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VILMA SANTOS: Philippine Cinema's Legendary Icon Thread 13

Vilma Santos-Recto (born Maria Rosa Vilma Tuazon Santos November 3, 1953) is a popular multi-awarded actress and politician in the Philippines. She's known as the "Queenstar" and "Star for All Seasons". She is currently governor of Batangas. She is the first woman governor of the province. She was previously the first woman mayor of Lipa City.

Acting career

She started acting at the age of nine, after winning the title role for the hit drama film Trudis Liit (Little Trudis). She immediately received her first acting trophy as Best Child Performer from FAMAS for the same film.

Groomed as a lead actress in her teens, her popularity grew further, bolstered by her loveteam with actor Edgar Mortiz and rivalry with contemporary actress Nora Aunor. She made the film Burlesk Queen when she lost to Nora Aunor in popularity. At the height of her showbiz career she was a consistent box-office drawer highlighted by comic-book adapted films like the Darna series and Dyesebel, and dramatic/daring films like Burlesk Queen and Sinasamba Kita, among others.

Regarded as the longest reigning Box-Office Queen of Philippine Cinema, her films broke box-office records several times in her career and is hailed as the Star for All Seasons and Queenstar. She also hosted her own top-rating musical variety television shows ('The Sensations', 'VIP' and the long-running multi-awarded 'Vilma').Though not really a singer but a natural dancer fond of doing 'acrobatic' dance performances in her TV show, she managed to earn gold record awards as a teener.

Known for her versatility and intense acting, she honed her craft as she worked with various top caliber directors, writers and actors, and now holds the record for having the most acting awards ever by a Philippine actress from prestigious award-giving bodies, local and international. Critically acclaimed for tackling roles on various women's issues, her other major films include "Burlesk Queen", Rubia Servious", Relasyon, Sister Stella L, Dolzura Cortez, Dekada '70, Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa?, and Anak. To date, she has almost 200 films under her belt with numerous commercial endorsements and television works on the side.

Political career

In 1998, she entered politics and ran for mayor of Lipa City, Batangas where she won by landslide victories in three consecutive elections. As the first woman mayor of Lipa City, she helped bring not just economic progress and infrastructure development to Lipa City, but more notably her various programs on public health, education and environment, which again earned various local and international awards and recognitions.

In 2005, the University of the Philippines conferred her the Gawad Plaridel Award for her achievements and contributions both as an actress and a public servant. In the same year she was conferred with honorary doctorate degree (honoris causa) in humanities by the Lipa City College. She was again honored in 2006 by the University of the Philippines as one of the four awardees in UP's First Diwata Awards.

Dr. Vilma Santos is married to Senator Ralph Recto, who belongs to a well-known political clan in the Philippines. Together they have a son, Ryan Christian. She is also a mother to actor/model/television host Luis 'Lucky' Manzano, from previous marriage to actor Edu Manzano.

Running for Governor in Batangas

Mayor Santos-Recto ran for Governor in the 2007 elections challenging incumbent governor and jueteng lord Arman Sanchez and even her brother-in-law, Vice Governor Richard Recto (who is said to be not in good terms with his brother). People in Batangas were eagerly waiting for this match up. Mayor Santos-Recto's decision to run for governor of the province of Batangas resulted in a family feud as Ricky,his brother-in-law, also said that he will run for the same post. After spending some time thinking about the predicament she was in, Mayor Santos-Recto said that she opted to give way to to Ricky but left people hanging as she said that she had until March 29 to decide and that it was still a long time before that date and anything may still happen. Mayor Santos-Recto was then being said to be interested in running as Congresswoman representing the 4th District of Batangas. To add spice to the situation, Vilma's husband re-electionist Senator Ralph Recto announced to the media that they would not support the candidacy of Ricky.

During the weekly flag-raising at the Lipa City Hall last March 5, 2007, political leaders from different parts of the province gathered at the Lipa City Hall grounds to announce their support and ask Mayor Vilma Santos to run as Governor. Mayor Santos-Recto was too emotional to make a decision at that point and asked for a week to make up her mind.

She made her promise good to announce her decision, and on March 12, she announced before a jampacked crowd at the Lipa City Cultural Center that she will accept the people's challenge and run for provincial governor. Banker Edwin Ermita, the son of incumbent Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, will be her runningmate.

She ran under the banner of Lakas CMD after being endorsed by Speaker Jose de Venecia as the official candidate of the majority party. Kampi adopted her as their official bet for Batangas Governor instead of incumbent Governor Arman Sanchez.


Santos-Recto was proclaimed as the duly elected Governor-elect of the province of Batangas on May 21, 2007 after garnering 475,740 votes against Sanchez's 344,969 for a winning margin of more than 130,000. She is the first female governor of Batangas province.

