Stars: Susan Roces, Eddie Gutierrez, Shirley Moreno
Nori Dalisay, Etang Discher, Tony Dauden
Matimtiman Cruz, Cora Maceda
(Movie ad courtesy of Simon Santos, Video 48)
by Ophelia San Juan
Film Review: Re-Photographing A Lovely Actress
(The Weekly Nation Magazine, 1966)
PORTRAIT OF MY LOVE, in exciting black and white and astounding part Eastmancolor, should bring to mind Leonardo da Vinci and Bob Razon with one brush splash.
Da Vinci's Mona Lisa painting is enigmatically brought into the title credits of Portraif Of My Love after the main players have, in varying poses of smiling prettiness, appeared within elaborately curlicued frames very reminiscent of Bob's Studio's favorite society photographs. After the initial jolt of seeing a work of art, however, audiences of this Sampaguita 29th anniversary offering and Christmas picture can settle down to enjoy a thoroughly funny and sometimes hilariously irreverent story made up of sight gags and comic situations more or less spawned by love -- young, old, matriarchal, filial, foolish, masochistic, sadistic, or just plain fancy.
The most rib-cracking episodes occur in the first part of the picture, when female office executive Lita Soriano (Susan Roces) relates to factotum Cleo (Matimtiman Cruz) three principal reasons why she thinks men are saps and women ought to stay unmarried: the first is a courteous, unctuous gentleman who indulges in Continental hand-kissing and Filipino respectfulness, and who has impressed her with his unashamed ardent wooing, only to hide behind a curtain at the first loud thunderclaps and clamber up the living room table at the sight of a fat, cuddly, white house mouse; the second is Samson, who lives up to his name with a bodybuilder's build at which Lita dutifully gawks and impressedly swoons when he exhibits at the Soriano's yard -- only, the musclebound cad combs his hair coquettishly and preens before a mirror the way all male would-be Delilahs do; the third frustrating heartthrob of Miss Soriano is a fast-working Lothario who dashingly snatches her "yes," then scares her off and away up the ceiling beam with his bristly kiss. With such past sad experience, Lita is less than enthusiastic about meeting new young men, much less future sweethearts and possible husband.
This attitude is the exact opposite of that held toward men by Cleo, whose unabated appetite for lovemaking would have been called dirty in a film more aware of character portrayal and logic than Portrait Of My Love is, but whose zestful depiction of an uninhibited contretemp to Lita Soriano's standoffish maiden results in broad, instincts-conscious comedy that, at worst, can be termed bawdy vaudeville. She introduces Ricky (Eddie Gutierrez) to Lita, and from this blind-date outing evolves the series of events in the playboy-meets-playless-girl situation comedy that make up a collection of sight gags rendered precious by the comic talent of Matimtiman Cruz, Etang Discher, Tony Dauden, German Moreno, Eddie Gutierrez, and -- most noticeably -- Susan Roces.
Lita takes offense at Ricky's amorous attempts, reports him to the police, and has him jailed overnight. The sweet-faced, curly-topped playboy, long pampered by his rich grandmother, cries to her like a baby for help. The grandmother, Dona Margarita (Etang Discher), looks like a vampire who makes Christmas Eve sweet-meats of red-blooded playboys, but she is actually putty in her spoiled grandson's slick hands, and she bails him out of prison. More than that, she proceeds to confront the unknown wench who has had the gall to accuse him of forcing his attentions on her.
"My grandson does not go after women," she declares haughtily to the poker-faced desk sergeant, "women tear after him."
Lita deals with her as efficaciously as she had her grandson's libidinous attempts -- with spirit, cunning, and considerable comic spectacle. That is, up until she suddenly takes a misdirected turn for the dramatic and lectures the old woman on female virtue and valuability. The scene is so out of place in the gay, lively and correctly exaggerated comedy that it calls attention to the film's fanciful excesses, and almost brings it to the level of maudlin melodrama that movies can so often be capable of.
However, it is Susan Roces again as Lita who saves the situation. Faced by the prospect of an embarrasing and uncertain lawsuit if she persists in persecuting Ricky, she decides to take retribution by slapping him several times, landing almost manful blows on his handsome face. When he kisses her hotly and lengthily, she breaks a few of his bones with a judo backhand throw.
Invalided, Ricky is further maimed by formal engagement to Marily (Shirley Moreno), a betrothal arranged by his grandmother and calculated to conform to the family's social standing. Masochistic Marily endures all of a playboy's predictable flaws -- forgetfulness, neglect, unfaithfulness, scarcity, and ill temper. She loves him dearly, apparently, and continues to be around -- a pretty sight anytime in spite of his cool disregard.
Appearing in most of her scenes with pert Nori Dalisay, Shirley Moreno is a beautiful young star typical of Sampaguita's promising personalities. Her dimpled wholesomeness, pleasingly proportioned statuesqueness, and fashion consciousness mark her as inevitably as a hen peacock's presence among the brood of ordinary females, and she should prove an actress with many interesting expressial nuances when given the major role.
