Vilma Santos is a popular multi-awarded actress and politician in the Philippines. She's known as the "Queen of Philippine Movies," "Queenstar" and "Star for All Seasons." She is currently the Congresswoman of District of Lipa, Batangas (Philippines). This site is mostly about her film career.
Basic Info: Direction: Mitos Villareal; Cast: Snooky Serna, Gabby Concepcion, Ernie Garcia, Vivian Foz, Vilma Santos, Tita Muñoz, Augusto Victa, Celina Chase, Julio Diaz, Melissa De Leon, Roland Montes; Released date: 17 March 1988
Plot Description: No Available Data
Film Achievement: 1988 FAMAS Best Supporting Actor Nomination – Ernie Garcia
Film Review: Seeing this soporific melodrama is like a long journey into the night. One wishes that it soon ends for a radiant sunrise to follow. But alas this movie only ignites small sparks of interest to keep us from yawning. The film’s bleak cinematography makes it a visual turn-off, the script needs tightening, the cerebral plot is too familiar and that bit of social relevance has not been smoothly integrated into the story. Serna (Estrella) plays a young, pretty and brainy lawyer but who has not been using her mind well in her romance with company manger Concepcion (Gerry). She feels like a whore each time Gerry brings her to his home but is too weak to resist his bedroom charm. Estrella has just passed the bar and since she’s brilliant, her law office forthwith sends her abroad to handle some cases. It must have taken her several years because when she returns home her child sired by Gerry is already a grown-up girl (Celina Chase). Serna with her sweet and fragile looks, does not project the image of a bright lawyer who is making a headway in her career. We never see her in the law firm she works for or even scanning over some paperwork. She is not smart to tackle her problem from the legalistic point of view. She gets pregnant but we don’t see her wih a bulging tummy and she delivers a bay which she gives to her cousing Aida (Vivian Post) and her husband Roel (Ernie Garcia) for adoption. Estrella does not inform Gerry of her pregnancy when she should have. So off he goes to Germany on official business with Carina (Melissa de Leon), daughter of company owner Dona Mercedes (Tita Munoz).
Melissa is a novice version of elder sister Pinky de Leon and for a new comer in a dramatic role, her acting is good enough. Munoz is noted for her strong personality on screen but here she delivers a restrained portrayal perhaps because her voice was dubbed by someone else. Dona Mercedes, as written in the script, is a confusing character. She is not an avaricious woman who is content with the profits Gerry brings into the company. Gerry employs fair labor practices but his assistant Atty. Cruz (Augusto Victa) is anti-labor. In a sudden change of heart, Dona Mercedes falls for the scheme of Cruz which triggers a labor strike. Gerry is already home but Cruz calls the shots. And yet, before this, Dona Mercedes has made it clear to her daughter that she needs Gerry. Gerry, by the way, has gotten married to Carina abroad but their relationship turns sours. Once home, Carina immediately seeks her old beau Randy (Julio Diaz) who is now married. Villareal’s treatment is not cinematic. She relies too much on dialogue to make the story move. Estrella’s pregnancy delivery of her baby and developments in her career are simply verbalized. Carina orders Randy to abandon his wife in exchange for a juicy position in her company but we don’t see him working. The illicit lovers vanish from the scene after their poolside dalliance and resurface much later.
The film’s main weakness is in the script. The trips of Estrella and Gerry and Carino go beyond realistic expectations. And to think that Estrella has only been sent by her office to handle a case or some cases and the couple to close a deal with a business associate. It takes years before they return. In one scene, Carina realizes her love for Gerry who is by then packing his bags to leave her for good. Carina pleads for him to stay but he has already made his decision. The next scene shows Carina in a hotel room with Randy and her she tells him that she is calling it quits. But why go to bed with him in the first place? Actually the central plot which has been complicated by too many subplots is about the romance between Estrella and Gerry. We know that they have to be back to each other’s arms to fullfill a happy ending. Villareal and her scenarist contrive a familiar device. Randy kills Carina with a gun in Gerry’s house where she has sought refuge. And for the coup de grace, Randy’s wife (Vilma Santos) suddenly appears on the scene to kill her philandering husbang. So as not to waste the much vaunted acting prowess of Santos, she is made to deliver a passionate monologue after shooting Diaz. Santos appears too late in the story and she should have an ealier scene to motivate her criminal act in the end.
Being an avowed womanizer, Randy’s murder of Carina seems out of character. Unless he has fallen hard for Carina, which is unlikely, Randy can simply hook another rich woman to replace her in case his wife rejects him. The most incredulous scene happens in a hospital where the doctor refuses to give medical aid to labor leader Roel who has been shot by a security guard during the strike. “I don’t think he’s gonna make it,” says the negligent doctor who should be shot too. And yet, Roel is able to tell Gerry that Lilet is his daughter by Estrella. Concepcion shows traces that he is intent on tackling mature roles but he doesn’t strike us as a believable young executive. The most powerful performer in the film is Vivian Fos. Garcia suits the role of a labor leader but the script does not give him much to do. The same applies to Diaz whose debonair look makes him a credible playboy but his character lacks depth. This meadering melodrama shows no promise of a brighter tomorrow for the local cinema. – Luciano E. Soriano, Manila Standard, Mar 28, 1988 (READ MORE)
“…Ate Vi made around 198 films from 1963 to 2002. This includes cameo appearances in Dugo at Pagibig sa Kapirasong Lupa, Mga Mata ni Angelita, Huwag Hamakin Hostess (with Nora Aunor and Alma Moreno with Vilma getting Orestes Ojeda in the end), Candy, No Other Love, Charot, Rizal Alih, Engkanto, and ‘Bukas Sisikat Din Ang Araw’, a Gabby-Snooky starrer, produced by friend Gabby Concepcion…” – The 28th (READ MORE)
“…Ernie won many acting awards. He was Aliw Awards’ Best Actor in 1988 for his portrayal in Rolando Tinio’s Filipino translation of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” He also garnered two Best Supporting Actor trophies from FAMAS and PMPC Star Awards for Movies in 1989, in the late Mitos Villareal’s directorial opus “Bukas Sisikat Din ang Araw” which starred Gabby Concepcion and Snooky Serna and where he played the role of a labor union leader…” – Crispina Martinez-Belen (READ MORE)
“…Ang tatay ni KC Concepcion na si Gabby Concepcion ay isa rin sa mga kaibigan ni Vi. Ilan ding pelikula ang ginawa ni Vi at Gabby katulad ng Pahiram Ng Isan Umaga, Sinungaling Mong Puso, Hahamakin Lahat, Ibigay Mo Sa Akin Ang Bukas at Asawa Ko Huwag Mong Agawin. Sa pelikulang Bukas Sisikat Din Ang Araw, kung saan si Gabby ang prodyuser ay naging special guest si Vi na sa totoo lang ay halos kasinlaki ang billing niya (Vi) sa mga major characters nito. Isa sa mga anak ni Gabby, anak niya kay Grace Ibuna ay inaanak ni Vi katuwang sina Lorna Tolentino, Alma Moreno, Snooky Serna at Maricel Soriano. Noong last episode ng Vilma show sa GMA 7 ay isa si Gabby sa mga special guests ni Vi at nag-compose pa ng tula si Gabby para kay Vi. Noon namang nagkaroon ng problema si Gabby dahil sa kontrobersiya sa Manila Film Festival noong 1994 ay isa si Vi sa mga naging sabihan niya ng kanyang mga problema. Si Gabby ay naging best supporting actor ng Star Awards for Movies noong 1992 para sa pelikulang Sinungaling Mong Puso, best actor ng Urian noong 1992 para sa Narito Ang Puso Ko at best supporting actor ng Urian para sa pelikulang Makiusap Ka Sa Diyos noong 1991…” – Alfonso Valencia (READ MORE)
“Irene…Di ko kaya ang walong buwan! Kung mamatay rin lang ako…mamatay na ako ngayon o bukas o sa linggo pero hindi ko kaya ang walong buwan!” – Juliet Espiritu
“…Irene, ayoko ng mahabang burol kung maari kinabukasan rin ipalibing mo na ako.” – Juliet Espiritu
“Ayoko ko pang mamatay…paano si Chad?…hahanapin ako ng anak ko, hindi siya sanay ng wala ako…Ariel…gusto ko pang mabuhay, kahit ilang araw lang, kahit konting oras lang, kahit isang umaga lang…” – Juliet Espiritu
“Ariel maliwanag na ba?…anong kulay ng langit?…at ang dagat?…ang mga mangingisda nandiyan na ba?…Ariel…ang ganda ng mundo!…ang sarap mabuhay!” – Juliet Espiritu
Basic Information: Directed: Ishmael Bernal; Story, screenplay: Jose Javier Reyes; Cast: Vilma Santos, Gabby Concepcion, Eric Quizon, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Billy Crawford, Olivia Cenizal, Tita Muñoz, Gil de Leon, Dexter Doria, Vicky Suba, Subas Herrero, Cris Vertido, Toby Alejar, Tony Angeles, Symon Soler, Gina Perez, Alma Lerma, Roy Alvarez, Becky Misa; Executive producer: Lily Monteverde; Original Music: Willy Cruz; Cinematography: Manolo Abaya, Eduardo Jacinto, Nonong Rasca; Film Editing: Augusto Salvador; Production Design: Elmer Manapul; Sound: Joe Climaco; Theme Songs: “Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga” performed by Zsa Zsa Padilla
