Friday, April 24, 2015

Once There Was A Love (1991)


Basic Information: Direction: Maryo J. De Los Reyes; Cast: Vilma Santos, Aga Muhlach, Mari Kaimo; Loly Mara, Ana Feliciano, Minnie Aguilar, Pilar De Leon; Story: Raquel N. Villavicencio; Executive Producer: Chit A. Guerrero; Associate Producer: Arnel S. Natividad; Assistant Director: Jun Payawal; Production manager Pong Mercado; Technical Director: Mar Matias; Technical Supervisor: Romy Veron; Production Designer: Judy Lou De Pio; Director of Photography: Charlie Peralta; Production Supervisor: Aida Pandialan; Assistants to the Director: Lowee Boots, Angelo G. Martin; Production Assistants: Vangie M. Parinas, Lorna Montero; Supervising Editor: Jess Navarro; VTR Editor: Bong Cruz; Talent Coordinator: Mae Esguerra; PRO: Jun Nardo, The El Oro Group; Musical Scorer: Ruben Cadsawan; Cameramen: Bong Cerezo, Arthur Lintag, Ben Resuta, Lando Quiambao, Willy Bustaquio; Art Director: Ding Habal; Propsmen: Angelo De Vera, Rede Moveno; Custume Mistress: Marivic Padilla; Audiomen: Obet Salad, Dado Estandarte; Lightning consultants of GMA-7: Rene Saves, Alex Teston; Stills: Gerry Ocampo, Rod Samson; Charger Operator: Maloy De Jesus; Make-up Artist: Carmen Espineli; Hair Dresser: Medy Sordan of Jun Encarnacion; Sketches: Gerrie Francisco; Utility: Marie Barbarqui, Andy Topacio, Helen Vergarra; Production Services: Erming Nicdao; Post Production: Gammatex Video Services, GMA-7; Producers: Vilma Santos Inc., GMA-7 Radio and Television Arts; Released on video by Viva Films

Plot Description: Soon to be married Sylvia (Vilma Santos) met a younger man, Jason (Agah Muhlach) when the later asked to stay temporarily in her house. He run away from his rich parents who wanted him to leave the country permanently. The two fell-in love but got into a car accident when they decided to elope after his parents discovered their relationship. When Jason died Sylvia decided not to marry his fiance, Mari (Mari Kaimo).​ - FRV

Film Achievement: First colloboration between Aga Muhlack and Vilma Santos (the other projects were Sinungaling Mong Puso in 1992 and Nag-iisang Bituin in 1994).

Film Review: - Once there was a love started as Sylvia (Vilma Santos) is about to get married. She looks hesitating but she is fully dressed in her wedding gown and asked her helper to temporarily leave her alone. Afterwards she took a picture of a man in her drawer and the flask back story starts. Jason (Aga Muhlach) came to Manila from Davao. He went to see Sylvia's niece who used to live with her. Sylvia's niece no longer lives with her and so he asked him to leave. For some reason she had this inclination to help him and she allowed him to stay in her house temporarily undil he found a place to stay. As turned out Jason's parent died from a plane crash and he has nowhere to go. For some reason Sylvia allowed the young adult to stay in her placed more until he found a job.

As both become comfortable at each other, they found they have chemistry and the next scenes where the cutesy stages comes in as the old woman falls for the younger guy. Sylvia as turned out is a frustrated artist, she inherited her parent's wealth but decided to continue her career. When Jason found a temporary job, she asked him to still stay at her place as their relationship blosooms despite their age gap. Then Sylvia's fiance, Mari (Mari Kaimo) came back from abroad and triangle begins. Sylvia lied to Mari and introduced Jason as their neighbour, who is using their pool to help him with his water theraphy for his broken leg.

Broken-hearted, he then decided to leave Sylvia's place and moved to his work place. Sylvia and Jason got together a second time when he visited her in a house party after a few weeks and because the dog they adopted together died while crossing the street in his new placed. The two were sad about the news and the attraction finally caved in and they had sex. Sylvia postponed the wedding with Mari. Mari confronted her action but she remained firm about her decision. Sylvia and Jason continued their decision until his mom came out from the scene, as it turned out their both alive and he elope the family because he doesn't want to go with them in Canada. His mother then warned them that she will file a lawsuit against Sylvia for corruption of minor.

