Follow in her footsteps

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Although she’s still very much in demand and still on top, Vilma Santos’ supposed to be “heir to the throne” is still nowhere in sight.  Some says her throne  has been filled several times, but whoever came, faded – fast and furious. They had a taste of fame but like a flashing meteor, they fade. Some remain active but still pale in comparison to the longevity and popularity of the Star for All Seasons. They follow her footsteps, patterned their career decisions to hers.  They become popular but some gradually retired.  Those remained are the lucky ones…who learned from her experiences and  followed her footsteps…

Victoria Lorna Aluquin, better known as Lorna Tolentino, sometimes known as L.T., an abbreviation of her screen name (born December 23, 1961), is a Filipina actress, host, executive producer and widow of actor Rudy Fernandez. Together, they bore two sons named Ralph and Renz. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Like Vilma Santos, Lorna started her stellar career as child star. She gradually transformed her image from sweet innocent teens into a mature versatile actress. Like Rio Locsin and Alma Moreno, Lorna started doing minor roles in earlier Vilma Santos films. Most notably, “Batya’t palu-palo” together with another up and coming actor, the young Philip Salvador. She eventually became as famous as Vilma with hit films like “Dulce Amor,” “Moral,” “Luksong Tinik,” “Abakada Ina” and her most controversial off-beat role, Brocka’s “Maging Aking Ka Lamang.” She even wore the “Darna” customes on small screen. With a series of dramatic roles, she always end up empty handed with award nighs as both Vilma and Nora were playing tug-of-war, during their hey days. When the Vi and Guy rivalry slow-down, she was able to succeed, receiving several trophies and even recorded a grand slam best actress win like Vilma. Lorna and Vilma finally did a movie where both played lead roles, in Eddie Garcia’s record breaking, “Sinasamba Kita.” The two remained friends through the years. Lorna even guested several times on Vi’s television show in the ’90s.

Alma “Ness” Moreno (born Vanessa Moreno Lacsamana born on May 25, 1959) is a Filipina actress politician who has made her mark both as a popular movie and television personality. She was born in Cervantes, Ilocos Sur to Frank Lacsamana, from Pampanga, and Jean Moreno. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Like Lorna, Alma played bit roles in a Vilma Santos starrer, Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw. Unlike Lorna whose acting talent was evident early on even as a child star, Alma lacks the intensity. She eventually realized she needed to accept more daring roles to survive in this business, accepting roles that required her to disrobe She almost surpassed the commercial success of Vilma with starring roles in smash hits like “Mrs Eva Fonda 16,” “Bomga Star,” “Bitayin si Baby Ama,” “Nympha,” and “City After Dark.” Alma’s stiff competition during the height of her career was Lorna Tolentino and later on, a more daring star, Rio Locsin. Rio and Lorna also had a competition goin’ on when they did a much publicized film, “Step-sisters.” Meanwhile, Alma and Lorna’s competition reached its pinacle when they did Bernal’s ‘City After Dark.” Their subdued comfrontation scene in a narrow street while rain was pourin heavily was one of the most memorable scene in the film. Alma held herself, acting wise. This is not the only time that the two were connected, in real life, they share the love of one man, the late Rudy Fernandez. Alma was Rudy’s live in partner in the 70s to the half of 80s while Lorna became Rudy’s wife in the later part of 80s until his untimely death. Both actresses have children with the late action star. If Lorna portrayed Darna like Vilma while Alma portrayed Dyesebel like Vilma. Alma and Vilma did one film during the height of Alma’s career, Elwood Perez’s hit film, “Magkaribal.” Like Lorna, she also guested a few times in Vi’s television show despite the fact she also compete with Vi with her own musical variety show, Lovely Ness. It was reported in tabloid during Dolphy’s funeral, that the two tried to avoid each other (by the way, Dolphy was Alma’s ex) for some unclear reasons, some think it was politically motivated as both are now politicians.

