The Beginning – When I was a little kid, I remember watching my very first Vilma movie with my aunt. It was “Lipad Darna Lipad.” The theatre was Cinerama on Claro M Recto near the underpass headin’ towards Quiapo. I remember the crowded theatre. The carpeted floor and velvet curtains. With no more seats and an SRO crowd, we sat on the stairs near the balcony area. People were screaming and into each fight scenes. I remember vividly how my aunt almost got into a fight because she wanted me to sit on one of the seat that was vacated and a man standing in front of us wanted the seat too. Celia Rodriguez was really scary with her head covered with snakes and her voice was so icy cold. Liza Lorena didn’t registered much on me but Gloria Romero was even scarier! This film brought me some nightmares but it also gave me and my cousins something to play about every afternoon after school.
Pakawalan – The second memorable film experience for me was during early 80s where I saw the free sneak preview of “Pakawalan Mo Ako” at Gotesco Theatre near University of the East. I was one of the lucky ones who managed to get in. My college mates weren’t. They got stocked in the pandemonium outside. I was worried sick as I took the long escalator and saw them being crashed by the crowed. The security guards have to closed the gate of the lobby. Fans became so restless and broke the glass windows (where they displayed posters and still photos) . Inside, It was crowded, hot and wild. We were seeing a more mature Vilma Santos. From the very beginning, the crowed went along the story until one of the climatic scene – the courtroom scene where she cried and swear! Oh my god I still remember the crowd swearing and cursing too! It was so wild!
Activism – The third movie experience was when I saw Sister Stella L at Capri near the Philippine Rabbit Bus Station on Rizal Avenue (it is always called Avenida). Now, the total opposite happened to me. The theatre was half empty but most of the people I noticed were students and office workers. This film affected me so much and I started to join rallies and demonstration along Mediola and at our school. I also remember that Sharon Cuneta had a film showing at the same time, and most of my friends watched this film instead. I was so disappointed that they decided to see this film instead of SSL. This film also became my mantra at school. It inspired me to take issues and voice out what I think, I became militant. I rebelled against my family who I believe were too strict. I wanted my freedom and so this film inspired me. The end result was my independence. Up to this day, I will never forget the time when I had an argument with my grandfather, it wasn’t funny back then. I told him: “Tama na, panahon na, hindi habang panahon pipigilan n’yo ako sa pagsasalita” – the line from SSL.
Why does he have to rape Rubia? – Another memorable experience was when my aunt got into a huge fight in front of Galaxy Theatre on Avenida. Being a true Vilmanians and with her deadly weapon, her umbrella, my aunt pulled the hair of this two crazy Nora Aunor fans. This was after the two said nasty things about Vilma while passing on in front of the theatre. I ended up on the cement floor hiding near the newspaper stands. Thank god she always came up on top because we were always able to go home uninjured. Rubia Servios was showing at the Galaxy Theatre back then. Again we have to sat down on floor, my aunt’s realized that she can’t put me on her lap anymore as I am a bit heavier now. As I observe, people are more serious this time. No shouting but silence as the story being told to us. The crowd was so into it too but no shouting instead a feeling of sighs and sadness. My aunt cried as she watched Rubia crawled on the sandy side of the beach. Rubia Servious was for adults only but my aunt’s sister was the ticket collector or “takilyera”. So I was able to get in. Philip Salvador was so hot in his black swimming trunk, I dreamt of him a number of times. As we watched the film, I remember asking my aunt about why does he (Philip) have to rape Darna? My aunt patiently explained, about love and lust. My innocent mind were corrupted that day. Eventually, I got over that rape scenes but revenge when Vilma killed Phillip using a boat paddle still stucked on my mind.
Naked Christopher – Lastly, the one that was so special to me, was when I saw Magkaribal at Luneta theatre. I went to so many theatres to get in but at last the woman at the box office was so busy reading comics that she didn’t even bother to ask about my age. The film was “For Adults Only” and I agreed. Christopher De Leon here was so sexy, riding a horse, naked. And Alma Moreno was so young and thin. Even her boobs here are well proportioned to her body, although its already huge. And ate Vi here was at her best, acting wise. The crowd here are more mature, a combination of college students and office workers. The theatre was not SRO but all the seats are taken and it was obvious that the film was catered to couples. – RV