Sunday, March 31, 2013


Eddie Villavicencio Peregrina (11 November 1944 – 30 April 1977), better known as Eddie Peregrina, was a singer and leading matinee idol of the 1970s. Dubbed as "the Original Jukebox King," he was most famous for hit songs such as What Am I Living For, Together Again, Two Lovely Flowers and Mardy, among others. He died at the age of 32 after a freak car accident in EDSA...Eddie's Mustang car collided with a trailer truck in EDSA Shaw underpass in 1977. He died a month and a week later (April 30, 1977) at the age of 32 at Polymedic Hospital due to internal hemorrhage. His early and tragic death shocked his millions of fans nationwide. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Alfie Anido (December 31, 1959 – December 30, 1981) was a popular Filipino matinee idol best remembered for his death at the age of twenty one. He was the eldest of four children of Alberto Anido and Sara Serrano, and was the brother of Albert Anido, another Filipino actor. Born Alfonso Serrano Anido, he was also a fashion and commercial model before he became a contract star for Regal Films, a leading Filipino film production company. He was dubbed as one of the Regal Babies, along with then-young actors such as Gabby Concepcion, William Martinez, Albert Martinez, Jimi Melendez, Maricel Soriano, Snooky Serna and Dina Bonnevie. He was famously linked with Bonnevie, his co-star in the 1980 camp classic Temptation Island. At the time of his entry into show business, he was in college at the Ateneo de Manila University taking up Management. To date, an air of mystery still surrounds the circumstances behind Anido's death. The official version, contemporaneously reported in the mainstream Manila media, was that Anido had shot himself in a suicide.

This version has not been officially or authoritatively contradicted to this day. However, immediately after his death, rumors quickly spread that Anido was actually murdered, and that such fact was covered up owing to the prominence of the personalities allegedly involved. Fingers started pointing to the direction of the family of an ex-girlfriend whose father was a high ranking government official, Minister of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile. The rumor gained traction in Manila, which was then under the throes of the authoritarian rule of Ferdinand Marcos, whose government controlled the mass media during that period. Other versions on the death of Anido were printed in the alternative press such as the Philippine Collegian, the official student organ of the University of the Philippines, a hotbed of anti-Marcos activism. While the rumor that Alfie Anido was murdered still persists, with the aura of an urban legend, the fact remains that no evidence has been put forth to rebut the official version of a suicide. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Julie Pearl Apostol Postigo, better known by her stage name Julie Vega (May 21, 1968 – May 6, 1985), was a Filipina child actress, singer and commercial model. She remains very popular and well loved in her native Philippines, years after her sudden death at the age of 16 that triggered a massive outpouring of nationwide grief that is still vividly remembered by Filipino showbiz fans today. She won two FAMAS Awards for Best Child Actress during her brief showbiz career...Vega's life story was most notably shown on film through The Life Story of Julie Vega, which was shown shortly after her death. Nadia Montenegro portrayed the ill-fated movie and soap opera actress and singer, Jimmy Morato and Alicia Alonzo portrayed her parents, while her real-life brother Steve and babysitter Flor Argawanon appeared as themselves. That's Entertainment mainstays Jestoni Alarcon, John Regala and Hero Bautista also portrayed her brothers in the film. On television, through the October 2, 2003 episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya entitled Unan (Tagalog for Pillow) played by Angelica Panganiban. Vega's parents were portrayed by Michael de Mesa and Rio Locsin. The said episode was well-received by both critics and Julie Vega fans alike and is noted for its use of actual footage of Vega’s burial which featured not only fans but also celebrities like Fernando Poe, Jr., Chiquito, Nida Blanca, Herbert Bautista and best friend Janice De Belen in mourning her death. The video footage was lent to the Maalaala Mo Kaya producers for the episode by the Postigos themselves. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Joel Alano (Joseph Emmanuel Alano in real life) was one of the most promising young actors of the 80s. He died of heart attack at the age of 21 years old. Today, October 28 is the 22nd death anniversary of the late actor.- James DR (READ MORE)

Rodel Naval (February 16, 1953 - June 11, 1995) was a well-known singer, songwriter and actor from the Philippines. He is best remembered for such songs as "Lumayo Ka Man" and "Muli". Rodel was the last one in the family of seven kids to arrive in Toronto. He came to Canada as landed immigrant sometime in 1980. After a year in Toronto, Rodel decided to try his luck in Los Angeles, California. He had three live major concert performances at the Ebell Theatre, the Scottish Rite Temple and at the Ambassador Hotel. It was during one of these concerts that a talent scout discovered him and made an offer for him to perform at Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. After Rodel had performed several times at Imperial Hotel in Las Vegas, his talent scout offered him to sign a contract as regular feature of the club. Few days before his new stint began, the stage of the club collapsed and several days later, the talent scout died of heart attack. Depressed, he went back to Los Angeles...He died on June 11, 1995, at age 42, barely three months after his father had died. He died of pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. The public had little knowledge of what he was going through, though very much apparent of pain was his signature song "Lumayo Ka Man", whose music may have been inspired but the words were written by Rodel while grieving his mother's death. Infused with emotion and quiet suffering, the public had little knowledge that the hit love song was his cry to heaven for a mother taken too soon. He left behind not only beautiful memories for his family and his fans but also several songs which Rodel did not have time to popularize because of his illness. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Ricardo Carlos Castro Yan (March 14, 1975 – March 29, 2002) was a Filipino matinee idol, model, actor and entrepreneur. He was under an exclusive contract in the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network and was a member of their circle of home-grown talent named Star Magic. He was a Youth Spokesman for the Department of Education, touring the Philippines for free to promote education among youths, as well as establishing "Pinoy 'Yan!", a non-profit organization that aims to make young people stay in school and value education...Yan is one of four children, a grandson of former Foreign Affairs Secretary retired Gen. Manuel Yan. He was the brother of TV host Bobby Yan and, at the time of his death, was the boyfriend of Claudine Barretto. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

11th death anniversary - "...Bukas, March 29, ang 11th death anniversary ni Rico Yan na bangungot ang ikinamatay sa Dos Palmas Resort, Palawan. Good Friday bukas at Good Friday din nang sumakabilang-buhay ang aktor noong 2002. Hindi pa uso noon ang social media pero mabilis na kumalat ang balita dahil sa mga text message na umikot at gumimbal sa showbiz. Bago namatay si Rico, nakatikim siya ng blockbuster movie dahil pinilahan sa mga sinehan ang Got 2 Believe, ang pelikula nila ng kanyang ex-girlfriend na si Claudine Barretto. Nailihim nina Rico at Claudine na hiwalay na sila habang ipino-promote nila ang Got 2 Believe na mahigit isang buwan na ipinalabas sa mga sinehan. Nakiramay ako noon sa mga naulila ni Rico. Pumunta ako sa burol niya sa La Salle Greenhills. Mainit na noon ang network war ng ABS-CBN at GMA 7 kaya nang duma­ting ako, humingi pa ng clearance sa kinauukulan ang security guard ng La Salle Greenhills dahil Kapuso raw ako. Dumagsa ang fans ni Rico sa La Salle Greenhills dahil sa kagustuhan nila na makita sa huling pagkakataon ang aktor na kanilang iniidolo. Inabangan ng media ang pagdalaw noon ni Claudine sa burol ng kanyang ex-boyfriend..." - Lolit Solis, Pilipino Star Ngayon March 28 2013 (READ MORE)