Sharon Cuneta-Pangilinan, better known as Sharon Cuneta, is a multi-awarded Filipino singer, actress and TV host dubbed the Megastar of Philippine Entertainment, and fondly called “Mega” by fans and people from the entertainment industry. Her success in the movies (53 starring roles), television (10 shows) and recording (40 albums) make her possibly the greatest Filipino entertainer of all time. Her popularity has translated well into the field of advertising, where she is the highest paid and most effective Filipino celebrity endorser. Cuneta’s long list of endoresements run the gamut from fastfood chain to bank, from make-up line to electronics, from ice cream to tele-communication company. On November 22, 2011, following months of speculations, Sharon’s big move to TV5 was made official by signing a staggering 1 Billion contract with the Kapatid Network – the highest ever paid to a Filipino artist. She parted ways with ABS-CBN, her home network of 24 years, on a cordial note. Her daily afternoon talk show Sharon: Kasama Mo, Kapatid premiered on May 14, 2012 and has been hailed as an engaging program that aims to entertain and to inspire. The show provides the perfect platform for Sharon to be in touch with her audience, reaffirming her stature as a well-loved icon who is now more accessible to fans and viewers alike…” – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Like Alma and Lorna, Sharon Cuneta became part of Vilma Santos movie in their earlier showbiz career. This time, Sharon sings the theme song of a Vilma Santos starrer, “Langis at Tubig.” Self-confessed Vilmanian, she mentioned that she used to gawked at her idol whenever given a chance since they used to both live in a same closely gated subpision. As Sharon established herself as a huge star herself, the similarities in their career path were quite significant. Both became a singer, although Vi adminitedlly said singing wasn’t her forte, Vi recorded a string of hit albums. Both Vi and Sharon recorded their earlier albums titled “Sixteen.” Both became a bankable contract stars of Viva Films producing such record breaking films like “Bukas Luluhud Ang Mga Tala,” “Sa Hirap at Ginhawa,” and “Sana’y Wala Ng Wakas” for Sharon and “Sinasamba Kita,” “Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan” and “Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-ibig” for Vilma to name a few. During the 1990s, both became successful star on the small screen, Vi with her award winning show, “Vilma!” for GMA 7 and Sharon’s equally hit show, “TSCS” (The Sharon Cuneta Show) for ABS CBN Channel 2. In their long filmography, both became Darna, the Filipino flying-comic supershero and also did hit films with the late, Fernando Poe Jr. Sharon was quoted on several articles that she dreaming of one day doing a film with her idol, in an article written by Rose Garcia for PEP on May 14th 2009 she said: “…Bago pa man ang Sharon-Ai-Ai movie, matagal nang pinaplano ang pelikulang pagsasamahan sana ng Megastar at ng Star For All Seasons na si Gov. Vilma Santos. But how does she feel na mas nauna pa ang movie nila ni Ai-Ai sa movie nila ni Ate Vi? “Ay, naku, ‘yan naman talaga ang dream ko!” sambit ni Sharon. “I think, all actors, all actresses, we all have dreams, e, as to who we wanna work with. And I think, it’s a common knowledge na Vilmanian ako and I was never treated in a bad way palagi. And I think, I learn a lot from her on how to be a good idol at yung pakikisama sa tao at pag-appreciate. “I think, one of my ultimate dreams is to always work with Tito Dolphy. Isa sa dream ko, natupad na. Nakasama ko na si Ai and I always told her, before pa. Yung sa amin ni Ate Vi, probably will be a drama and by next year,” balita ni Sharon…”

Maricel Soriano (born Maria Cecilia Dador Soriano on February 25, 1965), known as the Diamond Star is a critically acclaimed Filipina film and television actress. She has starred in many films covering different genres including comedy, fantasy (Inday series), horror, suspense, action, romance and drama. She has appeared in hundreds of films and has scored a number of blockbuster hits. As well as acting, Soriano is also a singer and has recorded several songs including the theme song of her movie Oh My Mama in 1981. In 1987, she performed a sold out concert at the Araneta Coliseum titled “Hello, Hello Maricel.” – Wikipedia, 23 Jul 2009 (READ MORE)

