namamatay sa gutom, ang naghihikahos. Hindi magbabago ang ating lipunan kung uupo lang tayo sa isang sulok at maghihimutok. kundi tayo ngayon kikilos, kailan pa?” Nang mamatay siya, sabi naman ng asawa niyang si Auring: “Noon, ang paniwala ko talaga, gano’n ang buhay, may nasa itaas, may nasa ibaba. May nag-uutos at may nagsisilbi. Pero kung tatahimik ka na lang lagi, ang konting meron ka, aagawin pa sa ‘yo. Patay na nga si Dencio pero tuloy ang welga.” Sabi naman ng anak niyang si Roger: “Kung kikilos tayo, dapat ngayon na. Ngayon pa lang, pinapatay na kami. Kaya mas mabuti pang mamatay ng lumalaban kaysa habang buhay kang nagtitiis.”
To make a film like this comes under the heading “they said it couldn’t be done.” Mike de Leon does it, splendidly. In these days when local film faces such problems as exorbitant production cost, commercialism, lack of an intelligent and responsive audience, and censorship, it is heartening to note that movies like this are still being made. Matthew Arnold said that art and society shape each other so artists should deal with serious subjects of moral and social value. This is exactly what Stella L. accomplished, for it allows the viewer to meditate on life and help him gain some insights. Surely no film is an island entire of itself because each movie is made by several men, but the distinguishable personality of an exceptional director is almost always imprinted on his film. We have never really liked the works of Mike de Leon that much and his movies (like “Itim”, “Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising”, and “Kisapmata”) seemed nothing more to us as exercises in self-indulgence. Starting with “Kakaba-kaba Ka Ba?” though, he demonstrated a newfound cause in making movies, which is further reinforced by “Batch ‘81”. Now, Stella L., offers the pleasure of watching a director as he is hitting full stride, his craft and competence marching in step with history. His deft hand is quickly evident in the cinematography. There is no imposed prettiness in the photography, no straining for arty effects, but the texture is rich and palpable to validate reality, with the effective use of color-acting on the viewer to reinforce the temper and tenor of the story.
De Leon handles his intimate and delicate material powerfully, persuasively and penetratingly. He not only executes the technical aspects marvelously but also knows how to work with his actors, both individually and in the here all-important ensembles. The crowd scenes are a delight, with some sequences presented with the veristic quality of a documentary, and each scene is played for maximum impact, immaculately crafted and made with care and conscience, with dedication and devotion. If we now sound so much like an avid de Leon fan, it is because Stella L. is the kind of work that makes a reviewer long for new adjectives of praise. One knows very well that de Leon works for reasons other than money. This makes the strength, sensitivity and symetry of his direction deserve the highest praise and the sweet of music of thunderous applause for it is just better than perfect. Local cinema gives us very few occasions to rejoice and this is one of them.
In the large and uniformly excellent supporting cast, Laurice Guillen stands out as Sister Stella B. She is one film director and actress who is really ablaze with talent. As the instrument to Stella L.’s involvement in a much more worthy cause, she imbuesher role with just the right mixture of intensity and charm. Equally memorable are Tony Santos as the beleaguered labor leader, Anita Linda as his courageous wife, and Liza Lorena as the sympathetic magazine editor who is willing to compromise. Gina Alajar is very effective in a very short role as the unwed mother. In the male lead role, Jay Ilagan proves once more that he is indeed one of our most competent young actors available.
And now, Vilma Santos. Playing the title role, Vilma tries a part that is totally different from her past roles and proves that she has indeed become a highly skilled professional. Her role is somewhat reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn’s in Fred Zinnermann’s “The Nun’s Story”, where a young nun discovers in a hospital at the Congo that she is first a nurse and only second a religious. But Stella’s awakening is much more vital and revolutionary than that of Sister Luke in the Hepburn movie. Vilma’s transformation from an innocent bystander to that of an active participant who is audacious enough to be in the thick of battle is truly quite awesome to behold. We could almost see and feel the internal changes in her. In a sense, the role is somewhat tailor made for her because her beauty is appropriate to the part of Stella L., but she also succeeds in transcending her established personality, delivering her lines and gestures with vigorous conviction and playing it to perfection that one can safely predict that she will again be running in the best actress derby come next year. And so, to Vi, Mike and Mother Lily, our heartfelt gratitude for giving us a film that has the power to cause insomnia. – Mario E. Bautista (READ MORE)
Must the ability to entertain the audience be the constant guiding criteria in the film and in the performing arts? While certainly, one does not minimize the importance of the entertainment function of the arts, the film Sister Stella L shows that it is not much the ability to entertain that is crucial as the ability to stir and maintain interest. For, as in this film, one cannot really say that the audience is entertained, regaled with spectacular sights, provided a pleasant diversion or titillated by teasing or amusing scenes, but the audience is invited, through the skills of the performers and director, to engage in immediate issues which concern us today. This film thus poses a challenge to our usual notions and expectations of Philippine cinema, as it is not a romantic or domestic drama, a comedy or an action film. The fact that such a film as this appears at this point implies a belief in the development and maturity of the local audience who can, at least from the responses of previewers so far, be receptive to harder stuff.
Sister Stella L deals with the contemporary social issues through the experience of various characters, among them Sister Stella L (Vilma Santos) and Nick, her former boyfriend now a journalist (Jay Ilagan), Sister Stella B (Laurice Guillen), the union leader Ka Dencio (Tony Santos) and his wife (Anita Linda). Again, the film differs from most productions nowadays in its immersion in contemporary social reality. The characters, too, possess a strong active aspect of people engaged in a meaningful cause, the people’s struggle for social justice. The nun that Sister Stella B portrays typifies in her strength and honesty the person who has gone beyond purely personal and selfish concerns to embrace the larger role of service to the people. No doubt, it is a refreshing and exhilarating experience to see characters who realize themselves fully as human beings by transcending petty selfish interest and giving of themselves to people in need of support and protection. Because of this, the spirit of the film is highly optimistic and reassuring because it makes us strongly aware of the forces in our midst working for change and of the fact that history is moving forward with these forces assuming the active role.
