FILM REVIEW: IGINUHIT NG TADHANA


The Plot: Iginuhit ng Tadhana (Carved by Destiny) is a movie based on the life of Ferdinand Marcos prior to his ascendancy as President of the Philippines. The movie was chronological in setting, featuring Marcos as a young boy in his hometown, as a brilliant student, and up to the time that he was unjustly imprisoned as a suspect in the murder of the political rival of his father. The movie then moves up to his acquittal, his career as a young congressman and senator, and up to the time that he married Imelda Marcos. The movie was shown in Manila as additional campaign material for Marcos’ candidacy for the Presidential race, which he eventually won. The movie portrayed Marcos as a person who is more than just a politician. – Wikipilipinas

The Film: “…Marcos knew the power of the medium of film. Earlier on, Marcos produced a film biography using the most popular stars for his first presidential campaign. He ran against Macapagal who also came up with a film biography to boost his reelection bid. Marcos would also use another film Iginuhit ng Tadhana (Written by Destiny, 1965) to campaign for a second term. The two Marcos film bios would be the only successful political films—commercial and election wise—as other film biographies in the post-Marcos period by senatorial and presidential aspirants would prove dismal, unhelpful for election bids. The post-Marcos period liberalized the political and economic scene. It conventionalized and intensified the election of movie and sports stars, and even television news hosts to national politics. Television stations were sequestered by the government, the largest of which, however, was returned to its pre-martial law owners. ABS-CBN would become the leading television station until after 2000, allowing two of its news anchors to become senators…” – Rolando Tino (READ MORE)

“…In 1965, the Board of Censors suspended the movie exhibition of Iginuhit ng Tadhana (a movie biography of Presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos). Many believed and suspected that Malacanang had a hand in the board’s decision and such action was a wrong political maneuver and ploy that proved disastrous to the reelection bid of incumbent President Diosadado Macapagal. It practically ensured the Presidential electoral victory of Marcos…The suspension of the showing of a movie on the life of Senate President Ferdinand E. Marcos stirred yesterday a political storm and precipitated the resignation of the chairman of the Board of Censors for Motion Pictures. Officials of the board said that the board voted to suspend the exhibition of the movie, “Iginuhit ng Tadhana” (Destined by Fate) because its producer failed to submit it for preview by the board en banc or by the entire board. The film had been approved for showing by a subcommittee of four headed by Mrs. Rosalina I. Castro last August 24. The board said it interpreted the refusal of the movie company, the 777 Film Productions, to comply with its order as defiance of the Board. The order of the board also suspends the showing of the movie in eight provinces and cities— Camarines Norte, Batangas, Marawi City, Pampanga, Cotabato, Aklan, Masbate, and Sulu. The film has been showing in theaters in these places since Aug. 24, the date of the approval of the picture by the subcommittee of four. In the wake of the suspension of the showing of the film, columnist Jose L. Guevarra, chairman of the board of censors, tendered his resignation. Guevarra did not state his reason for resigning in his letter to President Macapagal, but sources close to him said that the resolution of suspension, which was adopted in his absence, had something to do with it…” – Isagani Yambot, Sept. 3, 1965 (READ MORE)

“…Isa sa paborito ko ay ang Iginuhit ng Tadhana,” ayon pa kay Conrado, “because that film helped President Marcos win the elections in 1965. If you remember, that film was banned by the Macapagal administration and the people naturally became curious. The movie was a big hit.” Iginuhit ng Tadhana was divided into three parts: Marcos as student, Marcos after school and Marcos in his early years in politics. Conrado directed the portion with the President as a young man, during the Nalundasan case, a crucial part in the President’s life. Before he began shooting, according to Conrado, he made his own research and first visited Batac where they shot an important scene…” – Conrado CondeJingle Extra Hot Movie Entertainment Magazine, April 27 1981 (READ MORE)

“This rarely seen, authorized biography of former President Ferdinand Marcos stars Luis Gonzalez, Gloria Romero, Vilma Santos, and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as himself. (The film starts with a flash of lighting as he is born on 9/11 in 1917.) ” – Vincent Nebrida (READ MORE)

“…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 (READ MORE)

“…And what many people probably didn’t know is that Bongbong played himself in Iginuhit ng Tadhana, produced by Sampaguita Pictures as a campaign pitch for Ferdinand when he first run for president in 1965, with Gloria Romero as Imelda, Luis Gonzales as Ferdinand, (now reelectionist Batangas Gov.) Vilma Santos as Imee and Gina Alajar as Irene (now Mrs. Greggy Araneta). A few years later, a sequel, titled Pinagbuklod ng Langit, was produced also by Sampaguita, directed by Eddie Garcia, with Gloria, Luis, Vilma and Gina reprising their roles and Jose “Jonjie” Aranda (first husband of Bongbong’s fellow Nacionalista, reelectionist Sen. Loren Legarda; their marriage was annulled in 1986) playing Bongbong….” – Ricardo F. Lo (READ MORE)

“…In hid book, Don Jose & The Early Philippine Cinema, Joe Quirino credits jose Nepomuceno pioneer in producing movies that not only entertained but also informed. Wrote Quirino: “His screen adaptation of Noli Me Tangere, Jose Rizal’s novel exposing the social cancer that festered during the Spanish occupation of the Philippines, captured the sardonic and satirical contents of the imflammatory noel.” Satire was a popular device through which producer aired their views on social issues. In 1929, a satirical movie called Patria Amore caught the ire of the local Spanish community who went to court to stop its exhibition. A counterpart incident took place in 1965 when the Liberal Party tried to stop the showing of Iginuhit ng Tadhana, the propagandistic movie of the life of Ferdinand Marcos. The same motion picture propelled Marcos to the presidency. Movies of social significance often face this dillemma on their way to the big screen. Because of their strong public statement, they invite uproar from concerned sectors, an experience that became almost a daily ordeal for the late director, Lino Brocka. In recent years and until his death in 1991, Brocka had been the prime mover of Tagalog movies of social significance. Some of his works that easily fall under this category are, in no particular orderL Orapronobis (about vigilantes and rebels in the countryside), Bayan Ko (on labor unrest), Gumapang Ka sa Lusak and Hahamakin Lahat (on political corruption), Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag (on moral degradation and exploitation)…” – Nestor Cuartero, Panorama, dated June 13, 1993 (READ MORE)

“…The First Manila Film Festival was held for the first time in 1966. Reserved solely for Hollywood and foreign movies, first-run downtown theaters like Ideal, Odeon, State, Ever, Galaxy, Capitol, Lyric, among others were opened for exhibition to locally-produced or Tagalog movies. The filmfest was the brainchild of then Manila Mayor Antonio Villegas. The 10-day festival which coincided on the city’s foundation day (June 24) was a huge success participated in by big names in the industry…A total of 18 movies (14 new, 4 reissues) were exhibited during the 10-day festival. Iginuhit ng Tadhana, Portrait of the Artist as Filipino and Daigdig ng mga Api, all released in 1965, and Zamboanga, shown a month earlier, were allowed to participate…” – VIdeo48 (READ MORE)

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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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Filipino Movie Queens with Vilma Santos in Films

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Gloria Romero (born December 16, 1933) is a Filipino a multi-awarded actress whose career spans 60 years. Acknowledged as the original Queen of Philippine Movies. She hold two record in FAMAS award history: She is the only actress in Philippine movie history to win the FAMAS Best Actress Award for a comedy role and the oldest FAMAS Best Actress winner, receiving the prestigious accolade in 2001 when she was 67 years old. (Wikepedia)

Total Number of films with Vilma: 13 (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)

RELATED READING: DIVA TO DIVA: TERMS OF ENDEARMENT

Movie Queens – Vilma Santos & Gloria Romero from SFAS – VSR on Vimeo.

