What’s Love Got To Do With It? Isang Gabi Tatlong Reyna


One rainy Friday night in August, 1990, all roads led to the Metropolitan Theater where the top-rating and the most awarded musical-variety TV show Vilma! would air one of its most-watched episodes, ever. Vilma Santos, who would turn 37 that year, was on cloud nine. She was the toast of the town, in both movies and television. Her Lino Brocka directed movie “Hahamakin Lahat” was a commercial and critical success. Come hell or high water (there was a tropical storm), fans queued at the SRO theaters and saw her out and out Cruella Deville role as Gabby Concepcion’s paramour. Some like her bad. Vilma, the versatile actress scored again. Earlier, she won her first of six Star PMPC and her fourth Urian best actress awards for her ’best’ performance in years in “Pahiram ng Isang Umaga,” which was directed by Ishmael Bernal. She also just finished “Kapag Langit ang Humatol” with Laurice Guillen at the helm. At the PMPC Star Awards for TV, Vilma’s show harvested the biggest awards. And on that particular rainy night at the jam packed Metropolitan Theater, Vilma Santos was paying tribute to a Movie Queen she loved dearly and who reciprocated that love. Amalia Fuentes was the special guest, who just turned 50. Vilma! was giving her a tribute, with special appearances of former Sampaguita Productions ’stars.’ Everybody knew that despite the infamous Romeo Vasquez/Vilma Santos le affair Amalia and Vilma remained the best of friends. With a sincere, charismatic and humble La Vilma, who could resist her charm? Yes, the original Taray Queen, forceful and outspoken former queen of Philippine movies, she with a strong personality but with the most beautiful face in Philippine cinema, acquiesced to her friend’s request to grace the most watched TV show. Love begets love. Respect begets respect.

The retired and reclusive Amalia Fuentes could not say no to the current darling of Philippine movies. To recall, the senior and junior movie queens appeared in these movies: Bulaklak at Paru-paro (1970), Mga Reynang Walang Trono (1976) and Asawa Ko, Huwag Mong Agawin (1986). Amalia directed Vilma’s episode in Mga Reyna and agreed to second billing to Vilma in Asawa Ko. No doubt about it, Amalia Muhlach Sumilang Fuentes, is a Vilmanian. To seal their sisterhood and camaraderie, Vilma is Ninang to Liezl Martinez and to the latter’s son Alfonso. Why, Liezl even sang a song ’’Wind Beneath My Wings’ to her surprised mother that night which drove the strong-willed and still beautiful Amalia to tears. A Kodak moment, indeed. Priceless! While interviewing the three Muhlach generations, Fuentes, Liezl and young daughter Aliyanna, Amalia revealed to Vilma that she is protective of her ’unica hija’ Liezl. “Ay naku, I think I also have become like my Mom, I’m also very protective of my children,” Liezl remarks. Ex-Sampaguita stars Luis Gonzales and German Moreno served as Vilma’s co-hosts who provided comic relief as they recalled their Sampaguita days with Amalia Fuentes. Debonair Eddie Gutierrez also came to greet Amalia a Happy Birthday. Then Daisy Romualdez, Amalia’s contemporary and best friend danced the mambo/cha-cha with dancing queen Vilma, along with Kuya Germs and Luis Gonzalez. “I messed up that dance number,” Daisy gamely confesses, “wala kasing practice.” On her friend Nena (Amalia), Daisy admires her colleague for being frank and outspoken like her. “Nagkasundo kami kaagad dahil pareho kaming prangka ni Nena, hindi kami plastik,” she bemuses. The highlight of the evening was when Vilma introduced another special guest, the other Queen of Philippine movies, Amalia’s rival, Ms. Susan Roces. Radiant and regal in her Susan Roces hairdo and dark, glossy gown, Ms. Roces was polite and generous with her comments on her kumarerival. Vilma, obviously starstruck, throws a question to Susan: “What can you say about Ate Nena as being mataray and you Ate Susan as soft-spoken?” Susan: “I’d like to make a correction Vi, Amalia is not mataray, she is just outspoken, pero nasa lugar, so there’s a difference there.” Applause from the audience. “Alam mo ba Vi na my mother dotes on Amalia dahil pareho silang prangka? Sabi ng Mommy ko, iyang si Susan hindi pumaris kay Amalia, prangka at di iyakin.” Amalia on Susan: “I want to be like Susan dahil she is so sweet and soft-spoken. Doon nga sa weekly sessions namin, sabi ni Doctor Perez, why don’t you be like Susan, matiyaga sa fans, ikaw, sumakit lang ang ulo mo, ayaw mo nang harapin ang fans.” Guffaws and chuckles. The conversation turns serious. Vilma: “How did you handle the competition? Did the intrigues get in your way, affected you?” Susan, smiling sweetly, with a politically correct comment: “Hindi naman. We were in the same movie company and we were treated fairly. We’re like one big family.