Plot Description: Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga (English title: “To Live Another Day,” “On Borrowed Time” or “Lend Me One Morning”) revolves around Juliet (Vilma Santos), who finds herself struggling against an ever-escalating series of problems. A determined single parent, she manages to raise a child while remaining successful in her career as an advertising executive. Everything in her life seems to go well until she is diagnosed with a terminal disease. For her son’s sake, and without revealing her condition, she is forced to resolve her most important life relations: rekindling first her connections with her parents, and then with the very man who fathered her son. In the twilight of her life, she meets and falls in love with a beleaguered artist, Ariel (Eric Quizon), who is constantly depressed and perpetually contemplating suicide. She slowly loses her health but unknowingly reawakens Ariel desire to live, and they both engage in a meaningful affair – one that makes each day they live through together more meaningful than the last. – DVD cover description
After getting bumped up to vice president at her advertising firm, Juliet (Vilma Santos) is floating on cloud nine, but fate soon delivers a brutal shock that knocks her off her perch: a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer. With just eight months to live, Juliet embarks on a mental and physical journey to erase her regrets. Along the way, she meets a painter (Eric Quizon) who changes her outlook in this poignant drama. – Netflix
To Live Another Day (Pahiram ng Isang Umaga) revolves around Juliet, who finds herself struggling against an ever-escalating series of problems. A determined single parent, she manages to raise a child while remaining successful in her career as an advertising executive. Everything in her life seems to go well until she is diagnosed with a terminal disease. For her son’s sake, and without revealing her condition, she is forced to resolve her most important life relations: rekindling first her connections with her parents, and then with the very man who fathered her son. In the twilight of her life, she meets and falls in love with a beleaguered artist, Ariel, who is constantly depressed and perpetually contemplating suicide. She slowly loses her health but unknowingly reawakens Ariel’s desire to live, and they both engage in a meaningful affair – one that makes each day they live through together more meaningful than the last. – Cine Filipino/Unico Home Entertainment
Film Achievements: 1989 URIAN: Best Actress – Vilma Santos; Best Cinematography – Manolo Abaya, Eduardo Jacinto, Nonong Rasca; Best Director – Ishmael Bernal; Best Picture – Lily Monteverde, Regal Films; Best Screenplay – Jose Javier Reyes; Best Supporting Actor – Eric Quizon; 1989 STAR: Best Picture – Lily Monteverde, Regal Films; Best Actress – Vilma Santos; Best Cinematography – Manolo Abaya, Eduardo Jacinto, Nonong Rasca; Best Director – Ishmael Bernal; Best Musical Score – Willy Cruz; Best Supporting Actor – Eric Quizon; 1989 FAMAS: Best Musical Score – Willy Cruz; Best Theme Song – Willy Cruz; 1989 FAP: Best Sound – Joe Climaco
Other Film Achievements 1989 FAP: Best Actress nomination – Vilma Santos; 1989 URIAN: Best Actor nomination – Gabby Concepcion; Best Editing nomination – Augusto Salvador; Best Music nomination – Willy Cruz; Best Production Design nomination – Elmer Manapul; Best Sound nomination – Joe Climaco; Best Supporting Actress nomination – Vicky Suba; 1989 FAMAS: Best Child Actor nomination – Billy Crawford; Best Director nomination – Ishmael Bernal; Best Picture nomination – Lily Monteverde, Regal Films; Best Supporting Actor nomination – Eric Quizon
Film Reviews: A Look at Death and the Affirmation of Life – Weepies are a common movie fare in the Philippines, along with extremely violent action thrillers and trite youth comedies. It is, therefore, a cause for cheer when a filmmaker tries to elevate the very common genre of the melodrama into a rich and intellectually rewarding film experience, such as director Ishmael Bernal has done with his Pahiram ng Isang Umaga.