Ronnel Victor - "Former movie star Ronnel Victor, known for his boy-next-door roles, succumbed to cancer of the colon yesterday in Chicago, Illinois (2 p.m. Manila times). He turned 32 last June 21. "We done everything," Victor's first cousin Marnie Ommalin told the Inquirer from Dipolog City yesterday. She said Ronnel has a tissue transplant last January following months of chemotherapy for the cancer. Ronnel - real name, Ronnel Isip - became comatose after he suffered massive rectal bleeding last Sunday, the cousin said. He died yesterday after months of confinement at the St. Francis Hospital in Illinois. The cancer was diagnosed June 2000. The biopsy showed that the disease was already in the third stage. Colonic cancer is characterized by the presence of masses in the large intestine and sporadic changes in bowel movement. "His family was at his bedside when he passed away," Omamalin said. "Before he died, he wanted to stay with his family." The actor's remains will no longer be flown to the Philippines and will instead be cremated in Chicago, the cousin said. Ronnel is survived by his parents, two siblings, two children and his partner of six years. The actor had left show business in 1993 but he recorded a Visayan album in 1996. He was a member of German Moreno's "That's Entertainment" on television and was discovered for show business by the late comedian-TV host Ike Lozada who also managed his career for awhile. From TV, Ronnel went on to make movies and was paired with the likes of Lotlot de Leon, Rita AVila and Sheryl Cruz. He starred in a number of youth-oriented movies mostly for Robbie Tan's Seiko Films where he was a contract star. From playing boy-next-door roles, Ronnel later shifted to character roles. He played the role of a seminarianin the 1987 hit "Working Girls 2" which starred Gloria Diaz, Dina Bonnevie and Dang Cecillio." - Leah Saltero and Marinel Cruz, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Jul 2, 2002 (READ MORE)

Miguel Rodriguez was a soulwinner and former Filipino actor. A handsome hunk with features that made him look a bit like the late actor Chistopher Reeve, Miguel Rodriguez gave Richard Gomez a run for his money. Actually, the two were once together in the sitcom "Palibhasa Lalake" with Joey Marquez completing the wackiness...Mystery remains to cloak the death of actor and once-upon-a-time politician Miguel Rodriguez whose to His Gunshot body was discovered last February 7, 1998 by household help inside his house in BF Homes Internal Village, Talon, Las PiƱas City...Speculations are running high on the real cause of the actor's death. A certain Bernadette Puno, who claimed to be a cousin of Rodriguez, said the actor died due to "collapsed pancreas." The autopsy report has not been released yet. Mediamen rushed to St. Jerome's Parish Church in Ayala, Alabang, Muntinlupa City. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Joey Gosiengfiao's Trilogy

"When I was small, we stayed on teh second floor of a moviehouse in Cagayan where my uncle owns a chain of moviehouses. During mealtime, I would eat at the balcony section so I could watch a movie at the same time. Noon, ang pelikula ay parang isang visionary world, parang it's so far away and so high up there. I was fascinated no end by how a movie was made. I told myself, someday I too will make a movie."

There are three important periods in Joey Gonsiengfiao's life as a director: his UE period when he shuttled between classroom and stage, trying to finish AB while presenting one big play on campus every semester; his Tower Periiod when he socialized in the show-biz circles and made abortive movie debut; and his Sine Pilipino Period when he learned from his past mistakes, helped form a trend-setting box-office movie director.

UE Period - One remembers Joey as that diminutive, chinky-eyed fellow who would come panting to the Literary Criticism class at UE where he was a dropout and over-stayed for 10 years (1959-1969). Together with a big guy named Elwood Perez (now also a movie director), Joey would dominate the class discussions. The two were campus celebrities of sorts; Elwood wrote movie reviews for his column in Dawn, the college paper, while Joey directed stage plays (Becket, The Lark, My Fair Lady, Gigi, and The Glass Menagerie, which starred his signature actor Nestor Torre). Joey was forever rehearsing and his classes were such a hassle that he would drop all of his subjects every semester. He was a scholar.

"The nearest visionary world to movies for me was the stage," Joey says. "As a kid, I wanted to act in plays. Kapag hindi ako kasali sa bilada, aba, kinakausap ko ang titser." At UE, Joey attended workshops and seminars and studied under Rolando Tinio, his mentor. Foundationd Day celebrations were never complete without a Joey Gosiengfiao play. What he learned on campus came in handy when he was assigned by Cecile Guidote to the Balentataw drama series on the defunct Channel 5, the TV arm of PETA.

Tower Period - His Tower Period began in 1970 when he bumped into PR Man Douglas Quijano of Tower Productions. It was Joey's introduction to the glamour-and-glitter whirl - "it was my "socializing" days," Joey put it more aptly. "I had fun with my new-found friend movie scribes." One morning, Joey woke up to realize that his contemporaries had all made their maiden movie ventures: Lino Brocka was being lauded for his Wanted: Perfect Mother, Ishmael Bernal for his critically and commercially successful Pagdating sa Dulo. Even his UE buddy Elwood managed to wrap up his own, Blue Boy, a dud. Joey approached Douglas and wailed, "Ay naku, Douglas, mamamatay na ako pag wala akong pelikula. Maloloko na ako. Mayroon an silang lahat, ako na alng ang wala." Two weeks later, Temyong Marquez, Big Boss of Tower, surprised Joey with an assignment - "Nora Aunor pa mandin," Joey recalls, "at pagka-ganda-ganda ng pamagat, Beautiful Love. It was my first film and I was excited. I wrote the script at nagulat pa ako dahil approved kaagad ni Director Marquez before he even read the script."

The film didn't come out beautifully. After shooting some scenes in Manila, the Tower entourage went for location filming in Iriga, Camarines Sur, hometown of Nora. The movie was barely one-third through when Nora Aunor dropped the bomb that nearly shattered Tower to pieces: "Tumakas ang Nora, hindi natuloy ang pelikula." That was the time when Tower and Sampaguita were having a tug-of-war over La Aunor. The abortive screen debut didn't bruise Joey's ego a bit. His wits recovered, Joey tackled his next assignment: Funny Girl, starring international teenage hearthrob Sajid Khan and local glamour girl Tina Revilla. It was a financial flop. To nurse his disappointment, Joey sought solace in directing TV shows. "Those two films were a bakya compromise," Joey says. "I have learned my lesson, that is never to compromise. Everybody was telling me noon, "Hoy, Joey, kailangan gumawa ka ng...hindi naman mediocre movie...but something with mass appeal. Kailangan kumita ang pelikula mo kung hindi wala ka nang pelikulang susunod." Kaya nagisip-isip ako, sabi ko, why not? One movie critic called Funny Girl the total concept of a bakya production, which it was. Bakya nga, pero hindi rin naman nag-click. So I resolved to do what I believe will make good at the box-office."

Sine Pilipino Period - Joey re-emerged in the movie scene in 1972, bristling with fresh ideas. This time he made a big gamble by helping his brother Victor and some friends put up Sine Pilipino, the company that would revolutionize trends in local movie-making. SP specializes in campy, stylish movies with imperative, three-word titles: Takbo, Vilma, Dali; Hatinggabi na, Vilma; Zoom, Zoom Superman!l; Si Popeye Atbp.; and Sunugin Ang Samar. Except for the last mentioned which was an action saga, the four SP flicks were spoofs characterized by madness. They revived the all-star casting system, lumping together in one movie several big stars. The flicks made money. Joey Gosiengfiao had his "sweet revenge." "It was not wasy for us in the beginning," Joey relates. "Just before the showing of our first film, Takbo, Vilma Dali!, Martial Law was declared. There were no newspapers then so we had to post bills all over the city, hanggang Pasay nagdidikit kami nina Douglas. We also distributed hand bills. Sa awa ng Diyos, kumita ang pelikula." Of the films he has done, Joey considers Sunugin Ang Samar as the most difficult, not only because of its scope but also because action is not his forte. It took him three months to make the movie because the script (by Wilfrido Nolledo) called for different settings and they had to move from one place to another. Joey didn't exactly follow Nolledo's script but he saw to it that "the spirit was retained." Of late, Joey has organized his own company called Juan de la Cruz Productions together with Elwood and Douglas. Their inital production, Asawa Mo, Asawa KO, was a moneymaker. SP specializes in home-movie types while JC makes more of the woman's movie, "that's because we are not good for action pictures." Joey is now connected with SP only as a director.  "My main purpose as a director is to entertain the public," say Joey. "It's very rare that I put in any social message. JC movie deal with the individual rather than the social, more on the problems of the individual which may not be very relevant to society."