The central issue of the film has to do with the involvement of religious like Sister Stella L and her senior, Sister Stella B, in socio-political affairs. We know, for instance, that one point of view will have priests and religious secluded behind convent walls where their activity is restricted to praying. They are to have nothing to do with life around them as social and political concerns are thought to corrupt their purity and bring in wordly moral dangers and temptations. Or that priests and religious should remain apolitical, not taking sides in socio-political issues, but as men of God, considering all men as brothers who will, in the end, become docile and receptive to preachings of love and unity. The other point of view believes that it is not as simplistic as all that. In fact, it believes that the adoption of a neutral attitude can only serve to dull one’s moral sensibilities and because one shirks from making moral choices, one also renouces one’s responsibility as a human being. In truth, it is of utmost importance, perhaps particularly so for religious, to have a fine and acute sense of moral discernment as applied to social relations, in which the idea of truth and justice operate. The religious who makes grand sermons on love and unity may not himself understand the meaning of truth and justice, because love and unity do not exist in the abstract but are social ideals possible of attainment – only and only when exploitative relationships are destroyed. Otherwise, one contents oneself with hypocrisies. What for instance, would be the love of the rich factory owner intent on profits for the worker, and vise versa. Workers’ wages are only to keep workers alive and in a measure of health for him to have enough strength to operate the machines of work in the fields. Is it enough for factory owner and worker to meet in church and perhaps occupy the same pew – or will religious feel sufficiently edified at the sight? But priests and nuns are citizens of this country as much as any of us and are thus part of the body politic in which they have the right to take active part. Likewise, they are as human as anyone else, and as human beings, they have the drive toward concreteness and totality realized only in social interaction. The Church, too, cannot afford to take a position of alienation and withdrawal, because by doing so it will only continually lose its influence in a time of urgent and pressing realities; otherwise, it will only end up as an outmoded medieval institution. The Church is continually called upon to make moral decisions, and it is through these that the people will know whether it truly supports their cause or whether it only acts as a liaison for exploitative interests.
In the film, for instance, there is a conflict between Sister Stella L and her superior who wants her to stay in the convent to act as guidance counsellor and not to engage in labor activities in Barrio Agoho where a strike in an oil factory is taking place. For a while, she obeys her superior to be spiritual adviser to an unwed mother, portrayed by Gina Alajar, who, however, throws her back the question of what does she know at all, as a nun, of human suffering. The task of counselling this individual soul lost in her private hell is fruitless and Gina eventually commits suicide, which serves to show the nun the narrow limitation of such a task. Sister Stella L henceforth knows that she must make the choice of the larger and more challenging field of the workers in struggle. It is also important to note that Sister Stella B tells her fellow nun that although her immediate superior may not approve of her social participation, it is possible that higher superiors will – thus showing that such is still possible within the fold of the congregation. Also, at one time, there arises the question of whether Sister Stella L will stick it out as a religious or continue her activities outside the convent. Upon consultation with her friend, Sister Stella B, she decides to carry on the struggle as a nun, and by so doing, show the importance of such a function for her fellow religious, as well as its validity as a position within the religious orders.
The central event in the film is the strike of workers in an oil factory in Barrio Agoho where nuns show their support for the workers by participating in the picket, thereby lending valuable protection. The factory owner (Ruben Rustia) sends goons to harass the picket line, and makes use of the military, which readily lends itself to protect the minority interests of wealthy property owners against the majority interests of the workers. When the strike continues despite inclement weather and hunger, the factory owner resorts to kidnapping the union leader, Sister Stella L, and her journalist friend. All are maltreated and tortured, but the old union leader is finally “salvaged” and thrown into a dump. In the confrontation between the factory owner and Sister Stella L, the former shows himself to be hostile to the workers and to the participation of the nuns: “Kung pati ang mga madre ay nagpapagamit sa mga Komunista, mabuti pang magbago na lang ako ng relihiyon.” To which the nun answers: “Mabuti na ngang magbago kayo ng relihiyon upang hindi parehong Diyos ang sambahin natin.” The murder of the union leader, Ka Dencio, only lends more fuel to the workers’ resolve to continue the strike, which is now led by his wife, with the militant participation of Sister Stella L. The latter’s exhortation to the workers – and by extension to the audience – to engage in the struggle ends the film.
A secondary theme is the issue of press freedom, which is explored, in the first-hand experience of Nick, the young journalist. He writes a series on the politicization of the religious and their active participation in mass actions. In the beginning, his motivations are somewhat confused – and this his editor points out clearly to him – because he may be using this as an excuse to follow and communicate with Sister Stella L, who used to be his girlfriend. The journalist, however, understands the futility of the religious confining themselves within convent walls and poses the challenge for involvement. Sister Stella L takes up the challenge – in fact, the journalist’s articles contribute to her politicization. When she gets more and more involved, he becomes protective and anxious for her safety. His articles on the subject barely squeeze through censorship and he experiences increasing difficulty in getting published. Sister Stella L and he are kidnapped by goons and they are physically assaulted even as they witness the torture of the union leader. Instead of intimidating them, the experience completes their politicization and in the end Sister Stella, militant and committed, finds her true social role.