 

Nora Aunor (born Nora Cabaltera Villamayor on May 21, 1953) is a multi-awarded Filipino actress, singer and producer. Aunor has also topbilled several stage plays, television shows, and concerts. She is regarded as the “Superstar in Philippine Entertainment Industry”. In 1999, Aunor received the Centennial Honor for the Arts awarded by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). She was the only film actress included in the prestigious list of awardees. In 2010, she was hailed by the Green Planet Awards as one of the 10 Asian Best Actresses of the Decade. (Wikepedia)

Total Number of films with Vilma: 8 (Happy Days are Here Again, Dugo at pag-ibig sa kapirasong lupa, Young Love, Big Ike’s Happening, Mga Mata Ni Angelita, Ikaw ay Akin, Pinagbuklod ng Pag-ibig, T-Bird at Ako)

RELATED READING: Sino ba talaga ang mas mahusay umarte, si Vilma o si Nora?
Vilmanians and Noranians Surveyed
‘VERY LONG RIVALRY”
NORA AND VILMA, APART AND TOGETHER

 

Marlene Dauden, (born in Philippines) is considered one of the greatest Filipina drama actresses of all time. She achieved her legendary status as a film thespian during her film career that spanned from the 1950s up to the 1970s. During the height of her fame, she was one of the most bankable stars of Sampaguita Pictures, which used to be one of the leading Philippine movie studios of the era. (Wikepedia)

Total Number of films with Vilma: 7 (Sa Bawat Pintig ng Puso, Kay Tagal ng Umaga, Maria Cecilia, Hindi Nahahati ang Langit, Kasalanan Kaya?, Sino ang may Karapatan?, Happy Days are Here Again)

RELATED READING: Marlene Dauden
MARLENE DAUDEN: 50s-60s DRAMA ICON

 

Charito Solis (6 October 1935 – 9 January 1998) was a FAMAS and Gawad Urian award-winning Filipino film actress. Acknowledged as one of the leading dramatic actresses of post-war Philippine cinema, she was tagged either as the “Anna Magnani of the Philippines” or as “the Meryl Streep of the Philippines. (Wikepedia)

Total Number of films with Vilma: 6 (Happy Days are Here Again, Mga Tigre ng Sierra Cruz, Modelong Tanso, Ipagpatawad Mo, Dahil Mahal Kita The Dolzura Cortez Story, Hanggang Ngayon Ika’y Minamahal)

RELATED READING: Charito Solis, the Empress of Drama
CHARITO SOLIS HALL OF FAME FOR BEST ACTRESS

Movie Queens – Vilma Santos & Charito Solis from SFAS – VSR on Vimeo.

 

Celia Rodriguez ay isang artista sa Pilipinas. Una siang nakitang gumanap sa mga pelikula ng Premiere Production noong huling dekada 1950. Siya ay nanalo ng apat na FAMAS Awards: isa bilang pinakamahusay na aktres ng 1971 para sa pelikulang Lilet at tatlo pa bilang pinakamahusay na pangalawang aktres ng 1964 (Kulay Dugo ang Gabi), 1966 (The Passionate Strangers) at 2003 (Magnifico). (Wikipedia)

Total Number of films with Vilma: 6 (Lipad Darna Lipad, Biktima, Karugtong ang Kahapon, Mga Rosas sa Putikan, Coed, Darna at Ding)

RELATED READING: Lilet’s Little Secret (Or How Celia Rodriguez made my life worth living.)

 

Lolita Rodriguez, {Dolores Clark in real life} was born on January 29, 1935 in Urdaneta Pangasinan. In 1953, at the age of 18, she entered the movies. She was given walk-on roles. As an extra, she used to earn 5 pesos per appearance. Her first movie was Ating Pag-ibig, followed by Gorio at Tekla, El Indio, Cofradia, Kiko, Reyna Bandida, Sa Isang Sulyap mo Tita and Diwani. (Video48)

Total Number of films with Vilma: 6 (Trudis Liit, Kay Tagal ng Umaga, Hindi Nahahati ang Langit, Kasalanan Kaya?, Sino ang may Karapatan?, Happy Days are Here Again)

RELATED READING: DRAMA QUEEN LOLITA RODRIGUEZ Circa 1954-60

 

Amalia Fuentez Amalia Fuentes was born on August 27, 1940 in Philippines and she is a famous TV and film actress. Fuentes started her career in 1956 with the film called “Rodora”. She acted in many other films and TV series such as: “Inang mahal”, “Pretty Boy”, “Kahit isang saglit.” (FamousWhy)

Total Number of films with Vilma: 5 (De Colores, Bulaklak at Paru-paro, Happy Days are Here Again, Mga Reynang Walang Trono, Asawa ko, Huwag Mong Agawin)

RELATED READING: AMALIA FUENTES BIOGRAPHY

 

Barbarra Perez, dubbed as Audrey Hepburn of the Philippines was a famous Filipina movie star of the fifties and sixties. Born in the year 1938, Barbara is married to another actor Robert Arevalo. Barbara made several hit movies under the defunct Sampaguita Pictures. Both Barbara and her husband won the best actor awards in 1966 for the movie “Daigdig ng mga Api” or the world of the downtrodden. (Wikipilipinas)

Total Number of films with Vilma: 4 (Ito ang Pilipino, Hatinggabi Na Vilma, Nakakahiya?, Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos)

RELATED READING: WHY BARBARA PEREZ SAID NO TO HOLLYWOOD

 

Nida Blanca Dorothy Acueza Jones, (January 6, 1936 – November 7, 2001) popularly known by her stage name Nida Blanca, was a Filipina actress. She starred in over 163 movies and 14 television shows and received over 16 awards for movies and six awards for television during her 50-year film career. She was named one of 15 Best Actress of all Time by YES magazine. She was stabbed to death in a parking lot in San Juan City on November 7, 2001.

Total Number of films with Vilma: 3 (Ibulong mo sa Diyos, Happy Days Are Here Again, Pag-ibig masdan ang ginawa mo)

RELATED READING: NIDA BLANCA LOOKS BACK

 

Rita Gomez The first Filipino to be billed with a title before her name. On a comeback stint in the Bomba (Bold) Era of Philippine movies, the title “Ms.” was added by her manager before her name to maintain her stature as one of the Philippines’ most revered actresses. (movie-industry.blogspot.com)

Total Number of films with Vilma: 2 (Anak ang iyong ina!, Takbo Vilma Dali)

RELATED READING: RITA GOMEZ BIOGRAPHY
10 Most Loved Babaeng Bakla

Other Filipino Movie Queens who are still active and who made films with Vilma are: Gina Pareno (Ibigay Mo Sa Akin Ang Bukas), Maricel Soriano (Yesterday, Today and Tomorrown), Lorna Tolentino (Sinasamba Kita), Claudine Baretto (Anak), Alma Moreno (Magkaribal), Rio Locsin (Haplos). Hilda Koronel (Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan).

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Vilma, the Glad Girl

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Unlike Nora la Dolorosa, the durable Vi Santos has made happiness her career By Quijano De Manila

Durable is a word that shifts nuance when applied to Vilma Santos. Yes, you can say that, for instance, Gloria Romero, Nida Blanca and Charito Solis are durable because they are still on view as performers, if no longer at center stage. But when you say that Vilma Santos is durable you mean she is still at center, in front, on top. Now that’s phenomenal because in Philippine cinema 10 years seems to be the limit for female stardom. After 10 years you slip to character and supporting roles. But Vilma is on her 28th year in showbiz and the spotlight is hers yet as leading lady, the only one to match the record of Dolphy and Ronnie Poe. When she started out, Amalia Fuentes and Susan Roces were the glamour queens. Then she and Nora outshone them. Today, after several changings of the guard, the prima donnas are Sharon Cuneta and Gretchen Barretto. Nora Aunor is no longer in the running, at least not at the moment. But Vilma is. Very much so. And she can romance a whole new generation of leading men like Gabby Concepcion and Richard Gomez with no sense of strain or disparity.

Ishmael Bernal, who claims to have directed Vilma’s best pictures, believes she has endured because she has physical, emotion and mental endurance. ‘She could work for 24 hours straight without getting tired, without flagging in her acting. There were times when we had to shoot for three or four successive days, getting very little sleep, but there Vilma would be: fresh, enthusiastic, rarin’ to go. Physical endurance is very important to a star. Another thing I noticed was her strong sense of competition. At that time, though of course, she didn’t say so, it was Nora she wanted to beat. Vilma was out to be the bigger star, the better actress. And so she geared her career for a zoom to the top.” Bernal first directed her in Inspiration (1971), produced by Tagalog Ilang-Ilang from a script by Nestor Torre. ‘This was at the height of the Nora-Vilma rivalry and the competing love teams were Nora-Tirso[Cruz] and Vilma-Edgar[Mortiz]. But in Inspiration, Atty. Laxa decided to pair Vilma with a rising new star: Jay Ilagan. That early, I noted that Vilma had the potential to become a great dramatic star. At that time she was not yet doing actress roles, only juvenile fan movies. Her assets were the expressiveness of her eyes, very important for the camera; the creaminess of her complexion, very important on the screen; and the ability to make her audience sympathize if not identify with her. Another thing I noticed was that she’s perfectly relaxed in front of the camera: no sense of compulsion. She just stands there and with a flick of the eye, a movement of the hand, she communicates whatever emotion has to be communicated to the audience. Unlike theater actors who feel they have to use the entire body to communicate, she achieves her effects with the simplest gestures. She already had perfect timing.” 