As a producer, Joey knows the high cost of production so he tries to economize on negative by practising what he calls the "pre-editing method." He makes sure that every shot is good, that no footage is wasted. Luckily for Joey, he never has any encounter with obdurate stars; all those he has worked with are easy to handle and cooperative. His favourite actress is, obviously, Celia Rodriguez whom he has directed twice before and who is cast in her secon-starring role in La Paloma, JC's latest offering (also scripted by Nolledo). La Paloma is a bold experimental film for two reasong: (1) it's done in black and white (which is a big risk in these time of color films), and (2), it boasts no box-office stars. "Celia is nice and difficult to work with," says Joey, "nice because we communicate and difficult because, like all good natural actresses, she has her insecurities and tantrums which result in misbehavior and antipathy. Pero hindi naman siya antipatika, ha. Madalas kaming magsigawan sa set; sometimes, gusto niya mauna siyang mag-shooting pero hindi naman puede dahil kailangan mayroon mauuna. Ayan, we would shout at each other na, "Please naman Celia," I would scream, "don't give me any more problems, marami na nga akong problema, mabuti kung ikaw lang ang mayroon." Pero after a while, kiss and make up na kami..." Joey Gosiengfiao has a last found true happiness. Expressweek, December 12 1974

About Direct Joey - "...Joey Gosiengfiao's films are anything but righteous, much less respectable. That was their glory and greatness, and the reason he could never win an award--Christ, I think, with his abhorrence of respectability, would like the man's style. Take, for example, the scene between Eddie Gutierrez and Ricky Belmonte in Bomba Star (roughly translated, Porn Star, 1980): Belmonte has just been jilted by Alma Moreno (incredibly young and beautiful here), and Gutierrez is consoling him; at a certain point, Guiterrez's embraces become more than just consoling, becomes in fact incriminating. Enter Gutierrez's lover, played by Marissa Delgado--she doesn't do anything, just strikes a glamour pose, a sardonic expression on her face and the world's longest cigarette holder between her fingers. I wish I could explain why the moment is so irreducibly funny, but I can't; if I could, I suspect it wouldn't be funny at all. Gosiengfiao wasn't just campy; his love scenes can be offhandedly sensual in startling ways. I remember gasping in shock in Nights of Serafina (1996 -- his last feature film) when, in a showcase of passion Mike Magat shoves Georgia Ortega's face into a tray full of food, Ortega moaning in pleasurable response. It was a disgusting, demeaning, swinish display--and powerfully erotic (it was also a brilliant parody of James Cagney's grapefruit scene in The Public Enemy)..." (READ MORE)

Friday, March 29, 2013


Basic Information: Story, Screenplay and Direction: Emmanuel H. Borlaza; Cast: Vilma Santos, Celia Rodriguez, Barbara Luna, Trixia Gomez and Merle Fernandez, Arnold Gamboa, Romeo Enriquez, Sandy Garcia, Monica Morena, Ike Lozada; Cinematography Oscar Querijero; Musical Director George Canseco; Executive Producer: Vilma Santos; Production Company: V.S. Films; Release Date: September 10, 1976 - Video48

Plot Description: No Available Data

Film Achievement: Borlaza gave Vilma Santos her very first best actress, winning the 1972 FAMAS for via Dama De Noche. He is also credited in narrowing the popularity gap between her and the musical era’s darling of the 70s, Nora Aunor.

Film Reviews: ”…His films lack the arthouse style and social relevance that critics loves most in a Brocka or Bernal films but who cares about the critics when the paying public loves them. And the producers demand his service, from Doc Perez of Sampaguita Pictures, Atty. Esperidion Laxa of Tagalog Ilang Ilang Productions and later on, Vic Del Rosario of Viva Films and Lily Monteverde of Regal Films. Clearly, his films exists with one purpose, to entertain the masses not to depress or remind them with the country’s sad fate of economy or the below poverty line lives of many. The success of the Vilma-Borlaza films gave Vilma Santos versatility and preparation to a more serious acting career. It also narrowed the popularity gap between her and the musical era’s darling of the 70s, Nora Aunor. These are perhaps, the most significant contributions of Emmanuel Borlaza to Vilma’s career. Vilma who was considered only second to Nora couldn’t matched her singing talent and so, Borlaza countered this lack of singing with films that showcased Vilma’s acting versatility…” – RV (READ MORE)

"...Sa pagsasaliksik ko ay di ko sinasadyang makita ang mga pamagat ng pelikulang may kaugnayan sa putik. Labing-isa ang nakita ko, at marahil mas marami pa rito. Sa pamagat pa lamang ay kapansin-pansing napakalalim ng kahulugan ng salitang 'putik'. Halina't tunghayan ang ilan sa mga ito...Marahil, lahat ng pelikulang ito ay pumatok sa takilya, lalo na't pawang mga bigating artista ang siyang bida sa mga ito. Kung susuriin natin ang mga pamagat pa lamang, kapansin-pansin ang iba't ibang kahulugan ng putik. Tayo ay nagmula sa putik dahil nilalang tayo mula sa putik, kung papansinin ang pelikulang "Putik Ka Man... Sa Alabok Magbabalik", habang sa "Magkumpareng Putik", marahil ito'y tungkol sa paglalabanan ng dalawang magkumpareng kinulapulan ng putik ang bawat isa. Ibig sabihin, dinungisan ang pangalan at binalewala ang pinagsamahan bilang magkaibigan. Ang mga pelikulang "Mga Rosas sa Putikan", "Ginto sa Putikan", at "Dinampot Ka Lang sa Putik" ay marahil tumutukoy sa mga babaeng mahihirap na natagpuan ng mayaman at naging asawa..." - Mga Pagninilay ni Goriong Putik (READ MORE)

"...Then she did Mga Rosas Sa Putikan for her own VS Films where she played a country girl forced into prostitution in the big city. The movie did fairly well at the tills. Good sign..." - Ricardo F. Lo, Expressweek, Jan 19 1978 (READ MORE)


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Vi The Victorious

She has won 33 major acting awards, the highest output for any woman thespian in these parts. “Vi did it with the single-mindedness of a homing pigeon,” said Laurice Guillen, director of Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story, which ran away with the lion’s share of the major awards in this year’s Manila Film Festival including, among others, the trophies for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor and Best Director. Laurice, of course, was referring to Vilma Santos, who won the 1993 Manila Filmfest Best Actress plum for reastically portraying a PWA (person with AIDS). “Vi was determined to portray Dolzura Cortez – warts and all – no matter what,” Guillen stressed. “Walang pa-charming. An ectopic pregnancy and a bout with diarrhea only temporarily derailed her train but she reached her destination, and she got a statuette in the process.” When she received her trophy during the glittering awards rites held at the Manila Midtown Hotel last June 25, Vi raised her statuette and declared in Pilipino: “I gave it all I had. To Dolly (nickname of the PWA she portrayed), wherever you are, this is for you.”

Dolly herself (who died shortly after investigative reporter Ceres Doyo wrote the series about her (Dolly’s) life and times in the Philippine Daily Inquirer) had expressed the wish that Vilma portray her in a movie dramatizing her experience as a PWA. People behind the project hope the movie will raise public awareness about Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and how to prevent it. There are an estimated 35,000 people with HIV (human immune-deficiency virus) that caused AIDS in the Philippines although Health Secretary Juan Flavier believes the number is actually higher. Vilma’s triumph in this year’s filmfest was par for the course. In three decades in showbiz, Ate Vi, as the Vilmanians (loyal Santos fans) love to call her, has won 33 major acting awards (the highest output for any woman thespian hereabouts) and has appeared in about 120 movies. “It took us 25 shooting days to wrap up the movie,” Guillen continued. “It would have taken us longer if Vi had not been as dedicated to her work because she was practically in every scene and her stick-to-itiveness helped us a lot because, whenever she was on camera, there was no goldbricking. It was work, work, work for Vi and, although I could say the same thing for the rest of the cast, Vi really set the pace for the others to follow.”

In her thank-you speech at the awards ceremony, Vi acknowledged the fact that “I would have been helpless without Tita Laurice, Tita Chato (Charito Solis, who played Vi’s mother), Boyet (Christopher de Leon) and other members of the cast and crew.” As usual, Vi was generous in her acknowledgments and ever her husband, Batangas Representative Ralph Recto, “above all”, got his share of the kudos. Even the jurors of whom I was one, were impressed by her acting. “She would win in any festival with this kind of performance,” says Gina Alajar, herself a Metro Manila Film Festival Best Actress awardee earlier this year, who pinchhit for Rudy Fernandez as juror. “What I like about her performance,” juror Josefino Cenizal, veteran composer and musical director, chimed in, “is that she never overacted in many scenes where less experienced thespians would have. She gives the impression that she’s not acting but just going through the scenes as if she’s a natural part of the scenery.” There’s only one actress I’ve seen in action who seems not to be aware of any camera (just like Vi) and that’s Julie Christie, the British actress, who did a movie scene in front of several journalists from all parts of the globe, including this writer, in a London pub in the 1960s.

