One day, I had a little argument or shall I say discussion with a Noranian who works at the Golden Gate park as a garden maintenance. He told me that Nora’s contribution to the Film Industry is when she stopped the tradition of having "mestiza only" system in showbizness because she made it in showbiz with flying colors even if she’s not tall, fair skin & beautiful. I told him that it was actually Nida Blanca who started the trend (although she’s a mestiza in real life) but she didn’t posseses a stand out beauty. Nida is beautiful but more on pure Filipina looks. And I also reminded him that Nora started as a singer not as an actress. Anyhow, here is my answer to what Vilma Santos contribution to the Film Industry are:
- Woman Power: Tradition na ang male actor lamang ang nananatiling bida at malakas sa box-office kahit may edad na. Vilma broke that tradition by maintaining big hit movies even at her 50’s. She also proves that there is a lot of good roles for her as "bida" up to now.
- Star and Politics in one: When Vilma rules Lipa City, people realized that actors can run a city even if he/she’s just a star and do not know anything in politics. Vilma sets a good example because she turned Lipa as one of the most successful city in the nation.
- Quality & Box-office Movie at the same time: Vilma can give us a good movie & make the producers satisfied with it’s box-office results. Dolzura Cortes, Bata, bata..., Burlesk Queen, Dekada ’70, Anak, Rubia Servios and a lot more are considered classic and it earned huge money at the box-office. It is considered as a great contribution to the Film Industry when you make the producers happy by giving the return of their investment, this means more business and more job for the small workers.
- Willing to sacrifice: She is willing to negotiate and give away a big discount from her talent fee for the sake of a good script and good film. This will help the movie industry to survive & the small artist to be productive.
After I mentioned these contributions, he brought back the topic to Nora broke the mestiza, tall Pinay actress mould. I told him that this was phenomenal. But my rebuttal is...Vilma is also petite, 5 feet only. Nora’s dark complexion, eye-acting style limited her range to apiapihan roles, not credible as a modern Pinay woman. Si Vilma ay maputi, petite at mas versatile, more eloquent, believable as poor, kiri, martyr, madre, prosti, high-class. Any role kaya niya. Vilma has no college degree but that did not stop her from learning, asking questions to the experts like Brocka, Bernal, Laurice. Seeking the advice of Marichu Maceda, Atty Laxa etc. Hindi siya tamad.
She is not contented to be a second fiddle to Nora. Vilma tried hard to have a direction in life. She studied in U.P.- crash course in Public Administration to prepare for her mayoral seat. When it comes to teachable attitude, Vilma has a competitive spirit, more emotionally strong than Nora, more mature. She learned fast from her mistakes. She has goals in life. Pagkatapos kong magpaliwanag ay nag-depensa si Manong. Nagkataon lang daw na Senator ang napangasawa ni Vilma at kay Nora ay isang ordinaryong tao lang (John). I told him that is exactly my point. Vilma has a game plan. She chose winners than losers. There’s Senator Ralph Recto, Connie Reyes, Tina Revilla etc. Nora has John Rendez, etc.
Dahil di na maka-compete kay Vilma, bumigay na- poor impulse control, lost control, became a gambler, unprofessional, with undying rumors on substance abuse. Di na makabawi. Friends have given up. But fans? Let’s be franc - in denial big time. Night (Nora) and Day (Vilma). Vilma chose the Road Less Taken (poem of Robert Frost); hard work, dedication, education, sacrificed Vilma(show), movie career to give birth to Ryan Christian; she sacrificed movie and TV career to public servanthood (this means less pay). Di ba’t her life was threatened when she entered politics, yet she continued- she is a survivor.
A born winner. Wala nang nasabi pa si Manong. Di na rin ako humirit pa. Nagkatitigan kami habang hawak niya ang orchids. Walang kibuan, mata lang namin ang nag-uusap. Hinihintay ko na magtanong siya, pero walang masabi si Manong. Nilisan ko na lamang ang garden na iyon. Habang naiwan si Manong na hawak pa rin ang mga orchids at lagadera. Habang naglalakad ako palayo ay bigla kong naisip...teka, pamilyar ang eksenang yon ah. Parang ending sa isang pelikula nina Ate Vi at Guy. - Franco Gabriel (READ MORE)
In Nora's Territory - "...Here, Vilma is Loida Malabanan, a haggard, weight-challenged bit player struggling in an out-of-town shoot for a serye. She wears oversized shirts, carries with her a heavy bag of clothes (a movie star would have a chauffeured van as her mobile closet), and rides in a cramped shuttle with fellow "extras" heading for an early-morning location shoot. She would sleep on the cold concrete floor in a given night, at other times on the damp grass under the shade of a tree in the middle of a sugarcane field, while waiting with the other bit players for their call. In one scene, she would just be a face in the crowd, in another, a house servant. In other words, this is Nora Aunor's territory, as defined by such critically acclaimed films as Eddie Garcia's "Atsay" and Lino Brocka's "Bona" – the Nora Villamayor (the Superstar's real surname) production in which La Aunor derided her own stardom by playing an alalay to Phillip Salvador's bit player. So it's nice that Vilma is virtually paying a nod to Nora, and in the indie world that has been Nora's playing field for some time. Tart Carlos's role as Loida's best friend, who happens to be a die-hard Noranian, further underscores "Ekstra's" Noranian connection...." - Teodoro Jose Joaquin, Rappler 04 August 2013 (READ MORE)
Tribute to Nora - "...We tell Ate Vi that she has many funny one-liners in the film, but the one that really brought the house down was when she said: “E, bakit si Nora Aunor?” We all know they’re the most intense and fiercest rivals in local movie history, so with her uttering a line that refers to Ate Guy is really something. “Wala akong kasalanan diyan,” she says. “Ayaw nga niyang sabihin yun,” says Direk Jeff Jeturian. “Pero maganda nga, e. Kasi it’s a confirmation na icon si Nora. Kasi pinag-uusapan nila mga artistang puro mestisa ang sumisikat, then she said ‘Bakit si Nora Aunor?’ And it’s true. It’s really a tribute to Ate Guy who should be flattered that she’s being praised in “Ekstra..." - Showbiz Portal, Showbiz Portal, 11 August 2013 (READ MORE)
Mature Rivalry - "...Naniniwala si Ate Vi na makabubuti para sa showbiz ang pagre-revive ng rivalry nila ni Ate Guy, na itinuturing na pinakamahigpit na magkaribal sa kasaysayan ng local showbiz. Pahayag ng actress-politician, “Hindi mawawala ang rivalry namin ng kumare ko. "Ang importante lang, ang gusto ko, even with us, even with the fans, i-attack lang natin nang mas mature, i-mature lang natin ng konti. "Para [hindi] yung dati na kailangan magsalita ng di magaganda...huwag na, hindi. “Sa edad namin...we’re not getting any younger, so it’s good may rivalry, pero attack it with maturity..." - Ava May Robles, PEP, 27 June 2013 (READ MORE)