Inspiration was a comedy and Vilma, to Bernal’s delight, needed very little rehearsal. ‘She didn’t enjoy too much rehearsing, preferring to give all on take one, confident in her spontaneity. Which was what her director wanted. Another thing I remember about the early Vilma: she was a travelling department store. She had a van that looked like the fourth floor of Rustan’s filled with clothes, clothes, clothes, and hundreds of shoes, hats, bras, panties, and costume jewels, all of them nursed by loving alalays who followed her everywhere she went. If the director required an evening gown, a negligee, a pajama top, she had it in her van.” Bernal next worked with Vilma in 1972, on Now and Forever, scripted by Rolando Tinio and co-starring her with Edgar Mortiz and Tommy Abuel. It was a dismal flop, says Ishmael Bernal: ‘So let’s not talk about it.” It wasn’t until six years later that he and Vilma worked together again, on Dalawang Pugad, Isang Ibon. ‘It was written by Jose Nadal Carreon, the former police reporter and UP literary apprentice, and currently one of our best directors. It was an adult film and it started a new trend for Vilma: playing the other woman. The film was very hot copy because it was the comeback vehicle of Romeo Vasquez, with whom she was then having an affair. I found Vilma different: she had already matured. She must have been around 23 or 24. She was up in the clouds, being very much in love with Romeo Vasquez, and having already beaten Nora in the game of Who’s No. 1? This was in 1978. Nora was doing action movies like Super Gee that were flopping miserably. But Vilma’s career had taken a new path: heavy drama.”

The change in Vilma was not all to be good. ‘I noticed that she was often tired, often had difficulty keeping up her energy or concentration. The message projected was that the business of acting and the pressures of showbiz in general were beginning to tell on her.” The prime reason was the exhausting affair with Romeo Vasquez. ‘That affair was blown up by the press to scandalous proportions and I could feel that she was under pressure. Still, she tried to keep up a brave front, to be always polite: the smiling professional, and to hide from the public her inner turmoil. She was getting a bad press because of this affair with an older man, a notorious playboy, but the affair was a big factor in the maturing of Vilma Santos. When she made Dalawang Pugad, Isang Ibon she was saying goodbye to adolescence. She was saying: ‘I am a woman, I am entitled to happiness, I am entitled to the love of the man I want to love!’ It was during this period she uttered the most famous of Vilma quotes when she said of those who were bad-mouthing her: ‘To hell with all of them!’ this was her declaration of independence, of adulthood, of resistance. The film proved to be a very big success, nominated for various awards, though she didn’t gain an acting award.”

Vilma’s next Bernal film was 1978’s Ikaw ay Akin, again scripted by Joe Carreon, and starring Vilma and Nora together, with Christopher de Leon as their leading man. In this film, says Bernal, was set the persona Vilma would portray in a series of sex melodramas. ‘She played a liberated woman who had grown up in the States: very witty, very nervous, very aggressive, a chain smoker and fast talker, who’s trying to steal Christopher de Leon from Nora Aunor. Her character was neurotic, a free spirit, unpredictable; and I noticed again that Vilma herself was on edge from too much hard work. I could understand her arriving late on the set because I knew she was doing four or five movies at the same time. She would just sleep in the car while rushing from one location to another and she would arrive looking groggy and exhausted. Sometimes she would just give up and beg that the shooting be postponed because her body just couldn’t take it any more.”

She was then the top box-office queen and the top dramatic actress and it’s always a strain to keep on top. But the ‘glad girl” that’s the basic Vilma Santos continued to shine through the murk of those harrowing days, as Bernie Bernal recalls. ‘However tired or sleepy, she remained carinosa, always polite, and all smiles to the crew. She would buy them merienda and at the end of shooting would throw a feast for them: lechon and pancit. She was always considerate with the crew.

Some movie stars get carried away by a sense of their importance: they know they are carrying the movie, are responsible for its success, are making big money for their producers. And so they become temperamental. Vilma is quite aware of her importance and make no mistake about it: she has the qualities needed for survival in a cruel ungrateful world. She is a fighter, she has a killer instinct. All movie stars, especially the superstars, necessarily have this instinct. But in Vilma it goes with a real concern for others. And she wants her public image to be positive.”

So, even in a time of crisis, Vilma preserved her image as a glad girl – while Nora was busy setting herself up, or down, as la Dolorosa. If Vilma works at happiness, Nora has made a career of masochism. Bernal says that in Ikaw ay Akin Vilma was already conscious of her own particular style of acting, which can be described as minimal: less is more. The fewer and simpler the gestures, the greater the effect. The stripped style won her a grandslam when she did Relasyon with Bernie, which he rates as her most memorable film. It got her all the awards on the market. ‘In Relasyon Vilma made the character of a mistress very human and sympathetic, not just a contravida. The film was her comeback after her pregnancy. She and Edu Manzano had just had their baby boy, Lucky. Her next film, Broken Marriage, set another trend for her; the role of a modern urban working girl, as sophisticated as her Makati office and her personal problems. Her fans are growing up and Vilma’s image is becoming more and more complicated.

But it was in the last film we did together, 1988’s Pahiram ng Isang Umaga, that I noticed the big change in Vilma. She had become an artist. She was no longer just a movie star following the director’s instructions. She was very hyper, very high, eager to experiment: a cooperative and mature actress. She had studied the script in advance and she had sensible suggestions about it. I felt I was no longer working with a movie star but that she and I were two artists collaborating on an objective statement about life and death and human relationships.” How did a girl who began as purely ‘pang-masa” develop into so fine an artist? Vilma herself gives the credit to her willingness to learn. The process was sometimes painful but, says Vilma, she knew it was all part of her education. I am now 28 years in this business and everything I have learned has made me a stronger woman. Even the troubles, the intrigues – they have made me a stronger woman. I’m always learning. For example, there was a part of my career that was for me a very expensive education.” She had set up a production company of her own that, it turned out, was mostly producing debts.‘ That was about 15 years ago. I tried producing and I made about five movies for VS Films, my own outfit. It was managed by my mother, not by me personally, and Mama is so good people take advantage of her. Before I knew it I was drowning in debt. I was pregnant at the time, 1980, when I learned I had a debt of six million pesos! And I didn’t even know if, after giving birth, audiences would still accept me. How was I to survive? I prayed; I told God I was willing to work, sarado ang mata, just to pay off all those debts. And with his blessings I was given a second chance. After giving birth to my son, my career got a second chance and became even more successful: not only did I continue to be box-office but I was winning awards right and left.”

Before Lucky’s birth she had no contract with any studio but after his birth the two leading studios, Regal and Viva, asked to place her under contract and she signed up with both! ‘It was arranged that everything they paid me went straight to the banks, to pay off my debts. Not a centavo of my movie earnings passed through my hands. We lived on my television earnings. I had been offered this TV show, VIP Vilma in Person. It was a Sunday show and Sunday was the only day I could spend with my family but I had to sacrifice my day with them because that weekly show provided us with maintenance money. Unfortunately, my marriage suffered because of that. At that time, Edu wasn’t active in the movies yet; he was working in an office and, of course, his schedules and my schedules were in conflict. I think he suffered some kind of culture shock. Oh, he tried to be understanding but imagine him coming home at seven o’clock in the evening and me coming home at four o’clock in the morning. That won’t work – but I had to work.” She says

she didn’t feel guilty about the marriage breaking up. ‘Definitely not. If that was bound to happen to our life, what could I do? Even if I had just stayed at home, our marriage would have suffered, because of all my debts. And what would have happened to us without any money?” She knows the importance of money because she grew up in security and has learned that insecurity is being without money. ‘I wasn’t born poor but I wasn’t born rich either. I had a comfortable childhood. I went to a private school, St. Mary’s Academy, and I had a new pair of shoes whenever the school year opened. We could buy what we liked and though our house wasn’t very big it was a cozy home.” Her father was in the government service and she had an uncle, Maurie Agra, who was a cameraman for Sampaguita Pictures.

It was this uncle who got her to audition for Sampaguita when she was only nine years old. ‘Whenever he came to the house I’d sing and dance for him. I loved to watch TV and listen to radio dramas and at school I was always on the programs. Once, my uncle watched me imitating Pilita Corrales, a white sheet all over me for evening gown, and he asked would I be interested in going into showbiz and I said I’d just love to become an artista.” The role she was called to Sampaguita to test for was as Rita Gomez’s daughter in Anak, ang Iyong Ina, but on the same day Sampaguita was testing about a hundred other children for the role of Trudis Liit, a komiks character. The little Vilma kept wandering into that larger group where, as her mother kept telling her, she didn’t belong. But here was Doc Perez himself, head of Sampaguita, beckoning to the child. ‘Mama says I don’t belong there,”said the little Vilma. ‘But I want you,” said Doc Perez. Ang Mama consenting, Vilma took the test for Trudis Liit: speaking a line or two of dialogue, crying out when hit by Bella Flores, even ad-libbing already. ‘And I was chosen to play Trudis Liit! So, my first time in movies, I was into two movies right away: Trudis Liit and Anak, ang Iyong Ina. And I got the Tessie Agana treatment: chicken and apples every lunch. Sampaguita was very nice to me. I was its baby.”