Jason left Sylvia's place but called her one night with the idea of both of them eloping. She met her in a bus station but she said no and he left for an unknow destination. But Sylvia had a change of heart and she drove to follow the bus. She finally catched up with Jason and they drove to an unknown destination. All is well until they reached their final destination. The two had an car accident. Sylvia survived but Jason died. Flash back to current day, Sylvia's wedding day, Mari asked her not to continue the wedding if she is no longer loves him, if she still in love with the dead, Jason. The film for TV ended with Sylvia talking to the dead Jason from the hospital bed.

This was the prelude to Vi-Aga's box-office hit movie, "Sinungaling Mong Puso" under Regal Films. It is obvious that Vi and Aga has a charisma on screen. Despite the obvious real life age gap, their roles in both this film for TV and the Regal produced film, made their real-life ages not a hindrance but realistic treatment to the May-December affair genre. Obviously, the film is better and their roles in the film were fully developed compare to this TV movie.

Nevertheless both Vilma and Aga gave a convincing performances. Aga has shown the dramatic prowess he possessed during this early part of his career. As Jason, he brought his boyishly look and natural timing with his light moments with Vi just like in Sinungaling Mong Puso in their first meeting scenes in a disco bar. Btw, Aga's Characters in, Once There was a Love and Sinungaling Mong Puso, were both named Jason. Vilma on the other hand had a weak start but came out strong at the very end. We can't just believe she decided to allowed a stranger to her house in a middle of the night and fall for him, even taking care of him after one night. It lacks the preparation for the two characters to fall for each other that quick, unlike in Sinungaling Mong Puso where their first meeting was more convincing, we were prepared as both characters were established early on with their boring lives. Mari Kamio's performance here is also weak and he obviously didn't speak Tagalog.

Raquel Villavicencio's writing here is not at far with her other works like Minsan pa nating hagkan ang nakaraan, Ibigay Mo Sa Akin Ang Bukas and Relasyon. Maryo De Los Reyes' direction was quite limited to it's TV genre, with slow pacing and commercial breaks even made it more tedious to watch. The scoring of Ruben Cadsawan, was so bad its like watching an old soap opera from the radio days of Tiya Delly (Yes, Ruben is the musical director of Vilma)! The so called "canned" music screaming in our ears in almost every dramatic scenes. Two pop music came out during its major scenes, Phil Collins' "Grovy Kind of Love" and Roxette's "It Must Have Been Love" - both songs made the scenes so melodramatic and quite distracting.

Overall, "Once there was a Love" is good prep for Vi-Aga's team, (they ended up doing two films, "Sinungaling Mong Puso" and "Nag-Iisang Bituin") but it's limitation was so evident with its lack of character development, shallow story telling, and low production value. Although this is a film made for television, it is quire a disappointment that this is Vilma Santos produced project considering she is not a newbie when it comes producing." - FRV

“…Aga’s on and off career worked to a great disadvantage, making producers and fans shun away from him. However, his wholesome, totally refreshing and boyishly-appealing look makes him adorable on screen. His latest TV opus with Vilma Santos titled “Once There Was a Love” was a success prompting many producers to get him again in the movies. Asked why his carer never really took off, he says: “Well, I lack the much-needed support in my career. There were many times I’m almost there, tapos wala namang kasunod agad; so napaglilipasan agad, di ba? I am also partly to be blamed because I was in a limbo for a while. All I know and care about is that I have the money spend on luxurious cars, squash, water sports and my nightlife. I also keep on changing managers.” This year, Aga is quite determined to become serious with his career. he’s slated to do movies outside Regal Films – for RJ Films, Seiko and Viva. It also means having to lose weight for his comeback on the big screen. He says: “I want to look really good when I start doing more movies this year. I’m on a liquid diet. I don’t eat anything. For the meantime I only drink juice, water and slim-fast.” Aside from cutting his food intake, Aga likewise cuts his expenses. “I’m really saving for the future now. I can’t afford to maintain more expensive cars (at the moment he only owns two European cars, a 230-E and a 7-35). I also have to do away with my water sports for awhile. Alam ko ang mawalan ng pera and one thing with me, I never run to my parents to ask for some if I need it. Ever since I started working at afe 14, I’m my own…” – Jackie R, Manila Standard, 9 Jan 1991, p17 (READ MORE)