When Sharon entered the scene, she find a stiff competition from the rival of her film studio Viva, Regal’s contract star, Maricel Soriano. Soriano like Vilma started as a child star and became a confident actress, tackling mature roles that her contemporary including Sharon didn’t dare to tackle. Like, Vi, she dared the public to accept her in such memorable films like “Hinugot sa Langit” and “Pinulot Ka Lang sa Lupa” where she played an abortionist and “bida-contrabida” sociallite. A similar career milestone movies patterned with Vi’s “Burlesk Queen” and “Sinasamba Kita.” The two finally did a film in the mid 1980’s in Regal’s commercial film, “Yesterday, Today and Tommorow.” Unlike Sharon who became known first as a singer, Maricel, like Vi were known for her dancing abilities. She did this in her own musical variety show, titled “Maricel Live!” and later in “Maria! Maria!” where she competed for TV ratings with Vi (and Sharon) during the 1990s (Like Vi, she also did TV drama anthology). During this time, Maricel became entangled with the controversial transfer of Vi’s TV co-host, Roderick Paulate to Maricel’s show. But in due time, all were forgotten and the three remained friends to this date. This is not the only time that Vi became part of Maricel’s personal relationships, Vi’s ex, Edu Manzano also became Maricel’s husband for awhile. Both Maricel and Edu, at one point, thought their relationship will last forever. But the two separated after a few years of bliss. Now, in her senior years, Maricel attempted several comeback after years of semi-retirement. Like, Sharon, Maricel confessed her respect and admiration for Vi in several movie articles. And after several year of semi-retirement, she is now reportedly starting some projects for ABS-CBN and also have some film projects lined up.

Claudine Margaret Castelo Barretto-Santiago (born July 20, 1979), popularly known as Claudine Barretto, is an entrepreneur, product endorser, film and television actress from the Philippines. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

“…The premiere actress admitted that she has her own acting idols. She named the likes of Meryll Streep, Lolita Rodriguez, Nora Aunor, and Gina Alajar. Gov. Vilma also commended Claudine for her versatility as an actress. “Claudine is a very flexible actress. Pwede siyang gumanap na kaaawaan mo siya. Pwede ring sexy and very believable. In any roles na ginagawa mo ibinibigay mo lahat and you’re very believable. Kaya mo lahat gawin, believe me. Drama, sexy, action, comedy, you can do it. For that I commend you.” For Claudine’s exceptional talent, the Gov. Vi said she will not be surprised if Claudine becomes the next Star for All Seasons. “When we did Anak, sa mga promo for the movie, tinanong ako kung nakikita ko ba si Claudine na pwedeng maging next Vilma Santos, ang sagot ko, ‘Of course!’ You have a long way to go,” said Vilma to Claudine who became teary-eyed because of the compliment…” – Push, 14 Jul 2009 (READ MORE)

“…Ang sarap ng pakiramdam sobra, pero bilang isang Vilmanian ayokong may pumalit o sumunod sa yapak ni Ate Vi. There will never be another Vilma Santos. Nag-iisa lang siya. Ako mismo ayokong may magsabi na papalitan o ito ang susunod sa yapak ni Ate Vi unless anak niya parang ganun. Yun yung feeling ko bilang Vilmanian but I’m very honored na of course galing siyempre kay Ate Vi Star for All Seasons yun.” Claudine also said that she respects Ate Vi so much that the latter’s approval is like an award In itself. She said that she promised the Batangas governor that she’ll be the best Claudine Barretto that she can ever be and not a “replacement” for her. “Siya ang pinakamarami nang napanalunang award na grand slam, Hall of Fame award etc. ‘Pag galing kay Ate Vi na sobrang respetado sa industriya at pulitiko, grabe yung honor at privilege na napansin niya yun yung talent mo, para akong nag-grand slam sa sinabi ni Ate Vi,” Claudine shared…” – Push, 23 Jul 2009 (READ MORE)

Among the junior actresses that followed Sharon and Maricel, Claudine and Judy Anny were the most successful in terms of sustaining their popularity. Although Claudine’s career in now on its downward phase, she remained one of the most talented and was praised by Vi herself for being one of those versatile. Claudine, like Vi, started her career as a teen star with an on and off screen love partner, the late Rico Yan. Rico and Claudine was one rumoured to be engaged but his sudden death ruined this wishful dream for their die-hard fans. Prior to her teen transitions, Claudine was a regular cast in Dolphy’s TV sitcom, “Home Along da Riles.” After Yan’s death, Claudine became a serious contender for acting supremacy with several drama tele-series competing with her stiff rival Judy Ann and several drama films. She won acting recognitions with her performance in 2004’s “Milan” (where she competed for acting awards with her rival Judy Ann Santos and with veterans, Vi and Nora) and 2005’s “Dubai” and “Nasaan Ka Man” where she received several trophies and nominations. She also became a certified box office star with films, “Sukob” with Kris Aquino in 2006 and her sole movie with Vi, the blockbuster, “Anak” in 2000.