Director Ishmael Bernal has seen in the material an opportunity to put substance to what has often been denigrated as the unthinking man’s entertainment, and to a considerable degree, his attempt has been a success. Pahiram is both effective as a tearjerker and meaningful as a depiction of people in crisis. Using a traditional element of the genre, the theme of death, Bernal and writer Jose Javier Reyes probe into the life of a woman who has been told that the end is near. Juliet (Vilma Santos, one of the two reigning Philippine female superstars for the past two decades now) is told that she has eight or maybe seven months to live. As a progressive advertising creative director who has been promoted (rather late) as vice president of her company, she has the means to attend to the less mundane demands of life, examine what may have been an unexamined life, and make the most of the limited time left.
In all these, Bernal explores the emotional and psychological condition of the person who lives on borrowed time. naturally visible here are the many symbols not only of death but also of life to serve as some kind of counterpoint or irony. Sometimes, they blend with each other, and at other times, they contradict. From the peasants’ ritualistic rice planting to the backyard harvesting of sun-dried patola cultivated as life-giving seedlings, the evidence of life renewing itself could hardly be ignored. Then there are the more obvious symbols of fire, daybreak and persistent rains (the latter of which are used to reinforce the gloomier mood at the second half of the movie, and also suggest the rains’ refreshing and replenishing results). But the most eloquent symbol here of life is the process of artistic creation, personified – again paradoxically – by the expressionist painter Ariel who befriends and then is smitten by Juliet.
There are ironies here. The painter creates life through his art, but at the same time, psychologically tormented, he wants to end his own life. Such a restless, free soul, grappling with the complexities of life, he has a whole life ahead of him, his artistic world limited only by his imagination, and yet he wants to quit. In contrast, Juliet who is dying, wants to live. Here is a woman who saves a man’s life (the artist’s) but cannot save her own. The idea of art as life or art vs. life is examined at length. Asked by the boy why he has to put on canvas the seascape, the artist makes the clarification that he is not copying the scenery. Ostensibly, he is recreating it on a different plane, art being something else, with a life of its own. This is suggested by the portrait the artist is making of Juliet. The model may soon die, as she will, but the portrait will live on. Life may indeed be short, an idea which used to be stated directly in previous Bernal movies, but art endures. It is the one thing in this world which is eternal. The briefness of life is suggested with the graphic sight of wet sand dripping down from the hand.
Bernal and Reyes go farther by including a scene in which the artist explains the origins of art. By the fireside at the beach, and watching the flame cast a glow on them, he notes that prehistoric men “discovered” art when they made outlines of shadows on the caves. Those artworks, though crude and primitive, still exist. Implicitly, Juliet’s death, no matter how saddening, is not going to be the end. Philosophical musings like these are not standard soap opera fare, and may alienate a lot of ordinary moviegoers (even the more cerebral ones who cannot accept the conventions of the soap opera genre). Woven unobtrusively into the plot, however, they add texture and enrich the drama. Juliet in a way will continue to live – in that portrait, in her young son who will survive her and hopefully continue her legacy whatever it may be, and in her good deeds. In the last scene, the imagery and symbolisms of life and death abound. Juliet dies at the break of dawn, the start of a new day (and life), but not without first making her last sentimental paean to life. Supported by the artist, her eyesight having failed completely and with the waves caressing their feet, the weak and dying cancer victim remarks how beautiful life is. True enough, this dying scene set on a beach, with the woman in white, dainty night gown, is one of the most exquisite, breathtaking moments in Philippine movies.