I have to confess that this article is a bit partial to Vilma Santos because I’ve been a Vilmanian from Day One. I remember the first time I saw Vi was in 1962 when Dr. Jose “Pinggot” Perez, Sampaguita Pictures executive, invited me to watch the filming of a movie called Trudis Liit. It was a nine year-old Vilma Santos who played the title role and she was so good, Doc Perez raved: “May kinabukasan ang batang ito (this child has a bright future).” Vi still remembers the reporter “who asked me silly questions like what’s my favorite dish, etcetera”. It was the beginning of a lifetime friendship and during those intervening 31 years, I’ve seen Vi blossom from a shy but hoydenish teenager, to the Vilma Santos of today, a confident woman of 39 “na maraming karanasan sa buhay (her own words)” pero sweet na sweet pa rin like the Vi of old. Some of those experiences would have driven an ordinary woman to perdition but not Vi, who says quietly: “A woman should grow wiser through the years.” Vi had the best teachers in the field of love. During the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, her “puppy love” was Edgar Mortiz which gave birth to the Edgar-Vilma loveteam, the only noteworthy rival of the Pip (Tirso Cruz III)-Guy (Nora Aunor) tandem. Her subsequent romance with Romeo Henares, son of former Inquirer columnist Larry Henares, nearly ended at the altar. “But I was not ready to make a lifetime commitment,” she disclosed. “Commitment” is one of Vi’s favorite words.

And then came Romeo Vasquez. It was during her relationship with Romeo in the mid-70s that what’s not known as the Betamax scandal came about. There was this lurid chismis that Bobby (Romeo’s nickname) and Vi had been captured on Betamax tape while rolling in the hay. I personally investigated this rumor and discovered it was just that -a rumor. I remember the many times that Vi and Bobby guested in my Seeing Stars TV show on Channel 13 where they sang as duet their theme song: Pag-ibig Ko Sa Iyo Lang Ibibigay. After her breakup with Romeo, I used to tease Vi by singing the opening lines of that ditty, and she would squirm and say, “Ayaw ko na, Tito Joe.” Recently, when Marra PL. Lanot and I interviewed Vi at a local recording shop, I sang the opening line and Vi sang it with me without any qualms. It’s because Vi has blossomed into a mature woman who’s confident of the love of her husband, Representative Recto, who’s admittedly 10 years younger that Vi (he’s 29 to Vi’s 39). But before her marriage to Recto was her interlude with Edu Manzano by whom she has a son, Lucky. "Doods and I really tried to preserve our marriage but things went awry,” she now says philosophically. It’s a measure of Vi’s diplomacy that she has remained friends with all her past lovers. - Joe Quirino, Philippine Graphic, June 16, 1993, transcribed and posted by Jeannie Wong (READ MORE)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

COED (1979)

Basic Information: Direction: Emmanuel H. Borlaza; Story, screenplay: Allan Jayme Rabaya; Cast: Vilma Santos, Jay Ilagan, Celia Rodriguez, Allan Valenzuela, Romeo Enriquez, Romeo Rivera, Jun Soler, Angge, Jojo Santiago, Cora Tanada, Larry Leviste, Marilyn Villarruz, Rosemarie Sarita; Original Music: George Canseco; Cinematography: Mike Accion; Film Editing: Abelardo Hulleza

Plot Description: No Available Data

Film Achievement: Borlaza gave Vilma Santos her very first best actress, winning the 1972 FAMAS for via Dama De Noche. He is also credited in narrowing the popularity gap between her and the musical era’s darling of the 70s, Nora Aunor.

Film Reviews: "...His films lack the arthouse style and social relevance that critics loves most in a Brocka or Bernal films but who cares about the critics when the paying public loves them. And the producers demand his service, from Doc Perez of Sampaguita Pictures, Atty. Esperidion Laxa of Tagalog Ilang Ilang Productions and later on, Vic Del Rosario of Viva Films and Lily Monteverde of Regal Films. Clearly, his films exists with one purpose, to entertain the masses not to depress or remind them with the country’s sad fate of economy or the below poverty line lives of many. The success of the Vilma-Borlaza films gave Vilma Santos versatility and preparation to a more serious acting career. It also narrowed the popularity gap between her and the musical era’s darling of the 70s, Nora Aunor. These are perhaps, the most significant contributions of Emmanuel Borlaza to Vilma’s career. Vilma who was considered only second to Nora couldn’t matched her singing talent and so, Borlaza countered this lack of singing with films that showcased Vilma’s acting versatility..." - RV (READ MORE)

"...Sabi ni Mama Santos, ako daw ang "pumatay" sa kanilang Pagputi...eto ang parusa ko, bigyan ko daw sila ng isang Kampus? so I'm making for them Coed. You see, when I was working on Kampus? at UP Los Banos, I realized their problems and lifestyle can be a source of even 10 movie materials. At kapag ang student force pala ang nag-patronize sa Tagalog movie, ang laki ng audience!" Borlaza revealed...I'm very meticulous about is: the audience were to identify itself with my main character, will it be happy with the poetic justice I execute? Will they find it correct and realistic? In Kampus? for instance, students who were pleased with the movie told me they liked the ending very much. They agreed with it. Vilma was bedded first by Mat Ranillo III, but ended up with Bembol who was the right choice after all. They say in real life, the man you walk down the aisle with is not necessarily the first man you had sex with. Also they say the dialouges were very in - like the way actual students would speak them. Siguro, once they sit in the theater, they are not bothered by such questions as 'Why" or "how come?" Is the star value the main thing in selling movies? "In the case of Kampus?, yes, because Vilma Santos was my main star and she's the current box office queen..." - Manny B. Fernandez, Expressweek, November 9, 1978 (READ MORE)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Star for All Seasons

The year 1962 was a time of birh and rebirth as well as occassion for celebration. In Hollywood, preparations were being made to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the super comic hero Superman and his fairy-tale queen counterpart, Snow White. At the same time, Hollywood welcomed the birth of a new movie hero in the character of super spy James Bond. Also at about the same time, a Hollywood legend - Marilyn Monroe - died only to be "reborn" a bigger legend. In England, the legendary musical quartet, The Beatles, had begun its universal conquest as the world stomped to the new rock "n" roll best. In the Philippines a star was born. It was in the nature of her coming that she did not have to start at the bottom. Perhaps, it was providential that Vilma Santos was born to the Philippine cinema at a time when the local movies was on the brink of its so-called Golden Age. She had to start a new era. That year the late Filipino master, Gerry de Leon, had just finished the filmization of Jose Rizal's other noverl, El Filibusterismo - a film classic that won the year's best picture and best director award. On Nov. 12, 1962, a frail-looking child barely nine days after her ninth birthday walked into the world of her dreams trying to find her own place in the sun; instead, she was found. Accompanied by her mother she auditioned for a movie that was then in the making and which, they were told, was in need of a child star. Elsewhere at the sprawling Sampaguita studio, a talent search for a new child star to portray the title role in a forthcoming movie, Trudis Liit, was ongoing. Prodded by a relative-friend, the aspiring young talent went from the set of the movie in progress to the auditin room of a movie yet to be made.

Before her, scores of other children had undergone screen tests; but it is said that the very first time the late star maker Dr. Jose Vera Perez set his eyes on her he at once knew he had found the star. Vilma, as the actress herself recalled years later, didn't have to sing or dance. She didn't even have to act; she just had to be there not unlike a heavenly body waiting to be discovered by an astronomer's eyes. And like a shining star from the East, Vilma Santos had to follow a natural cosmic course in her career, without causing a phenomenal disturbance or effecting a meteoric rise, so to speak. The rest, as they say, is history. And like history Vilma Santos did not just unfold is a day, or in a week, or in a month, or in a year, or in a decade, or even in a score. Now, more than a quarter of a century later the star is still on the rise, still journeying on its natural course despite and against all odds. Early on, the child actress who was born on Nov. 3 in the Chinese year of the snake, had made an acting imprint on her public as if to serve notice of the greatest actress that she was to become someday. After Trudis Liit was shown, not only did Vilma become everybody's darling but she also romped away with the FAMAS best child actress in 1963. From then on there was no stopping her, the young actress had found her home and school in the movies even as she tried to attain a certain degree of formal education like any normal growing child would. In between movies, she finished her high school (Since she started, there never was a year that she hasn't made a movie).