"... A kind of homage is paid her when she’s paired with younger stars like Eric Quizon and Aga Muhlach. “Definitely, I feel flattered. But then I feel very very secure in my age and with myself. It’s a matter of self-confidence, of knowing that when they look at you they see a woman, period. Age doesn’t matter: I have no insecurities about it.” She knows she can look as young as, or younger than, her new leading men - as long as she herself feels young inside...She says she has no hang ups about age. But how does she keep herself looking young? “I don’t know. I don’t do anything special. I used to swim but I don’t have the time now. I don’t cut down on anything. I drink occasionally but I’m not really a drinker. My true enemy is tobacco: I smoke. Aside from that, I know no other vices. On facing the camera, whether movie or TV, I put on make up. But Vilma Santos the person, when in her house, puts nothing on her face.” She is positive it’s not make-up that makes her go over on the little or big screen as young-looking..." - Quijano De Manila, Philippine Graphic Magazine, 05 Nov 1990 (READ MORE)

"...Vi said that her latest movie, Sinungaling Mong Puso, slated to open today, is inspired by her tele-movie, "Once There Was A Love" which also starred Aga Muhlach. I really wanted Aga to be my leading man in this movie since we started our tele-movie." The movie also reminded her of the time when she and Ralph met for the first time. He was then only 21, or 11 years her junior. Vi does not plan to stop making movies, "I'll be bored with just being a housewife," she averred. "Sinungaling..., she said, "is the story of three women and how they relate to the men in their lives. This is more intense compared to Ipagpatawad Mo. She is set to do two more movies this year, one for Moviestars with Cesar Montano and Ronnie Rickets to be directed by Chito Rono; and another for OctoArts with perennial screen partner, Christopher de Leon with Mike de Leon as director..." - Nena Villanueva, Manila Standard, 27 Aug 1992 (READ MORE)


Video credit: Alan NYC ViSion

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Seasons in Vilma's Life


The camp of Gov. Vilma Santos credits movie journalist JC Nigado for giving the actress-turned-politician the tag Star for All Seasons. For the longest time — since the early ’70s, rival Nora Aunor was called Superstar. In 1986, Sharon Cuneta was built up as the Megastar and yet Vilma remained untitled. In 1988, when Vilma marked her 25th year in show business in a PICC extravaganza put up by GMA 7 with the help of Chit Guerrero for her weekly variety show, Vilma!, Nigado wrote a series of articles where he called her Star for All Seasons. Other titles were coined for other stars after that, but only a few managed to maintain those titles and Vilma is undeniably one of them. Tonight, after Charo Santos’ Maalaala Mo Kaya, ABS-CBN will start airing a five-part special called Vilma: A Woman for All Seasons, which will trace the various facets of her life and career as an actress (the only one with four grand-slam wins), as a TV host and dancer (her Vilma! show on GMA 7 that ran for nine years was the best-produced — without question), as a wife and mother (the first time she is showing her new home in Alabang — a must-see on Aug. 15) and as a public servant (her image as Lipa mayor first and now Batangas governor is untainted). For the final episode on Aug. 29, son Luis Manzano will show viewers some of the behind-the-scenes in the making of their movie All My Life, which will be shown by Star Cinema in September. I had a reunion with Vilma recently and we both agreed that the title Woman/Star for All Seasons is so apt for her because she had been through all the seasons of life round and round. Together, we sat down to trace the various seasons of her life.

Happiest - “When I gave birth to my son Luis/Lucky — lucky talaga siya...When I evolved as an actress and, modesty aside, started getting those grand-slam awards...When I was given a second chance at marriage. Imagine, si Ralph (her husband, NEDA chief Recto), binata and he inherited an instant family...When I gave birth to my other son, Ryan and he grew up to be a healthy boy,” she still sighs with relief now. “That was a difficult pregnancy that made me stay in bed for months.” The truth is, practically the whole nation prayed for her successful delivery and we are all happy that Ryan has turned into a bright and intelligent teenager.

