Monday, January 30, 2012

Sister Courage

TO CATCH UP WITH WOMEN’S Month and in celebration of a landmark movie’s 25th anniversary, the UP Film Institute (UPFI) mounted a screening of Mike de Leon’s “Sister Stella L.” Led by actors Vilma Santos and Laurice Guillen, producer Lily Monteverde and scriptwriter Jose F. Lacaba, cast, crew, critics and cineastes gathered at the Cine Adarna in UP Diliman on March 20. In her opening remarks, Prof. Anne de Guzman, UPFI director, said that the movie, which chronicles the political awakening of a cloistered nun (Santos) among striking factory workers, exemplified the virtue of “courage.” Prof. Ed Piano of UPFI agreed: “The film is as relevant and compelling today as it was 25 years ago. New generations of students should watch it to evoke a sense of history in them — for them to put in the right context the downfall of [President Ferdinand] Marcos and the victory of the so-called Edsa 1 or People Power Revolution.”

Nonoy Lauzon, UPFI cinema programmer, noted: “It is imperative to provide students the opportunity to watch real gems of RP movies.” Interestingly, the screening was organized by students taking up Film 280 (a course on the Philippine Film Industry), in partnership with a fan club, Vilma Santos Solid International, Inc.

According to Piano, the idea came from a priest and Vilmanian, Fr. Juancho de Leon of St. Valentine Parish in New Jersey. Also at the UP event was Sister Rosario Battung of Good Shepherd—one of the real-life activist-nuns, along with Sister Christine Tan, whom Lacaba interviewed before writing the screenplay with De Leon and Jose Almojuela.

“After 25 years, we are still facing the same problems: poverty and lack of education,” Santos told Inquirer Entertainment after the screening. On so many levels, the movie itself was an act of defiance, considering that this “non-formula” film was produced during the Marcos regime. Guillen, who also played an activist-nun in the film, asserted: “The challenge was to come up with a performance that had no signs of artifice and commercialism … to act as if you were a real nun in a documentary.” “I was known for portraying liberated, modern women,” she pointed out—most notably, her grand slam-winning role as mistress in Ishmael Bernal’s “Relasyon” in 1982. “For the first time in my career—and I had been acting since age 9—I was made to undergo a camera test.” Director De Leon wanted to see how she would look like in a habit and with little makeup, Santos explained. “[Also] I was told that I couldn’t walk with hips swaying—nuns don’t walk that way,” she said. Santos agreed: “The censors became more liberal then.” Still, government pressure bore down on them.

On her first day of work with De Leon, Santos arrived an hour late. “Although I heard that Mike could be strict and moody, he didn’t get mad,” Santos recalled. He just gave her long lines of dialogue to memorize—as punishment. “And I was supposed to deliver it in one take,” Santos said. She nailed it, though. “After the shoot, Mike whispered to me: ‘Next time, don’t be late.’” The director’s admonition, Santos clarified, was for “actors not to have to wait for a long time. On the sets of Mike’s movies, the staff would set up the night before. If an actor’s call time is 7 AM, he should be ready to shoot at 7 AM.” Shooting went smoothly, Santos said. The problems began when it was time to screen the movie.

The rallies protesting the assassination of Ninoy Aquino (in 1983) somehow worked in the film’s favor, commented filmmaker Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil, who worked as production staffer in the movie. “Banning the film would’ve incited more protests.”

Producer Monteverde of Regal Films recalled that she learned there was a warrant of arrest with her name on it. “The government wanted me to surrender the film. I hid the master negatives in my grand piano. The reels were so heavy, the piano’s three legs broke.” Music scorer Ding Achacoso recounted that fans got harassed in movie theaters. “Goons shouted at them, calling them subversives.” Achacoso also lost a luggage, filled with the film’s brochures and collaterals, when he left with director De Leon and production coordinator Amy Apiado for Venice, Italy, where it was in the main competition in 1984. “When we arrived in Europe, we learned that my luggage never left Customs in Manila,” Achacoso said. They also had to smuggle the film out of the country, Monteverde recounted. “We used another Regal movie’s title for the reels of film bound for Venice,” Achacoso said. “No, we didn’t use ‘Bomba Star,’” Monteverde added in jest.

In Venice, the film’s two screenings merited a standing ovation, Achacoso related. “We were surprised,” Apiado said. “Mike, Ding and I didn’t know how to react.” “When the foreigners left the [two] venues, they were humming the movie’s song ‘Aling Pag-Ibig Pa,’” Achacoso said. According to the music scorer, after the film was shown at the Cinémathèque Française (as part of a De Leon retrospective) in Paris, France, that same year, the institution’s president, Greek filmmaker Costa Gavras, requested for a copy of the movie for its archives. Achacoso said the foreigners found the ending “powerful,” an actual footage of a massive crowd gathered at the Quirino Grandstand, protesting the Aquino assassination.

Stiff competition - That shot, Achacoso noted, wasn’t included in the version shown in local movie houses. “That was one of the concessions for the film to get a commercial run.” But in its opening week, “Sister Stella L” was pitted against the Sharon Cuneta-starrer “Bukas Luluhod ang mga Tala” at the tills. “Ayun, on opening day, napaluhod kami (we were forced to our knees),” Santos said candidly. At the end of the first day, Santos found herself in Monteverde’s home. Santos reminisced: “We were both crying, asking ourselves: ‘Did we make the right move?’”

Two decades and a half later, Monteverde answered Santos’ question: “I have no regrets. This movie has brought honor to Regal. I consider myself lucky that I got to work with the country’s best filmmakers: Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal and Mike de Leon.” “I’m very proud of this movie,” Santos declared. “It has stood the test of time.” In an ironic twist, the subtitled copy of the movie that was shown in UP was borrowed from the library of the Philippine Information Agency — a Marcos-era office, said Roselle M. Teo, Monteverde’s daughter. “Regal just released a digitally restored DVD of ‘Sister Stella L.’” So where do they see “Sister Stella L” 25 years after? If a “Stella” sequel were to be produced, where would she be now?

Scriptwriter-actress Raquel Villavicencio, who played a meek nun in the movie, surmised: “Stella would be a member of the New People’s Army by now.” Lacaba noted: “Stella would still be a nun, still pursuing the cause of Ka Dencio (the slain labor leader in the film).” As an afterthought, Lacaba added: “But she could be a governor, too.” Like the film’s star Santos or priest-turned-Pampanga Governor Eddie Panlilio? Santos found this amusing: “Sister Stella is now Batangas governor, doing her best to serve the people with sincerity, honesty and competence.” - Bayani San Diego Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer, 03/30/2009

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sister Stella L: Behind The Scene

The idea of doing a film about an activist nun occurred to director Mike De Leon in 1982 while he was thinking of a possible story material for a Vilma Santos starrer at the suggestion of Marichu Maceda, producer of his critically-acclaimed Batch’ 81. Mike’s production company, Cinema Artists Philippines, was then applying for a loan from the Film Fund where Marichu was then administrator. “I can’t remember why I chose the subject,” said the 34-year old scion of the moviemaking family behind LVN in an interview with a Sunday magazine. “I’ve been hearing about nuns who are politically involved for sometime although I did not really know anything about them.” When Mike learned that an associate of noted screenwriter Pete Lacaba had a story idea entitled Sangandaan (about a nun who gets involved in the problem of agrarian arrest), he saw it as a good starting point for the movie project. Marichu, however, suggested some changes. “Why don’t you make the setting urban to make it more commercial?” She reportedly told Mike and Pete, pointing out the movie going public has difficulty accepting Vilma Santos in rural milieu.

The change in the story setting thus explains how Stella L. came to deal with urban labor problem. A less explosive issue than the original theme. Stella L. touched on the labor issue but it focused more on Vilma as cloistered nun who awakens to the need for involvement in matters less personal than the psychological problems of her wards in Caritas, a home for unwed mothers run by her congregation. An elder nun (played by Laurice Guillen) guides her in the development of her new commitment until she is fully involved with the more pressing problems of workers staging a strike in a city-based cooking oil factory. This involvement results in conflict between her and her superiors and exposes her to the dangers not found within the convent walls. Her commitment, however, is so strong that when the elder nun leaves for larger concerns, Sister Stella L. takes her role in the strike. In the process, she finds an unexpected ally in her former boyfriend journalist Nick Fajardo. In December 1982, the loan was approved and part of the 800,000.00 Mike gave to Vilma as down payment. Meanwhile, events taking place in the local political scene that time started having distinct parallelisms with the themes being dealt with in the movie: press freedom, labor unrest and religious involvement. The Film Fund backtracked. “It’s dangerous to continue with it,” a top official of ECP was said to have forewarned Mike in late 1983. By then, the director was about ready to start shooting: the cast had been line-up, contracts had been signed (Joseph Sytangco and Chanda Romero were originally tapped to play the militant journalist Nick Fajardo and Sister Stella B, respectively). Mike was asked to re-write Stella L. and turn it to a love story. But the director was firm he turn down the overtures. As events would have it, Stella L. was shelved.