To her, the movies did not only become a way of life, it was, is and will always be her life. And like life, Vilma Santos thrives in different stages. In the '60s whenever one mentioned the name Vilma Santos one only referred to that talented, sweet and lovable child actress. She capped her childhood career when she won acting honors for her role in Kasalan Kaya? (1968) from the San Beda Awards for Movies Arts and Sciences. In the early '70s the former child actress evolved into a talented, sweet lovable teenage star, raring to explode another stage in her career. At this point, a widely-publicized phenomenon had burst into the movie scene, trailblazing an almost maniacal craze all her own. Throughout the fad though, Vilma persevered and remained undaunted, providing competition whenever and wherever necessary. At 19, Vilma Santos became the youngest major best actress awardee hereabouts when she won the FAMAS for her role of a lunatic in Maning Borlaza's 1972 film Dama de Noche. That early artistic triumph paved the way for the actress' impending superstardom. In March 1973, Vilma practically flew her way to the top as she vanquished her box-office rivals with Sine Pilipino's trendsetting trilogy Lipad, Darna, Lipad, the year's monumental hit. The blockbuster movie was shown simultaneously with Fernando Poe Jr.'s Esteban, which was badly beaten at the tills. A week later, Joseph Estrada and Nora Aunor's initial team-up, Erap Is My Guy, was shown but nowhere did it come close to Darna's record at the box office.

To prove that Darna was no fluke, in the Manila Film Festival held in June of the same year, the actress donned a mermaid's suit and Dyesebel, in a manner of speaking, almost drowned all her filmfest competitors which as the time included such heavyweight entries as Fernando Poe Jr. and Joseph Estrada's Ang Agila at ang Araw; Dolphy's Dracula Goes to RP; Chiquito and Pilar Pilapil's Inday ng Buhay Ko; Hilda Koronel and Dante Rivero's Lupang Hinirang; Zaldy Zhornack and Vic Vargas's Nueva Viscaya; Ramon Zamora's Ang Mahiwagang Daigdig ni Pedro Penduko; Jun Aristorenas' Johnny Joker; and Amalia Fuentes and Eddie Rodriguez's Pagibig Mo...Buhay Ko (Vilma, by the way, is only the second actress - the first was a relative unknown, Eva Montes - to have portrayed Mars Ravelo's two popular komiks characters, Darna and Dyesebel, and the most successful so far). A week after the filmfest, Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz's reunion (after almost a year) movie, Maalaala Mo Kaya? was shown but still Vilma's Dyesebel provide stiff competition on its second-week run. From that time on, Vilma Santos finally established her supremacy as local cinema's most bankable actress to reckon with. A stature which which up to the present is constantly challenged by stars and talents of lesser magnitude, but still to no avail. In fact, she is the only actress who has been officially acknowledged as the most bankable female star by the Kapisanan ng mga Sinehan sa Pilipinas (KASIPIL), the nationwide association of theater owners. In its recent fifth anniversary issue, Movie Flash, probably the most literate, if not credible fan magazine in town, has rated Vilma Santos as the top actress in teh country today - both in terms of achievements and box-office appeal.

That such singular honor is accorded her even after having been in the business for 25 years, and being on top for quite some time, should not come as a surprise to any thinking individual especially those who have seen her grow in the movies and have followed her career. Today, whatever she is and whatever she's got, Vilma Santos can rightfully claim that she's made it through sheer hard work, dedication and the right attitude - with, of course, a little help from her friends. Needless to say, everything that she is and she has now is well-deserved, even hard-earned - the very thing that separeates her from her peers, if there are any. Vilma's enduring popularity, unlike those of instant superstars, is not a product of media hype and a well-oiled publicity machine. She does not deliberately resort to gimmickry to promote her career, whatever controversies surround her none of them is stage managed to generate interest in her. To be sure, Vilma is not a darling of the usual movie press, many members of whom profess their indiferrence towards her for reasons that are not unknow. Indeed, other superstars may have the movie presss at the palm of their hands. And yet, Vilma has got the edge: she has the publc. Proof of this is her continuing popularity at the box office and on TV, something which has been given up for good by many of her contemporaries. At first glance, Vilma Santos may not be a phenomenon, but to have survived, maintained and prevailed through these years, the onslaught of new an senstional stars - both pretenders and otherwise - notwithstanding, is something more phenomenal than anyone could ever hope for.

As an actress, Vilma has nurtured her talent through the years, taking time on its natural course but always unafraid to explore even heretofore unchartered horizons. In 1977, in a unprecendented display of artistic maturity, the 24-year old movie queen shed her sweet image to portray one of her boldest roles in her entire career in Celso Ad Castillo's Burlesk Queen. The controversial film, which elicited critical acclaim and ran away as the year's topgrosser in the annual Metro Manila Film Festival, heralded the dawning of a new Vilma Santos. A new phase in her career had indeed come and a more dedicated actress seeking newer heights had emerged. And soared to newer heights she did. In spite of a troubled marriage, BIR problems and as almost empty bank account, Vilma Santos reached the highest peak any actor or actress worth his/her salt could ever achieve. At 29, she handidly won all the best actress honors from all the award giving bodies for her moving performances in Ishmael Bernal's Relasyon (1982). Winning the grand slam is a faily good year and over equally worthy contenders wa no mean feat. But winning it at a time when one is at the apex of one's box-office popularity was indeed an achievement that would be hard to duplicate. Her vindication came like sweet revenge for someone who, for a time, many people called a poor second. But the fact is when Vilma Santos finally asserted her superiority and become No. 1 nobody was second. And in a business where a combined commercial and artistic success is as rare as oasis in a desert. Vilma proved to all and sundry that, until now, she alone could pull it through.

For rhe record, within barely one-and-a-half years, Vilma has won an unprecedented six major acting awards (Karma, MMFF Dec. 1981; Pakawalan Mo Ako, FAMAS, April 1982; Relasyon, Catholic Mass Media Awards, Feb. 1983; Relasyon, URIAN, Mar. 1983; Relasyon, Film Academy of the Philippines, April 1983; and Relasyon, FAMAS, May 1983) and three box-office trophies (Box Office Queen, Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Foundation, April 1983; First Cinehan awardee as Most Bankable Female Star, KASIPIL, January 1983; and Box Office Queen, GMMF, May 1983). As if that weren't enough the consecutive Urian best actress awards (Relasyon, 1982; Broken Marriage, 1983; Sister Stella L, 1984), the only one so honored by the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, the country's only film critics group. Vilma also hold a record of sorts with the oldest film award giving body, the FAMAS. So-far, she's the only performer who has won various FAMAS awards in three categories, namely best child actress (Trudis Liit, 1963); best actress (Dama de Noche, 1972; Pakawalan Mo Ako, 1981; Relasyon, 1982) and best picture producer, VS Films's "Pagputi ng Uwak, Pagitim ng Tagak," 1978. For more than a decade now, Vilma Santos has been considered the highest-paid local actress, a stature that she also enjoys as a television superstar. Her affair with the public seems anywhere she goes - from movie to TV for instances - the actress has nowhere to go but up. Still and all, the actress continues to hone her craft while at the same time maintaining excellent rapport with her audience. Stars of various hues and magnitude have come and gone but Vilma has steadfastly remained on top, almost unperturbed.