Saddest - “When I discovered in the late ‘70s that financially I was negative P16-M.” This was due to failed investments and mismanagement, particularly of her movie production outfit, VS Films. “The interest of the bank loans I made, I didn’t realize I had already accumulated — from P2-M, it swelled to P7-M. When I woke up one day, wala na akong ari-arian. All my assets were frozen because I also had problems with the BIR.” To her credit, she slaved it out to be able to recover and pay her bank debts. She did films left and right, but she never enjoyed her talent fees from those blockbusters because all these went straight to the bank and to the BIR. For her upkeep (she had to eat, too, of course and maintain a staff), she accepted the offer to do the BBC-2 variety show V.I.P. (Vilma in Person) that aired live Sundays. Looking back, that contributed to the failure of her first marriage (to Edu Manzano) because she had to sacrifice her Sundays, which was supposed to be family day...Also sad was the passing away of my father in 1986.” Even local showbiz mourned the death of Amado Santos because he was a good man and was missed by all.

Frustrating - “When my first marriage failed. But God is good. He gave me another chance — and may bonus pa na another son...When my career went down in the late ‘70s and for that I only blame myself because those were the years I was being unprofessional. For example, there was this Christmas presentation I was supposed to do and I fled to Baguio. I did not show up on the set.” Now, I really salute her because it takes a big person to admit that mistake when she could have passed on the blame on other people and even the system. But that’s Vilma Santos.

Rebellious - “When I put my personal life and happiness over my career. Height ng katigasan ng ulo ko ‘yun. I was doing five to six movies a year and maybe na-burn out din ako. I was looking for independence. I wanted my freedom.” She says that her rebellious years happened when she was between 24 to 27 years old. Actually, if you ask me, she started rebelling late. She must have really been up to here to rebel at that point of her life.

Scariest - “If you want me to panic and get scared, tell me that one of my family members is ill. If one of my children is sick, I don’t work — I don’t even sleep. I stay beside my child all the time.” I witnessed that myself when Luis got sick (was it dengue?) before he reached his teens. Nothing and nobody could make Vilma get out of the hospital room (maybe not even an earthquake) because she wanted to stay with her first-born all throughout the ordeal. No tapings, no shoots. If only for that, she should have been awarded best mother of the year. “Even with Ryan now, kaunting lagnat lang, I take his temperature every hour — until he gets annoyed with me na. Ha! Ha! Ha!”

Most Romantic - “All seasons,” she says, letting out a hearty laughter. People have extolled Vilma Santos as a great performer and politician. But has anyone cited her for being witty, too? - Butch Francisco, Philippine Star, 01 August 2009 (READ MORE)

Friday, April 10, 2015

In Defense of Vilma

ARTICLES - Vi in television - Vilma!

One day, I had a little argument or shall I say discussion with a Noranian who works at the Golden Gate park as a garden maintenance. He told me that Nora’s contribution to the Film Industry is when she stopped the tradition of having "mestiza only" system in showbizness because she made it in showbiz with flying colors even if she’s not tall, fair skin & beautiful. I told him that it was actually Nida Blanca who started the trend (although she’s a mestiza in real life) but she didn’t posseses a stand out beauty. Nida is beautiful but more on pure Filipina looks. And I also reminded him that Nora started as a singer not as an actress. Anyhow, here is my answer to what Vilma Santos contribution to the Film Industry are:
  • Woman Power: Tradition na ang male actor lamang ang nananatiling bida at malakas sa box-office kahit may edad na. Vilma broke that tradition by maintaining big hit movies even at her 50’s. She also proves that there is a lot of good roles for her as "bida" up to now.
  • Star and Politics in one: When Vilma rules Lipa City, people realized that actors can run a city even if he/she’s just a star and do not know anything in politics. Vilma sets a good example because she turned Lipa as one of the most successful city in the nation.
  • Quality & Box-office Movie at the same time: Vilma can give us a good movie & make the producers satisfied with it’s box-office results. Dolzura Cortes, Bata, bata..., Burlesk Queen, Dekada ’70, Anak, Rubia Servios and a lot more are considered classic and it earned huge money at the box-office. It is considered as a great contribution to the Film Industry when you make the producers happy by giving the return of their investment, this means more business and more job for the small workers.
  • Willing to sacrifice: She is willing to negotiate and give away a big discount from her talent fee for the sake of a good script and good film. This will help the movie industry to survive & the small artist to be productive.
After I mentioned these contributions, he brought back the topic to Nora broke the mestiza, tall Pinay actress mould. I told him that this was phenomenal. But my rebuttal is...Vilma is also petite, 5 feet only. Nora’s dark complexion, eye-acting style limited her range to apiapihan roles, not credible as a modern Pinay woman. Si Vilma ay maputi, petite at mas versatile, more eloquent, believable as poor, kiri, martyr, madre, prosti, high-class. Any role kaya niya. Vilma has no college degree but that did not stop her from learning, asking questions to the experts like Brocka, Bernal, Laurice. Seeking the advice of Marichu Maceda, Atty Laxa etc. Hindi siya tamad.