And she was its No. 1 fan, gaping to see Gloria Romero passing by and chasing after Amalia Fuentes for her autograph. ‘Ate Nena snubbed me. She just said: ‘Later!’ But I loved her and we’re very close now.” Vilma the child star was in a string of movies playing the daughter of Lolita Rodriguez or Luis Gonzales or Dolphy. And she was also in the TV soap opera Larawan ng Pag-ibig with Rosita Noble, Willie Sotelo and Eva Darren. That six o’clock p.m. tearjerker rose to No. 1 in the ratings. Meanwhile, what was happening to Vilma the growing girl? ‘What was happening was a lot of school absences and a lot of special exams. The Sisters at St. Mary’s were very understanding: if I had too many absences, they gave me special exams. But when I was in fourth year high school I was practically not attending classes any more because that was the height of the Nora-Vilma competition. What was done, with the permission of the Bureau of Education, was that I had a tutor during shootings and then I was given the test for the last grading period. Thanks to God, I passed it and I got my high school diploma. But there could be no thought of going on to college.” She had by then graduated from child star to teenage superstar.

‘Despite showbiz, I was able to enjoy my childhood. It was my teens that suffered. Those were the days of jam sessions (no discos yet) and I missed them. I was dying to attend but I couldn’t. I was too busy promoting my love team with Bobot Mortiz. So I didn’t have the chance to be a teenager. But when I reached my 20s that was when I experienced iyong being a woman: going out on dates, candlelight dinners, enjoying life. I enjoyed my 20s.” During her teens she was mostly a song-and-dance girl on the screen, but after seeing The Miracle Worker she dreamed of tackling roles like the one done by Patty Duke in that film.  However, she felt her true line was dancing: ‘Definitely not singing; I sing just for the sake of my fans.” Doing pop teen movies by the score, would she ever have a chance to act like Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker?

Loveteams were then the wheels of teenage superstardom. Vilma and Edgar Mortiz were a prize pair of wheels. The Nora-Tirso tandem formed the rival pair of wheels. It was an endless frenzied race. Vilma says that during her Bobot Mortiz phase she was doing multiple movies at the same time. ‘Actually Edgar didn’t start with me. He started with Nora and Tirso: they were a triangle. My loveteam then was with Jay Ilagan: we were doing Operetang Putol-Putol on the radio and going out on personal appearances for the fans. Jay was still slim then, very good-looking. Bobot was already chubby but not as fat as he would become later: he was guapo and moreno. Tirso was truly the mestizo type. Nora was even shorter than me though I think she’s older by a year; she was very thin then, with long hair. It’s our complexion that’s usually compared: she is kayumanggi and they say I am fair. Edgar dropped out from their triangle when it was noted that the public preferred Nora to be paired with Tirso. And Jay Ilagan dropped out when I was paired with Edgar. So when we all went on TV, on rival programs, it was the loveteam of Bobot and me versus the loveteam of Guy and Pip. That was in 1967.”

Inevitably, Bobot Mortiz came to share more than the spotlight with Vilma. ‘He was my first boyfriend, though ours was no more than puppy love. He’s a nice guy, very intelligent. In fact, I suspect that the ideas in Going Bananas are mostly his. No, we never talked marriage. We were a team for about five years. Then I did movies solo.” More serious was her next love affair, with Ronnie Henares, son of the famed news columnist. ‘I met Ronnie on TV, when he was guesting on shows with Jojit Paredes. He started courting me – this was in the early ‘70s – and our relationship had the blessings of our families. His family and mine became very close. We planned to marry but I felt I was not ready yet: I was still too concentrated on my career – though at the time the movies I was doing were merely pang-masa, nonsense musical like Lets’ Do the Salsa. I was not yet very conscious of artistic cinema: I wanted my movies to be for the boxoffice, Ronnie was the kind of boyfriend who gifts you not with rings or flowers but with books. I never went to college but Ronnie was a good equivalent: I learned a lot from him. He corrected my English, improved my pronunciation, and introduced me to new words, all through the use of cue cards that he made for me and made me read aloud to him. He gave me books to read and helped me understand them by explaining their meaning. Our relationship lasted a year and a half. We had our lover’s quarrels and the sweet thing is that even during our breaks our families stayed close. And Ronnie and I are still friends today. He composed a song for me.”

Tantamount to the Erap episode in Nora’s life is Vilma’s moment of appasionata with Romeo Vasquez, an older man with a past. ‘Romeo Vasquez was a turning point in my personal life. I really gambled with my life when I fell in love with him. He had come back to the country after being away for years. He was already separated from Amalia. Then I met him and we were offered a movie to do together: Nag-aapoy na Damdamin, for the Santiagos. The time we were together he was okay. We also did Dalawang Pugad, Isang Ibon, and Pulot-gata. And the movie that had him and me together with Nora nad Tirso: Pinagbuklod ng Pag-ibig. Our relationship lasted two years. Even after we parted, we still did a movie together.”

Vilma dismisses as mere chismis the rumor that Ronnie Poe became wildly enamored of her after they did Batya’t Palupalo and Bato sa Buhangin. But local cinema legend has the King coming to blows with Romeo Vasquez because of this jealous rivalry. Even the scene of the duel is specified: the lawns of a Joseph Estrada abode, during an Erap birthday party. An amused Vilma, however, shakes her head in denial. ‘Fernando Poe and I became close but we did not have any relationship. I’ll admit I was very impressed by him when we made our movies together. Totoong humanga ako sa kanya. He knows how to ‘carry’ people, how to deal with them in such a way as to command their respect. He is really the King. We became very very close: he’d send me food, like a dish of fish, during shootings. But that was all.”

While recovering from Romeo Vasquez, Vilma became a disco habitue, and in these excursions to the haunts of night people she often bumped into a young man who thus became a nodding acquaintance: someone she knew by face long before she knew him by name. One movie she did during this period was Yakapin Mo Ako, Lalaking Matapang, with Lito Lapid, which was shot in Cebu City. And as usual at night she went disco-hopping. And one night, at one disco, there he was again, this young man who had become a nodding acquaintance: Edu Manzano. ‘That was the first time we had a chance to talk. He’s really a charming guy and very handsome. We danced, we chatted, we danced – gano’n. Then I went back to my hotel.” She was getting ready for bed when the phone rang: Mr. Edu Manzano calling. ‘But how did you get my number?” ‘You know me, I’m resourceful. When do you go back to Manila?” ‘Tomorrow,” said Vilma. ‘What time is your flight?” ‘Two o’clock. What time is your flight?” ‘Three o’clock,” said Edu. ‘Bon voyage. And good night.” Next day, loaded with the mandatory hojaldres and rosquillos, she boarded the afternoon plane for Manila. And who should be sitting across the aisle from her but Mr. Manzano. Well! He really was resourceful. But they couldn’t converse. She was sitting beside Lito Lapid; Edu was sitting beside an Iranian. Only upon landing could they snatch a moment of exchange. Of course he wanted to know if he could date her.  “Can I invite you out or do you have a boyfriend?” “No.” “No, I can’t take you out?” “No, I don’t have a boyfriend.”