The director looked for anyone who might be interested in buying Vilma’s contract. So he could pay back the Film Fund. He tried Viva films, which asked him instead to direct the “political” film, “Ang Imbestigasyon Ni Juan San Diego.” For sometime, it seemed that Mike had totally forgotten Stella L. when he immersed himself in the production of Juan Diego – that is until Viva suddenly dropped the project. In the meantime, Regal Films’ Lily Monteverde had been sending feelers to Mike to work for her movie outfit through several intermediaries. In August 1983, after the dumping of Juan Diego and the Aquino assassination, Lily repeated her offer to Mike. He could do whatever he wanted, she said, as long as casting is left to her discretion. As things turned out, Mike told her all about Stella L. and Lily, obviously impressed with its possibilities, agreed to bankroll the film. Mike was totally surprised to Lily’s decision since he had warned her about the controversy the film may create. The only demand Regal made concerned casting, particularly the choice of Joseph and Chanda. Lily wanted Joel Torre to play the male lead role. The idea, however, had to be dropped when the revision of the script based on Joel proved unwieldy. The director reckoned that Joel, who was supposed to play a campus writer-activist, was too young to be Vilma’s leading man. The role of Nick Fajardo, the ex-boyfriend of Sister Stella L eventually went to Jay Ilagan.

The film was finally shown amidst controversy. In a public gathering, a top government official denounced it as “negative” and admitted that the government was wary of it’s possible influence in the movie going masses. The official has gone on record as saying “we were apprehensive that it may further agitate the people…so they kept on telling the President not to approve the film but the President said, ’No, let it be!’,” The censors board apparently followed the presidential direction and approved the film without cuts and for general patronage. The producers were said to have been bitter over Stella L disappointing box office performance, losing as it did to the immensely popular Sharon Cuneta rags to riches starrer “Bukas Lulohid Ang Mga Tala,” but they can content themselves with the fact that the movie has been unanimously acclaimed as a milestone in the history of filmmaking. - Alan Trambulo, V magazine Issue No. 7 Literary Issue April 2005. Related Reading: Mike De Leon: Director of the Moment (Movie Flash, July 19, 1984)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

“Siya nga ba ang tunay na SSL?” 2/2

Coni Ledesma and Luis Jalandoni in Baguio City 
Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

When Ate Vi accepted the 2005 Gawad Plaridel last year, on her speech, she said: “”Nilangaw po ang pelikula ko” referring her film, Sister Stella L competing to a forgettable commercial film by Sharon Cuneta in mid 80s pero sa kabila ng kamalasan sa takilya nasuklian naman ito ng mga papuri na hanggang sa ngayon ay ikikunsidera ang SSL na isa sa pinaka-klasikong pelikula sa kasaysayan ng pelikulang tagalog. Ipinagmamalaki ni Ate Vi ang pelikulang ito. Narito ang ilang “facts: tungkol kay SSL. Sa ibaba, numbero 10 ay sasagutin natin kung sino ba talaga si SSL.

1. Ang SSL ay lumaban nuong 1985 sa Venice Film Festival.

2. Kung ang pangalan ng karakter ni Vilma Santos sa pelikula’y Sister Stella Legaspi ang pangalan naman ng karakter ni Jay Ilagan na katambal niya ay Nick Fajardo. Nanalo si Jay Ilagan bilang pangunahing aktor sa URIAN nuon 1984 para sa SSL.

3. Ang linyang: “katarungan para kay Ka Dencio!” referred to the character played by Tony Santos Sr. Oo, siya rin ang direktor ni Ate Vi sa kanyang tv show nuon na “D’Sensations.” Nanalo si Tony Santos Sr ng Best Supporting Actor sa Famas at Urian para sa pelikulang ito.

4. Ang linyang: “bakit hindi ka gumaya sa akin… nagmumura, nagpapabuntis!!!” ay mula sa papel ni Gina Alajar. Natalo si Gina Alajar sa kanyang papel sa SSL kay Laurice Guillen na gumanap na madreng kasa-kasama ni SSL bilang pangalawang aktress sa URIAN nuong 1984.

5. Sampung tropeyo ang napanalunan ng SSL sa Gawad Urian nuong 1984.

6. Regal Films recently released SSL in DVD/VCD format. The on-line price for SSL is on the average 15 US. dollars.

7. Dalawang pelikula ang pinanlaban ni Nora Aunor nuong taong 1984 sa Urian, ang “Bulaklak ng City Jail” at “Merika”, walang nakuhang kahit isang tropeyo ang mga pelikulang ito.

8. Vilma Santos portrayed another role as a nun in Eddie Garcia’s last directorial job in Viva films’ Immortal opposite Christorpher DeLeon.

9. UP’s 1st Diwata Awards was given to four women, Vilma Santos was one of them, UP cited SSL as one of her remarkable contribution to film history.

10. Ngunit sino ba talaga si SSL? According to this article SSL was based on the life of Sister Coni Ledesma.

11. According to Regal Films web-site: Sister Stella L is the award-winning masterpiece by Mike de Leon. It’s about a nun, Sister Stella Legaspi (played by Vilma Santos), who becomes involved in labor strikes after learning about the government’s neglect of the poor and the working class. Her sworn duty to fight for the poor and the oppressed turns personal when her journalist friend Nick Fajardo (played by Jay Ilagan) is tortured and the union leader Dencio (played by Tony Santos) is kidnapped and killed. What follows is her eye-opening and tear-jerking battle against cruelty and injustice. This film is one of the most memorable roles for Vilma Santos. She is excellent in her portrayal of the resilient nun. - Regal Films

12. From another web-site: Sister Stella L is a nun who acts as a counselor in a home for unwed mother undergoes political awakening when her friend and namesake belonging to the same congregation as hers inspires her to get involved in the struggle for justice and freedom of striking workers in a cooking oil company. – Geocities

13. The complete cast of Sister Stella L are: Vilma Santos, Jay Ilagan, Gina Alajar, Laurice Guillen, Tony Santos, Anita Linda, Liza Lorena, Ruben Rustia, Eddie Infante, Adul de Leon, Rody Vera.

14. SSL has bee exhibited in several American universities which include UCLA, here’s the proof: Lectures and Screenings by Nicanor G. Tiongson, Film Dept., University of the Philippines Session 6. Screening: Sister Stella L., 1984; Mike de Leon, Director Discussion: Allegories of Resistance. May 12, 2002, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM 2534 Melnitz Hall, UCLA Campus, Los Angeles, CA - Source:

Another article mentioning about the real SSL: Nuns from the Sisters of Good Shepherd are calling for President Arroyo’s resignation following issues that continued to hound her administration. The Sisters of Good Shepherd were conducting their provincial assembly Nov. 12 to 14 when the bomb attack at the Batasan Pambansa Complex that killed four people including Basilan Rep. Wahab Akbar occurred. The incident prompted them to hold discussions on the country’s situation and decided to craft and sign a declaration asking President Arroyo to resign. “Moral bankruptcy of the government na parang wala na siyang karapatang mag-lead sa mamamayang Pilipino lalo na ang ating gubyerno ay hindi na natin maasahan na sila pa talaga ang nai-involve sa mga bribery, graft and corruption,” said Sr. Maureen Catabian, Chairperson of the W-JPIC, Sisters of Good Shepherds, Philippines. (Moral bankruptcy of the government that says that she no longer has a right to lead the Filipino people especially that we can no longer rely on the government which is involved in bribery, graft and corruption). Reports said the nuns of the Sisters of Good Shepherds were active participants against martial law during the 70’s.

The nun portrayed by actress and now Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos in the movie “Sister Stella L” was the story of Sister Christine Tan and Connie Ledesma of Good Shepherd. In the light of the divided opinion of the Catholic Church on the issue, some priests still admired the sisters’ bravery for the declaration. “Sana magkaisa ang simbahan doon sa pag-condemn o pag-denounce doon sa moral bankruptcy (We hope that the church would unite to condemn or denounce moral bankruptcy),” Sister Catabian said. The nuns were also shocked with Mrs. Arroyo’s statement during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit condemning the violation of human rights in connection with the military junta in Myanmar. “Tingnan niya muna ang sariling bakuran sa Pilipinas na ano ba ang ginagawa doon sa mga sunod-sunod na issue [na] mga scandals and scams iyung extrajudicial killings di ba na internationally na-condemn na tayo ng community. Pinapaalam na sa gobyerno natin na hindi tama iyung nangyayari pero parang hindi ganoon kasigasig iyung gubyerno para tutukan ito,” added Sister Catabian. (She should look at her own backyard Philippines on what is being done on the successive issues of scandals and scams, extrajudicial killings which have been condemned by the international community. The government was being put on notice that what was happening was not right but the government seems not intent on focusing on these.) - Source: “Nuns call for Arroyo’s resignation” ABS-CBN Interactive 11/23/2007

Written by Rendt Viray published in Vilma Santos Yahoo E-group, 2006

Related Reading: Mike De Leon: Director of the Moment (Movie Flash, July 19, 1984)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

“Siya nga ba ang tunay na SSL?” 1/2

Coni Ledesma and Luis Jalandoni in Baguio City 
Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

FRANK CIMATU of NORTHERN DISPATCH interviewed CONI LEDESMA and LUIS JALANDONI during their visit to Baguio City this year. The following is a compilation from two articles that appeared in NORDIS on May 16, 1998

BAGUIO CITY (NORDIS) — She is known by many in the Left as Sister Stella L. but Coni Ledesma brushed this innuendo aside. “I have not even seen the movie,” Ledesma said of the popular and influential Mike de Leon movie about the rites of passage of a militant nun played by Vilma Santos.

“I met with Pete Lacaba (the movie’s script writer) and he didn’t tell me about it,” she said. “All I know is that it was a composite of different nuns. I can not take the solo credit.”

If “Sister Stella L” was wholly based on former Sister Coni L’s life, the storyline would have been far more radical, literally and figuratively. Ledesma was already an activist nun during the turbulent end of the 1960s. She was a founding member of Christians for National Liberation, the underground organization for subversive priests and nuns.

In August 1972, Ledesma was captured and detained for almost a year. She was released with the intercession of the Catholic bishops and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines.

In 1976, she began international work for the National Democratic Front. In the same year, she married Louis Jalandoni, himself a former Catholic priest before becoming one of the leaders of the NDF. The couple, who had their 25th wedding anniversary last month, were married by Jaime Cardinal Sin. They migrated to the Netherlands and were the first Filipinos to be granted political asylum in that country. They have a 22-year-old son, Jose, who is now taking up law at the University of Amsterdam.

Ledesma is now a member of the NDF negotiating panel and a member of the reciprocal working committee for human rights and international humanitarian law. She is also the international representative of Makibaka, an underground feminist organization. She recalls with fondness the “language restructuring” they’ve been having with the government panel which insists on not giving the NDF an equal stature even in the field of semantics.

Ledesma said the government was so extra careful in setting aside the NDF’s “status of belligerency” that the NDF panel had to exhaust their thesaurus to come to terms with them. Instead of “prisoners of war”, for example, the NDF had to come up with “persons deprived of their liberty for reasons of armed conflict”. The “white flag of truce” was replaced by “flag of peaceful intentions”, even if the flag remains white, Ledesma said. “Ceasefire” is now “suspension of military operations” and the “oppressed masses” is the “toiling masses”.

Ledesma said it was their first time to really come back to the Philippines except for that very brief stint in 1986 with the failed talks between the government and the NDF. The couple had been going around the country giving talks and speaking with the so-called “toiling masses”.

She said Filipinos have become politically mature. “Malakas ang revolutionary movement (The revolutionary movement is strong). I observed the political maturity in all sectors. They know their rights and they have a clear grasp of the basic issues,” she said. However, she said the economic poverty is deplorable. The Jalandonis went back to their native Negros where both families belong to the landed rich.

“I talked to the sacadas (sugar workers). Their condition was terrible. They get paid ten pesos a day and yet they can not even get hold of that money. They are instead issued receipts to buy at the company store. It’s back to the 1960s,” Ledesma said.

“The urban poor in Negros are in turmoil. It is in a situation where the call for change can not but grow kasi galit na yung mga tao (because the people are already angry),” she said.

Ledesma had already met with President-in-waiting Joseph Estrada with regards to the resumption of the peace talks. She has the same apprehension as her husband that the “Erap Para Sa Mahirap (Erap for the Masses)” may be put aside. “His first meeting was with the businessmen. He should have talked with the peasants. Ang dami nilang (They have so many) struggles. Pakinggan naman sana niya sila (I hope he listens to them).”

Ledesma said she is looking forward to the 100th year of Philippine independence on June 12. “It is a hundred years of struggle against colonialism and imperialism. It is a legacy that has been passed on to us. The struggle for true freedom rests on us,” she said.

Ledesma’s husband, NDF leader Luis Jalandoni said he is optimistic the peace talks will go on with president-in-waiting Joseph Estrada. But as for now, Jalandoni said Estrada is not as receptive as they wanted him to be.

The NDF is also concerned with Estrada’s statement that he is committed to embrace President Fidel Ramos’ economic policies particularly towards globalization and liberalization. Jalandoni, who spoke last Wednesday at the University of the Philippines College in Baguio, said this may affect the forging of a permanent peace agreement between the government and the NDF. Jalandoni said among Estrada’s first statements were the favouring of a hero’s burial for former strongman Ferdinand Marcos and the exoneration of the charges against his first lady Imelda Marcos.

Jalandoni also said the Mining Act of 1995 should be reconsidered by the Estrada administration. He said about ten million hectares of Philippine land have been applied for by foreign mining corporations for mining exploration and mineral production. He said the NDF’s position is for indigenous people’s rights yet these lands are covered by applications mostly of foreign mining corporations.

Jalandoni also said the mutual cessation of hostilities has not been followed by the government. He cited the flagrant violations made by the government such as the launching of a military offensive in Calinan, Davao City by the Army’s 73rd Infantry Battalion against the New People’s Army on May 2. Five NPA members were killed as well as a civilian in the attack. The next day, the same battalion attacked and killed four NPA men in Marilog District also in Davao City. – Frank Cimatu, KASAMA Vol. 12 No. 2 / April–May–June 1998

Sunday, January 22, 2012

All About Milk

one milk critic - "IS Vilma aware that her victims are infants? She is a detriment to the nutrition of infants. Paid to promote Bear Brand, she continues to deceive mothers on the differences between this manufacturer’s milk of 30 years ago, to what Vilma now erroneously calls in her ads "milk." Globally, when an adulterant is added to milk, it can no longer be called "milk."...What Vilma calls milk has had its butterfat removed. Butterfat is milk’s most needed by infants. With its butterfat removed, and high-saturate palm oil added, Vilma is promoting milk that is legally no longer milk, not good enough for infants...Bear Brand sold good pure milk 30 years ago. Their technologists learned to remove the good expensive nutrients from pure milk, and replace it with adulterants like palm oil which is not good for infants or adults. Palm oil contains too much saturate which turns to cholesterol...There are products in the supermarkets not advertised to extremes, and do not deceive. I buy an Australian brand called "___" Milk Powder...." (Vilma’s adulterated milk)

when an adulterant is added to milk, it can no longer be called "milk" - Well, our milk critic is correct. When you adulterated a milk, its no longer a "MILK."  One question though, where was her proof? We did a brief digging and we cannot find anything via internet of any news, articles or research about Bear Brand substituting any "adulterant" to their powder milk. What we found was the actual ingredients in their product. Here is the link: Nutrient Disclosure infant formula. Here is the nutritional fact link. A newspaper article described Bear Brand Powdered Milk Drink: "rich in calcium, which is important in building strong bones and teeth. It is recommended for children to be consistent in drinking milk as bone growth is at its highest during childhood up to the teenage years." (Bear Brand helps address malnutrition problems)

butterfat removed and high-saturate palm oil added - Again our critic did NOT mentioned where is she getting this info. Our research though proves some contradiction in our critic's assertions. First, some additives to powder milk, for example, vegetable oil, zinc, or iodine are not necessarily bad for infant consumption. Second, butterfat milk are not as prestine as what our critics' assert, for instance, a pure cow's milk with butterfat may be hard for an infants to digest.  About saturated fats in milk, first, raw milk already contained saturated fats and secondly, not all saturated fats are bad or "cholesterolemic.".

paid to push on children is to deceive, lack knowledge about milk terminology, its detriment to infants and children - Once again, no proof of all these criticism.  We discovered something though, the producer of Bear Brand, Nestle Philippines, made an effort to inform the public about one of their milk product.  They clearly indicated in BOLD letters that: "Bear Brand Evaporated Milk_375ml contains only 1/4 the fat of cream and is "NOT SUITABLE AS A COMPLETE MILK FOOD FOR INFANTS."  This is clearly, not a kind of company who would try to deceive their customers.  Which can be also be said to their endorser, Vilma Santos Recto.  I mean would a seasoned politician gamble her reputation for a defected product?  She may not look like your typical politician but she is well informed and connected.  Our critic even mention her politician husband, would he even allowed such product to ruin their names specially in their future re-election year, remember VSR did this endorsement back 2008. Finally, With all these "righteous arguments" about "for the sake our children", our critics ended her article by endorsing an Australian milk product which was quite hypocritical, clearly, this is another propaganda news.

helps to address local micronutrient deficiencies - "...Bear Brand launched a powdered milk in 2009 that helps to address local micronutrient deficiencies through iron, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin C fortification. Additionally, it is the only brand in the Philippines with added vitamin C and zinc, both of which are required for normal function of the immune system. The milk is offered in an affordable price (equivalent to CHF 0.20) and is widely available in traditional neighbourhood stores..." (Fortified Milk Powder)

advocacy - “We want to remind mothers to bring back the habit of drinking milk. The health of our children is most important and should be our priority,” Santos-Recto said...“For years we’ve been touching the lives of so many, and we’re happy that our advocacy has become an extra arm for all parents whose dream is to give their children a better future, and for all schoolchildren who deserve a better life,” said Eugene David, business executive manager for dairy health and nutrition solutions for Nestlé Philippines. This year the Laki sa Gatas advocacy team is eyeing several more provinces for its series of nutrition lectures and activities like Bataan, Aurora, Nueva Vizcaya and Zamboanga. It aims to cover more than 700,000 students and more than 400,000 parents..." (Nestlé pushes 2 glasses of milk daily for school kids)


Friday, January 20, 2012

Si Vilma At Ang Buhay Manggagawa

Kapag nakikita ko ang maraming taong nagra-rali sa Mediola, sa Liwasang Bonifacio o sa Edsa laging pumapasok sa isip ko ang maraming Pilipino na sa kabila ng pagsusumikap, ay patuloy na naghihikahos sa buhay. Mayroong panahong na ang tanging libangan ng mga ordinaryong mangagawa sa ating bansa ay ang magpunta sa naglalakihang sinehan sa Maynila upang mag-libang at kalimutan ang mga paghihirap sa buhay. Naalala ko nuon, maraming pelikula si Vilma na pumapawi sa mga paghihirap ng masa. Magmula pa nuong dekada sitenta, mga pelikulang dinudumog ng masang pilipino. Sobrang haba ng pila sa Cinerama nang ipinalabas ang Lipad Darna Lipad kahit na mainit ang kalagayang pang-politika sa ilalim ng administrasyon ni Marcos. Nang sumapit na ang dekada otsenta’y pinawi ni Vilma ang pangamba ng masa sa mga pelikulang komersyal tulad ng Sinasamba Kita at Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan. Sa mga sumunod na dekada’y patuloy niyang inaliw ang masa sa mga matatagumpay na pelikula tulad ng Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa at Anak. Sa mahabang panahong ito’y maraming pelikula si Vilma na nag-lalarawan ng mga pakikibaka ng isang manggagawa. Mga pelikulang may intelehente at puso, Mga pelikulang nagsasalarawan ng mga gustong ipahatid ng mga taong sumisigaw sa kalye ng Mediola at Edsa. Itaaas ang sahod. Ibaba ang buwis. Ibagsak ang nakaluklok. Tama na, Palitan na! Ang sigaw ng masang Pilipino. Makikita ang mga pakikibaka ng mga mangagawa sa maraming pelikula ni Vilma. Naririto ang aking listahan na nagsasalarawan ng mga buhay mangagawa...

Ging – Isang batang batang Vilma Santos sa papel na manganganta at mananayaw sa pelikulang Ging. Sa kamay ng kanyang bagong ina-inahan, na ginampanan ni Carol Varga, dumanas si Ging ng parusa sa mahabang oras ng trabaho at limitadong pagkain at pagtulog. Pilit na pinigil ni Carol ang pagkain at pagtulog ng bata dahil ayaw agad nitong lumaki si Ging dahil sa takot na mawala ang pagiging bibo at ang kikitain pa habang bata pa ito. Mahabang oras ng trabaho at abuso ng may nasa kapangyarihan, isang pangkaraniwang karanasan ng masang Pilipino. Unang nakita sa pelikula ni Vilma kahit sa murang edad pa lamang.

Burlesk Queen – Nang magdesisyon si Vilma sa sagupain ang matapang na papel, nakita ng masang Pilipino ang sarili nila sa pelikulang Burlesk Queen. Bilang Chato, ang ninais niya’y bigyan ng kaginhawaan ang kanyang lumpong ama at magkaroon ng magandang buhay sa pamamagitan ng natatanging alam niya, ang talento bilang isang mananayaw. Itinakwil siya ng kanyang ama, iniwan ng kanyang katipan at sinagupa ang hamon ng buhay hanggang sa kanyang wakas. Ang pangarap ni Chato na makaahon sa kahirapan ay tumumbok sa isang pangkaraniwang hangad ng isang ordinaryong manggagawa.

Baby Tsina – Isinalarawan ni Baby Tsina ang buhay ng dekada sitenta sa kanyang trabaho bilang hostes sa klub. Makikita sa kanyang katapatan sa katipan at sa sitwasyon ng kanilang sinuong. Sa bandang huli ng pelikula makikita ang talumpati ni Baby tsina sa piitan na parang eksena sa mga rali sa Edsa o Mediola.

Adultery Aida Macaraeg – Si Aida ang siyang nagpapa-aral sa kanyang mga kapatid at ang tumayong ama ng kanilang malaking pamilya, magmula sa bayad sa kuryente hanggang sa matrikula ng mga kapatid, saan niya kukunin lahat ng gastusin. Natutong kainin ni Aida ang kanyang dignidad at pumatol sa isang mayamang matanda at tinalikuran ang katulad niyang mahirap na kasintahan. Isang buhay ng pangkaraniwan sa masang manggagawang Pilipino.

Pinay American Style – Tago ng tago at nagpapanggap ng mayaman sa America. Ito ang buhay ni PX. Sa kabila ng komersyal na direksyong ng pelikula naisalarawan ni Vilma ang papel ng isang pilipina na naghahangad ng magandang kinabukasan sa ibang bansa.

Pakawalan Mo Ako – Sinubukan niyang magtinda ng sabon sa kalye. Hopya at tubig lamang ang kanyang pananghalian habang nilalako niya ang mga paninda. Sa kahirapan niya naisip niyang maging isang call girl. Muli ninais niyang makaahon sa kahirapan, isang tipikal na suliranin ng masang mangagawang Pilipino.

Relasyon – Nagtratrabaho si Marilou sa Planetarium ngunit sa kabila ng medyo angat ng kita’y nagkaroon siya ng suliranin dahil sa pagpatol niya sa isang lalaki na may asawa na. Mga tanong pangpinansyal dahil hindi siya makakuha ng “joint bank account” na kailangan upang makabili siya ng ari-arian bilang may asawa. Isang panglipunang hamon ng sa isang kabit lamang.

Sister Stella L – Ang pagkakamulat ni Sister Stella Legaspi ang pinaka-sentral na mensahe ng pelikulang ito. Magmula umpisa hanggang sa huli’y makikita ang mga suliraning kinakaharap ng mga ordinaryong manggagawa sa aking bansa at kung paano ang isang tagamasid lamang ay humakbang upang makibaka at kumilos.

Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa – Ang isang pagiging babae ba’y sagabal upang patunayan mo na kapantay mo rin ang mga lalaki? Ang buhay ni Lea ay nagbibigay sigla sa katotohanang walang sagabal sa pagnanasang makuha mo ang mga pinapangarap mo sa buhay babae ka man o lalaki. At may karapatan kang hanapin ang kaligayahan sa kabila ng walang tamang panghuhusga ng lipunan dahil sa babae ka. Iniwan niya ang mga lalaking hindi nagpaligaya sa kanya at patuloy niyang tinaguyod ang mga anak. Makikita sa papel na ito ni Vilma ang tunay na pagsasalarawan ng isang makabagong liberal ng babaeng Pilipino.

Dolzura Cortez – Bukod sa inamin niyang gusto niya ang mga lalaki’y ninais rin niyang bigyan ng magandang kinabukasan ang kanyang mga anak. Ang buhay ni Dolzura ay isang kasaysayan ng ordinaryong manggagawa. Ninais niyang makaahon sa kahirapan at kumapit sa patalim naging isang tagapag-benta ng aliw. Binigyan nya ng mukha ang sakit na AIDS sa Pilipinas. Ibinunyag niya ang isang mensahe upang huwag tularan ang kanyang naging buhay at upang maisalba ang ibang babaeng tulad niya. Isang bayaning pagpapasya.

Anak – Si Josie Agbisit ay isang tipikal ng mangagawa ng makabagong panahon. Nangibang bansa upang mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan ang kanyang tatlong anak at ang naging bunga nito’y ang pagkapariwa ng mga anak. Sa kabila ng mga sakripisyo’y kulang pa rin ang pakiramdam ng isang ina. Isang ina na sa mata ng lipunan ay nanatiling hindi pantay. Ang buhay ni Josie ay isang larawan ng mga makabagong bayani ng ating bansa, ang mga manggagawa.

Dekada 70 – Tulad ni Sister Stella Legaspi ang buhay ni Amanda Bartolome ay isang ehemplo ng isang ordinaryong ina na nakamasid lamang ngunit naging matapang at naging isang militante. Hango sa masalimuot ng dekada sitenta, ang papel ni Vilma sa pelikulang ito’y isang matapat na pagsasalarawan ng ordinaryong Pilipino na naging bukas ang isip at tumanggap ng hamon upang kumilos para sa pagbabago hindi lamang sa kanyang personal na buhay kundi sa pagbabago sa lipunan.

Ang mga pelikulang binangit ko sa itaas ay mga pelikulang naghudyat sa atin na mag-isip o buksan ang ating kaisipan sa mga konsepto na karamihan ay mga suliraning panglipunan, mga suliraning kinakaharap ng ordinaryong manggagawa, ng masa. Sa halos dalawang daang pelikulang ginawa ni Vilma Santos, ilan lamang ito sa mga papel na nagsalarawan ng buhay ng mga Pilipino sa ilang dekadang tadtad ng naggagandahang pelikulang pangkomeryal o pangintelektuwal. Ang halos lahat ng mga pelikulang ito’y nagdulot ng ligaya sa masang Pilipino ngunit higit sa lahat naghudyat upang bigyan daan ang bukas na paguusap sa mga isyu na kinakaharpa ng pangkaraniwang mangagawa o ng masa. - RV, unang nilathala nuong Augosto 30, 2005 sa Yahoo e-group.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why Vilma Succeeded, Nora Failed in Politics

Imagine a question that still gives pause to Vilma Santos — mayor of Lipa City, candidate for governor of Batangas, and showbiz’s “Star for All Seasons,” among other callings. This one did on Monday, during merienda with a handful of women journalists: “What are your plans for Mother’s Day?” Santos glanced at her husband, reelectionist Sen. Ralph Recto, across the table. “Where will you be on Sunday?” One word to describe their days and nights of late — “hectic.” But, Mayor Vi hastened to add, “We manage.” She did not elaborate. Asked when they were last together, not counting hours when they slept, she figured, “Day before Monday.” That was not a complaint. “We don’t expect too much of one another,” she explained. “He has a big campaign to run, and I am focused on my own. Not once have I gone with him this year, in fact.” Although the senator constantly asks about her political jaunts, he can’t join her, either. “Luis (her son by Edu Manzano) does when he can, though,” Santos said. On Tuesday, the young actor participates in his mother’s motorcade around the province. “Luis is very busy himself,” Santos added, sounding apologetic. “I try not to impose, but he says he doesn’t mind.

Besides it’s so much more fun with him.” Luis Manzano is a music veejay and an upcoming comedian with a current hit movie. Still found time, believe it or not, to mind her husband’s wardrobe — “what he should wear, what he should bring on his trips” – his minimum requirement at the moment, she noted, along with one other thing: “That I listen to his speeches.” Which she does very willingly, she said, especially because it was one of the ways she learned from him. “Public speaking as a politician and talking to the people as an artista are two different things,” Santos pointed out. “I’ve also asked him to listen to all my speeches since I went into public service.” Well, all except one. “Oh, yes, when I declared my candidacy, the words in that announcement were all mine,” she recalled, proudly. “When I asked Ralph later what he thought, he said, ‘It was good, but a little strong.’ Actually, it would have been stronger, had I not sat up the whole night before deleting this and that from all the things that I wrote down while I was still very emotional.” No better sign – Once she wrapped her mind around it, Santos believed her gubernatorial candidacy was meant to be. “Especially because Ricky (Recto, her husband’s brother, who originally opposed her) eventually gave way,” she said. “What better sign could I ask for?”

Speaking of signs, it’s true that her “yes, you should” moment came while she worked the treadmill. She recounted: “I had asked for a week, right? All I did was write down everything that I felt, exercise, pray. One day, I was on the treadmill, dripping, and still I hadn’t decided. Then a letter came. Without stepping down the machine, I read it; it was my answer.” She begged off from disclosing the letter’s content. “Let me just assure you it was from someone whom I had no reason to doubt.” Recto said he witnessed that week, and confirmed that his wife was praying so intently, he didn’t dare interrupt: “She’s saying she learned certain things from me. Well, that is something I learned from her — how to be prayerful, but also how to be pragmatic.” He teased his wife: “Of course, it’s inevitable that you should be my teacher …” She rolled her eyes: “What he’s about to say now is, ‘After all, when you won your first acting award, I hadn’t been born.’” One of the journalists assured Mayor Vi: “We know you’re older, but look, the senator’s caught up – he looks your age already.” Recto wouldn’t let this pass: “That only means I’m the better caregiver.”

Nora Aunor: Why did she think she succeeded in politics, where her arch rival in the movies, Nora Aunor, failed? “I think it boils down to priorities and direction,” Santos said. “Also, we both had very bad times, financially; I guess I was lucky to have bounced back when I did.” Smiling, the senator offered another explanation: “She met me.” Being a movie star has served her quite well in office, Santos said. “Maraming nagbabayad ng taxes, at marami sa kanila, gusto muna ako ma-meet. And when some people come to ask me for something, even if I can’t give what they want, they still leave with a smile on their faces. But I really hope that’s not the only reason they reelected me,” she added. Only a week before the elections and they both looked a little too relaxed for comfort. Santos had a ready explanation: “That’s because I don’t have plans beyond this. If I win, that would be great. If not, I’d have already done well at the level that I’d chosen to serve.” The best part about being mayor of Lipa, she said, was having the macho men of the city give her — “a woman, artista pa” — respect and trust as a leader. “Seventy-two barangay captains, puro barako, ha, acknowledging what this little woman did for the city.

That’s something money can’t buy. Legacy ko na ‘yon.” Batangueña at heart Not to say that, just because she has become a Batangueña at heart (she’s from Pampanga), she has also become barako. “When I got a death threat after a drug lab in Lipa was raided and shut down, I almost dropped the phone, and I shook all over,” she said. Santos is pretty confident about her and her husband’s chances. “The surveys are good, and we’re working hard,” she pointed out. She wouldn’t speak for him, but she insisted that life, if she missed her present target, would pretty much be fulfilling, nevertheless. “I could make more movies, maybe even do a stage play, such as one that the Cultural Center has been proposing to me,” she said. To which her husband replied, “Yes, you should make a movie this year, I think you can.” Obviously, Santos jested, things would remain the same at home: “Siya pa rin ang hari, pero ako ang alas.” Also, it’s clear, she would continue being a dedicated parent to 11-year-old Ryan Christian, who’s “artista na, politiko pa yata.” Recto concurred: “He greets people with a firm handshake and a pat on the shoulder — and he’s just a boy.” Santos reported: “Last October, in school (La Salle, Greenhills), nag-grand slam ‘yon. He won golds in the oratorical contest, interpretative reading … and balagtasan!” - Emmie G. Velarde, Inquirer, 05/08/2007

Monday, January 16, 2012


"...The peaceful life of a young nun is transformed when she becomes involved in helping the cause of a group of factory workers in a nearby town. She asks to be transferred to the town where she dedicates herself to working against unjust labour practices in the factory..." - British Film Institute (READ MORE)

Sister Stella Legaspi - Sister Stella Legaspi is a nun who becomes involved in labor strikes after learning of the government's neglect of the poor and working classes. Her sworn duty to fight for the poor becomes complicated when Fajardo, her journalist friend, is tortured and Dencio, a union leader, is kidnapped and killed. This 1980's masterpiece from director Mike De Leon created a controversy, as it depicts the problems between the state and religion - Fukuoka Film Archive (READ MORE).

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Most Challenging Role

People and Passions: Award winning actress Vilma Santos Recto tackles her greatest, most challenging role yet as governor of Batangas. Early dawn breaks in Batangas just as the clouds lose their heaviness, turning what have been just minutes before a towering, threatening storm-bearing mass to silky, wispy firmaments as harmless as spun cotton candies. In this tangerine-bathed panorama, just as the first fingers of the sun’s rays peek through, the landscape in the first few hours of the morning becomes absolutely breathtaking. A place is always beautiful after it is cleansed free, and the wind and the rain have drawn out from the drenched earth a profusion of scents. Here, in this rugged, coastal province, it’s that wondrously intoxicating smell of coffee beans, the saps of early July-harvested mangoes, the aged bark of malabayabas that grosw unimpeded in vast, open spaces, the wild horses in the ranches of the hacienderos, and dozens of unidentified ones, layered on top of each other, crisp and musty, and unexpextedly, nostalgia-inducing. Over two million people will wake up to this olfactory overloaded vista, and one of them will have spent the last night pacing, nervous and exhilarated, all but oblivious to the tug of was between light and day, sunshine and monsoon rain, bullfrogs and crickets.

V FOR VOTES - Vilma Santos Recto wouldn’t have noticed the gentle transformation of daylight. She was too busy going over the notes, trying to run through, for the umpteenth time, in the corrections she has scrawled all over her paper. Today, the scond of July, is officially the first day she’s taking over this province of 300,000 hectares, a population of tough, weather-beaten Marlboro Country men whose pastimes include taming wild horses and brandishing homemade balisongs (fan knives that natives purportedly carry everywhere they go.) So her anticipation is weel-placed, although you would not know by the stoic look on her face as she alights from the black van carrying her to the Kapitolyo, the official residence/office of the governor. After all, the multi-awarded star is still the country’s best actress. Solemn in her Paul Cabral barong, a long-sleeved creation with floral appliques, and her soft black slacks and pearls, she still looks like the huge movie star that she is. Never in the history of Batangas has a new governor been deluged with media-flashing light bulbs, mobile newrooms, mics thrust on their faces, and persistent camera crews – on the first day of assuming their posts.

With the rolling lawns of Laurel Park dotted with acacia trees as backdrop, it may look just like any other expensive production set of a movie starring the Philippines’ best actress. The neo-Classical structure of the Capitol is bravado personified, a men’s man’s lair if you will, with four Greek columns signifying, if not pillars of strenght, then phallic pro[portions. On the second story’s walls, there hang framed portraits of the men who ruled coffee country. Men, take note, not a single lady in its almost 500-year history, of varying pedigrees and popularity. This is the province that produced not a few of our good men: flag-maker Marcela Agoncillo, Apolinario Mabini, General Miguel Malvar, among others, prompting many to call it “the cradle of heroes and nationalists. ” It is with this burden, standing on the shoulders of giants, plus filling their shoes, that rests on the elfin frame of seasoned star and politician of mere nine years Vilma Santos Recto.

“Oh my God, this is it,” she recounts, with a little shiver when asked what went through her mind as she woke up, or rather, met the day head-on. “I really wasn’t able to sleep well. I was trying to remember what else I wanted to say. Of course, I was nervous, but at the same time, prepared.” She glosses over the fact that she’s the first woman to come to the Batangas Capitol, the bastion of male supremacy in the country, if, indeed, there is one. “I think this is the first time for a governess,” she quips, luaghing. “Governess, parang yaya.” This may be but one small step for VILMA, but it is a giant leap for womankind. Her nine-year administration in Lipa as a city mayor is also a first time for a woman. “I believe in women empowerment, ” she stresses. “What you can do, I can do better. I respect you, but respect me, respect my ability, respect what I can do. I won’t tolerate not beign respected.” If she’s sending out zingers to God-knows-who, we can only guess. There are the usual suspects, like ex-governor Armando Sanchez, who did not concede without putting up a fight.

“You konw what, I did not even think about the preparations leading up for today,” she intimates as we talk in her barely-furnished governor’s office. The only personal touch you can see around is a picture of her family – erstwhile Senator Ralph Recto, sons Luis Manzano and Ryan Christian – in an informal pose that might’ve been taken in one of their many holidays together. Earlier, she had done the rounds of the Capitol, her first, and proclaimed it needed her signature look. “Even a week before this, issues were coming out,” she intimates. “Talk was flying about how they would stop me from assuming my post, about TROs, about how I shouldn’t be too sure I would be starting (today). Those were really my concerns. I would have been prepared to face them, you know.’ But the day has come and gone without upheavals and she says she thanks the ex-governor. “If he wants to join me for the good of the province, he is very welcome,” she intones, smiling.

And then, there’s the rift with Ricky Recto, brother to her husband Ralph, who proclaimed his intent to run in the gubernatorial post. But that’s a hatchet buried because, for all the world to see Ricky gallantly attended the first day proceedings. What was she thinking during that one-week hiatus when she mulled over the decision to run against Ricky? “I prayed really, really hard. I thought, if rested for one term, would the people need me the same way they do now?” she opens. “So I just went and took the risk. I can only say that God guided me.” At fifteen past nine on a Monday morning, in front of supporters and allies, VILMA, a Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats bet, won in 5,840 precints with 475,740 votes, 100,000 more than closest rival Sanchez. ‘I told the Lipeños, let’s work together. I will not have you blaming me. You also need to do your part!’

V FOR VISION - For the people who know her, VILMA SANTOS RECTO deserved every one of her 475,740 votes and then, of course, some. As a congresswoman’ s wife, she involved herself in medical missions and school programs that endeared the native Nueva Ecijana to the Batangueños. When she was asked to run for Lipa mayor in 1998, she declined three times before she got her sign that she was to spend her life in public service. “God must have wanted to teach me a lesson,” she discloses. “Spoiled ka ha, pwede ka mag demand ha, pag may shooting ka may van ka ha, ngayon, baliktad. Ikaw ang lalapit sa tao, ikaw ang magsisilbi sa tao (If you’re spoiled, demanding, and catered to, now we’ll reversed it. You’ll serve the people. You’ll go to them).”

Like a veteran movie star setting her sights on the climatic crescendo, she waited for that final day before she turned in her petition for candidacy, alb eit without premeditation on her part. She enrolled at the University of the Philippines’ special five-module crash course in Public Administration to bolster her performance and, as they say, the rest is “herstory,” peppered here and there by special citations from three different award-giving bodies as an Outstanding Mayor. For someone who had great hesitations to plunge into the world “I knew nothing of,” she has done infinitely much better than most of her political contemporaries. “I really still don’t know why I’m here,” Vilma admits modestly. “It’s true. I maybe more comfortable now, what with my experiences, but talaga, I still can’t imagine this.” She is quick to attribute a huge chunk of her success to Ralph, who is her senior adviser, and to teamwork, of which Vilma refuses to be shorthchanged. “I told the Lipeños, let’s work together,” she says. “I will not have you blaming me. Kailangan ‘nyong gumalaw (You also need to do your part)!” Newly-elect Mark Leviste, who has worked closely with Vilma is all praises, even if he ran under the opposition banner. “I’d like to think the reason she is successful as she has always been a source of inspiration to her colleagues, her staff, her constituency in Lipa, he says. “In everything she did, it was because of that sense of inspiration. She is an inspirational leader.”

Amelia Lipata, a messenger who has worked for the governor since 1998 when she was sitll campaigning for mayor, sums up what thousands of provincemates think about their leader. “Abunado pa si Ma’am. Ang dami n’yang natutulungan. Minsan inaabot ng dilim. Lumalabas kahit sa mahihirap na bayan. Mas malayo nga ‘yung bayan, mas priority pa ‘nya (She’s not profiting from this. She helps a lot of people, and the further-flung a town is, the more she prioritizes it).” “One thing I can brag about my leadership,” Vilma says of her past administration, “is that the whole time I served, I served without politics. The people who didn’t vote for me, the barangay kapitans that weren’t mine, nakuha nila ng buong-buo ang serbisyo ko (they got my full service).” What fuels Vilma as a politician, this unerring desire to give a hundred percent, perhaps take its roots in her background as a young, working actress at age nine. She won her first FAMAS award for Trudis Liit and has continued to reap many more in the years to follow. For a child to have gained recognition that early must have left an indelible mark on the young thespian. In more ways than even Vilma herself can comprehend, she has always felt the need to rise to expectations and, for her, that has become a way of life. VIVA VI! Woman power reigns supreme as VILMA SANTOS RECTO takes her place as governor of what used to be the domain of the barako, a man’s land, the province of Batangas.

V FOR VALUES - “I’m so blessed to be loved , but I can’t answer that,” Vilma truthfully replies when asked how she feels to have reached a mythic status, idolized, and, in the pantheon of modern day gods and goddesses, revered beyond reason. Today, over lunch at the Mansion, a nearby residence constructed during the American occupation, an octogenarian Vilmanian has come bearing a gift of beautiful (and huge) South Sea pearls from her own farm. The old woman had asked Emelyn, Vilma’s older sister, to please have Vilma wear it on her first day. Another, a teacher, has come all the way from the Visayas to witness this new era in her idol’s life.

With more than forty years in the biz, you would have thought that the governor has become used to the attention, but to her credit, she does seem genuinely puzzled at the level of success she has achieved. And nobody is that good an actress. “It’s only now, after my term as mayor and before I became governor, that I appreciated how lucky I am,” she humbly reveals, citing the clamor for her to run for governor where people rallied in the streets. “Without the cameras, I found out what real life was like. Dati, when I give tips to waiters, I’d give without thought P2,000, but when I became mayor, I found out that there was this family who didn’t even have electricity for two years because they couldn’t afford the P800 they had to pay. That changes my perspective.” Her life has indeed changed tremendously. Although she has never run out of movie offers, she certainly prefers that, at her age, she would rather grab the opportunity to give back. “You know what I had to give up?” she challenges jovially. “No income! No raket! Di hamak mas malaki ang income ko sa showbiz, dios me! (There’s no question I learn more in showbiz, my God!). So I wondered how I was able to just, you know, sacrifice. It’s not easy to.”

Since she became a politician, Vilma would only do a movie every other year, in spite of good scripts, and high talent fees. She has always repeated in many of her interviews that there’s no equivalent to the trust and respect she gets from the people she had helped, and now as the first woman governor, she’s reaping more. She’s leaving a legacy. “That no amount of money can buy,” the governor proudly reveals. “Batangueños are known barakos so when you see these kapitans give you their respect and they treat you with such deference, you really can’t put a price to that.” She adds half-seriously, “Sa last bayaran nga ng tax, mas malaki pa ang binayaran ni Lucky. Nakaka insecure na ito.” (The last tax payments, my son paid more than I did. I feel insecure.) ‘You won’t believe this, no matter how tired I am, I still tutor my son Ryan. And Lucky still needs somebody to listen to him. They need their mother.’

V FOR VOCATION - As with any other lot in life, Vilma perfectly understands, but will not tolerate, that no matter how hard she tries, some people will always find flaws with what she does. She has been known to be unapologetic, especially if she’s criticized in her juggling act between her many vocations as mother, wife, public servant, and celebrity. “I was accused before of not being a twenty-four- hour public servant,” she divulges, “but it’s not my fault that things now are just a click away. One text from me is all they need for approval. Everything’s computerized. I may not be here all the time but when I go home, I make sure I’ve done my job.” Every day without fail, Vilma the mother goes home to her children in Quezon City, and says with pride, “You won’t believe this, no matter how tired I am, I still tutor my son Ryan. And Lucky still needs somebody to listen to him. They need their mother.” She unfailingly inculcated in her constituents the weighty importance of her own time. “The people from Lipa know that when my son has school activities I will be there, even when I am needed here. That’s what your department heads and vice mayor are for,” Vilma shrugs. “I’ll now have to teach the same thing to Batangueños, that I won’t be effective to you as a leader if I can’t even keep my own family happy. What I want for my children is what I want for them. First and foremost, I am a mother.”

In her order of priorities, family comes first. Every so often, she and her family retreat to out-of-the-country vacations to recharge from the daily stresses. This is what keeps her sane, and she counters, effective. “Problems are the greatest reasons for getting old,” she laughs. “I am fifty-three and yet still have energy, only because I am truly happy and comfortable with life.” She still does tae-bo twice a week and swims on weekends to keep her trim shape. “I am still an actress,” she proffers. But that’s the extent of how the well-preserved actress exudes efforts to preserve herself. Although she’d splurge on Gucci and Ferragamo, Danilo Franco, JC Buendia, and Paul Cabral, she has never undertaken extreme measures like facelifts or surgery to look and feel good. “I don’t even have a beauty regimen. I have nothing against Botox, but I’ve never tried, not even once,” she admits. “But I’m still fine and, honestly, I have other things to do.” Then she says with aplomb, “Hindi pagiging matanda ang importante, ang pinagkatandaan (It’s not about aging, but how you age). Everybody grows old. Nothing’s going to stop it. I just want to do it with grace.” A politician of nine years, VILMA takes her seat at Batangas’ Kapitolyo, on the stength of 475,740 votes and 5,849 precints won. TRIPLE DUTY. VILMA plays multiple roles in her present life – sometimes an actress, foremost a mother, and always the leader of Batangas.

V FOR VICTORY - At exactly eight in the morning, as the returning sun beats with a vengeance down on the crowd gathered at the lawn in front of the Capitol building for the first official flag ceremony, VILMA SANTOS RECTO takes her place among the leaders, old and new, of Batangas. The employees, most of them who have grown up watching the governor take on her many roles as an actress, are skittish and excitable. You get a sense that, for them, the petite, five-feet-flat actress is just portraying one of her award-winning roles. No, she isn’t really going to be the governor. Look, she’s beside the more imposing ex-governor Antonio Leviste and the suave, smooth-talking provincial administrator. It still feels surreal. Cameras from cellphones flash, and even during the somber flag-raising, all eyes are trained on her. She’s aware of this, even if at the moment, she doesn’t let on. “Every day is still a learning process for me,” the newly-appointed governor shares thoughtfully a few hours later, back at the cool confines of her office.

“I’m apprehensive about the expectations. I just want to be magnanimous about the victory I got. People need to understand my priorities, support them, and do what they need to do. This is not even for me, you know?” Judging from the still star-struck faces of most, it’s a reality that may take a while to set in, but the tough politician who’s turned a city around is not one to easily give up. When she takes the stand to speak for the very first time as their governor, a quiet, expectant hush falls over the crowd. You could hear a pin drop. And then Vilma, who never disappoints, gravely said, “We’re all in this together. Kami dito sa stage walang payong, kaya ibaba ninyo ang mga payong ninyo. Kung kami maiinitan, lahat ay maiinitan (We don’t have umbrellas here, so fold yours. If we take the heat, so should you.)” There’s a moment of silence before giddy laughter erupts and then from somewhere, scattered burst of applause cracks the stillness until the whole plaza joins in, and as they have always been since she was nine, people unwittingly feel under Vilma Santos Recto’s magic spell. The first lady governor of Batangas smiles triumphantly, surveys her audience with a fond look, and steps up to the dais, bravely facing the dawning of the new day. The End. - Krizette Laureta Chu, Senses and Style, August 2007, Text transcribed by Alfonso Valencia posted at the VS Yahoo e-groups

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Vilma’s Unforgettable Lines

Can we forget these dialogues? All of these lines are embedded in our memories. In it were the unforgettable performances in unforgettable films.

PAHIRAM NG ISANG UMAGA: “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!”

“Irene, ayoko ng mahabang burol kung maari kinabukasan rin ipalibing mo na ako.”

“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…”

“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!”

IKAW AY AKIN: “Rex,,,anong gagawin mo? Ako anong gagawin ko? Ako baa ng nagpapagulo sa otherwise your perfect world?…sure? Rex ang problem ako hindi lang ako eh…si Teresita rin,,,nasasaktan ko na siya…anong gagawin ko iwasan kita eh de ako naman ang nasaktan? Shit! Bakit? Ewan…nahihiya nako kay Teresita at saka sa’yo eh!…Rex huwag mong sabihin yan, naiintindihan mo ba ako? I need your presence more than anything else. Sabi nila liberated woman raw ako, front lang, kalog raw, front din…alam mo namang kulang-kulang ako eh sinabi ko na sayo nun pa…ninenerbiyos ako kapag hindi kita kasama eh, baka dapuan ako ng kung ano diyan, bery-bery, typoid fever! Pakiramdam ko safe lang ako kapag nariyan ka eh…pag wala ka,huh, nagwawala ako parang manok takbo ng takbo wala namang ulo!…Rex, anong gagawin mo?”

Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story: “Hindi ako naniniwala…Putang…anong karapatan mong sabihin sa akin yan?! Diyos ka ba?! Ikaw ba na nagbigay ng buhay sa akin?! Sino ka ba?…Akala mo alam n’yo nang lahat ayoko nito! Akala mo alam n’yong lahat hah..Ayoko nito…ayoko nito..ayoko pang mamatay!…anong mangyayari sa mga anak ko…mga putang ina n’yo…ayoko nito!”

LANGISIS AT TUBIG: “Labanan natin siya…pupunta ako sa kanya, makikiusap, kung kailangang lumuhod, gagawin ko…isang linggo sa kanya, isang linggo sa akin…kung ayaw niya, anim na araw sa kanya, isang araw sa akin, kung ayaw pa rin niya lahat na ng araw ay sa kanya na…Bobby you gave me hope, you make me a wife, you showed me love when theres only hatred, ginawa mo ako kung ano ako ngayon, babae, ano pang hihilingin ko?”

SAAN NAGTATAGO ANG PAGIBIG: “…Si Val! Si Val! Si Val! Si Val na walang malay?! Si Val na ang tanging kasalanan ay naging anak ng mommy mo sa ibang lalaki! At nitong nasira na ang kanyang pagiisip…ay alam n’yo bang si Val pa rin ang pinanagot nila sa isang responsibilidad na dapat sana’y ikaw Rick ang nanagot!…ayan ang magaling n’yong apo, itanong n’yo sa kanya kung sinong ama ng batang binigyan ng pangalan ni Val!”

PINAY AMERICAN STYLE: “I’m PX, short for Paula Xavier, I’m a Filipina…kyontiii…I can understand Tagalog but I’m having a hard time speaking it…actually, I’m not hungry…but on the second thought, why not?”

“one-fourth Japanese, one-fourth Chinese, one-fourth Indonisian, one-fourth Filipino but I was born in Hongkong…you see my mom was a tourist in Hongkong when she met my Japanese father, my Chinese father, my Indonisian father and my Filipino father!”

TAGOS NG DUGO: “Di ko sinasadya! Di ko sinasadya!!!!”

PAKAWALAN MO AKO: “Kukunin ko ang bayad ng halik! May sukli ka pa!”

“Puta! Sige ituloy n’yo! Sabihin n’yo! Hindi lang naman kayo ang ang unang nagparatang sa akin ng ganyan. Puta! Puta! Puta! Putang-ina n’yong lahat! Putang-ina n’yong lahat! Sige! Sabihin n’yo! Isigaw n’yo! Kung sa inyo lang ay malinis ang aking konsensiya!”

SINUNGALING MONG PUSO: “hayup! Hayup!…Baboy! Mamatay kang kasama ng mga baboy mo!”

“Nababaliw ka na noh…puro kabaliwan yang nasa isip mo…hindi Jason, meron iba tayong dapat nating sundin…meron iba! Gamitin natin ang sinasabi ng isip natin, ang ipinararamdam ng kaluluwa natin, yun! Dahil madalas yun ang nagsasabi ng tama, yun ang nagsasabi ng nararapat nating gawin hindi ang puso…hindi ang puso Jason, hindi ang sinungaling mong puso…huwag kang padadala, ililgaw ka niyan…ililigaw ka dahil marunong manglinlang ang puso dahil alam ko ang tama huwag kang magpapadala…huwag kang magpapadala, hindi mababago ang katotohanang mali ang ginagawa natin, mali…”

GING: “Pagmasdan n’yo ako…ako po’y ulilang lubos…inaapi at hinahamak…kung hindi n’yo po kahahabagan ay nasaan ang katarungan?!”

KARMA: “Ganuon naman pala eh, de alam mo na may asawa na ako…bitiwan mo ako…alright wise guy, gypsy pala ako nun hah…sinabi mo rin mahilig ako sa music, dancing, siguro may favourite song ako, huwag nang yung napakalayong kahapon, baka hindi mo mabasa eh, yun na lang natapos na kahapon, twenty, twenty five years ago…ano kayang favourite song ko?”

SINASAMBA KITA: “For godsake, Nora! Magkaroon ka nga ng sarili mong identity!”

“Imposible namang lumaki ang tingin ko sa taong tinutulungan ko lang!..kungsabagay magkaiba tayo ng ina…bakit kaya pinatulan ni papa ang iyong inay?…hindi ko siya iniinsulto sinasabi ko lang sayo ang totoo…magkaiba tayong dalawa…hindi mo ako matutularan at hindi kita tutularan. Nora, ang hindi mo maabot huwag mong pagplitan abutin, wala ka pang pakpak kaya huwag ka pang lumipad ng ubod ng taas!”

PALIMOS NG PAG- IBIG: “Para kang karinderyang bukas sa lahat ng gustong kumain.”

“Mahal Kita at yan ay di ko kayang maihati sa iba. Pero kung ganitong niloloko mo lang ako kaya kitang palitan kahit sampung Lalaki!”

YOUNG LOVE: “I hate you…dirty…you’re dirty! I hate youuuu!…huwag n’yo nang mabangit-bangit ang pangalan nyan! Kinasusuklaman ko siya!..ngayon ko lang nakita ang kapangitan ng buhay ang akala ko masaya’t maganda na ang daigdig..”

SISTER STELLA L: “Ako ay kristyano, higit sa lahat ako ay tao. Kung nandito lamang si kristo sa ibabaw ng lupa alam kong kasama ko siya sa pakikipaglaban.”

“Kung walang kikilos sino ang kikilos, Kung hindi ngayon Kailan pa… Katarungan para kay Ka Dencio!”

ADULTERY: AIDA MACARAEG: “Huwag mo nang itanong. Baka mas masakit kung malaman natin ang sagot.”

ASAWA KO HUWAG MONG AGAWIN: “No woman can seduce a happy husband.”

YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW: “I refuse to dignify your question. Unang-una hindi ka nagtatanong, Nagbibintang ka.”

“Ang asawa ang karugtong ng buhay, kasiping sa kama.”

ANAK: “Sana tuwing umiinom ka ng alak…habang hinihitit mo ang sigarilyo mo at habang nilulustay mo ang perang pinapadala ko! Sana maisip mo rin kung ilang pagkain ang tiniis kong hindi kainin para lang makapagpadala ako ng malaking pera rito. Sana habang nakahiga ka diyan sa kutson mo, natutulog, maisip mo rin kung ilang taon akong natulog mag-isa nabang nangungulila ako sa yakap ng mga mahal ko. Sana maisip mo kahit kaunti kung gaano kasakit sa akin ang mag-alaga ng mga batang hindi ko kaanoano samantalang kayo, kayong mga anak ko hindi ko man lang maalagaan. Alam mo ba kung gaano kasakit iyon sa isang ina? Alam mo bang gaano kasakit iyon? Kung hindi mo ako kayang ituring bilang isang ina. Respetuhin mo man lang ako bilang isang tao. Yung lang Carla…yun man lang.”

“Hindi ako nagpakahirap sa Hongkong para lang mauwi tayo sa Ganito. At ang mga kasama mo mga mukhang ADDICT.” “Bakit pag ang lalake ang nagbigay ng damit, pagkain sasabihin ng mga tao “Aba mabuti siyang ama” pero pag ang babae, kasama na pati pusot kaluluwa hindi pa rin sapat.”

T-BIRD AT AKO: “Sira ka ba? Babae ka, babae ako!”

“Putik nga ito! kahit ganito ako, nagsisimba ako kahit paano, ang sabi ng nasa itaas, ang sala sa lamig, sala sa Init iniluluwa ng langit, isinusuka ng diyos!”

“Ano ba naman ito, katawan lang ito…konting tubig konting sabon wala na…tapusin na natin ang kaso, pagkatapos sabihin mo kung kalian, saan…darating ako, ang katawan ko!”

“Hindi naman ako ipokrita, kung tomboy ka bakla ka, ok lang sa akin yon…pareho rin yon eh, tao rin yon, kung saan sila maligaya duon sila…huwag nating pakialamanan. Alam mo kung nuong una sinabi na niya sa akin kung ano siya, hindi na kami nagkaganito eh, akala ko kaseh tutoong tao siya…”

PAANO BA ANG MANGARAP: “Dinaya n’yo ako! Saan n’yo dinala ang anak ko?.. Hindi mo alam…Sinungaling!… Kasabwat ka ng ina mo! Alam ko matagal n’yo nang plano ito!… Dinaya n’yo ako! Mga Traydor Kayo! Traydor kayong lahat!… Wala akong pakialam! Ibalik mo sa akin si Jun Jun! Ibalik mo sa akin ang anak ko! Ibalik mo sa akin si Jun Jun! Ibalik mo sa akin…”

BURLESK QUEEN: “Kung Inutil kayo, Di Inutil kayo. Wala naman tayong magagawa kung yan ang gusto ng Diyos para sa inyo.”

BATA, BATA PAANO KA GINAWA: “Sister nain-love ka na ba. Hindi yong Love kay Kristo ha, yong love na may sex. Wala akong Ginagawang mali!”

“Namputang Itlog yan, gawing mong manok!”

MANO PO 3: MY LOVE: “Pinuntahan n’yo ako rito para awayin?…silang dalawa,,,mahal ko silang dalawa, bago ko pa man naging boyfriend si Michael, naging asawa si Paul, magkakasama na kami, kaya mahal ko silang dalawa, mahirap bang intindihin ‘yon?…walang batas na nagsasabing bawal magmahal ng dalawa….”

“Aalis ka rin ba, Judith? Naiintindihan mo ba kung para saan yung ginawa nila?…sanay akong tinatalikuran at iniiwanan. Alam mo bang yan ang istorya ng buhay ko.”

RELASYON: “Emil, Emil, Diyos ko anong gagawin ko? Emil! Mommy Patay na si Emil.”

“Ang hirap dito sa relasyon natin, puro ikaw ang nasusunod, kung saan tayo pupunta, kung anong oras tayo aalis, kung anong kakainin natin, kung anong isusuot ko sa lahat ng oras, ako naman sunod ng sunod parang torpeng tango ng tango yes master yes master!”

“Ano ba ako rito istatwa? Eh dinadaan daanan mo na lang ako ah, hindi mo na ako kinakausap hindi mo na ako binabati hindi mo na ako hinahalikan ah…namputsang buhay ‘to. Ako ba may nagawa akong kasalanan hah? Dahil ang alam ko sa relationship, give and take. Pero etong atin, iba eh! Ako give ng give ikaw take ng take! Ilang taon na ba tayong nagsasama? Oo, binigyan mo nga ako ng singsing nuong umpisa natin, pero pagkatapos nuon ano? Wala na! Ni-siopao hindi mo ako binigyan eh dumating ka sa bahay na ito ni butong pakwan hindi mo ako napasalubungan sa akin eh kaya kung tiisin lahat pero sobra na eh…hindi naman malaki hinihingi ko sayo eh konti lang… alam ko kerida lang ako…pero pahingi naman ng konting pagmamahal…kung ayaw mo ng pagmamahal, atleast konsiderasyon man lang. Kung di mo kayang mahalin bilang isang tunay na asawa, de mahalin mo ako bilang isang kaibigan, Kung ayaw mo pa rin nun bigyan mo na lang ako ng respeto bilang isang tao hindi yung dadaan daanan mo lang sa harapan na para kang walang nakikita!”

ALYAS BABY TSINA: “Kung ano ang kinatatayuan ko, Yon ang teritoryo ko.”

BROKEN MARRIAGE: “May mga anak ako, Nagtratrabaho ako, Nag-aaral ako tapos lagi pa kaming nag-aaway na mag-asawa. So tense, Minsan gusto ko ng tumalon sa bintana.”

“Bakit nababawasan din naman ang pagkatao ko kapag sinisigawan mo ako.”

”Nawawala din naman ang pagkababae ko pag sinisigawan mo ako ah! Huwag mo kong duduruin.”

“Ang marriage trinatrabaho yan…twenty four hours…”

GAANO KADALAS ANG MINSAN: “If he goes, you go, if he dies…dalawa na kayong nawala sa buhay ko.”

Dekada 70: “Buong buhay ko yan na lang lagi ang sinasabi nila sa akin…wala kang magagawa eto ang gusto ng asawa mo…wala kang magagawa eto ang kapalaran mo…wala kang magagaw dahil dapat…putris naman, dapat hindi ganuo…tapos sasabihin ng daddy n’yo hindi lang ang anak ko ang pinatay hindi lang ang anak ko ang dinukot…lolo akong nanggigigil, lalo akong nagagalit dahil kung nanay ka talaga, hindi ka lang dapat nanganganak kundi naiapaglaban mo rin ang anak mo dapat kaya mong pumatay para sa anak mo…gusto ko lang malaman bakit nila pinatay ang anak ko…hindi masamang tao ang anak ko, kahit sa oras na ito humarap ako sa diyos kahit sa dimonyo hindi masamang tao ang anak ko…hindi masamang tao ang anak ko!”

“You could stop being proud of me! Nagsawa na ako sa ganuon, gusto ko naman ngayon ako mismo just for a change, maging proud sa sarili ko!”

LIPAD DARNA LIPAD: “Ding, ang bato dali….DARNA!”

KAPAG LANGIT ANG HUMATOL: “Akin pa rin ang huling halakhak akin Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha HA HA”

REGALO: “Bakit ang mga anak pag nawalan ng magulang ang tawag sa kanila ulila, ang magasawa kapag nawala ang asawa nila ang tawag sa kanila balo…bakit kapag ang isang ina nawalan ng anak walang tawag sa kanila?” - RV, Aries Roll-on, Franco Gabriel, V magazine, Issue No. 7, 2006


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