ARTICLES - Vilma Santos Nora Aunor as nunsShe is not contented to be a second fiddle to Nora. Vilma tried hard to have a direction in life. She studied in U.P.- crash course in Public Administration to prepare for her mayoral seat. When it comes to teachable attitude, Vilma has a competitive spirit, more emotionally strong than Nora, more mature. She learned fast from her mistakes. She has goals in life. Pagkatapos kong magpaliwanag ay nag-depensa si Manong. Nagkataon lang daw na Senator ang napangasawa ni Vilma at kay Nora ay isang ordinaryong tao lang (John). I told him that is exactly my point. Vilma has a game plan. She chose winners than losers. There’s Senator Ralph Recto, Connie Reyes, Tina Revilla etc. Nora has John Rendez, etc.

Dahil di na maka-compete kay Vilma, bumigay na- poor impulse control, lost control, became a gambler, unprofessional, with undying rumors on substance abuse. Di na makabawi. Friends have given up. But fans? Let’s be franc - in denial big time. Night (Nora) and Day (Vilma). Vilma chose the Road Less Taken (poem of Robert Frost); hard work, dedication, education, sacrificed Vilma(show), movie career to give birth to Ryan Christian; she sacrificed movie and TV career to public servanthood (this means less pay). Di ba’t her life was threatened when she entered politics, yet she continued- she is a survivor.

A born winner. Wala nang nasabi pa si Manong. Di na rin ako humirit pa. Nagkatitigan kami habang hawak niya ang orchids. Walang kibuan, mata lang namin ang nag-uusap. Hinihintay ko na magtanong siya, pero walang masabi si Manong. Nilisan ko na lamang ang garden na iyon. Habang naiwan si Manong na hawak pa rin ang mga orchids at lagadera. Habang naglalakad ako palayo ay bigla kong naisip...teka, pamilyar ang eksenang yon ah. Parang ending sa isang pelikula nina Ate Vi at Guy. - Franco Gabriel (READ MORE)

FILMS - T-Bird at AkoIn Nora's Territory - "...Here, Vilma is Loida Malabanan, a haggard, weight-challenged bit player struggling in an out-of-town shoot for a serye. She wears oversized shirts, carries with her a heavy bag of clothes (a movie star would have a chauffeured van as her mobile closet), and rides in a cramped shuttle with fellow "extras" heading for an early-morning location shoot. She would sleep on the cold concrete floor in a given night, at other times on the damp grass under the shade of a tree in the middle of a sugarcane field, while waiting with the other bit players for their call. In one scene, she would just be a face in the crowd, in another, a house servant. In other words, this is Nora Aunor's territory, as defined by such critically acclaimed films as Eddie Garcia's "Atsay" and Lino Brocka's "Bona" – the Nora Villamayor (the Superstar's real surname) production in which La Aunor derided her own stardom by playing an alalay to Phillip Salvador's bit player. So it's nice that Vilma is virtually paying a nod to Nora, and in the indie world that has been Nora's playing field for some time. Tart Carlos's role as Loida's best friend, who happens to be a die-hard Noranian, further underscores "Ekstra's" Noranian connection...." - Teodoro Jose Joaquin, Rappler 04 August 2013 (READ MORE)