Judy Ann Santos (born Judy Anne Lumagui Santos-Agoncillo; May 11, 1978) is a Filipino film and television actress, product endorser, recording artist, and film producer. She began as a child actress and made her professional television debut in Kaming Mga Ulila (1986) before her screen debut in the film Silang Mga Sisiw Sa Lansangan (1988) where she appeared as part of the ensemble playing a supporting role. Her first leading role in a television series was in Ula, Ang Batang Gubat (1988), but she received media recognition in her breakthrough television series Mara Clara (1992). She has since spawned highly rated television series, amongst these are Esperanza (1996), Basta’t Kasama Kita (2003), Sa Piling Mo (2006) and Ysabella (2007). Santos starred in commercially successful films in the early 1990s following motion picture adaptations of Mara Clara (1996) and Esperanza (1999). She further achieved television and film success with pairings opposite Wowie de Guzman, Rico Yan and Piolo Pascual. Santos’ performance in the film Sabel (2004) received critical acclaim and earned her the Gawad Urian for Best Actress. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Claudine’s rival, Judy Ann also started as a child actress and a regular cast in several teleserye. Like Claudine she also transitioned into a teen star with her successful partner, Wowee de Guzman and later on, Piolo Pascual. Her rumoured real life relationship with Pascual was one of the most publicly dessiminated relationships in the local scene that did not resulted in happy endings, she ended up marrying a newcomer during that time, the more serious with intention to settle, Ryan Agocillio. Judy Ann with the guidance of Vilma’s former supporter Alfie Lorenzo, maintained her popularity compared to Claudine. She successfully turned her successful princess of teleserye career into a full-pledge serious actress with projects like “Magkapatid” (with Sharon Cuneta), and her more serious films “Sabel” and “Ploning.” Although many articles came that she prepared to work with Vi’s rival Nora, she recently clariffied this wasn’t the case, that she prepared to work with both.

Sarah Geronimo Sarah Asher Tua Geronimo, popularly known as Sarah Geronimo or Sarah G. is a Filipino recording artist and actress. Born and raised in Sampaloc, Manila she joined various singing and talent competitions with her father, Delfin Geronimo, as her trainer. In addition, she also joined the cast of now defunct ABS-CBN TV show, Ang TV. However, she rose to fame only after having won the Star for a Night singing competition in 2003. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Like Sharon, Sarah Geronimo’s career is similar to Vi’s rival Nora. Both became a singing contest winner. But because of her venturing into television musical variety hosting, her supporter wanted her to follow Vi’s television experience with Sarah venturing into more production numbers. Sarah’s recent success were her film projects opposite John Lyod Cruz, her recording albums and endorsements. She mentioned in several articles that it would be a dream come true to be cast in a Vilma Santos movie. She recorded the theme song of Vi’s 2009 film’s “In My Life.”

Kim Chiu (born Kimberly Sue Yap Chiu/Zhang Jinzhu; April 19, 1990), is a Filipina actress. She lived in Cebu City before she went to Manila for Pinoy Big Brother. Chiu was the first winner of Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition and is currently part of ABS-CBN’s Star Magic contract artists. She also having launched her only album entitled ‘Gwa Ai Di’ which means “I Love you” in Minnan dialect. Kim Chiu sometimes speak Hokkien at home back in Philippines. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Among the new crop of stars, Sarah’s closes rival would be Kim Chiu. Like Sarah, Kim was a product of reality show. Kim won the pinoy big brother show. She capitalized her popularity venturing into singing and also doing teleserye that Judy Ann and Claudine used to do. Kim’s first encouter with Vi was in television special where she was able to impressed Vi with her intepretation of Vi’s film role, Dolzura Cortez. After this Vi requested her to be cast in this year’s smash hit, “The Healing.” Like her predecessors, Kim also ventured in love team path, first with on and off screen love, Gerald Anderson and lately Xiam Lim. Anderson was once linked to Kim’s contemporary, Sarah Geronimo. It would be a good project if the three reprised the film, “Ikaw Ay Akin,” the Vi-Christopher de Leon-Nora Aunor film. Kim’s recent success is in small screen, co-starring with Maja Salvador in highly rating tele-serye, “Ina Kapatid Anak.”