Because this movie deals with issues, it has more than the usual amount of dialogue compared with other films. This, however, does not work against it. Since what is talked about is drawn from the very stuff of social reality and thus concerns a large number, it is able to sustain interest. Too much dialogue would be a defect if it dwelt on banalities or inanities or if it narrated incidents rather than portrayed them. In this case, dialogue is necessary for the exploration of issues, as well as for the portrayal of how the characters reckon with ideas and develop in their social consciousness. The audience is not bored provided the things talked about in the film have a bearing on their lives. Filipinos, after all, are a talky lot (think of the large amounts of time spent in coffee shops over coffee or beer). Moreover, these are talky times, because the larger public is rapidly developing critical awareness, and there is now a greater need for interaction and exchange in the interest of survival. There are references in the film which may, at first, seem extraneous, such as Sister Stella B’s mission to Davao where she joins a fact-finding group. However, such references serve to extend the “area of responsibility,” if we may borrow the expression, from Manila to the far-flung provinces. Thus, the unity of the film is not only in the events that engage the characters in Manila but also in a larger over-all spirit of solidarity in which vibrations of sympathy throughout the islands give strength and comfort to those of a common cause. For a heart-warming film, the entire cast deserves congratulations, particularly Vilma Santos who reveals another aspect of her multi-faceted talent. From her usual soft and sweet romantic roles, she can be transformed into a strong and militant woman without losing any of her charm and beauty. Jay Ilagan, Tony Santos, Anita Linda and Liza Lorena are also in their best form. Mike de Leon as director, Jose F. Lacaba as scriptwriter are likewise to be congratulated for making a truly human film and for contributing to the cause of workers for justice and of the religious for the recognition of their social role. Not to be overlooked is the producer Lily Monteverde of Regal Films who has this time shifted from puerile erotic dramas to make a courageous film for which she will always be well remembered. – Alice G. Guillermo, Who Magazine May 30, 1984 (READ MORE)
THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN two important Filipino films in this year’s prestigious Cannes Film Festival: Sister Stella L., directed by Mike de Leon and Kapit sa Patalim, directed by Lino Brocka. Both smuggled out to France and both vitally political in thrust, the two films were reportedly disowned by the Philippine embassy in France. Supposedly under instructions from the Philippine goverment, the embassy sent the following disclaimer to the festival directorate: “There are no Filipino films in the Cannes Film Festival.” The two films nevertheless made it to the festival site, though only one was screened as scheduled. Brocka’s film was in the category “In Competition,” and was tested against the works of such eminent directors as Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, and Satyajit Ray. Early on, Kapit sa Patalim (which acquired a second title, Bayan Ko, in deference to another film project which had been approved before Brocka’s project) was rumored to be a strong contender for the Best Film award. Critic Bertrand Tavernier was quoted as saying, “It’s a toss-up between Wim Wenders’ Paris Texas and Brockas’s Bayan Ko.” De Leon’s film was to have had special screenings, on the unanimous request of the Cannes’ board of critics. Sister Stella L., however, suffered from the rush of subtitling work that descended upon Cannes’ select group of translators and De Leon opted not to show the film without subtitles. He nevertheless had the distinct honor of holding a retrospective under the sponsorship of the French Cinematheque right after the festival. The film eventually competed at the Venice Film Festival. Under its original title Sangandaan (Crossroads), Sister Stella L. was invited to the Venice Film Festival in 1984, the second Filipino film (after Genghis Khan in 1951) to be honored with such recognition. – – Agustin L. Sotto and Pet Cleto, Philippine Panorama Dec 02 1984 (READ MORE)
“…Sister Stella L is undeniably, an angry film. It reeks of the pungency of a dictatorial regime and immersed in the canker of political and social repression. It is Jose F. “Pete” Lacaba’s film more than it is Mike de Leon’s. It is ideologically furious and liberalistic that you might surmise the film as left-leaning rather than simply a hard nudge at the Marcos government. Interesting to note of Lacaba’s background in the underground movement after the imposition of Martial Law in 1972, which, as most of the intellectually enlightened ended being rounded up by the military, thus his exclamation is compellingly evident in Sister Stella L…in the film’s first minutes, we witness a kind of relevancy we could not deny exists nowadays: the separation of the Church and the state, particularly on affairs that have a lasting effect on the people. “Hindi ang mga tao ang dapat makinig sa yo, ikaw ang dapat makinig sa kanila” (“The people should not be the ones listening to you, instead, you should be the one listening to them”), Sister Stella Bautista quietly ripostes, summarizing the supposedly inherent role of the laity in its profession of faith and service. A reversal of such an adage practically prevails in the Church’s current social rearings, despite the invisible boundary. But is activism a justification for the intrusion? Probably dependent on the circumstances. The motivation is noble and not of selfish traditionalism, that the film likewise bestows the necessity of religious congregations to act as a force to mobilize. Maybe the film is too radical in its approach, and frankly, Mike de Leon would possibly agree to that. Like most people would notice, Sister Stella L. is undoubtedly, not a Mike de Leon film. He has a hand in its production, but it is certainly not his. It has all the footprints of Pete Lacaba firmly planted in, from its conception to structure, similarly like what he did with Lino Brocka’s hard-line Bayan Ko…Kapit sa Patalim (1985) and Orapronobis (1989).” – Etchie (READ MORE)