People say one can never put a good man or woman down. In her case, it is true: she has weathered all kinds of storms - scandals and all - and has faced up to countless challenges. Almost always she comes out vindicated, scathed perhaps but far from spoiled. One does not succeed and stay on top using only one's heart or one's mind. One needs both. Likewise, one does not separate the person from the artist. If an artist is good she will make it; if she's better she will prevail. The secret of Vilma Santos' long-running success, if one could call it a secret at all, is an open heart and mind. She's one person who does not hessitate to admit when she's wrong or apologize when she makes a mistake; but on the other hand she will stand by her decision when she known she's right. She's also one person who comes to the rescue of a needing friend. While other stars have lost their glitter hers continues to shine even as she ages. And like life itself, her success goes from one stage to another - it is never static. As a matter of fact, the older she gets the better she becomes. Vilma Santos' best legacy to the industry is herself - a shining example that good and positive values can still work in the cutthroat world of showbusiness. Once, in an earnest attempt to describe the actress, a writer called her the ultimate superstar. The fact is, Vilma Santos does not need say qualifier to belabor the obvious. There are seasonal superstars, yes, but there's only one star for all seasons - Vilma Santos. (Script of Vilma Santos' 25th anniversary celebration on GMA-7 held at the PICC, Nov. 13, 1987) - Ed Usapdin, Manila Standard, Nov 28, 1987 (READ MORE)

Monday, March 25, 2013


Basic Information: Direction: Emmanuel H. Borlaza; Cast: Vilma Santos, Lito Lapid, Chichay, Louella Albornoz, Renato Robles, Angie Ferro, Lucita Soriano, Rez Cortez, German Moreno; Theme song: Performed by Lirio Vital; Film poster: Video48

Plot Description: A stunt man/driver falls in love with his boss.

Film Achievement: Borlaza gave Vilma Santos her very first best actress, winning the 1972 FAMAS for via Dama De Noche. He is also credited in narrowing the popularity gap between her and the musical era’s darling of the 70s, Nora Aunor.

Film Reviews: "...His films lack the arthouse style and social relevance that critics loves most in a Brocka or Bernal films but who cares about the critics when the paying public loves them. And the producers demand his service, from Doc Perez of Sampaguita Pictures, Atty. Esperidion Laxa of Tagalog Ilang Ilang Productions and later on, Vic Del Rosario of Viva Films and Lily Monteverde of Regal Films. Clearly, his films exists with one purpose, to entertain the masses not to depress or remind them with the country’s sad fate of economy or the below poverty line lives of many. The success of the Vilma-Borlaza films gave Vilma Santos versatility and preparation to a more serious acting career. It also narrowed the popularity gap between her and the musical era’s darling of the 70s, Nora Aunor. These are perhaps, the most significant contributions of Emmanuel Borlaza to Vilma’s career. Vilma who was considered only second to Nora couldn’t matched her singing talent and so, Borlaza countered this lack of singing with films that showcased Vilma’s acting versatility..." - RV (READ MORE)


Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Very Long Rivalry - 2004

Pre-2004 - After 1989, Vilma and Nora continue to fight for acting supremacy. In 1989, Vilma was elevated to the FAMAS Hall of Fame making her ineligible to compete with Nora. With this, Nora won her fifth trophies which also made her elegible for the Hall of Fame. Also this year, there's "First" in both Vi and Guy. Vilma's Star Award best actress was her first from the PMPC while Nora's Luna Award best actress was her first academy award. At the URIAN, they tied as their best actress. When the award seasons ends, Nora and Vilma completed and releases three films, Nora Aunor released the much loved, "Andrea, Paano ba ang Maging Isang Ina" while Vilma tapped A-1 list directors, Lino Brocka for "Hahamakin Lahat" and Laurice Guillen for "Kapag Langit Ang Humatol." It was a repeat in 1991, Vilma and Nora remained prominent in the acting contest, with Nora taking a landslide advantage for "Andrea...," winning nine nods while Vilma recieved only four nominations. Then the next year, it was almost an even outcome for both, Nora's "Ang Totoong Buhay ni Pacita M." earned her seven recognitions, six wins and a nomination from URIAN. The Urian award went to Vilma for "Ipagpatawad Mo." She also received several nominations. The following year, Nora did not complete any film while Vilma releases "Sinungaling Mong Puso," an acting triumph for Aga Muhlach. She also appeared in cameo role in fantasy festival film "Engkanto." In 1993, both Nora and Vilma releases two films each. Nora did the forgettable "Inay" and the tired "Ligaw-ligawan, Kasal-kasalan, Bahay-bahayan." Vilma was more successful with the socially relevant AIDS film, "Dahil Mahal Kita, The Dolzura Cortez Story" and her first Chito Rono film and the smash hit, "Ikaw Lang."

The next year, Vilma Santos earned more trophies (seven best actress awards and two nominations) while Nora received a lifettime achievement at FAP and her sole acting trophy for "Inay" from the Young Critics Circle. Then in 1994 Vilma followed the massacre trend with "Lipa: Arandia Massacre," a big hit and the forgettables, "Nag-iisang Bituin" and "Relaks ka Lang, Sagot Kita." Theres no Nora movie in 1994. Her big screen absence were a blessing because the following year, she released two hit films, "Muling Umawit ang Puso" and "The Flor Contemplacion Story." Theres No Vilma movie in 1995. As Nora Aunor reaped the rewards of the previous year, she won eight trophies plus international recognition, she released the critically acclaimed "Bakit May Kahapon Pa?" while Vilma teamed up for the last time with FPJ as her comeback movie after her absence in the forgettable and flop movie, "Ikaw Ang Mahal Ko." The next year, Nora Aunor releases two film. She teamed up with Judy Ann Santos in the dissapointing film, "Babae" and much more dissapointing, "Mama Dito sa Aking Puso." If 1997 was a big dissapointment for Nora, Vilma also has a film slump, her only film, "Hanggang Ngayon Ika'y Minamahal" with perennial love-team, Christopher de Leon was a big dissappointment too. There is no Nora movie the following year, while Vilma finally came-up with a more serious project, Lualhati Bautista's "Bata, Bata...Paano Ka Ginawa?" and gamely appeared in a cameo role in "Ang erpat kong Astig."

The following year, Vilma reaped more acting trophies plus international recognition for "Bata, bata..." and at the same time, becoming more like a seasoned politician as she entered politics during the last few years of this decade. For Nora, 1999 started her becoming the darling of indie films, she released "Sidhi" co-starring with Albert Martinez. While there is no Vilma movie in 1999, the coming of new millenium turned out to be a lucky year for her. She did "Anak" with Claudine Barretto, a record-breaking film of year. It was clear by this time that Nora Aunor's film career is on decline, there is no film for her in the next three years. If Nora's film career is on decline, it seems like Vilma's film career is experiencing the same but her camp explained, due to her tight schedule as politician, her tight schedule doesn't allowed her to do film projects. On occassion she find time to do special one, in 2002, she entered the local festival via Chito Rono's in "Dekada 70," in another Lualhati Bautista novel. Her rare film excursion were fruitful as she earned nine acting trophies and another international recognition in 2003. Despite this, theres no more new film for her and also for Nora. The following year, their fans rejoice as both came up with a respectable projects, an indie film for Nora and a commercial mainstream film for Vilma. Perhaps a final showdown is brewing?

Resurgence Rivalry - "...Vilma Santos’ triumph as Best Actress - for Mano Po 3 (My Love) at the Metro Manila Film Festival in December 2004 parallels her greatest rival Nora Aunor’s similar feat at the Manila Film Festival last June, where Nora won for Naglalayag. So it goes without saying Nora and Vilma will once again be major contenders for the top acting honors in this year’s awards season. Nora, for the Maryo J. delos Reyes opus in which she portrayed a lady judge who fell in love with a man half her age; while Vilma, for Joel Lamangan’s romance-drama about a Chinese anti-crime crusader torn between her family and a past love. Nora versus Vilma. Their acting duel is never ending. All these years, their fight for the Best Actress plum in practically all the local award-giving bodies has been much anticipated since...Kung susumahin, mahirap nang dagliang mabilang ang mga award nina Nora at Vilma, through the years, para sa mga pelikulang tinampukan nila. Ito rin ang puntong hindi ang pag-quantify sa mga natamong parangal ang mahalaga, kundi ang pagpapatunay na walang mintis sa kanya-kanyang laban, sa kahusayan, ang dalawang pinakamahigpit na magkaribal sa larangan ng pagganap pampelikula..." - William Reyes (READ MORE)

Nora Aunor's 2004 acting recognition (9) - Naglalayag - Best Actress from Brussels Independent Film Festival (Belgium); BALATCA (Batangas-Laguna Association of Teachers of Culture and Arts); Gawad Tanglaw Awards; Manila Film Festival; PASADO (Pampelikulang Samahan ng mga Dalubguro); S Magazine People's Choice; YHC (Young Heart's Club); 1st Cape Tip Festival; and a nomination from URIAN