Maja Ross Andres Salvador (born October 5, 1988) is a Filipina actress, dancer, model, and producer producer who is one of the latest in line of the showbiz clan of the Salvador family. She is currently under the management of ABS-CBN, and a member of Star Magic. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Maja Salvador, Kim’s co-star in TV’s “Ina Kapatid Anak” was onced Vi’s protege, she co-starred with Vi in 2006’s highly anticipated drama episode of “Maalaala Mo Kaya” titled “Regalo.” Her performance in this episode was highly praised and crtics even predicted that she is the one to watch. An article came that she was supposed to reprised Vi’s Burlesk Queen role but she clarified that she was too young to do a mature role. Prior to Ina Kapatid Anak, her recent success was her indie film, “Thelma” where she won a best actress trophy from the critic’s group, Gawad Urian.

Angel Locsin (born Angelica Colmenares; April 23, 1985) is a Filipina television and film actress, commercial model, film producer and fashion designer. She starred in the fantasy-themed television series Mulawin in 2004. Soon after, she starred as the superheroine Darna in the TV adaptation of the Mars Ravelo comics. When her contract expired on March 2007, Locsin did not renew her contract with GMA Network and signed an exclusive contract with ABS-CBN. Her first project under ABS-CBN was the television series Lobo. Locsin starred in her first box office movie under Star Cinema, Love Me Again, directed by Rory Quintos. In 2012, she starred in the film ÜnOfficially Yours which became her highest grossing film to date. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Angel’s recent project was the filmfest entry, “One More Try” where she played a mother of a sick boy reminiscent of Vi’s “Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan.” The two first film together was in 2004’s Regal Film “Mano Po 3: My Love.” Prior to this, Angel was one of the two actress who recently wore the Darna customes (the other one was Marian Rivera), as you’ll probably known, Vi was one of the most successful Darna in the history of this franchise. Although Angel remained popular, she lacks a clear rival that other stars has, this maybe to her advantage. Recent articles mentioned that there are plans for a second film for Vi and Angel. Writer Ethel Ramos in her colum for Malaya on July 30, Jul 2012 said: “Two Darnas to join forces…Speaking of Angel, there are talks that she might finally co-star with “Star for All Seasons” Vilma Santos, in a movie. Probably next year, right after the 2013 elections. Ate Vi (as we in showbiz fondly call her), as we all know, is running for a third term as Batangas Governor. By the time she and Angel shoot their movie, she would have won the office anew. The Ate Vi-Angel movie, we also heard, will be Star Cinema’s 20th anniversary offering next year…By the way, come to think of it, Ate Vi, like Angel, has once appeared in a “Darna” movie….”

Snooky Serna (born Maria Milagros Sumayao Serna on April 4, 1966) is a Filipina film and television actress…Being the daughter of actors Von Serna and Mila Ocampo, she started acting early in life via her 1970 landmark debut Wanted: Perfect Mother, where she immediately captured the hearts of Filipino audience as a cute, sweet and smart-talking four-year old. That same year she earned her first acting nomination from FAMAS Awards as Best Child Performer for the film My Little Angel. Trained by acclaimed director and National Artist, Lino Brocka, Snooky showed promise as dramatic actress and later proved to be a fine one. In 1972, she won her first FAMAS Award as Best Child Actress for the film ‘Sana Mahalin Mo Ako’. As a mature actress, she tackled roles which earned acting nominations from various award giving bodies. She was also in Kapag Napagod Ang Puso with Christopher de Leon and Inagaw Mo Ang Lahat Sa Akin (Harvest Home – official Philippine entry to the 1995 Oscars) but unfortunately was snubbed during awards night. Her other major films include Aabot Hanggang Sukdulan, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Hahamakin ang Lahat with Vilma Santos, the fantasy films Blusang Itim, Rosa Mistica, and Madonna: Ang Babaing Ahas. It was with Koronang Itim, that she finally won Best Lead Actress trophy. She has starred in over (80) films from 1970 to 2004…As a mature actress, she tackled roles which earned acting nominations from various award giving bodies. She was also in Kapag Napagod Ang Puso with Christopher de Leon and Inagaw Mo Ang Lahat Sa Akin (Harvest Home – official Philippine entry to the 1995 Oscars) but unfortunately was snubbed during awards night. Her other major films include Aabot Hanggang Sukdulan, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Hahamakin ang Lahat with Vilma Santos, the fantasy films Blusang Itim, Rosa Mistica, and Madonna: Ang Babaing Ahas. It was with Koronang Itim, that she finally won Best Lead Actress trophy. She has starred in over (80) films from 1970 to 2004. – Wikipedia, 23 Jul 2009 (READ MORE)