But a week passed; two weeks; a whole month – and no word from Edu. He’s not taking me seriously, shrugged Vilma. ‘Ako naman, at that time,” she says now, ‘I wasn’t taking him seriously either.” Then one night, at the Alibi Bar, she saw him again. But she was with a date with whom she went nightclub-hopping until four in the morning. When she came back to her hotel, there was a note from Edu: he was waiting in the lobby. She went down to see him, and he invited her to breakfast. What a terrific topping for the night before and her morning after. ‘So we stepped out again and had breakfast at the Manila Hotel. We talked and talked until daylight. Then he brought me back to my hotel. And that was how it started. After that, we were seeing each other every day.” During the Grand Passion that was Romeo Vasquez, her critics had hooted that she was Vilma the mad girl. But La Belle, La Perfectly swell, Romance with Edu Manzano was the real coming-out party for Vilma the Glad Girl. Miss twinkletoes had met the boy next door. Of the men in her life, Vilma Santos says it was Edu Manzano who had the most stunning style of courtship. He didn’t treat her like the superstar, the love goddess, the sex symbol, the glamour queen that she was; he treated her as if she was an ordinary kanto girl.‘ He didn’t take me to dine at five-star hotels; we ate at small pizza houses. We didn’t go dancing at elegant ballrooms; he took me to little discos. It was completely the opposite of how I had been treated by other suitors: kabaligtaran ng lahat. And how I loved it! Once, early in our relationship, he invited me to lunch. I assumed we would be going to a luxury bistro and so I dressed to the teeth. But he arrived on a motorcycle, wearing Levi’s and rubber shoes. When he saw me in all my finery, he flipped. He told me to go back up and change. So I change to jeans and rubbers. And off we sped on his motorcycle, me behind clinging to him.” Naturally, all those who spotted her – bus passengers, street vendors, pedestrians on the sidewalks – could hardly believe their eyes. ‘Si Vilma! Si Vilma!” they cried in amazement. And there indeed was the superstar, the love goddess, the sex symbol, the glamour queen, in jeans and rubber shoes, riding bumper on a motorcycle.  Vilma says it was as if she had moved into another world. ‘I really enjoyed it: riding on his motorcycle, walking in the rain. And then, after three months, he asked me to marry him. This was in 1980.” She was about to leave for the United States, to shoot a movie. She said to him: ‘Let’s give ourselves time, let’s test each other. This movie will take two months to do over there. If after two months we still feel this way, then we are really meant for each other. And we’ll get married. But not now, not right now when I’m going away.”

The decision was to make no decision yet. And Vilma left for California. She really was testing herself, for the stateside movie she was doing was with Romeo Vasquez. Had she really and truly got over him? Was she really and truly in love with Edu? The answer hit her like a bolt from the blue when Edu Manzano suddenly showed up on location and she felt, not annoyed, but enraptured, though he had broken their agreement to stay apart for two months. That he had so impulsively followed her bespoke ardor on his part. She did wonder if her producer, Atty. Espiridion Laxa, had anything to do with the surprise. But: ‘Definitely, it pleased me!” The news that lover boy Edu had leapt across the Pacific to join his lady love had Philippine moviedom ga-ga with the thought of how bigger a blockbuster than a Vilma-Romeo movie would be a Vilma-Edu picture.

The Vilmanians, as her fans are tagged when arrayed against la Aunor’s Noranians, were clamoring for a view of their glamour queen’s consort. Vilma, ever astute as businesswoman, was only too glad to deliver. ‘But before making that movie, we got married in the States.” Actually, it was an elopement. ‘My Mama didn’t know about it. Edu and I simply ran away. We got wedded in Las Vegas and we honeymooned in Disneyland and at Knottsberry Farm. Two weeks we were in hiding. Then we went back to Los Angeles. And that was when we broke the news to Mama. She cried. Oh, my Mama is good: sobrang bait nga. She was never a stage mother – except in the matter of singing, which she was always pushing me into. ‘Go ahead, sing,’ she would tell me, even if I didn’t want to. Maybe I used to be too dependent on her, as in the time of VS Films, when her goodness was being abused and when I learned about that it was too late.  One thing about my marriage; there were never any differences between Mama and Edu.”

In Los Angeles Vilma really worked at housekeeping. ‘Edu and I made a home for ourselves, just for the two of us. And I was a real housewife. I made the beds, I swept the floor, I did the cooking, or tried to. But in the States you can buy everything ready to cook. I had to be housewife because Edu is conservative and I had to be the kind of wife he wants for a wife. He called me Babes, I called him Doods.” She says that as a husband Edu was ‘mabait’. ‘He had already done a movie, Alaga, but was not yet well known. I promised him that on returning home I would lie low as movie star and just attend to being housewife. Unfortunately, on arriving in Manila, I found I was pregnant: Lucky is a honeymoon baby. At the same time I learned I had a six-million -peso debt. I told Edu about it and he said he would find some way we could work it out. But there was really not much he could do about so huge a debt. So, after giving birth to my son, I returned to work. Of course, that meant I had little time for my husband and my baby. There was a yaya to take care of the baby and as much as possible I tried to mother him but of course I couldn’t give him one hundred percent attention. Edu wanted me to be home at least by ten o’clock in the evening but it was oftener four o’clock in the morning before I could rush home.” With her feeling so exhausted and him feeling so neglected, impatience could not but become their ambiance during their four years of marriage.‘ 

In fairness to Edu, he did try to understand the situation. And he did care for me. But I simply couldn’t give up my career until I had paid off my debts. I only finished paying in 1987. And by that time Edu had left.” Possibly, for Edu Manzano, the real cruz of the marriage was having to suffer being Mr. Vilma Santos. But she says that theirs was a very loving parting. ‘We had a beautiful talk, the two of us. We agreed that our love was still there but, because we kept clashing, we shouldn’t wait until we started hating each other. We should give ourselves time to breathe and to think, apart from each other. That was already our fifth separation; the first, second, third and fourth had all ended within two months. I was expecting the fifth to end just as quickly but when it had lasted eight months already I wondered if we had not indeed gone our separate ways. Kanya-kanyang buhay na. Then I learned he had a girlfriend. He was first.” If she had hoped for a happy ending to their fifth separation it was for the sake of their son. ‘ Before Edu and I parted, we stepped out, the three of us: Lucky was then four years old. And we explained to him what was happening. We felt it was better to be honest with the child: when he grew up he would understand. He himself would not be affected: Edu and I assured him that both of us would take care that he was not affected. He is nine years old now and his name is Louis Philippe Manzano. He weighed 7.7 pounds when he was born on April 21 – and 21 is a multiple of 7. That’s why we call him Lucky.”

Vilma says she felt bad when she heard that Edu was running around with another girl. ‘I said to myself: ‘My God, why should I go on suffering like this: I’ll only grow old.’ I decided I’d like to run around too, enjoy myself. So I went out but I chose a safe place: King Kong, a club frequented by movie people, owned by Marilou Diaz-Abaya. That was the first time I had stepped out since the separation and that was the first time I met Ralph Recto. He’s a nice young man, very intelligent, very down to earh. He has a degree in economics and is taking his masters now, at the UP. I learn a lot from him, my substitute for college, like Ronnie Henares. He is very interested in politics but I don’t meddle in his politics. Our relationship is now on its sixth year. When we met, Lucky was only four and now he is nine. Lucky and Ralph are very close. No, we don’t talk marriage.” The decade since her marriage has seen Vilma developing, as Ishmael Bernal says, into an artist. Vilma smiles to recall that she started out just wanting to dance. What’s singular about Vilma’s career is that, as a child star, she went through no awkward age, and now, as superstar, she seems to have been set no deadline.

The nine-year-old who starred in Trudis Liit had a steady four years of playing little daughter of Lolita Rodriguez and Marlene Dauden but never suffered an ugly-duckling phase of no-longer-a-child and not-yet-a-teener. The difficult 13-14-15 period was smoothly bridged by roles like that of Imee Marcos in Iginuhit ng Tadhana and Pinagbuklod ng Langit. And right afterwards she became the teen queen in the pop entertainments she did with Bobot Mortiz. Then at 19 she began to veer towards heavy drama. ‘I was 19 when I made a film with Eddie Rodriguez, playing a girl falling in love with an older married man. The wife was Barbara Perez. If I remember right, that was the first time I wore a bikini.” Nary a hitch in the Vilma career; no pauses in the action as she grows up from child to girl, or from sweet young thing to red-hot mama. Or from innocuous movies to daring films. ‘Compared to my teenage partners, Eddie Rodriguez was far and away the leading man, the actor, the gentleman. Very different in manner, in the way he moved, the way he carried his clothes. He helped me refine my acting and little by little I learned poise.”

The decisive divergence is Burlesk Queen. ‘I took a risk playing Burlesk Queen, Celso Ad. Castillo directing. I was 24. My American manager, William Leary, had persuaded me to accept the role. He had been my manager since he convinced me to do a record, Sixteen, that made good. I was no longer with Sampaguita but I went back there from time to time to make sweet sweet movies or musicals. That was my style. Then I did Burlesk Queen. It turned out to be a turning point. I won an acting award. Suddenly I was the drama queen. Celso Ad. Castillo is really good. In a way it was that film that made me a real actress. It changed my sweet image. And it made good at the boxoffice. ”However, later relations with Castillo proved to be painful. ‘I already had my production company, VS Films, and I got him as director for Pagputi ng Uwak. He really gave me a hard time on that film: it was two years in the making! And it sank VS Films into debt. Celso and I had a fight. As a director he’s very good but as an artist he has his quirks: merong sumpong. I hear he now works in Malaysia: sayang, he was good for Philippine movies. Pagputi ng Uwak nearly ruined me, financially and mentally, but it turned out to be a firstrate film and it won a lot of awards, it won VS Films a lot of prestige. But I still prefer Burlesk Queen.” The five productions of VS Films, which included Rosas sa Putikan, directed by Maning Borlaza, and Halik sa Paa, Halik sa Kamay, costarring Vilma with Eddie Rodriguez, all made money, including Pagputi ng Uwak. Nevertheless, by the time she had to shut it down, VS Films had her drowning in six million pesos’ worth of red ink. It took her some seven years to pay off that montrous debt. And it meant having to go back to making movies that were ‘pambata at pangmasa” movies like Darna and Dyesebel and Wonder Vi.