In your case with Nora, and Gloria Romero and Nida Blanca, it’s different. Magka-iba kayo ng movie companies.” Vilma: “Ay ang sarap, sana, one of these days magksama rin kami ni Nora Aunor like this one, Ate Susan and Ate Nena, together.” Amalia Fuentes, Susan Roces and Vilma Santos. Isang Gabi, Tatlong Reyna. Susan, a movie queen, honoring a rival-friend movie queen Amalia on her 50th. birthday. Amalia confessed on the show and thanked Susan for throwing a surprise birthday party for her days before the Vilma show. What’s love got to do with it? In the case of Susan and Amalia, it’s love. In the case of Vilma and Amalia, it’s also love. Diva to diva. Competitors can be friends. May it also happen to Vilma Santos and Nora Aunor. Rivals on the silver screen, friends for life. After all, love conquers all. It is more permanent than fleeting fame and fortune. – Mario O. Garces, V Magazine Issue Nos 6 (READ MORE)

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Lazarito (Tele-movie)

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Basic Information: Direction: Vilma Santos; Cast: Dawn Zulueta, Ariel Rivera, Ali Sotto, Bernardo Bernardo, Tom Taus, AJ Galvez and Armando Goyena; Production Co.: Vilma Santos Productions, Inc.

Plot Description: No Available Data

Film Accomplishment: Vilma Santos’ directorial debut.

Film Review “…Although Vilma directed a well-received TV movie before (“Lazarito”), she still wishes to direct a full-length film feature soon. She holds in high esteem her favorite lady directors like Laurice Guillen, Marilou Diaz-Abaya, Rory Quintos, and Olive Lamasan. She would like to work with Peque Gallaga in the future and hopes to be reunited with Chito Rono and Mike de Leon who have both directed her best films…” – Paolo Salas, Celebrity Chronicle, Nov 2006 (READ MORE)

“…Ang mentor ni Vi sa pagiging direktor ay si Joel Torre. Nakapagdirek si Vi ng isang telemovie na may pamagat na Lazarito kung saan tampok dito sina Dawn Zulueta, Ariel Rivera at Tom Taus, Jr…Kabilang naman sa ginawang telemovie ni Vi ay ang Lamat Sa Kristal, Katuparan, Once There Was A Love, Correctional, Bugso at Maalaala Mo Kaya: Regalo episode…” – Alfonso Valencia (READ MORE)

“…Ang dream ko naman talaga—nung hindi ko alam na papasok ako sa pulitika—ay makapagdirek ng movie. Yun yung next step ko, parang maging Laurice Guillen, Marilou Diaz-Abaya. Nagpapaturo na nga ako ng anggulo! Yun ang dream ko talaga. But she was quick to point out that she already directed a telemovie for GMA-7 in the past. Titled Lazarito, it starred Dawn Zulueta and Ariel Rivera. “Nakapag-direct na ako para sa TV, pero ang dami ko pang mali. Nung mag-e-edit na ako, wala na akong material. Nung nag-shoot kasi ako, eksakto lang. Lesson learned: dapat pala ang dami mo talagang dapat [i-shoot]…” – Jocelyn Dimaculangan (READ MORE)

Lamat Sa Kristal (1988) tele-movie

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Basic Information: Direction: Maryon de los Reyes; Screenplay: Raquel Villavicencio (Based on the stage play, Extremities); Cast: Vilma Santos, Richard Gomez, Jacklyn Jose, Mia Gutierrez. Broadcasted November 7 1988 by GMA Channel 7

Plot Description: Based on the play Extremities, a photographer (Vilma Santos) avenged her sufferings by torturing back the rapist (Richard Gomerz) who abused her.

Film Accomplishment: Part of GMA Seven’s special one week event entitled: “Seven Nights To Remember in November” in connection to their newly installed high voltage power grid broadcasting tower in 1988.

Film Review: “…Jacklyn is cast with Vilma Santos and Christopher De Leon in Viva’s “Immortal.” This is Vilma and Christopher’s first film together after several years of making movies separately. Although Jacklyn is cast in a supporting role, she is excited in doing the dramatic opus since it is a Vilma starrer. Jacklyn is vocal to admit that she is an avid fan of Vilma. This is the second time she co-stars with her favorite idol. The first one was on a TV dramatic special “Lamat sa Kristal,” which was produced by Vilma herself. Besides, Jacklyn is also happy to note that she will be directed by one of her favorite directors, Eddie Garcia…” – Eddie O. Liboon (READ MORE)