“…In Mike de Leon’s “Sister Stella L,” Vilma Santos plays Catholic nun Sister Stella Legaspi. Searching for meaning behind the words in the Bible that teach people to serve the poorest of the poor, she is led to the picket line of striking workers. Gradually, she begins to see her role as a Christian to be amongst the poor and the oppressed in society. Eventually, the management (and military?) try to break the strike through terror and torture, something that is happening to this day. Different strategies of the strike are debated as well as the “sides” between the workers and capitalists. Although there is a simplistic framing of the “evil capitalist,” the issues raised by the union leaders ring very true today, especially in this economic crisis. No Filipino movie could be complete without a love story, or at least the background of one which thankfully doesn’t dominate this movie. Vilma Santos shines as the unsure but strong-willed nun in the beginning to a militant defender of the people by the end. It is a similar role she plays 18 years later in “Dekada ’70.” The movie ends in an almost-cheesy PSA but the message is clear and bold coming out after the Ninoy Aquino assassination. “If we do not act, who will act? If not now, when?…” – Identity & Consciousness (READ MORE)
“…Nearly a day after watching Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s deliverance of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Manila, Filipinos in New York, unconvinced by Arroyo’s speech, gathered for a in-door forum to discuss “the REAL State of the Nation Address” (SONA) at the BAYANIHAN Filipino Community Center followed by an outdoor march along Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside, Queens. Amongst the special guest speakers at the forum was none other than the real-life inspiration for the 1984 Filipino film “Sister Stella L” featuring actress Vilma Santos, Mother Mary John Mananzan…Aside from serving as the Chairperson for the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP), Mananzan has the distinguished title of Chairperson Emeritus of GABRIELA Philippines, the largest federation of women’s organizations in the country working for fundamental economic and social reforms. While in New York, Mananzan was happy to be joined by fellow members of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), one of only a handful of Filipino women’s organizations in the US that are also members of GABRIELA-USA….” – Anakbayan New York-New Jersey (READ MORE)
“…When “Sister Stella L.” starring Vilma Santos was shown in 1984 by Regal Films, it was up against Viva’s new Sharon Cuneta komiks mo-vie, “Bukas Luluhod ang mga Tala,” which clobbered it at the box office. Although it didn’t succeed at the box office, “Sister Stella L,” the story of a sheltered nun who becomes an activist, withstood the test of time. It won many awards and has been constantly praised through the years for being an excellent example of socially relevant filmmaking. Last Friday, the UP Film Institute (the haven of pornographic gay films) did something right and paid tribute to â€œSister Stella Lâ€ on its 25th anniversary. Ate Vi, now Gov. Vi of Batangas, was candid enough during the open forum that at the time she did the movie when she was about 28 years old, the political issues that were delineated in the film (made at the time that the protest rallies against the Marcos regime was raging after the murder of Ninoy Aquino) were not really that clear to her. “Hindi ko pa talaga ganap na naiintindihan ang mga sitwasyon noon,” she says. “Basta ginawa ko lang ang pinaaarte sa akin ng director naming si Mike de Leon. But now, I’m more aware of the conditions shown there. Talaga ngang relevant pa rin up to now ang “Sister Stella L.” dahil ang mga sitwasyon na pinakikita roon, lalo na ang labis ng kahirapan ng mga manggagagawa, nangyayari pa rin hanggang ngayon sa ating paligid. It was only when I ran for mayor in Lipa City that I came to understand what “Sister Stella L.” was all about. Kaya proud akong kahit hindi maganda ang naging resulta nito sa takilya, heto’t patuloy pa rin siyang pinupuri at pinararangalan ng future generations. Hindi gaya ng ibang movies na nakalimutan na. I’m really proud na sa career at buhay ko, nagkaroon ako ng chance na gampanan si “Sister Stella L.”. Hanggang ngayon, gaya ng tauhan doong si Ka Dencio, marami pa rin tayong kababayan na naghahanap ng katarungan. Sabi nga sa movie, “kung hindi tayo ang kikilos, sino ang kikilos? Kundi ngayon, kailan pa?” In the panel discussion that preceded the showing of the film, the resource persons aside from Gov. Vi were Mother Lily Monteverde (the film’s producer), Pete Lacaba (the film’s scriptwriter), Laurice Guillen (who won best supporting actress for her role as the other Sister Stella in the film), production designer Cesar Hernando, and critics Mario Hernando and Roland Tolentino, with Prof. Ed Piano as moderator who cited Gov. Vi’s numerous accomplishments…” – Mario Bautista, People’s Journal March 25 2009 (READ MORE)
Basic Information: Directed: Mike De Leon; Story: Jose Almojuela, Mike De Leon, Jose F. Lacaba; Screenplay: Ricardo Lee; Cast: Vilma Santos, Jay Ilagan, Gina Alajar, Laurice Guillen, Tony Santos Sr., Anita Linda, Liza Lorena, Ruben Rustia, Eddie Infante, Adul de Leon, Rody Vera, Pen Medina; Executive producer: Lily Y. Monteverde; Original Music: Ding Achacoso; Cinematography: Rody Lacap; Film Editing: Jess Navarro; Production Design: Cesar Hernando; Sound: Ramon Reyes; Theme Songs: “Sangandaan”, “Aling Pag-ibig Pa?” performed by Pat Castillo