Still, this ‘comeback’ period (after the birth of Lucky) was also the start of a series of vintage pictures, beginning with Relasyon, where she played a free soul living in with her lover. The lover was played by her most compatible co-star, Christopher de Leon. ‘Christopher, of all my leading men, is the one I’m most comfortable with. We really make a team. And yet we never had any relationship, except on the screen.  Just how comfortable I am with him can be seen in the fact that it’s with him I have made the biggest number of movies: around 18 or 20. There was a year when we made four movies together! So often did we play opposite each other that we felt we had to vary the situations, to avoid becoming monotonous. We’d say: Let’s sit down and think of a new situation in which to find ourselves. But there came a time when we simply could no longer think of anything new for us to play. We seemed to have exhausted all the possible love angles. And that’s when we decided to stop teaming up for a while. I went on to trying other leading men. Actually it’s not I who choose my leading men but the producers. I just accept whoever they pick for me.” A kind of homage is paid her when she’s paired with younger stars like Eric Quizon and Aga Muhlach.

‘Definitely, I feel flattered. But then I feel very very secure in my age and with myself. It’s a matter of self-confidence, of knowing that when they look at you they see a woman, period. Age doesn’t matter: I have no insecurities about it.” She knows she can look as young as, or younger than, her new leading men – as long as she herself feels young inside. Her effect on the folk around her has been most graphically expressed by, of all people, director Lino Brocka, who directed her in three of her most applauded vehicles: Rubia Servios, Adultery and Hahamakin Lahat. ‘When you work with Vilma,” says Brocka, ‘you get this feeling of having just emerged from a bath and of being drenched all over with Johnson’s baby cologne. You feel so fresh, so youthful.” He adds that when they first worked together she seemed scared of him. Now he gushes: ‘Ang sarap niyang katrabaho.” The chief reason, of course, is: ‘She has matured and grown up as an actress. At this point of her career, she is very good, she is really big. Before, she had a hard time making herself cry, but now how fast she can do it. And she has become sensitive to direction: in that repect she has overtaken Nora.” Brocka says that the sensitivity he noticed at once in Nora Aunor was what he missed when he started directing Vilma. ‘So I assumed that, as an actress, she was really just second to Nora. But Vilma takes good care of herself not only physically – there’s always this aura about her – but intellectually too: so she grows and develops tremendously. The second time I worked with her, in Adultery, I realized she had become as good as Nora, or better. And by the time of Hahamakin Lahat there was the complete sensibility already – a difference in the way she expressed pain and hurt. Talent was welling out like spring water, and flowing from her most naturally, no longer courtesy of Vicks or whatever.”

What would explain this outburst of talent? ‘Possibly her coming of age as a woman. She had become more sure of herself. And this self-confidence grew as her private life became calmer, as she found herself with fewer problems, both financially and emotionally. How a director would feel about her at the moment is that he can do anything with her now. She has become so supple that his tendency would be to challenge her still further, make her come up still higher, open up more doors. She can give you so much more now.” Brocka snorts at the complaint Vilma is currently making: that so utterly has she done all the roles she can do there’s no new role left for her to do. ‘She can do the same role over and over again as long as, with the right direction, she does it always a bit more profoundly than the last time and makes it a bit more complex than the last time. She should have no problem at all with roles. In fact, I would advise her now to play roles that are not glamorous. Yes, she’s too associated with glamour to do that. But maybe in another year or two she can afford to take off her make up and act her age. Then she’ll really be on par with Nora, whose chief concern is seldom her looks. With Nora, it’s not her face that’s on sale. The problem with Vilma is that she feels she has to live up to her image as The Glamour Girl. I’m waiting for the day when glamour will have no truck -walang pakialam! – with the acting.

Bemusing how up to now Vilma continues to be bracketed together with Nora, so that to speak of Vilma is to speak of Nora. They have been rivals, opponents, antagonists for so long that it’s impossible to tell their careers apart. Spur to each other from the start, they have realized they need each other as goad and goal, the achievement of one goading the other to an equal, or greater, achievement. Vilma-Nora is the back-to-back monster of Pinoy showbiz. Vilma sees it as sibling rivalry. ‘If Vilma is there, Nora is there. There was a point in our career [note that Vilma uses the collective singular] when we were both so affected that the rivalry became a personal feud between us. There was even a point in our career when we were fighting each other – for honors, for awards, for acting prizes. But there also came a point in our career when we realized we were not getting any younger and we started becoming very close. I think that was the time her father died and I went to the wake. We hadn’t been together since we did a movie together when we were feuding hotly: no talking to each other during the shooting; she stayed on one side with her fans, and I stayed on the other side with my fans: no communication. But when I attended her father’s wake, that was when we realized we could be friends. And we started helping each other: she’d invite me to guest on her TV show, and vice-versa. Then her mother died and again I went to the wake. And that was the time when Nora and I became so close we were telling each other the most intimate details of our life.”

And the details range from ledger to boudoir. ‘Today Nora and I are still competing but it’s a friendly competition now; in fact, I’m the godmother of her adopted child. We want that there should still be a competing between us, but with nothing personal to it. So it has become a healthy competition. Nora is a very sensitive person. Me, I’m not very sensitive. But make no mistake about Nora: she is also a strong woman. What I know of Nora: though there may be many advising her, ultimately it’s her own feelings she follows. She does what she wants to do; it’s herself she obeys: that’s her attitude. I guess what she needs at present is the right person. Nora is 37 years old now. I am 36 – a true friend who loves her. A friend who will love her whether she’s down, whether she’s up, or whatever.”

What puzzles is the difference in image between Nora la Dolorosa and Vilma the Glad Girl despite the fact that actually both of them underwent very similar experiences: rash infatuations, career ups-and-downs, a failed marriage, business fiascos, the heavy cross of huge debts. Why did such ordeals produce the sad look in one but a glad look in the other? To be sure, there are those who say that Vilma’s image as the Glad Girl is just that: an image; and that the reality behind it may not be quite as pleasant. The real Vilma, aver these know-it-all’s, is cold-blooded: sweet na sweet pero deadly; nothing matters to her but her career. She was playing herself ruthless in films like Hahamakin Lahat. When she found she couldn’t displace Nora as the nation’s sweetheart, she did violence to her own persona by enacting Burlesk Queen, the kind of role Nora cannot do: she risked her career because that was the only way to beat Nora. Vilma herself shrugs off such misreadings of her history with the remark that the intrigues of others only help her become ‘a stronger woman.” Even the world’s malice can’t be made useful in building up character. ‘I am Rosa Vilma Santos, who grew up in Bambang, Trozo, and then in La Loma, and my life is an open book. What people say about me – that’s a problem I must live with. I guess it’s the price I pay for my career: the price of no privacy. I can’t do anything about that anymore. However I may want to keep my personal life private, it’s impossible: lalabas at lalabas talaga. However discreet I may try to be, I’m sure to be found out.” So she chooses to let it all hang out. ‘Of course, I hate having no privacy: I’m really suffering from that. Sometimes I wish I were an ordinary person so I can go where I like, go shopping for groceries with my son, go for a walk and enjoy it. But how can you enjoy it when you’re always getting mobbed? But, as I said, that’s the price you pay.” And certainly she has no intention of retiring just to gain that precious privacy. ‘Nor no plans either of getting married. Not yet. maybe someday, yes. As of now, I’m very comfortable and happy with my personal life. But another marriage? I’m not prepared for that.” 

What she’s prepared for right now is more career. ‘I have reached a position when I’m not contented with just acting: I’d like to experience all the other works of moviemaking. But most of all I want to be a director. I want to be given a chance to direct a movie. So that this time I myself will be the captain. I have ideas I want to try out.” She confounds the Cassandras by expressing hope and confidence in the Philippine cinema. ‘There has been progress, there has been improvement. We started in black-and-white: now we’re in color. Yes, there are frustrations. It’s frustrating to come up with a film of relevance, to upgrade the cinema in general, and see it fail at the box-office. A painful experience – like my movie Sister Stella L. I felt bad when it didn’t make good because I like that movie very much. It wasn’t my first time to do a quality movie that had to be yanked out in seven days. You can’t blame the producers: it’s their money at stake. If I were in their place, would I risk my money on something that won’t sell? And yet how I wish there were some producers willing to risk their money on movies with significance… I hear even the scriptwriters are feeling frustrated because, when they do a quality script, they only see it changed into something with lots of shrieking and slapping. But those are the movies that sell.” Nevertheless, she looks forward to a classier tomorrow for Philippine cinema.