Her star continues to shine luminously even in the presence of so many young stars today. She, in fact, outshines most of them. jps


  • Trivia about Vilma Santos, the Legendary Queen

    * 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 only years Vilma did not make any film were in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007.
    * Child star Vilma co-starred in the 1967 Hollywood-produced war-action-drama movie made for television 'The Longest Hundred Miles'. It also starred Americans Doug McClure, Katharine Ross, Ricardo Montalban, and Filipino veteran actors Vic Silayan, Ronald Remy and Berting Labra.
    * She co-starred with her two favorite actresses in her two films, Lolita Rodriguez in Trudis Liit which opened on Feb. 21, 1963 and Gloria Romero in Anak, Ang Iyong Ina which opened on April 7, 1963 both at Life Theater?
    * Eddie Garcia also appeared in Anak, Ang Iyong Ina. He later directed her in films like Sinasamba Kita (1982) and Imortal (1989) and will appear together in Mano Po 3.
    * The late Rita Gomez was also in Anak, Ang Iyong Ina? She later appeared with Vilma in Takbo, Vilma, Dali in 1972 directed by Joey Gosiengfiao.
    * Her busiest year was 1970 when she made 25 films. That is having two Vilma Santos movies shown every month. These were Young Love, Mardy, I Do Love You, Song and Lovers, My Pledge of Love, Love is for the Two of Us, From the Bottom of My Heart, Bulaklak at Paru-Paro, Mother Song, The Young Idols, Sixteen, Because You’re Mine, Love Letters, Ding Dong, Sweethearts, Give Me Your Love, Mga Batang Bangketa, I Love You Honey, Edgar Loves Vilma, Sapagka’t Sila’y Aming Mga Anak, Vilma My Darling, Nobody’s Child, May Hangganan ang Pag-ibig, Baby Vi and Renee Rose.
    * Vilma or Vi was used in some of her earlier films: Edgar Loves Vilma, Vilma, My Darling and Baby Vi in 1970; Takbo Vilma Dali, Hatinggabi na Vilma and Tatlong Mukha ni Rosa Vilma in 1972; Wonder Vi in 1973; Vilma and the Beep, Beep Minica in 1974 and Vilma Veinte Nueve in 1975.
    * She is the only actress to portray Mars Ravelo’s Darna four times with different child actors as Ding. These were Angelito in Lipad Darna Lipad, a trilogy directed by Emmanuel H. Borlaza; Joey Gosiengfiao and Elwood Perez, Dondon Nakar in Darna and the Giants (1973) directed by Borlaza; Bentot Jr. in Darna vs. the Planet Women (1975) directed by Armando Garces and Niño Muhlach in Darna at Ding (1980) directed by Erastheo Navoa Jr. and Cloyd Robinson.
    * Vilma and arch rival Nora Aunor shared topbilling in four films. The first was Young Love in 1970 (with Tirso Cruz III and Edgar Mortiz) followed by Pinagbuklod ng Pag-ibig (Nora was paired with Tirso while Vilma with Romeo Vasquez), Ikaw Ay Akin (with Christopher de Leon) and T-Bird at Ako in 1982.
    * After working together in Mga Tigre ng Sierra Cruz (1974) and Modelong Tanso (1979), Vilma and the late Charito Solis were co-stars in Ipagpatawad Mo (1991) and Dolzura Cortez Story (1993) both directed by Laurice Guillen.
    * Did you know that Vilma was only paired twice with ex-husband Edu Manzano as compared to Christopher de Leon’s 22 times? These were Romansa sa kama in 1980 and Palimos ng Pag-ibig in 1986?
    * Prior to co-starring with Snooky Serna in Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow (1986) and Hahamakin Lahat (1990), Vilma and Snooky were in Sweethearts in 1970. Co-starring with them aside from Edgar Mortiz and former child actor Arnold Gamboa were Snooky’s parents Von Serna and Mila Ocampo.
    * The late Ishmael Bernal’s first film with Vilma was Now and Forever (1973) with Edgar Mortiz.
    * Before he was Vilma’s leading man in Makahiya at Talahib, Rudy Fernandez played a supporting role in Ibong Lukaret. Both films were released in 1975.
    * Former movie queen Amalia Fuentes did not only co-star with Vilma in Mga Reynang Walang Trono (1976) but co-directed it as well with Fely Crisostomo. They were co-stars in Asawa Ko, Huwag Mong Agawin in 1986.
    * Before she shared equal billing with Vilma and Boyet in Magkaribal (1979), just like ex-boyfriend Rudy Fernandez, Alma Moreno played a supporting role in Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw (1975).