Snook Serna and Vilma Santos first film together was the 1971 musical, “The Wonderful World of Music” where they co-starred with Tony Ferrer and Boots Anson Roa, Snooky was still a child star and Vi was in a teenage love team with reel and real life sweetheart, Edgar Mortiz. Both actresses started as a child star, Vilma in Trudis Liit in 1963, where she won a FAMAS best child actress while Snooky did seven film in her debut year in 1970 and won a FAMAS best child actress for My Little Angel. Both actress’ route to fame were similar, taking mature roles, started with Vilma in Burlesk Queen (1977) and Snooky in Bata Pa Si Sabel (1981). The two did three more films, in 1986 with the box office hit, “Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow” with Maricel Soriano; in 1988, Vilma appeared in a minor role in the forgettable film, “Bukas Sisikat Din Ang Araw,” with Gabby Concepcion; and finally in 1990 with Lino Brocka’s “Hahamakin Ang Lahat (All Be Damned).” Working with her former mentor, Brocka’s “Hahamakin…” earned both Vilma and Snooky several acting nominations but it was Snooky who was lucky enough to received a PMPC Star Award for supporting actress. Like Vilma, Snooky did television projects, she did a drama anthology for ABS-CBN in 1989 and several guest drama appearances after but her most successful stints was in 1987-88 where she tried to host a musical variety show titled, “Always, Snooky.” She earned two PMPC Star Awards nomination for TV Best Musical Variety Show Host but twice loss to Vilma.

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Regalo (TV 2006)

“Kung ang tawag sa mga namamatayan ng asawa ay byudo o biyuda at ang mga anak na nawawalan ng mga magulang ay ulila, ano ang tawag sa mga magulang na namamatayan ng anak?” – Daisy Hernandez

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Basic Info: Directed: Olivia M. Lamasan; Writing credit: Dado C. Lumibao; Cast: Vilma Santos, Maja Salvador, Ricky Davao, Erich Gonzales, Charo Santos-Concio; Producer: Ginny Monteagudo, Malou N. Santos; Cinematography: Neil Daza, Charlie Peralta; Editing: Aries Pascual; Production Design: Nancy Arcega, Malou Dugtong IMDB

Plot Summary: Daisy Hernandez (Vilma Santos), a mother must divide her time between work and taking care of her daughter April (Maja Salvador) who has cerebral palsy. Daisy’s heart is wrenched every time she sees her eldest child suffer because of her illness. But Daisy never loses hope, and April manages to live a normal life until she is 18. Just when Daisy thought things are doing fine with her daughter’s disability, a tragedy will further test her faith (Wikepedia).

Achievement: 20th Star Awards Best Actress by a Single Performance – Vilma Santos Wikepedia

Review: “…It’s a vintage Vilma Santos performance, packed full with so much emotion that perhaps only the stone-hearted won’t be moved, especially in the succeeding scene where, hesitantly resigning to her daughter’s final farewell, Vilma delivers the clinching dialogue: Bakit kapag ang asawa ay namatayan ng asawa, ang tawag sa kanila balo o kaya ay biyudo o biyuda? Kapag naman namatayan ng ama o ina ang isang anak, ang tawag sa kanya ay ulila. Ano naman ang tawag nila sa inang namatayan ng anak?  That scene is absolutely heart-tugging and there’s more of similar scenes in the two-part special for which, according to direk Olive, Daisy Hernandez herself (a native of Lipa City where Vilma is the mayor on her third and last term) wrote some of the dialogues in the story that Vilma herself chose as possible movie material (but, said Vilma, “no regrets that it ended up a Maalaala special”).  Regalo (with Ricky Davao as Vilma’s husband) is the 777th episode of Maalaala which has lasted longer than the ABS-CBN executive (now retired) who, 15 years ago when Charo broached the idea of hosting the drama series, told her, “Wala kang alam sa telebisyon; ang alam mo lang ay pelikula…” – Ricky Lo (READ MORE)