But before giving us this grand, highly emotional death scene, the director has gradually introduced various motifs of death, from the artist’s pet black bird which at one point he cruelly squeezes in his hand, to the funeral rituals for Juliet’s father. This is a striking part of the movie, Juliet watching intently as morticians work on her father’s remains, as everyone weeps when the coffin is lowered to its final resting place, and during the ritualistic “pasiyam,” the nine-day novena for the dead. It’s as though Juliet can see herself in her father’s lifeless body while mourners mill around it. The attempts to raise the level of the melodrama and present insights on life and death provide the movie its greatest strength – and wide appeal. How strangely ironic that a movie dealing with death could have so much life. – Mario A. Hernando, Malaya – 5 March 1989
“…Epektibo ang Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga bilang isang tuwirang dramatikong pelikula naglalahad ng suliranin ng mga taong pumapasailaim sa isang krisis. Sa paggamit ng tradisyonal na pamamaraaan ukol sa tema ng kamatayan, si Bernal at ang manunulat nitong si Jose Javier Reyes ay sumilip sa buhay ng isang babaeng nalalapit na sa kanyang huling hantungan. Napag-alaman ni Juliet (Vilma Santos) mula sa kanyang doktor na mayroon siyang pito hanggang walong buwang palugit sa kanyang buhay at ninais nitong isaayos ang mga suliraning bumabalot sa kanyang buong pagkatao sa loob ng maikling panahong ilalagi niya sa mundo. Lahat ng emosyonal at sikolohikal na kundisyon ng isang taong nabubuhay na lamang sa hiram na panahon ay tahasang ipinakita ni Bernal sa mga manonood. Mababanaag dito amg iba’t-ibang simbulo ng pumapaimbulog sa konsepto ng kamatayan. Kadalasa’y naangkop ito sa mga situwasyong dinaranas ng karakter ni Juliet at taliwas din kung minsan. Mula sa pagtatanim ng mga magbubukid hanggang sa pag-ani nito bilang simbulo ng pagkabuhay ay mahirap maitanggi. May mga tagpong ipnapakita ang paglubog ng araw, at ang walang patumanggang pag-ulan ay pagpapahiwatig ng pagbuhos ng bagong hinaharap. Ngunit isang mariing simbulong ginamit sa pelikula ay ang proseso ng paglikha ng sining sa katauhan ng pintor na si Ariel (Eric Quizon) na kinaibigan ni Juliet. Maraming maihahalintulad dito. Sinasalamin ng pintor ang buhay sa pamamgitan ng paglikha ng mga larawang kadalasan ay naglalahad ng gulo at pagkalitong umabot sa pagnanasa nitong kitlin ang sariling buhay, dahilan sa hindi niya makayanan ang pakikipagsapalaran sa buhay. Napapalibutan ng imahinasyon ang kanyang mundo ngunit nais pa rin niya itong talikuran. ito naman ang pagkakaiba ni Ariel kay Juliet na gagawin ang lahat upang madugtungan ang nauudlot na buhay…” – Jojo Devera, Sari-saring Sineng Pinoy (READ MORE)
Mas Mahusay si Vilma Kaysa kay Nora – Vi goes to the kitchen to prepare breakfast at habang nagbabati siya ng itlog, doon pa lang ipinakitang una siyang nag-breakdown. And this is shown nang nakatalikod siya sa camera. No overly ornate kind of emoting na akting na akting ang dating. Pero damang-dama mo pa rin…she becomes the part (lalo na sa eksena nila ni Gabby Concepcion sa simbahan na binalikan nila kung paano sila nagkasira), and if you notice that she is good, well, salamat po…Sa second viewing ng movie namin lalong napansin ang subtle nuances ng performance ni Vi, up to her death scene which confirms our supposition that the movie is not really so much about death than a celebration of life..’yan ang opinion namin…” – Mario Bautista, People Journal 1989