Vilma Santos' 2004 acting recognition (6) - Mano Po 3: My Love - Best Actress from MMFF; Gawad Suri Awards; Star Awards; Gawad Tanglaw Awards and nominations from FAP; URIAN

Pain and Courage - "...Nora Aunor delivers a remarkably competent and mature performance, exhibiting not only skill and talent but fine dramatic sensibility as well. Aunor envinces an acting style that is sure, keen and affecting. Her fortitude and daring to star in this type of film, manifests rare artistic insight into the problematics of social change. In the much talked about funeral scene, Aunor saturates the screen with the pain and courage of a woman on the brink of the darkest despair. Yul Servo's smoldering passion and repressed aspirations lift the film to its heights, his performance in fact maps out the film's journey from the thickets of conflict to a most soulful destination. Servo avoids the well trodden path of facile tearjerker techniques and cogently reiterates the tenderness, helplessness, violation and rage that consume his character. The writing merits of Naglalayag offers solid characterization that sustains momentum and surges into a tour de force conclusion. The screenplay's achievement rests on its skillful appropriation of the conventions of a commercial feature in its earnest effort to come up with a truly artistic, purposive and serious motion picture. The film moreover exposes the complex processes by which people are lured into, weakened and trapped in a web of crime and poverty, from which death becomes the only possible escape..." - Jojo Devera (READ MORE)

Strange Casting - "...Without the Chinese trappings, Mano Po 3: My Love is a typical Vilma Santos movie designed to highlight all the wonderful elements that make her a star for all seasons. Again, she sobs, laughs and acts pensive in that distinctive fashion Santos is famous for in one sudsy scene after another. Yet even as an emblematic Vilma Santos movie, Mano Po 3 is below par. The Star was better in other films that had better material. In this movie, screenwriter Roy Iglesias and director Joel Lamangan shamelessly force the star to imitate Meryl Streep in a scene stolen from Clint Eastwood’s Bridges of Madison County (1995). And like the two first installments, Mano Po 3 features some strange casting. Jay Manalo is supposed to be a contemporary of de Leon and Santos but when you see them together, Manalo looks more like their son than a classmate. Lamangan’s storytelling is fluid and deliberate but being deliberate can be deadly when almost every scene is all talk. Talk is fine if the words are inspiring but when the lines are pallid and of the telenovela variety, we’s just rather stick to the Korean soap they show on TV. While actors deliver modulated performances, this writer feels that Christopher de Leon’s role is too small to warrant a best actor nomination and award. I think he should have listed in the supporting category but I’m opening a can of worms here. Let’s just be thankful that this is the last Mano Po movie to be ever made..." - Dennis Ladaw, The Manila Times, Feb 28, 2005 (READ MORE)

No Fear - "...In seeing both films, Vilma gave a far more superior performance than Nora Aunor’s “Naglalayag.” Again, how can anyone not noticed? I mean, it could probably be blamed to their directors. Lamangan able to come up with a far more superior script and direction than De Los Reyes. Vilma’s role composed of so many highlights that are so hard to pick which one is the best compare to one from Nora’s film. Funny both Vilma and Nora’s film has some similarities. Both have a scene were they both accepted an award and they have to do speeches in front of adoring audiences. Another similarities, the two characters have to dealt with the gossiping and the bad publicity that their personal lives creates affecting their respective communities. Although in Naglalayag, Nora’s character wasn’t fully established as how’s her overall standing/status in the community. Now the difference, Vilma’s crisped delivery of lines came as natural, even when she talks in Tagalog, English or Cantonese/ Mandarin but Nora’s delivery of lines were as awkward as a kid trying to learn how to speak English for the first time. Her tendency to make “SSSS” sound in every English word she has on her lines were very distracting to audience and at times laughable. Her clothes are dated too, for a rich judge, one may wonder if she’s just a thrifty judge or just don’t know how to dress up, the opposite can be said with Vilma, her pink/orangey gown on the death scene was elegant. Admittedly, both Vilma and Nora have no fear of showing their age. There was a scene in both movies where they didn’t wear any make up and their faces showed their real ages. Overall, Nora’s performance lacks control and finesse while Vilma’s performance excels in restraints and effectiveness. Nora’s not credible as Dorinda, the judge while Vilma became Lilia Chiong Yang, the anti-crime crusade activist and businesswoman ..." - RV (READ MORE)

Post-2004 - After a successful 2004 where she seem to reclaim the top spot by winning another international award, Nora Aunor released two indie film in 2006, Ingrata and Care Home both 2006. Unfortunately both films failed commercially. In My Life 2009 Best Actress (5-STAR; GMMSF; MTRCB; GTA; GSA); Nomination (2-URIAN; EGSA); 2010 Gawad Genio Best Actress - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

2012 - "...The following year, both Nora and Vilma competed in every acting award contests. In the mix were Claudine Barretto for "Milan" and Judy Ann Santos for "Sabel." Nora won a commanding lead with six win and one international recognition over Vilma's on four, plus Judy Ann and Claudine's entry to the contest took some trophies out of the two veterans. There is no films for both veterans the following year. More so for Vilma who will not do another full lenght film until 2009, she appeared in a guest role as herself in 2006's "D'Lucky Ones." Meanwhile for Nora, she came up with two respectable indie films in 2006, "Care Home" and "Ingrata" both were ignored by many critics and failed commercially. She will not do another film until 2012, some considered her big comeback, a special role in period movie, "El Presidente" and the much praised, Brilliante Mendoza's "They Womb." Like Nora, Vilma is also absent on big screen for so long until her big mainstream film with son, Luis Manzano and John Lyod Cruz, Star Cinema's "In My Life." The received a mix review but was a commercial success. Vilma again will not do another film until 2012, the horror film, "The Healing."

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Basic Information: Directed: Emmanuel H. Borlaza; Cast: Romeo Vasquez, Vilma Santos, Christopher De Leon, Ripp Rivera, Maila Gumila, Moonie Stevens, Cora Guinto; Original Music: Idan Cortez; Cinematography: Ben Lobo; Film Editing: Edgardo Boy Vinarao; Film poster: Video48

Plot Description: Dingdong (Vilma Santos) finds herself in a romantic fix. On one had is Morris (Christopher de Leon), a handsome young guy, hard-working, responsible, and deeply in love with her. On the other hand is Carlos (Romeo Vasquez) who has abandoned is wife and child for a life in the United States, and is now a man who is financially secure. Will it be Morris or Carlos? This movie was shot against some of the most romantic sites in Northern California, U.S.A. Also stars Rosemarie Gil. Directed by Emmanuel H. Borlaza for Tagalo Ilang-Ilang Productions. - Trigon Video

Film Achievement: No Available Data

Film Reviews: "...You know, it’s amazing because we’ve never been linked to each other and yet the public loves seeing our movies together. Siguro it’s because we have this unbelievable chemistry. We know each other so well that tinginan lang on screen, we already know what to do to make a take very good..." - Mario E. Bautista (READ MORE)

"Sometime in the mid 70s, matinee idol Romeo Vasquez returned to the movie scene after a long absence, his movie career in limbo after his failed marriage with popular actress Amalia Fuentes. His teamup with Vilma Santos somehow rekindled and revived his career. Their first movie together, Nag-aapoy na Damdamin in 1976 turned out to be a big hit. Despite their age gap, reel and real life sweetheart, Romeo, 34 and Vilma, 23, soon became the hottest love team, doing one hit movies after another..." - Video 48 (READ MORE)

"...Romeo Vasquez is an oddity in Vilma's life. Hindi akalain ng lahat na ang isang notorious playboy and balikbayan actor would capture the heart of the then elusive Ate Vi. Nagkaroon sila ng affair which lasted for more than a year. Kilala si Bobby sa pagiging bohemyo kaya naman walang kakilala si Ate Vi na bumoto sa aktor. Ate Vi was love struck at talagang na head-over heels in love. Nagsimula ang kanilang affair sa set ng kanilang pelikulang "Nag-aapoy na Damdamin". True to this title, nagliyab silang dalawa at tunay ngang nag-apoy ang kanilang damdamin. May plano pa nga sila ni Bobby na magpakasal sa Europe. Talagang Ate Vi was ready to give up her life as an actress and would settle with the actor abroad. And with herb relationship with Bobby, nag-surface ang bagong Vilma Santos.Ate Vi realized that she cann't sacrifice everything for love. Nagising siya sa katotohanan at nagkamali kung kaya nagdesisyon siyang kumalas sa bohemyong aktor..." - Willie Fernandez (READ MORE)