“…Vi’s mighty proud of “Regalo,” saying the long wait was worth it. She herself presented the story to Charo and her sister Malou Santos, Daisy being one of her constituents in Lipa City. The mayor describes Daisy as a strong woman, not easily given to tears, despite the plight of her daughter April who had passed away. In memory of her daughter, Daisy works with an NGO which helps sick and needy children in Lipa…Olive requested that Daisy be on the set so that direk could relate the story as accurately as possible. Olive noted that a most moving line said by Vilma, came from Daisy herself. Something like, “Ang babaeng namatayan ng asawa, ang tawag biyuda. Ang anak na namatayan ng magulang, ulila. Subalit ano’ng tawag sa magulang, sa inang nawalan ng anak? Wala…” Vilma said words are not enough to describe the grief of a mother who lost a child. How true. Ask Manay Gina de Venecia, and Ali Sotto. “Regalo” was written by Dado Lumibao with Mel Mendoza-del Rosario as script supervisor. Charlie Peralta is the cameraman…” – Ronald Constantino (READ MORE)

“IT’S obvious that ABS-CBN values Vilma Santos so much. After making a movie that is an unabashed tribute to her from start to finish, “D Lucky Ones,” they now feature her in the 15th anniversary presentation of “Maalaala Mo Kaya.” “We love Vi as she’s not only a nice person but also a true professional, a committed artist who loves her craft,” says Charo Santos, top ABSCBN executive and host of “Maalaala Mo Kaya.” “Fan na niya ako since her Vi and Bobot days and Iove seen her evolution as a person and as an actress. Kahanga-hanga talaga siya at ang kanyang magandang kalooban, it just radiates. You cannot fake that dahil galing talaga ‘yun sa loob. We’ve long been inviting her to guest in “Maalaala” and she was the one who gave us this story of Mrs. Daisy Hernandez, a mother so devoted to her eldest daughter who had cerebral palsy.” “I met Daisy at the SPED, special education school for special children, in Lipa,” says Ate Vi. “I met her daughter, April. Then I didn’t see her for sometime and I found April has died na pala. I told her to write down her story then I gave it to Malou Santos who thought of doing it for “Maalaala.” We started taping this last year, pero magka-conflict ang skeds namin ni Direk Olive Lamasan, so it took 6 and a half days to tape it over a period of one year at natiyempo sa anniversary ng “Maalaala” at pang-Mother’s Day presentation pa.” “This is the show’s 777th episode,” adds Charo. “Maalaala has been made into a film in 1994 that gave awards to its stars, Aiko Melendez and Chin Chin Gutierrez. It has given the break to many directors like Wenn Deramas, Jerry Sineneng, Rory Quintos, Gilbert Perez, Mac Alejandre, Lauren Dyogi, Ricky Davao and Michael de Mesa. We’re proud to have Vi for our anniversary show that will be shown on May 4 and 11.” We’ve seen the preview of the episode, entitled “Regalo,” and it’s really a tearjerker that aims to wring your tearducts dry. Her fans will surely be proud of their idol anew as she shines in several scenes where she gets to deliver kilometric lines.

It’s a great acting vehicle for any actress worth her salt and Ate Vi truly does justice to the role of a mother who does everything to support her disabled child only to lose her later to a viral infection. All throughout the death and wake of April” (convincingly played by Maja Salvador), Vilma is not shown crying at all. She finally breaks down after the funeral while talking to her husband (Ricky Davao, who’s equally great) and delivers some lines that will surely be added to the list of classic dialogues she has uttered in her past films and that were all used in “D Lucky Ones.” If you’re a parent with a special child, you’d be able to identify with her role. But even if you’re not, you’d still be affected by this true story of unconditional love and sacrifice. Incidentally, we finally got to see “D Lucky Ones” and we’d like to congratulate Director Wenn Deramas for succeeding to make us laugh. There are many hilarious scenes in the movie that even non-Vilmanians will appreciate, thanks to the fine performances of Eugene Domingo, Sandara Park and Pokwang. Eugene is the best among them as she doesn’t exert too much effort in tickling us. Sandy is also a natural comedienne, but Pokwang can go over the top at the times she should have been restrained a bit. The film has two highlights. First is the dance showdown between Eugene and Pokwang at the Phi Bar where they get to re-create the intricate production numbers Ate Vi used to do in her TV show. The second one is the film’s climax where Ate Vi makes a special guest appearance to reconcile the warring Eugene and Pokwang and then does a dance number with the entire cast. Most local comedies fail to make us laugh, but this one really works. – Charlie Gomez (READ MORE)