Plot Description: Labor, politics and religion are the issues that come in conflict in Sister Stella L. The film tells the story of Sister Stella Legaspi, a nonpartisan religious, whose pacifist stance is challenged by an older radical colleague, her namesake, and Nick Fajardo, a concerned journalist, her ex-boyfriend, in response to the injustice being perpetrated on a group of factory workers in Barrio Aguho. When a strike is declared at the local oil factory, the young nun is thrown into the thick of the strike and leaves her convent work to help the workers in their efforts against unfair labor practices. While she looks upon the matter as an opportunity to put into practice the teachings of Christ, the strikers on the other hand are quick to realize the strategic advantage of having nuns at the picket line. This utilitarian stage gradually develops into a relationship of deep involvement. Sister Stella begins to think like a worker. She learns to identify with their cause. Denounced by corporate officials, the strikers and the nuns align themselves together to fight off harrassment from management and, para-military agents. On order from higher-up, the group’s labor leader, Ka Dencio, is abducted, tortured, and killed. But his death fails to destroy the spirit of the protest. The workers, Sister Stella L, and the journalist, resolve to carry on the fight. – MPP
Basic Information: Produced by Doming Bravo; Musical Director Tito Arevalo; Directors of Photography Loreto Isleta, Ricardo Remias, Sergio Lobo, Freddie Conde, Fermin Pagsisihan, Ben Lobo; Production Company: Bravo Film Productions; Release Date June 12, 1975
Episode 1: Direction Johnny C. Pangilinan; Cast: Dante Rivero, Vic Vargas, Eddie del Mar, Eddie Garcia, Cesar Ramirez, Rosemarie Gil, Barbara Perez, Ruben Rustia, Teody Belarmino, Eddie Arenas, Perry Baltazar, Carlos Salazar, Johnny Monteiro, Celia Fuentes, Mario Escudero, Eddie Nicart, Tony Blade, Mario Montalban, Jerry Bravo, Baby Lalaine
Episode 2: Direction Ding de Jesus; Cast: Ramon Revilla, Liza Lorena, Dante Varona, Ramon Zamora, Lito Legaspi, Desiree Destreza, Max Alvarado, Nello nayo, Anita Linda, Willy Milan, Sancho Tesalona, Virginia Montes, Ric Bustamante, Venchito Galvez, Pat Salvador, Totoy Torrente
Episode 3: Direction Armando Herrera; Cast: Fernando Poe, Jr., Gina Alajar, Zernan Manahan, Mary Walter, Vic Varrion, Danny Rojo
Episode 4: Direction Cesar Gallardo; Cast: Joseph Estrada, Helen Gamboa, George Estregan, Paquito Diaz, Paraluman, Vic Silayan, Leopoldo Salcedo, Jun Mariano, Liza Villa
Episode 5: Direction Romy Suzara; Cast: Nora AUnor, Vilma Santos, Tirso Cruz III, Jay Ilagan, Alona Alegre, Rudy Fernandez, Hilda Koronel, Elizabeth Oropesa, Walter Navarro, Patria Plata, Jose Romulo, Angelo Ventura, Renato Robles, Bomber Moran, Joaquin Fajardo, Tino de Lara – Video48
Plot Description: Dugo at Pagibig sa Kapirasong Lupa is 1975 Epic Film with Star-stunted cast like Fernando Poe Jr, Ramon Revilla, Joseph Estrada, Nora Aunor, Dante Rivero, Eddie Garcia, Vic Vargas, George Estregan, Mary Walter, Gina Alajar and the other all time favorite artist…Filipino People fight against colonialism Spain, Japan and even their fellow Filipinos abusing the power in the government…” – Wikipilipinas (READ MORE)
A Must for the Filipino History Students and for everyone who wants to awaken the innate nationalism in them. These series of stories depicting the fight of the Filipinos against colonialism of Spain, Japan and even their fellow Filipinos abusing the power in the government. A seemingly serious film but spiced with the star-studded cast like Fernando Poe Jr., Ramon Revilla, Joseph Estrada, Nora Aunor, Dante Rivero, Eddie Garcia, Vic Vargas, Goerge Estregan and the other all time favorite artists. This movie even highlighted the comparison between the love of country and the other kind of love we offer to our family and to our beloved as the story featured love stories in the midst of tragic and bloody war happening in our society. – Kabayan Central (READ MORE)
Film Achievement: No Available Data
Film Review: “…Hindi dito natapos ang Nora-Vilma rivalry. Pero ang pagsasama ng dalawang aktres sa isang pelikula was not repeated after Danny Zialcita’s T-Bird at Ako (released in 1982). Their initial appearance together was in 1970’s Young Love; naulit in 1978, sa Ikaw Ay Akin ni Bernal; at mayroon silang tig-isang episode sa Dugo at Pag-Ibig sa Kapirasong Lupa in 1975 at Pinagbuklod ng Pag-Ibig, also released in early 1978. At the height of the Nora-Vilma rivalry for acting supremacy, ang kanilang mga pelikula, magkahiwalay man sila o magkasama, ang may malaking kinikita for their producers. In 1982 and 1983, Vilma was Box-Office Queen and Urian Best Actress; while Nora did several blockbusters (like Beloved and Till We Meet Again). There was social unrest, following the Ninoy Aquino assassination on Aug. 21, 1983, pero masigla ang daigdig ng TV at pelikula. Sikat pa rin sina Nora at Vilma…” – William Reyes (READ MORE)
“…Sa taong 1975 ay nakagawa si Vi ng siyam na pelikula…..Basta’t Isipin Mong Mahal Kita (Enero 24, 1975) kasama sina Eugene Torre at Coney Reyes…..Nakakahiya? (Pebrero 28, 1975) kasama sina Eddie Rodriguez, Gloria Romero at Barbara Perez…..Ibong Lukaret (Abril 25, 1975) kasama sina George Estregan, Alona Alegre, Nick Romano at Rudy Fernandez…..ang all star-cast na Dugo at Pagibig sa Kapirasong Lupa (Hunyo 12, 1975)…..Teribol Dobol (Hunyo 27, 1975) kasama si Chiquito at Walter Navarro…..Vilma 29 (Agosto 29, 1975) kasama si Jun Aristorenas…..Karugtong Ang Kahapon (Setyembre 21, 1975) kasma sina Bobot, Gloria Romero, Celia Rodriguez, Eddie Garcia, Jay Ilagan at Joseph Sytangco…..Tag-ulan Sa Tag-araw (Oktubre 17, 1975) kasama si Christopher de Leon…..at ang pang-Christmas presentation ng TIIP na Darna Vs. The Planetwomen (Disyembre 25, 1975) kasama sina Rossana Marquez at Zandro Zamora. Sa pelikulang Nakakahiya?, si Vi ang nanalong best actress ng Bacolod City Film Festival…” – Alfonso Valencia (READ MORE)
Basic Information: Directed: Jose de Villa; Cast: Vilma Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Boy Alano, Elizabeth Bankhead, Raul Aragon, Perla Adea, Sonny Cortez, Norma Blancaflor, Gina Alajar, Jonathan Potenciano; Original Music: Danny Subido; Theme Songs: “Sweet Sixteen” performed by Vilma Santos; Release Date: April 26 1970; Produced: Sampaguita Pictures
Plot Description: Sixteen is the hit single from the golden album of Vilma Santos.
Film Achievement: Golden Record – Vilma Santos
Film Review: “…The success of Sixteen can be attributed to the playfulness and simplicity of the song selections. It suited the sweetness and purity of Vilma’s almost child like voice. The album earned Vilma her first golden record award and a remarkable signature song, “Sixteen.” The album established her as a successful recording artist. If I will compare her to today’s list of contemporary artists, I will compare Vilma to the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, and Madonna. Jennifer, Britney, and Madonna has thin but sweet voices just like Vilma. Like Vilma, these pop superstars have to work hard to achieve almost perfect products that their fans loved. Like Vilma, the three pop stars are great dancers which they all used to the max in their choreograph production numbers. The reluctant singer came out on top. Vilma Santos’s debut album made history. Sixteen made Vilma Santos a remarkable singer…She continued her singing stints with an album most Vilmanians seems to forget, All I See Is You carried the folk song, Ati Cu Pung Sing-sing and Wonderful world of Music. The later song became a title of a musical film that paired Vilma with Edgar and co-starred with Snooky, Tony Ferrer, and Boots Anson Roa. The demand for Vi & Bot’s recordings increased and Willears produced Sweetheart, perhaps a confirmation album of the real score between the two young teen stars. Out of 25 films Vilma and Edgar made in 1970, both Sweethearts and Sixteen stands out as two of their certified hits both as films and recorded albums…” – RV (READ MORE)
- IMDB: Sixteen (1970)
- IMDB: Jose De Villa
- IMDB: Danny Holmsen
- IMDB: Edgar Mortiz
- IMDB: Boy Alano
- Vilma Santos From Wikipedia
- Edgar Mortiz From Wikipedia
- Vilma Santos-Edgar Mortiz Love Team Circa 1970
- The Sweet Voice of Vilma Santos
- Vilma Santos’ “Sixteen” Interview
- Discography: Sixteen (1970)
- CLIPS – Sixteen (Video)
- Vilma and Edgar Duet (Video)
- Sixteen – Vilma Santos & Bobby Reyes (Video)
Basic Information: Directed: Armando De Guzman; Story: Pablo S. Gomez; Cast: Vilma Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Eddie Miller, Robert Talabis, Dely Atay-atayan, Aruray, Gina Alajar, Ben David, Nita Carmona, Armando De Guzman Jr., Yasmin Romero, Elizabeth Morgado, Feling Cudia; Original Music: Francisco Buencamino Jr.; Cinematography: Sergio Lobo; Film poster: Video48
Plot Description: No Available Data
Film Achievement: No Available Data
Film Reviews; “…By late 1969, movie producers had been tapping a Vilma Santos-Edgar Mortiz love team. Edgar was a Tawag ng Tanghalan winner. They started to be together in the movies, My Darling Eddie (1969) and The Jukebox King (1969)…In 1970, the love team of Vilma Santos and Edgar “Bobot” Mortiz was officially launched in the movie Young Love, together with the another popular love team during that time, Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III. The Vi and Bot love team went on to do 14 more movies in 1970—The Young Idols, Songs and Lovers, Sweethearts, Sixteen, Love Letters, Love is for the Two of Us, Mga Batang Bangketa, My Pledge of Love, Renee Rose, Baby Vi, Because You Are Mine, Edgar Loves Vilma, From the Bottom of My Heart, and I Love You Honey. All did well at the box-office…” – Rommel R. Llanes (READ MORE)
“…Noong Dekada ’70, ang mga young stars ay kailangang marunong kumanta dahil yun ang uso kaya naman nagtayo ng sariling recording company ang nasirang manager ni Vi na si William Leary dahil ayaw niyang pahuhuli sa uso ang kanyang alaga. Ilan sa mga naging recording artists ng WILEARS RECORDS bukod kay Vi ay sina Edgar Mortiz, Ed Finlan, Sahlee Quizon, Hilda Koronel at Esperanza Fabon. According to Vi, kapag nagrerecord siya ng kanta ay nakatalikod siya sa dingding ng recording company at si Bobot ang umaalalay sa kanya. Ang SIXTEEN, na sinulat ni Danny Subido ang unang recording na ginawa ni Vi at ito ay flipsided by It’s So Wonderful To Be In Love. Ang SIXTEEN ay agad naging gold record at dahil dito ay gumawa ng pelikula ang Tagalog Ilang Ilang Productions, ang home studio ni Vi at ito ay ginawa nilang pamagat katambal si Edgar Mortiz. Hindi nyo naitatanong, muntik nang manalo si Vi bilang most promising singer sa AWIT AWARDS noong early ’70s…” – Alfonso Valencia (READ MORE)
“…The loveteam of Edgar Mortiz and Vilma Santos endured a stiff competition from teeny bopper love team of Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III and came up with equal success with string of hit films during the musical era of the 70s. Together they did forgettable but commercial hits and also some hints of the years to come to Vilma Santos’ long career. The most notable one: Dama De Noche. Total Number of films with Vilma Santos – 25 (Young Love, Teenage Jamboree, Songs and Lovers, Renee Rose, My Pledge of Love, Mga Batang Bangketa, Love Is for the Two of Us, I Love You Honey, From the Bottom of My Heart, Baby Vi, Love Letters, The Wonderful World of Music, The Sensations, The Young Idols, Sweethearts, Sixteen, Leron-Leron Sinta, Edgar Love Vilma, Don’t Ever Say Goodbye, Dama de Noche, Anak ng Aswang, Because You Are Mine, Kampanerang Kuba, Kasalanan Kaya, Karugtong ang Kahapon…” – RV (READ MORE)
“…Si Edgar Mortiz ang unang nakapareha ni Vilma Santos as a teen star. Nakilala sila as the “Subok na Matibay, Subok na Matatag” loveteam called Vi and Bot at naging magka-steady sila sa tunay na buhay. Marami silang ginawang pelikula as teen stars in the early 70s…” – Showbiz Portal (READ MORE)
Basic Info: Director: Armando De Guzman; Story & Screenplay: Quentin De Guia, Armando De Guzman; Cast: Tony Ferrer, Boots Anson-Roa, Vilma Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Von Serna, Mila Ocampo; Original Music: Restie Umali; Release Date:4 October 1970 (Philippines); Produced: Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions
Plot Description: A couple, martial arts professional (Tony Ferrer) and social worker (Boots Anson Roa) cared for seven street beggars.
Film Accomplishment: Entry to the 1st QC Film Festival. One of three films Vilma Santos and Tony Ferrer did together, one was Wonderful World of Music and the other one was Darna and The Giants where Vilma played Darna and Tony as Tony Falcon, Agent X-44 (ala-James Bond). Sapagka’t is also one of Vilma films with Boots Anson Roa, the others, “The Wonderful World of Music” and “Mano Po III: My Love.”
Film Review: “…She continued her singing stints with an album most Vilmanians seems to forget, All I See Is You carried the folk song, Ati Cu Pung Sing-sing and Wonderful world of Music. The later song became a title of a musical film that paired Vilma with Edgar and co-starred with Snooky, Tony Ferrer, and Boots Anson Roa. The demand for Vi & Bot’s recordings increased and Willears produced Sweetheart, perhaps a confirmation album of the real score between the two young teen stars. Out of 25 films Vilma and Edgar made in 1970, both Sweethearts and Sixteen stands out as two of their certified hits both as films and recorded albums…” – RV (READ MORE)
“…It’s not all Agent X-44 roles for Tony Ferrer. The popular action star of the 60s appeared in other countless varied roles, notably as a ‘karatista’ or ‘karateka’ (karate fighter). Karate, a popular martial arts that time was popularized in movies by another action star Roberto Gonzalez. Growing up in this period, viewers were saturated with this kind of movie stuffs…He also did two drama movies in 1970, a complete turn-around on his usual action roles, Sapagka’t sila’y aming mga Anak and Living Doll, both with Boots Anson-Roa and child star Snooky…” – Simon Santos (READ MORE)
- IMDB: Armando De Guzman
- IMDB: Tony Ferrer
- IMDB: Boots Anson-Roa
- IMDB: Edgar Mortiz
- Vilma Santos From Wikipedia
- Edgar Mortiz From Wikipedia
- Vilma Santos-Edgar Mortiz Love Team Circa 1970
- Vilma Santos- the Child star
- Vilma and Edgar Duet (Video)
- Tony Ferrer filmography 1970-2007
- Tony Ferrer in Non-Agent X-44 Movies
- IMDB: Sapagkat Sila’y Aming Mga Anak (1970)
Basic Information: Directed: Eddie Garcia; Screenplay: Emmanuel H. Borlaza; Cast: Luis Gonzales, Gloria Romero, Rosa Mia, Vilma Santos, Gina Alajar, Jojie Aranda, Jigger Roces; Executive producer: Mrs. Jose O. Vera; Original Music: Restie Umali; Cinematography: Felipe Santiago; Film Editing: Jose Tarnate; Sound: Angel Avellana; Theme Songs: Restie Umali; Film poster: Video48
Plot Description: The second propaganda biography film of Ferdinand Marcos.
Film Achievement: 1969 FAMAS: Best Director – Eddie Garcia; Best Editing – Jose Tarnate; Best Musical Score – Restie Umali; Best Picture – Mrs. Jose O. Vera; Best Screenplay – Emmanuel H. Borlaza; Best Sound – Angel Avellana; Best Theme Song – Restie Umali; Best Actor Nomination – Luis Gonzales
The second movie that chronicles the lives of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and his family while in they were in power in the 60s.