"...But it was with handsome actor Romeo Vasquez that Vilma Santos had her most controversial relationship. Romeo was the former husband of Philippine movie queen Amalia Fuentes. He and Vilma first paired in the movie Nag-aapoy na Damdamin (1976). It was also during this year that they became a couple. They made several movies together, all of which did well at the box-office. Vi and Bobby (Romeo's nickname) became the most-talked about reel and real love team at the time. The relationship was always on the pages of showbiz magazines and tabloid entertainment section pages because of the intrigues and the personalities who got involved with them..." - Rommel R. Llanes (READ MORE)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Huwag Hamakin: Hostess (1978)

Basic Info: Direction: Joey Gosiengfiao ; Story, Screenplay: Toto Belano, Tito Sanchez; Cast: Nora Aunor, Alma Moreno, Orestes Ojeda, Bella Flores, Vilma Santos; Original Music: Demet Velasquez; Cinematography: Rey de Leon; Film Editing: Segundo Ramos; Release Date: August 25 1978; Production Co: JPM Productions

Plot Description: This is a film directed by Joey Gosiengfiao and features Nora Aunor and Alma Moreno with Orestes Ojeda and Vilma Santos in a controversial guest appearance.

Film Achievement: No Available Data

Film Review: "...Mas dramatiko ring isinakonkreto ito ng mahusay na pagganap ni Nora Aunor bilang katulong na namasukan bilang hostess upang matustusan ang pag-aaral ng lalaking iniibig, pinapanood natin siya habang dumaraan sa proseso ng lumbay, pagkabigo at pagtanggap. Matingkad ang kanyang pagkakaganap dahil hinahatak niya tayong damhin ang kanyang mga dilemma habang nakikibaka siyang matanggap ang pagtataksil ng kasintahan. Katangi-tangi rin ang pagganap ni Alma Moreno at totoong nabawasan ang kanyang hysterical gestures sa pelikulang ito ngunit wala rin naman siyang ipinakitang bagong kakayahan para pangatawanan ang papel ng isang babaeng pilit ibinabangon ang sarili upang di-tuluyang masadlak sa kinagisnang uri ng pamumuhay..." - Jojo De Vera (READ MORE)

"...Si Orestes ay isa sa mga seksing aktor noong kalagitnaan ng dekada 70s kung saan ang dekadang ito ang pinakatugatog ng kanyang katanyagan. Kinahumalinag siya sa pelikula niyang Ang Boyfriend kong Baduy noong 1976 kung saan ipinareha sa kaniya ang limang naggagandahan babae na sina Amalia Fuentes, Barbara Perez, Celia Rodriguez at iba pa. Sa pelikulang Huwag Hamakin: Hostess dalawa sa mga sikat na artista ang itinambal sa kanya na sina Nora Aunor at Alma Moreno na gumanap bilang mga hostess sa kanyang buhay..." - Wikipilipinas (READ MORE)

"...Ate Vi made around 198 films from 1963 to 2002. This includes cameo appearances in Dugo at Pagibig sa Kapirasong Lupa, Mga Mata ni Angelita, Huwag Hamakin Hostess (with Nora Aunor and Alma Moreno with Vilma getting Orestes Ojeda in the end), Candy, No Other Love, Charot, Rizal Alih, Engkanto, and ‘Bukas Sisikat Din Ang Araw’, a Gabby-Snooky starrer, produced by friend Gabby Concepcion..." - The 28th (READ MORE)

"...Do you always succeed in packaging a movie? "Often, yes, But, alas, I have failures too." For instance? "Well, some reasons for failure are due to wrong chemistry of the cast, to the vehicle (story) and/or unsuitability of both elements. Let's take the movie, Huwag Hamakin: Hostess, which with solid actresses, a move that proved to be contrary to the image of La Aunor. It would have been all right, if Alma Moreno, Nora's co-star, was paired with another bold actress. But that, we learned only later and too late! I was aware of Guy's image. But I wasn't aware that her image wouldn't go well with the combination. Not even the controversy of including Vilma Santos in the cast helped. It only antagonized both camps of Nora-Vilma fans..." - Manny B. Fernandez, Expressweek, March 1, 1979 (READ MORE)

"...In the 15 movies he had appeared in since 1972, Orestes feels that he has not done roles that would demand from him the maturity of outlook as an actor..."I like to be known as an actor and not just a bold star. But cinema is a tremendous image-making machine. I realize that I cannot totally turn my back on my bold image," Orestes lamented...he is back again in his bold role in "Huwag Hamakin: Hostess." But Orestes is happy about this role. He is paired with Nora Aunor and Alma Moreno. The picture is a tragic-comedy. "I play a bastard-gigolo who lives off two women portrayed by Nora and Vilma. The role offers me romantic and comedy situations. It also calls for some understanding of a misdirected and amoral character and I certainly find it a challenge," stresses Orestes when we talked in a downtown hotel which was the setting of one of his love trysts with co-star Alma. " I am centainly very lucky to have Joey Gosiengfial as a director. He has guided me in my interpretation of my roles. And of course, it's a rare opportunity to be pitted against two real actresses like Nora and Alma and a veteran performer like Bella Flores (who plays Orestes' sugar mommy in the flick)", he adds...Observers in the local movie world believe that Orestes can be a good actor. The guy has looks and intelligence..." - Beth U. Castillo, Expressweek Magazine, 29 June 1978 (READ MORE)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

ROMANSA (1980)

Basic Information: Directed: Emmanuel H Borlaza; Cast: Vilma Santos, Edu Manzano, Mercy Oria, Bobby Gonzales; Dell Martin, Edwin Perez; Original Music: Rey Valera; Cinematography: Ben Lobo; Theme Songs: “Kung Kailangan Mo Ako” performed by Rey Valera; Release Date: November 21 1980, Philippines; Filming Locations:USA; Production Co: Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions (IMDB)

Plot Description: It was while this movie was being made in San Francisco when Vilma Santos and Edu Manzano tied the knot in the U.S.A. This film, a light romantic drama is about Kristal (Santos), an illegal alien in search of an American citizen to marry, and Doods (Manzano), a dashing young man who has moved to the United States to start life afreash. Doods has inherited 12-million pesos from his deceased father but his new-foud fortune has become more a problem than a blessing, for women seem to be more interested in his money. Directed by Emmanuel H. Borlaza for Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions. - Trigon Video

Film Achievement: Romansa (1980) was the first film of two tha Edu Manzano and Vilma Santos films did together (the other one was Palimos ng Pag-ibig (1986)

Film Reviews: "...Borlaza and Santos did two films in the USA, Aloha My Love and Don’t Ever Say Goodbye. Both films paired Vilma with on and off the screen love team, Edgar Mortiz. Later on, Borlaza and Vilma did another film in the USA, Romansa, with now ex-husband, Edu Manzano. ..." - RV (READ MORE)

"...In 1980, Ate Vi married budding actor Edu Manzano in Las Vegas, USA, while shooting the film, "Romansa." She was pregnant with Lucky (now called Luis) when she did "Pakawalan Mo Ako" in 1981, for which she won her second FAMAS best actress award. In 1984, her marriage to Edu ended in separation, and she did movies that mirrored her real-life affairs, "Hiwalay" and "Ex-Wife," both big hits..." - Mario Bautista (READ MORE)

"...In 1980, Vilma made a movie with a well-known model who returned from the States after his tour with the U.S. Air Force. The balikbayan tried modeling and later on, acting. Edu Manzano starred with Vilma in the movie Romansa. He also married her that same year in Las Vegas, Nevada. The following year, Luis Philippe Santos Manzano was born. Their marriage did not last. They divorced in 1985..." - Rommel R. Llanes (READ MORE)

"...the song "Kung Kailangan Mo Ako" (If You Need Me) was first used in a movie that was starred by Vilma Santos and Edu Manzano, "Romansa" (Romance)..." - Wikipedia (READ MORE)



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