The highlight of GMA 7’s day one of its “Seven Days to Remember in November” las Monday, was the showing of Vilma Santos, Inc.’s first drama special for television titled Lamat sa Kristal, based on the play Extrimities. Coincidentally, the said tele-movie was shot during the rage of killer typhoon Unsang and was aired at the height of another weather disturbance name Yoning. The suspense drama starred Santos, Jacklyn Jose and Mia Gutierrez as the three friends, all professinals in their respective fields, who went out in vacation at a resthouse in Tagaytay. Santos, as the quiet photographer about to hold her one-woman show, was nursing a broken heart from a failed relationship. Jose was the happy-go-lucky type while Gutierrez was the usual reliable supportive friend. The tension started when Jose and Gutierrez left Santos in the resthouse all by herself. The lonely photographer calmly did her chores till she came across a stranger (portrayed by Richard Gomez) who turned out to be a psychopath and rapist. The following scenes showed how the woman was attacked, abused, tortured, molested and almost raped and she tried to put a fight and survive the ordeal.

Santos’ remarkable transformation from a hapless victim to a raging avenger trying to get even is one fo the most moving delineations we’ve seen in years. As it turned out, Jose was herself a rape victim and the harrowing experience of her friend suddenly confronted her with her traumatic past. She was convincing with her role and Gutierrez was likewise effective. What really surprised us was Gomez, we never thought that the good looking acotr could really act – we almost wanted to actually slash his neck in anger. As for Maryo de los Reyes’ direction, we doubt it very much if he had a hard time with this one, since he had some of our most gifted thespians and the typhoon which had provided the needed atmosphere. Of course, there were some loopholes. In the script of Raquel Villavicencio. For a tele-movie, Lamat sa Kristal was well-crafted and it surely deserves a follow up soon. As usual, the commercials were too many and they seemed too long. At any rate, Lamat sa Kristal was far better than most of the movies being shown lately. We never realised that the combination of Santos and the two typhoons would be that explosive. – Manila Standard, Nov 12, 1988 (READ MORE)

Seven Star-Studded Days Kick Off Tonight – “GMA-7 takes primetime television by storm as it unleash a prowerful entertainment package of internationally acclaimed bestsellers, world-class blockbusters and certified local chartsbusters starting today, November 7, Day one of its “Seven Days To Remember In November” special programming. Towering power, A Musical Dedication kicks off the spectacular showcase by gathering the GMA Family of Stars and some of the biggest, brightest names in the entertainment world in a two-hour musical extravaganza starting at 7 p.m. GMA’s prized star Vilma Santos maintain the momentum with a two-hour suspense drama, Lamat sa Kristal, her first TV-movie ever, with Richard Gomez as co-star and ace megman Maryo de los Reyes as director at 9 p.m…The celebrated musical variety show Vilma throws a grand birthday presentation-celebrations on Day Five starting at 7 p.m. live at the Araneta Coliseum…” – Manila Standard, November 7, 1988 (READ MORE)

“…Vilma Santos went through with the taping of her first drama special, Lamat sa Kristal, during the rage of killer typhoon Unsang. While it wrought havoc in the entire nation and claimed numerous lives and destroyed properties, the whole production made good use of the terribly bad weather to set the mood for the top actress’ tele-movie. Indeed, there’s nothing like Mother Nature providing the real atmosphere, as teh stars and crew braced the strong winds and heavy rains. To the said stars and crew the showbiz rule “the show must go on” still holds true, no matter what the weather is…” – Meg mendoza (READ MORE)

“Again, it was a bad year for the movies in 1988, the industry reached a critical low – a total output of 132 films to 150 of the previous year. Certainly, the situation, has become worse, a foreboding that may prove irreversible unless appropriate measures are instituted…On the other hand, Vilma Santos, although she starred in only one movie, Ibulong Mo sa Diyos, lorded it over in television with the top rated Vilma and a top-rating drama special (Lamat sa Kristal) she herself produced…….” – Mike Feria, Manila Standard, Jan 5 1989 (READ MORE)

“…Jacklyn Jose still talks about her rare experience of appearing in a special tele-movie (Lamat sa Kristal) with her favorite actress Vilma Santos. Jose was vocal in telling her friends that she is an avid fan of the top actress. In one scene, she was supposed to drive the care where she, Santos and Mia Gutierrez were supposed to be riding in. She got excited not because she did not know how to drive but because she was for the first time with her movie idol…” – Eddie O. Libo-on, Manila Standard, Jan 9, 1989 (READ MORE)

TV RECOGNITIONS (Repost)