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 1960′s, Gloria Romero portrayed Imelda Marcos in “Iginuhit ng Tadhana” and “Pinagbuklod ng Langit.” In the 1970′s she starred in two memorable movies: Behn Cervantes’s vanished movie, “Sakada” (1976), and earlier, 1973′s “Lipad, Darna, Lipad,” the biggest movie of its time in which she played a “manananggal” to Vilma Santos’s super heroine. Up to now, she considers the last as one of her most unforgettable…” – Lito Zulueta, MPP (READ MORE)
“…Pero higit na tumatak si Luis nang gampanan niya ng dalawang beses si Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos. Ito’y sa kontrobersyal na pelikulang “Iginuhit ng Tadhana” bago tumakbo si Marcos bilang presidente noong 1965. Sinundan ito ng “Pinagbuklod ng Langit” noong 1969. Si Imee Marcos, na ginampanan noon ni Vilma Santos, naalala ang galing ni Luis na mahirap na daw tapatan ngayon. “His acting was understated. A great actor and a good friend. He played a big role in our lives. Halos naniniwala na ako na tatay ko siya dahil sa boses. Mahal na mahal namin si Luis Gonzales,” sabi ni Imee. Ayon sa kanyang kabiyak, huling hiling ni Luis na ipa-cremate ang kanyang labi…” – Mario Dumaual (READ MORE)
“…Vilma was talking about Trudis Liit, the ’60s Sampaguita tearjerker in which she played the title role, with Luis playing her father, now US-based Lolita Rodriguez her mother and Bella Flores as the kontrabida. Luis, whose real surname is Mercado, died of complications of pneumonia at 11:30 Thursday night, March 15, at the Makati Medical Center where he was confined for the last time (he had been in and out of the hospital). As in the case of movie greats, Luis’ age is confidential and maybe not even his wife Vina Concepcion, who belongs to the clan that owns Concepcion Industries, and their three children can be forced to reveal it. After Trudis Liit, Vilma would star with Luis years later when she was already a teenager, in Iginuhit ng Tadhana and in Pinagbuklod ng Langit, produced by Sampaguita Pictures, believed to have helped Ferdinand Marcos win when he ran for President and then for reelection. In both movies, Luis plays Marcos, with Gloria Romero as First Lady Imelda Marcos and Vilma as Imee Marcos (now Ilocos Norte Governor). In the second, Gina Alajar plays as Irene Marcos (Mrs. Greggy Araneta), Now-Sen. Bongbong Marcos plays himself in the first movie (it was Jonjie Aranda, ex-husband of Sen. Loren Legarda, who plays Bongbong in the second). “I shot Palimos ng Pagibig (a Viva drama, with Edu Manzano and Dina Bonnevie) at Luis’ house,” added Vilma. “I remember him as sobrang kalog, palabiro. Ang tawag namin kay Tito Luis palengke kasi nga Mercado ang real surname niya. I was nine years old then and he always reminded me to just enjoy everything. We were always shooting dramatic scenes at parati akong iyak nang iyak, but after every take, tawa na kami nang tawa because Tito Luis would start cracking jokes…” – RicoJr (READ MORE)
“…Vilma, now 16, reprises her role as Imee. No longer a girl, not yet a woman, Vilma was competent in her role like her Mommy Imelda (Gloria)…” – Mario O. Garces (READ MORE)
“…He has fond memories of shooting “Pinagbuklod ng Langit,” second bio-pic on the late President Ferdinand Marcos (after “Iginuhit ng Tadhana,” directed by Mar S. Torres, Conrado Conde and Jose de Villa).“My staff grew fat while making that movie,” he recalled with a hearty laugh. “Ninety percent of the film was shot in Malacañang Palace and the First Lady was always sending carts of sandwiches and juice drinks to the set…” – Bayani San Diego Jr. (READ MORE)
“…What is not as widely known, especially among the present generations of film audience, is that Eddie is also a much-lionized director even before Atsay. He won the best direction award from FAMAS for Pinagbuklod ng Langit; from the Manila filmfest, for Crisis and Sabotage; and in last year’s Metro Manila filmfest, for Atsay (where he also earned a nomination from the Manunuris). His first break as a director was Karugtong ng Kahapon in 1961, adapted from a comics material by Clodualdo del Mundo, Sr. In 1963, he made Historia de Un Amor, which was entered at the Asian Film Festival that year. He missed the coveted prize by one measly point. That same year, he also directed Mga Anak sa Pagkakasala…” – Justino M. Dormiendo, Expressweek, 1978 (READ MORE)
“…But Eddie Garcia’s most significant movie in the 1960’s was “Pinagbuklod ng Langit,” the film biography of Ferdinand Marcos in 1969. The movie was made in support of Marcos’s reelection bid that year, and its gloss and polish prefigured Garcia’s movies in the 1980’s, domestic dramas in high society. It won for Garcia his first best director award from theFamas…” – Lito B. Zulueta (READ MORE)
“Dahil Father’s Day ngayon, nais nating bigyan ng magandang tribute ang nakilala nang ama ng maraming artista ng iba’t ibang henerasyon na si Eddie Garcia. Hindi lang mahusay na bida at kontrabida si Eddie kundi mahusay rin siya bilang isang film director. Taong 1961 nang idirek ni Eddie ang kanyang unang pelikula titled “Karugtong Ng Kahapon” kunsaan bida sina Mario Montenegro, Rita Gomez, Ric Rodrigo at Marlene Dauden. Higit na 36 movies pa ang dinirek ni Eddie na iba-iba ang tema…Pinagbuklod Ng Langit (1969), Tungkol ito sa makulay na buhay nina Ferdinand Marcos at Imelda Marcos at ang kanilang pamilya sa Malacañang Palace. Si Luis Gonzales ang gumanap na President Marcos at si Gloria Romero ang gumanap bilang Imelda Marcos. Nasa cast din sina Vilma Santos as Imee Marcos, Gina Alajar as Irene Marcos at Jojo Aranda as Bongbong Marcos. Nanalo ito ng walong FAMAS Awards for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Musical Score, Best Theme Song at Best Sound…” – Ruel Mendoza, Abante, 15 June 2019 (READ MORE)
- FAMAS 1969: Pinagbuklod Ng Langit
- Gloria Romero (actress) From Wikipedia
- IMDB: Luis Gonzales
- IMDB: Gloria Romero
- IMDB: Rosa Mia
- Rosa Mia From Wikipedia
- Vilma Santos – The Child Star
- Filmography: Iginuhit ng Tadhana (1965)
- “Iginuhit ng Tadhana” (1965): Did Marcos Kill Nalundasan?
- Destiny’s Child: Iginuhit ng Tadhana
- Iginuhit ng Tadhana: The Ferdinand E. Marcos Story (1965)