“VILMA Santos had a meeting with her Vilmanians the other Friday at Max’s Libis. She reported that she had finally finished shooting her Maalaala Mo Kaya episode with Ricky Davao and Maja Salvador, directed by Olive Lamasan. “One year in the making ito, bale two episodes, but it’s really worth it and I’m impressed with the work of Direk Olive,” she says. “It’s based on the true story of a woman from Lipa.” She said she got an offer to do a stage play at the CCP. She’s willing to try the theatre but when she was told she has to rehearse for two months, she had to turn it down as she still has her duties as Lipa City mayor to attend to. She revealed she has new movie offers, but most of them are heavy drama. She wants to do something lighter that will be more appealing to the masa. Last March 8, Vilma was given the First Diwata Award in celebration of International Women’s Day. That coincided with the 16th International Women’s Film Festival by the UP Film Institute, the longest-running women’s filmfest in the country. She was cited for her roles in films like Sister Stella L, Relasyon, The Dolzura Cortez Story, Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa? and Dekada ’70, which are about women empowerment. She was honored with Lily Monteverde, Charo Santos-Concio and writer Lualhati Bautista. Vilma was warmly applauded by an adulating crowd and she delivered a very inspirational message, saying: “I strongly believe in these films with strong messages. It’s about time men believe in women empowerment. Don’t underestimate us, women and artists!” Ate Vi left Thursday with husband Sen. Ralph Recto to attend the investiture rites of our new cardinal in Rome (she was personally invited). After that, she will take a cruise with Ralph and meet with her family in Los Angeles.” – Mario Bautista, People’s Journal March 26 2006 (READ MORE)

“Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos, a multi-awarded dramatic actress, an exemplary wife and mother and a model public official, is so work-oriented that she can only make a few television appearances every year…Mayor Vi gives a bravura performance, which has become her trademark. She gives up her acting mannerisms for a fresh attack of a mother’s role that makes it an outstanding interpretation. Regalo relives the tale of Daisy Hernandez, a devoted wife and dedicated mother whose child suffers from cerebral palsy…Although screened in black and white, Regalo’s exceptional quality was immediately evident during the media preview. Everything about this episode is non-artsy as director Olive opted for a straightforward presentation to bring out the drama without seeming contrived. Acting is likewise direct to the point, clearly the episode’s main strength. Although Mayor Vi is notches higher in delivering her role, Maja showed that she has the makings of another Vilma Santos. Pitting them together was a casting triumph. Although Regalo is a small story, cast and crew imparted it with enough realism to turn it into a domestic epic of sorts. Regalo, written by Dado Lumibao, is a clear proof of MMK’s superiority as a drama anthology, making it the longest running ABS-CBN show right now. It is not afraid to defy convention, tell real-life stories with themes of rape, homosexuality, or physical disability, just as it delivers contemporary stories of love and sacrifice, family dramas and teen stories. And it does this with critically acclaimed actors and directors, award-winning stories, and visual treats that have semblances of films rarely seen on television (read: high production values unconstrained by small-screen budgetary pegs). This makes Maaalaala Mo Kaya a world-class drama anthology. Regalo is MMK’s Mother’s Day presentation with excellent actors Ricky Davao and Erich Gonzales in supporting roles.” – Edgar Cruz (READ MORE)

“…A special 15th Anniversary prsentation of Maalaala Mo Kaya. “Regalo” is an inspiring story of a woman who goes through a painful journey of finding her fulfillment as a wife, a mother and as a person. Balancing her time between her career and family is rather difficult for Daisy Hernandez. Her eldest daughter April is afflicted with Cerebral Palsy and needs all the love, care and attention only a mother can give. What can a mother sacrifice to raise a daughter like April? How far can she go to fight for her daughter’s battles in life?…” – Kabayan Central (READ MORE)

“…As for Vilma’s “MMK” replay, she and Ricky turned in emotionally charged and committed performances in it as the parents of a girl (Maja) with cerebral palsy. Vilma’s character, in particular, refused to capitulate to the dreaded illness’ terrible demands and tragic consequence, and the portrayal she turned in was one of her career bests. It’s good that our TV channels are replaying iconic shows and performances, because new generations of viewers are made more aware of and grateful for past thespic achievements, which make them more enlightened and demanding viewers today—to keep our TV-film people on their toes!…” – Nestor U. Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 25 April 2015 (READ MORE)

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