FILMS - Ekstra best actressTribute to Nora - "...We tell Ate Vi that she has many funny one-liners in the film, but the one that really brought the house down was when she said: “E, bakit si Nora Aunor?” We all know they’re the most intense and fiercest rivals in local movie history, so with her uttering a line that refers to Ate Guy is really something. “Wala akong kasalanan diyan,” she says. “Ayaw nga niyang sabihin yun,” says Direk Jeff Jeturian. “Pero maganda nga, e. Kasi it’s a confirmation na icon si Nora. Kasi pinag-uusapan nila mga artistang puro mestisa ang sumisikat, then she said ‘Bakit si Nora Aunor?’ And it’s true. It’s really a tribute to Ate Guy who should be flattered that she’s being praised in “Ekstra..." - Showbiz Portal, Showbiz Portal, 11 August 2013 (READ MORE)

Mature Rivalry - "...Naniniwala si Ate Vi na makabubuti para sa showbiz ang pagre-revive ng rivalry nila ni Ate Guy, na itinuturing na pinakamahigpit na magkaribal sa kasaysayan ng local showbiz. Pahayag ng actress-politician, “Hindi mawawala ang rivalry namin ng kumare ko. "Ang importante lang, ang gusto ko, even with us, even with the fans, i-attack lang natin nang mas mature, i-mature lang natin ng konti. "Para [hindi] yung dati na kailangan magsalita ng di magaganda...huwag na, hindi. “Sa edad namin...we’re not getting any younger, so it’s good may rivalry, pero attack it with maturity..." - Ava May Robles, PEP, 27 June 2013 (READ MORE)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Doon Po Sa Amin ni Ka Tino


Doon po sa amin sa may Pasong Tamo,
May nangyaring gulong hindi biru-biro,
Pati atsay namin muntik nang masubo
Kung hindi naawat ni Kabesang Dando.

Bakbakan daw itong umaatikabo
At panay babae ang naglabu-labo,
May tadyak, may sipa, may kalmot at bayo
Nang magsabunuta'y bumaha ang kuto.

At nang matapos na ang g'yera patane,
May pila, may pingkaw ang mga daliri,
May nangakatuwad sa nagsipandali
At may iba naman nagkangiwi-ngiwi.

Nang medyo mapawi ang usok ng g'yera,
Nagkatipon muli ang magkakasama,
Ang dalawang pangkat, tagahanga pala
Ng dalawang star na Vilma at Nora.

Ang gulong nangyari nang aking malaman,
Nagsimula pala sa konting kantiyawan,
Ang puno at dulo'y aking isasaysay
Itong walang labis, di rin naman kulang.

V - Sa pangkat ni Vilma ang taragis pot-pot,
    Si Nora! Si Nora! sobra ang pakipot,
    Tumigas ang leeg ng lelang n'yang panot,
    Tinuuban yata ng kuko sa batok.

N - Araguy! Araguy! Dumale na naman
    Ang ingit at selos sa inyong katawan,
    Basta Nora kami, mamatay, mabuhay,
    Kahit ang pintas nýoý abot talampakan.

V - O ano? O ano, hindi ba't si Nora      
    Ay kulang na kulang sa pakikisama?
    Kung lumaki pa ýan at di naging negra,
    Malamang tingin nýan sa amiý basura.

N - Magaling, magaling!  Itong namimintas
    Na ang mga mukha ay kortend patatas
    Kahit na si Orang ay inyong ibagsak,
    Orang pa rin kami, ngayo't hanggang wakas.

V - Tingnan nýo sa buhay ni Norang bulilit,
    Hanggang doon ka lang sa may tabi ng gate,
    Nilalangaw na nga ang pawisan mong p'wit,
    Ni ayaw pakita, ni ayaw pasilip.

N - Maniwala kami na hanggang sa pinto,
    Tsismis nýo lang 'yan, na ubod ng labo,
    Ang sabihiý hiya, sa inyo'y dumapo,
    Dahil nangangamoy na kayo sa baho.

V - Subukin n'yong lahat sa ami'y sumama
    Doon sa tahanan ng aming si Vilma,
    Open 'to sa lahat, kahit pa kay Nora,   
    At laging may hachet ang mga bisita.

N - Ay naku! Ay naku! Di kitain, di kitain,
    Ang target n'yo pala'y laman lang ng pinggan,
    Pa'no kung simot, itong paminggalan?
    Di kaya si Vilma ay iyong takbuhan?

Gabi na nang sila ay magkahiwalay,
At ako'y tahimik na ring nakahimlay,
Nang ako'y magising, panis na ang laway
Sa sarap ng aking napaginipan.

Source: Baul ni Juan
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