‘And what’s tomorrow for Vilma Santos? I’m trying to be more stable because I know that show business is not stable. I’m planning to produce a movie next year. This time I’ll manage production myself. I’ve already started with telemovies. The first was Lamat sa Kristal, with Richard Gomez. Next was Katuparan, directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya. And the third is this one I’m doing right now with Aga Muhlach, Once There Was a Love, directed by Maryo J. delos Reyes.” Her own TV show just celebrated its 10th anniversary – and with a scandal yet. It got kicked out of its usual venue, the Metropolitan Theater, because, complained the Met honchos, Vilma’s live audiences wrought havoc with the Met’s upholstery. Which, to take the Pollyanna, or Glad girl, approach, proves that Vilma’s audiences today are not matrons and seniors but still the young, the wild, the reb. She says she has no hang ups about age. But how does she keep herself looking young? ‘I don’t know. I don’t do anything special. I used to swim but I don’t have the time now. I don’t cut down on anything. I drink occasionally but I’m not really a drinker. My true enemy is tobacco:

I smoke. Aside from that, I know no other vices. On facing the camera, whether movie or TV, I put on make up. But Vilma Santos the person, when in her house, puts nothing on her face.” She is positive it’s not make-up that makes her go over on the little or big screen as young-looking. ‘But like the old beauties of Sampaguita Studios. I know that someday I will be the ex-superstar. When that time arrives, I hope I’ll be stable – financially stable enough to ensure a future for my son, present comfort for my family, and for myself a personal life that’s tranquil because I have a stable business and a comfortable income. Those are my dreams now that I am 36.” Not that she has any complaints about the present tense. ‘More than half of my life has been spent in show business,” says the Glad Girl. ‘For all the blessings I am enjoying, I should be thankful!” Happiness, Inc.

Publisher’s Note:  Quijano de Manila (Nick Joaquin) is a National Artist for Literature, while both Ishmael Bernal and Lino Brocka are National Artist for Film.  Our cover story is about the indestructible and unfading screen beauty, Vilma Santos, who has become even more accomplished and seductive as the years pass. Quijano de Manila (Nick Joaquin in journalistic disguise) captures the secrets and the charms of this enduring beauty, a triumph of art over time. – Juan P. Dayang

Source: Written by Quijano De Manila (Nick Joaquin), Philippine Graphic Magazine 05 November 1990

Filmography: Nakakahiya? (1975)

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Basic Information: Directed: Luis Enriquez; Story: Louise De Mesa; Screenplay: Rene Fornier; Cast: Eddie Rodriguez, Vilma Santos, Gloria Romero, Barbara Perez, Vivian Avila, Ricky Santiago, Marilou Esteban, Nanette Lizares, Mila Montemayor; Original Music: Rudy Arevalo; Cinematography: Hermo U. Santos

Plot Description: No Available Data

Film Achievement: 1975 Bacolod City Film Festival Best Actress

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)

One of film projects Rodriguez and Santos collaborated. (Ex-Wife 1981 (director), Halik sa Kamay Halik sa Paa 1979, Hindi Nakakahiya 1976 (director), Ikaw Lamang 1971, Kasalanan Kaya? 1968, Nakakahiya? 1975 (director), Simula ng Walang Katapusan (director) 1978) – RV (READ MORE)

Film Review: “…Starring Eddie Rodriguez who was married to Barbara Perez who was the best friend of Gloria Romero whose daughter (again!) Vilma Santos fell in love with Mr. Rodriguez, Vilma’s first of May-December flicks. Oh, what a shame and a scandal in the family. A Morality play? You betcha. It’s the 70’s and the times they were changin’. Nakakahiya? Vilma donned a bikini for the first time and the public did not mind. Vilma and Eddie were so good that they triumphed at the Bacolod City Film Festival. Best Picture. Best Director. Best Actress. Best Actor. Beating the likes of Nora Aunor and Gerry De Leon. Ms. Romero and Ms. Perez did not mind second billings. It’s the role that mattered most….” – Mario Garces (READ MORE)

Hit na hit sa takilya at Patok ang Mr. and Miss R.P. Movies na sina Eddie Rodriguez at Vilma Santos, ang nagkamit ng award bilang “Pinakamahusay na actor at actress sa Bacolod Film Festival para sa pelikulang “Nakakahiya.” At hindi lamang iyan. Nakamit din ng pelikulang ito ang mga sumusunod: Best Picture, best screenplay, best director, best sound, at best film editing awards. Isang bagay lamang ang ikinalulungkot ng mga taga-Bacolod. Hindi nakarating sina Eddie at Vilma upang tanggapin ang kanilang awards. At ang pinakahuling karangalang tinanggap ng dalawang sikat na tambalang ito ay ang pagkakapili sa kanilang dalawa bilang Mr. and Miss R. P. Movies ng taong ito. Isang karangalan ang mapiling Mr. and Miss R. P. Movies. Iisa lamang ang kahulugan nito ang mataas na pagpapahalaga sa kanilang dalawa ng pelikulang Tagalog bilang mga pangunahing alagad ng sining. At hindi naman alangan ang pagkakahirang kina Eddie at Vilma sapagkat kapwa sila dedicated sa kanilang propesyon. Si Eddie, bukod sa isang mahusay na actor, director at prodyuser ay isa pa ring mahusay na scriptwriter. At hindi lamang sa pelikula nagdi-direct si Eddie Rodriguez. Maging sa kanyang weekly tv show, ang “Sanyugto” ay siya rin ang director. – Ely L. Jovez (READ MORE)

Luis Enriquez aka Eddie Rodriguez first directed a young Vilma Santos in 1968 Kasalanan Kaya, another love triangle genre starring the dramatic trio of Marlene Dauden, Eddie Rodriguez and Lolita Rodriguez. Vilma received an early acting recognitions from this film by receiving a FAMAS Nomination for Best Supporting Actress. When Enriquez directed Vilma again, it was a calculated risk that allowed a still young Vilma into a bikini-clad lead role opposite his director himself, Eddie Rodriguez. The film, Nakakahiya, a may-december affair between an older man and a young woman was 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 will direct Vilma in five more films, the last one was ExWife in 1981 where surprisingly Luis used in film credits his screen name, Eddie Rodriguez. Theri total number of colloborations were seven (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) – RV (READ MORE)

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Filmography: Karugtong ang Kahapon (1975)

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Basic Information: Directed: Fely Crisostomo; Story: Nerissa Cabral; Screenplay: Mike Relon Makiling; Cast: Vilma Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Gloria Romero, Celia Rodriguez, Eddie Garcia, Jay Ilagan, Romy Mallari, Joseph Sytangco, Patria Plata, Ronald Ruiz; Original Music: Danny Subido; Cinematography: Ricardo Herrera; Film Editing: Gervacio Santos

Plot Description: “…When the happy, well-adjusted daughter of a middle-class couple discovers her father’s infidelity to her mother, her hysterical and overblown response to the discovery leads one to wonder how well-adjusted she could have been..” – Clarke Fountain, Rovi, Blockbuster (READ MORE)

Film Achievement: An Entry to the 1975 Metro Manila Film Festival

Film Review: “…May pagsisikap ang Karugtong Ang Kahapon na lumikha ng naiibang larawan ng babae. Sekretarya lamang ni Rafael si Norma ngunit tila wala siyang pakialam sa tradisyunal na huwarang pambabae na dapat lamang makipag-seks sa ilalim ng institusyon ng kasal. Nagdedesisyon siya ayon sa pinaniniwalaan niyang tama. Kahit may pananagutan na si Rafael, malaya niyang sinunod ang nais ng kanyang isip at katawan. Pero kailangan pa rin niyang itago ang katotohanan sa harap ni Raquel nang bigla siyang komprontahin nito ukol sa pakikipagrelasyon ng kanyang ama kay Beatrice. Sa kabila ng liberal na asta at asal na ipinakita sa pelikula, nakakapagtaka na pinairal pa rin ang anakronista at makalumang pagtuturing sa babae bilang martir. Mapapansin ito sa papel na ginampanan ni Gloria Romero. Ipinakita ni Beatrice ang hindi pasibong pagtanggap nito sa suliraning kinasasangkutan ng asawa, na tumututol naman siya kahit paano, hindi rin naman ipinakita na gumagawa siya ng hakbang na tumutungo, kahit bahagya, sa isang progresibong pagkamulat sa kanyang kalagayan. Ayon sa pagkakaganap, isinabalikat ni Vilma Santos sa papel ni Raquel ang buong bigat ng pasaning nakapaloob sa pelikula sa pamamagitan ng isang uri ng pagganap na kumikilos, nag-iisip at malalim na umuunawa sa karanasan. Sinubok ng Karugtong Ang Kahapon na hatakin ang manonood sa landas tungo sa matalinong pagsasalarawan at pag-unawa sa kababaihan. Sa maraming pagkakataon, pinilit nitong kumawala sa etiketang kinakabit sa babae pero naroon pa rin ang etiketang nakabatay sa patriyarkal na ayos ng mga bagay…” – Jojo Devera, Sari-saring Sineng Pinoy (READ MORE)

“…Starring Vilma, daughter of a “happy” couple Eddie Garcia and Gloria Romero. Throw in the other woman of Eddie, Celia Rodriguez and as expected, another morality play was born. Shown at the first MMFF…” – Mario O. Garces (READ MORE)

“…Nora Aunor’s entry, NV Productions’ Batu-Bato sa Langit (directed by Luciano B. Carlos), was a hit and won as 3rd Best Picture. Vilma Santos, on the other hand, gave a notable performance in Roma Films’ Karugtong ang Kahapon. That time, Nora and Vilma were in their peak, their career and the movies they made were being followed closely, compared, watched, praised, scrutinized both by fans and critics. Their storied and fierce rivalry dominated our movie industry for years. In fact, one could argue that even to this day, a Filipino movie fan is either a Noranian or a Vilmanian…” – Wikipedia (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…” – Ruel Mendoza, Abante, 15 June 2019 (READ MORE)

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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: Anak ng Asuwang (1973)

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Basic Information: Directed: Romy Susara; Story: Tommy Marcelino; Screenplay: Nilo Saez; Cast: Vilma santos, Gloria Romero, Daisy Romualdez, Rosanna Marquez, Lucita Soriano, Edgar Mortiz, Nick Romano, Leopoldo Salcedo, German Moreno, Larry Silva, Francisco Cruz, Pons De Guzman, Roger Saulog, Totoy Laki, Angel Comfiado, Romy Luartes, Chito Guerrero, Greg Lozano, Oscar Ramirez, SOS Daredevils, Elizabeth Vauchen, Lolet Garcia, Lita Rodriguez; Original Music: Tito Arevalo

Plot Description: Vampire Gloria Romero terrorizes Vilma Santos, veteran actor, leopoldo Salcedo played Vilma’s father.

Film Achievement: 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: “…featuring the Vilma/Gloria mother and daughter team had to be made. Gloria reprised her role as the vampire minus Darna. Vilma was her “doomed” daughter. Gloria was so identified as Impakta that when the second Darna flick cameabout she have to do do a cameo appearance!…” – Mario Garces (READ MORE)

“…Noong 1973 ay naglitawan sa mga tabloids ang allegedly nakitang aswang o bampira. Yun pala ay ipapalabas ang Anak Ng Aswang ni Vilma Santos. Kasama sa nasabing pelikula sina Gloria Romero, Daisy Romualdez, Rosanna Marquez at Edgar Mortiz…” – Tess Clarin, FAP, Nov 27, 2009 (READ MORE)

“Impakta” or an “Asuwang” Roles – “…Eric C: Vilma, You have done every role already except playing “Impakta” or an “Asuwang”. Would you consider playing a Darna villainess like what Gloria Romero did? Vilma: Yikes! Do I already look like a Vampire? (Laughs out loud) Actually I starred in a Vampire movie already “Anak ng Aswang” (Vampire’s Child) but I was not the Vampire. Gloria Romero played the Vampire. Actually I think that’s an interesting role and I don’t mind playing a Villainess as long as it’s a good story…” – Eric Cueto (READ MORE)

Nang ginagawa ni Vilma ang Lipad, Darna, Lipad sinasabi niyang marahil iyon na ang pinakamahirap at challenging pic niyang nagawa. Kasi, dito’y nabilad siya ng husto sa init ng araw. Nalubog pa sa putik. Alam naman ninyo ang balat ng top superstar…manipis, maputi at sensitive. Tinubuan siya tuloy ng skin rashes. Sa Lipad, muntik na rin magkaroon ng nervous collapse si Vi. Dahil sa pakikipaglaban niya sa maliit na sawa. Heaven knows na gaano na lang ang takot ni Vi sa tulad nito and other slimy, crawling things. And so, akala nga ni Vi ay ang Lipad na ang pinakamahirap niyang pic na nagawa. But she was wrong. Pagkat, sa Dyesebel ay lalong hirap ang inabot niya. Nabilad siya rito sa init ng araw, nababad pa siya nang todo sa tubig. Ang God! ang difficulties niya sa paglipat-lipat sa sets. Paano siya makakakilos e, naka-buntot siya? At matatandaan pa ba ninyo na ilang ulit na naospital ang top superstar pagka’t nanganib na mapulmonya? Kaya minsan pa’y nasabi ni Vi na ang Dyesebel na ang pinakamahirap na pic niyang nagawa. Nguni’t sa paggawa niya ng Anak ng Asuwang para sa Roma Films, tambak na hirap na naman ang inabot niya. Masasabi ninyong hindi naman gaano marahil. Pagka’t dito’y hindi naman naka-costume ang superstar di tulad sa Lipad at Dyesebel. – Cleo Cruz, Bulaklak Magazine, 1973

Filmography: De Colores (1968)

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Basic Information: Directed: Armando Garces; Story: Romeo N. Galang; Screenplay: Romeo N. Galang; Cast: Joseph Estrada, Amalia Fuentes, Leopoldo Salcedo, Gloria Romero, Jun Aristorenas, Divina Valencia, Mario Montenegro, Perla Bautista, Anna Gonzales, Eddie Garcia, Mila Ocampo, Paquito Diaz, Von Serna, Eddie Infante, Gil de Leon, Jose De Villa, Jose Vergara, Luis Castro, Vilma Santos; Executive producer: Rey Ylag; Original Music: Restie Umali; Cinematography: Fortunato Bernardo

Plot Description: No Available Data

Film Achievement: 1968 FAMAS Best Actor – Eddie Garcia; 1968 FAMAS Nomination Best Actress – Perla Bautista; 1968 FAMAS Nomination Best Director – Armando Garces; 1968 FAMAS Nomination Best Picture

Film Review: “…Ipinanganak nga marahil si Ma. Rosa Vilma Tuazon Santos sa show business dahil sa pagitan ng taping ng “Larawan..” ay nagkasunod-sunod na ang kanyang mga pelikula…“De Colores” ng Arco-Iris (Marso 30 – April 10, 1968)…hanggang “Young Love” ng VP Enero 1 – 21, 1970) ng lumikha ng rekord sa takilya….Makalipas ang mga tatlong buwan, nakatanggap ng maikling sulat si Mama Santos muka lay G. Agra. Naghahanap ang Sampaguita Picutures ng batang babae na gaganap ng mahalagang papel sa “Anak, Ang Iyong Ina!” at isinali ng amain ang pangalan ni Vi. Hindi puwedeng lumiban si Papa Santos sa pinpasukang government office, at ayaw naman nilang mapahiya ang kamag-anak, kaya napilitan si Mama Santos na humingi ng day=off sa opisina (Aguinaldo’s). Pagdating sa studio, wala si G. Agra at nasa location shooting, ngunit totoong naroroon ang pangalan ni Vi, kaya’t pinapasok sila sa tanggapan. Napadaan sa harapan ni Mama Santos si Bella Flores na dala ang script ng “Trudis Liit.” Nagulumihanan si Mama Santos. Binasa niyang muli ang liham ni G. Agra. Mali yata ang napuntahan nila! Akma niyang tatawagin si Vi na noon ay nkikipaglaro sa iba pang mga bata upang yayain na itong umuwi, nang pumasok sina Mommy Vera, Dr. at Mrs. Perez, at Eddie Garcia. At doon nagsimula ang movie career ni Vi na magpahanggang ngayon ay batbat pa rin ng iba’t ibang panunuri, opinyon at konklusiyon…” – Ched P. Gonzales (READ MORE)

“…An all-star cast flick with such superstars as Joseph Estrada, Amalia Fuentes, and Gloria Romero. Despite multiple episodic stories of this movie about the “cult” “religious” revival among the elite Catholics, Vilma was in a forgettable episode. I wasn’t sure if she played a rebellious daughter turned good via the Cursillo, and whether she shared scenes with Ms. Romero. What mattered was that she bumped into her Tita Gloria on the set. More bonding, please…” – Mario O. Garces (READ MORE)

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Filmography: Pinagbuklod ng Langit (1969)

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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)

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