    * Before she played the ghost role in Haplos (1982) with Vilma and Boyet, Rio Locsin had a below the title billing in Simula ng Walang Katapusan directed by Luis Enriquez (aka Eddie Rodriguez) and Disco Fever in 1978. And also a cameo role as dancer in Burlesk Queen.
    * Sheryl Cruz has appeared with Vilma before in Candy (Vilma in a cameo role) and Good Morning Sunshine (1980) directed by Ishmael Bernal. Mano Po 3 is their third film together.
    * Vilma was directed by Lino Brocka in three movies but did not win any award. These were Rubia Servios (1978), Adultery: Aida Macaraeg (1984) and Hahamakin Lahat (1990). However, she won multiple Best Actress awards in three films directed by the late Ishmael Bernal considered as the rival of Brocka. These were Relasyon (1982), Broken Marriage (1983) and Pahiram ng Isang Umaga (1989).
    * Vilma co-starred with Anthony Castelo in Pakawalan Mo Ako (1981) directed by Elwood Perez and Nonoy Zuñiga in Never Ever Say Goodbye (1982) directed by Gil M. Portes.
    * Director Emmanuel H. Borlaza, who used to direct Vilma in the ’70s, last worked with her in Ibigay Mo sa Akin ang Bukas in 1987.
    * The 2002 film 'Dekada '70 was the official Philippine entry to the 2003 Oscars. It was also featured in Cannes, Brussels and Cinemanila.
    * Vilma is the only actress who has worked with the following award-winning Filipino directors. Aside from Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal, Vilma was directed by Celso Ad Castillo (Burlesk Queen, Pagputi ng Uwak, Pagitim ng Tagak), Gil M. Portes (Miss X, Never Ever Say Goodbye), Danny Zialcita (Langis at Tubig, Karma, Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan, T-bird at Ako), Mike de Leon (Sister Stella L), Marilou Diaz Abaya (Alyas Baby Tsina, Minsan Pa Nating Hagkan ang Nakaraan), Laurice Guillen (Kapag Langit ang Humatol, Ipagpatawad Mo, Dolzura Cortez Story), Maryo J. de los Reyes (Tagos ng Dugo, Sinungaling Mong Puso), Chito Roño (Ikaw Lamang, Bata, Bata Paano Ka Ginawa?, Dekada 70), Jose Javier Reyes (Nagiisang Bituin), Rory Quintos (Anak) and now by Joel Lamangan in Mano Po 3.
    * Vilma has won the following awards. Urian, eight; Famas, five; Star Awards, five; Film Academy, four; Movie Magazine Awards, four; Metro Manila Film Festival, three; Catholic Mass Media Awards, two; Young Critics Circle, two; Pasado Awards, two; Fame Magazine Awards, two; Cinema Rave, two and one each from Manila Film Festival, SIASI Jolo Critics Awards, Gawad Tanglaw, Let’s Talk Movies Awards, Cinemascoop Awards, Bacolod Film Festival and Channel 2 Viewers Choice. She has two international awards from the Brussels Independent Film Festival for Bata, Bata Paano Ka Ginawa? and Cinemanila International Film Festival for Dekada 70 both directed by Chito Roño. She is the youngest actress to be elevated to the Famas Hall of Fame in 1989 at the age of 36. She won for Dama de Noche (1972), Pakawalan Mo Ako (1981), Relasyon (1982), Tagos ng Dugo (1987) and Ibulong Mo sa Diyos (1988). She has two Famas Circle of Excellence awards (1992 and 1993), Film Academy (1997) and Famas (1998) Lifetime Achievement awards and two Urian Best Actress ng Dekada for the ’80s and the ’90s.
  • welcome.gif

    Vilmanians sa bagong bahay!

    ganda ng bahay...thanks tito bobby for the banners!

    they are all so pretty!
  • FIRE_C15.gif

    lets party vis! lets celebrate our new house!
  • asan si dubai.....yohoooooooooo!!!

    ano ba dubai akala ko pa naman nakasakay ka na!

    sige balikan kita sa lumang bahay!
  • justin thank you for opening the house!

    sana ok ang lakad mo today!
  • Bagay na bagay ang title...The Legendary Icon!
  • ang frendship kong mahal akala ko pa naman kumapit nung paandarin ni fermin ang sasakyan....hahahahahahahaha

    dubai where art thou?
  • solidvi we have a new house na....its officially open...naglipat na ako ng ibang gamit!

    ikaw maglipat ka na rin...gising ka na!
  • belovedvi...halika na dito!

    tulog ka pa ba? well i fully understand why hehehehehehehe!

    sige see you later na lang!
  • BONGGA!!

    WELCOME sa bagong bahay ng mga VILMANIANS!!!

    Ang ganda!

    Thanks Justin for the opening salvo.
    Thanks Bobby for the banners.
    Thanks MissVi at nandito kang muli.
    Sinusundan mo ako talaga huh frendship.
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