“…Topping Vilma Santos’ showbiz career for 1988 was her winning the “best tv host” title and her tv program Vilma as the best musical variety show from the Star Awards of the Philippine Movie Press Club. Vilma is a constant top rater. Nobody can question the result of the survey for its popularity, because everybody could see the glitter of the show with all the grand seting, artistic costumes, and selected celebrities as guests plus Santos’ vibrance, enthusiasm and untiring efforts in entertaining her audience. The actress is meticulous even in the selection of the color scheme of her costumes. For 1989, Santos promises a much better show for Vilma with more expensive props, more interesting musical numbers and some attractive numbers and novelties to render it a delightful viewing. The actress is now resuming shooting of Pahiram ng Isang Umaga which did not make it at the recently concluded Metro Manila Film Festival due to certain delays, like Ibulong Mo sa Diyos her current movie Pahiram… is supposed to be Regal Films’s first main attraction for 1989. Some of the scenes were filmed in the virgin forest of Botolan, Zambales. The serenity of the rustic place enabled the actress to re-evaluate her life before the New Year sets in. Santos has Gabby Concepcion and Eric Quizon for leading men in the movie. Quizon has admitted that so far this is his most challenging role in his entire movie career. The drama flick is expected to be another blockbuster and will reap acting honors for the actress. She is back with Ishmael Bernal in this movie, the same director who made possible her bagging all the best actress awards in 1982 for the movie Relasyon…” – Eddie O. Libo-on, Manila Standard, Jan 9, 1989 (READ MORE)
“…Koronel is all set to do a film for Viva and we’re sure her fans are all agog about it. Will she be a threat to the throne now occupied by Vilma Santos as “The Actress” to be reckoned with? If we’d make a guess, Lino Brocka’s the right director for the first comeback film of this actress. There’s a certain chemistry between them in the same way there’s an “artistic symbiosis” between Santos and Ishmael Bernal. And speaking of the last duo, we finally got to see “Pahiram ng Isang Umaga” and it’s true what they were all raving about. It’s Vilma’s best to date and we’re willing to bet that she’ll garner another grand slam next year for this movie. Ditto with Bernal. It’s not only an artistic movie; It’s very commercial. Only we should have brought a towel instead of a hankie…” – Nena Z. Villanueva, Manila Standard, Mar 2, 1989 (READ MORE)
“…Eric’s role in “Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga” is the manic-depressive love of Vilma Santos. He was contrapuntal to Vilma’s existence who wanted to prolong her life while he wanted to end his. But the Method Acting-oriented scribes at teh Philippine Movie Pres Club saw in Eric the mere physicality in his attack of the role. No anxiety in the eyes; all overt body movements to the point of the Nora Aunor anxiety-laden eyes. Eric rationalizes; “That was exactly how I was supposed to attack my role according to Direk Ishmael Bernal – overacting at physical level lang talaga. Wala nang pa-anxiety-anxiety pa. All the other major characters in “Pahiram…” were already making lupasay na with heavy emotions. From Vilma to Zsa Zsa Padilla to Vicky Suba to Gabby Concepcion – silang lahat emotionally loaded na. If I do the same, boring di ba? Ayaw ni Direk Bernal na pa-heavy emotion approach for my role. But you know my homework for that role was to watch several English sad movies on tapes and was told to cry with the characers if I wanted to or feel like crying. I felt so stupid talaga, but that exercise paid off I tell you.” If you have watched “Pahiram…,” the scene where Eric has to strangle a Myna bird was such a memorable highlight. Eric recalls; “I had to do an improvisation for that scene. Sabi ni Direk Bernal, don’t plan anything with the bird. Basta you just confront the bird at bahala ka na sa sarili mo. So what I did was to make mura and kind of strangle pero acting lang out of my supposed madness. You know what happened? The day after, nagpakamatay ‘yung bird. Nagtampo siguro ‘yun. Kasi raw ang Myna bird ay very sensitive, di ba? Sayang ‘yung bird, ano?…” – George Vail Kabristante, Manila Standard, Feb 20, 1990 (READ MORE)