PMPC STAR for TV RECOGNITIONS

  • 1987 STAR Award Best Musical Variety Show Host
  • 1988 STAR Award Best Musical Variety Show Host
  • 1988 STAR Award Best Musical Variety Show
  • 1989 STAR Award Best Musical Variety Show
  • 1990 STAR Award Best Musical Variety Show
  • 1991 STAR Award Best Musical Variety Show
  • 1992 STAR Award Best Musical Variety Show
  • 1994 STAR Award Best Musical Variety Show
  • 1998 STAR Award Ading Fernando Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2006 STAR Award Best Actress in a Single TV Performance – MMK: Regalo

Catholic Mass Media Awards

  • 1987 CMMA Best Musical Variety Show
  • 1988 CMMA Best Musical Variety Show
  • 1989 CMMA Best Musical Variety Show
  • 1990 CMMA Hall of Fame in Musical Variety Show

Other Recognitions

  • 1972 EMEE Most Effective TV Actress
  • 1990 New York International Awards for TV Finalist
  • 1991 Dove Awards Best Musical Variety Show

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Vilma! Show (Videos) 3/3

Vilma! is a Friday Primetime musical variety show formerly aired by GMA Network from 1986 to 1995 hosted by Vilma Santos. Formerly known as Vilma In Person, Vilma! (also known as Vilma on Seven) was debuted on August 8, 1986, the pilot episode is shown from the Metropolitan Theater as a temporary studio where Vilma Santos and the VIP Dancers are performed there. Until 1987, the Friday Primetime musical variety show moved to Broadway Studios as a new location and it is shown on the first StereoVision format which features dance and love song performances. Vilma! was competed by two other variety shows Loveli-Ness and Dance-2-Nite of ABS-CBN (originally debuted in 1987) as rivals, but the variety show maintained its ratings. Vilma! received four nominations in the PMPC Star Awards for TV from 1988 to 1990, 1992 and 1994, as well as Best Female Musical Variety Show Host from 1987 to 1988, they also produced anniversary and birthday specials from 1987 to 1994 as well. After nine years, Vilma! produced the 479th and the last episode on September 29, 1995, brought many fans and supporters bade farewell to the Star for all seasons, and made as the longest-running Musical Variety Show. Truly, Vilma! was ended on September 29, 1995 and it was replaced by Bubble Gang. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

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Vilma! Show (Videos) 2/3

MEMORABILIA - Vilma! TV 1984

Vilma! is a Friday Primetime musical variety show formerly aired by GMA Network from 1986 to 1995 hosted by Vilma Santos. Formerly known as Vilma In Person, Vilma! (also known as Vilma on Seven) was debuted on August 8, 1986, the pilot episode is shown from the Metropolitan Theater as a temporary studio where Vilma Santos and the VIP Dancers are performed there. Until 1987, the Friday Primetime musical variety show moved to Broadway Studios as a new location and it is shown on the first StereoVision format which features dance and love song performances. Vilma! was competed by two other variety shows Loveli-Ness and Dance-2-Nite of ABS-CBN (originally debuted in 1987) as rivals, but the variety show maintained its ratings. Vilma! received four nominations in the PMPC Star Awards for TV from 1988 to 1990, 1992 and 1994, as well as Best Female Musical Variety Show Host from 1987 to 1988, they also produced anniversary and birthday specials from 1987 to 1994 as well. After nine years, Vilma! produced the 479th and the last episode on September 29, 1995, brought many fans and supporters bade farewell to the Star for all seasons, and made as the longest-running Musical Variety Show. Truly, Vilma! was ended on September 29, 1995 and it was replaced by Bubble Gang. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

ARTICLES - 8 PMPC Star Awards for TVRelated Reading:

Vilma! Show (Videos) 1/3

Vilma! is a Friday Primetime musical variety show formerly aired by GMA Network from 1986 to 1995 hosted by Vilma Santos. Formerly known as Vilma In Person, Vilma! (also known as Vilma on Seven) was debuted on August 8, 1986, the pilot episode is shown from the Metropolitan Theater as a temporary studio where Vilma Santos and the VIP Dancers are performed there. Until 1987, the Friday Primetime musical variety show moved to Broadway Studios as a new location and it is shown on the first StereoVision format which features dance and love song performances. Vilma! was competed by two other variety shows Loveli-Ness and Dance-2-Nite of ABS-CBN (originally debuted in 1987) as rivals, but the variety show maintained its ratings. Vilma! received four nominations in the PMPC Star Awards for TV from 1988 to 1990, 1992 and 1994, as well as Best Female Musical Variety Show Host from 1987 to 1988, they also produced anniversary and birthday specials from 1987 to 1994 as well. After nine years, Vilma! produced the 479th and the last episode on September 29, 1995, brought many fans and supporters bade farewell to the Star for all seasons, and made as the longest-running Musical Variety Show. Truly, Vilma! was ended on September 29, 1995 and it was replaced by Bubble Gang. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

ARTICLES - 8 PMPC Star Awards for TVRelated Reading: