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: Isop.ucla.edu
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)