Marily's involvement becomes the major problem of Lita as far as Ricky is concerned, for the former resorts to a mad psychiatrist's help to secure the affections of Dona Margarita's darling. The psychiatrist (German Moreno), who seems to have more delusions than many of his patients, advises her to change her personality so as to intrigue her lagging lover. A wise move, perhaps, for a masquerading secret agent, but for Marily it only gets a fit of laughter from Ricky. Ricky's hysterical merriment reaches the peak where Dona Margarita fears for his sanity, and she, too, brings him to a psychiatrist.
The doctor (German Moreno, as could be expected in this chain of coincidences), hypnotizes Ricky with his pencil that causes crosseyedness, gets to the root of the young man's troubles (Lita Soriano), and counsels him to devote his life in wooing her. Once his obsession is rewarded, Dr. Spraecken says, he can forget her and be forever cured.
Ricky's pestering understandably drives Lita to desperation, until Cleo, whose very life is endangered by Lita's somnambulistic ragings, brings her to the doctor's den. The diagnosing session is a comic highlight of the film, engendered by Matimtiman's matchless clowning and Susan's eye-filling presence. From the psychiatrist's couch, Lita arises with the magic prescription: accept Ricky's visits, show him graciousness, and be rid of a troublesome burden. The head-shrinker's cheap price of advice: P100 only.
Audiences pay only P1.20 or P2.60, at most, each for all of these zany goings-on -- and they get an additional dosage of romantic fill-ins and tearjerking trickery, which come later on in the film.
Portrait Of My Love could have ended happily with the realization of the romance between Lita and Ricky; adding the broad brush strokes of complications caused by Marily and later resolved by her, too, makes for a bigger canvas but not necessarily a masterpiece such as the Mona Lisa. The complicated portion of the picture, however, provides Shirley Moreno -- a full-fledged star now with the proclamation of the Stars of '66 in An Evening To Remember, which goes with Portrait -- with a few chances to show histrionic ability. She is sophisticated as a woman using guile to dissuade another female from continuing to consort with the man of her choice, and vulnerably tender as the maiden who has lost in this triangle of types.
The color portion of the film, which presents musical numbers straight from Hollywoodian renditions of Broadway's South Pacific, The Student Prince, My Fair Lady, The King And I, and The Sound of Music, comes astonishingly out of the blue. Portrait Of My Love gives no hint whatsoever in the course of its story about these reproductions -- and it is Director Luciano B. Carlos's astounding photographic imagination alone which could have made these possible.
This is not to say that the lavish miniature musical numbers are not colorful indeed. They are a festive ending for the gala Christmas film presentation from Sampaguita, and are the best proofs that an actress as lovely as Susan Roces deserves to be re-photographed again and again -- in regal, bright costumes always, if possible.
Nonetheless, the best merits of Susan are in plentiful evidence as the glittering comic gifts of a versatile actress in any clothing. She is Mila del Sol and Carmen Rosales all over again, with perhaps the hints of the modest Norma Blancaflor and the demure Rosario Moreno, in addition to being the epitome of the modern-day dream of an incorruptible lass who can at the same time be chic, hep and a-go-go. In Portrait Of My Love, the assembly line's latest from the story factory of Jose Leonardo & Associates, she gets complete room to display these wondrous gifts in. In fact, she gets more chances at acting in the romantic musical comedy than in many five of her dramatic pictures.
Stars: Gloria Romero, Lolita Rodriguez, Luis Gonzales,
Blanca Gomez, Gina Pareno, Ramil Rodriguez, Edgar Salcedo
(Movie ad courtesy of Simon Santos, Video 48)
by Ophelia San Juan
Film Review: How Does One Forget Lolita Rodriguez?
(The Weekly Nation Magazine, 1966)
PAANO KITA LILIMUTIN, like a rhetorical question, is asked of no one in particular, and the film remains without a particularly unforgettable narrative point. When the question of memorableness is asked of Lolita Rodriguez, however, the answer is: there is no possible way to forget her in movies, since she turns every portrayal into an acting bid for honors that makes all other actresses worthy of the fourth or fifth place to her.
In film after film, this competent and thoroughly professional actress had done more than justice to every kind of roles she has rendered scintillating what are ordinary sentimental parts, and rescued from shameful muddledness the ill-conceived characterizations that had come her fortunate, glittering way.
In Fine Forms
She is once more in fine form in Paano Kita Lilimutin, a melodrama that unabashedly and successfully plays for every tear a moviegoer (and a notoriously sentimental scriptwriter such as Pablo S. Gomez) is good for, and her sterling presence makes for the accompanying box-office names' appearing like decorative gold-plated stars. The film directed by Jose de Villa is a soap opera (authored by Aning Bagabaldo and aired over DZRH at a time when housewives are most prone to moon over lunch a-cooking) whose suds are wrung from endless bars of domestic deterioration; the cloud of dirt it washes away is one of motherly misunderstanding, and its detergent action is directed largely against unfeeling off-spring. As the mother snowed under by fate's rubbish heap and her daughter's pile of ambitions, Lolita Rodriguez turns in a performance that is notable chiefly for the character it carries despite its load of tears.
Even her name (Dolor) is at once lachrymosely lovely, and from there on Lolita Rodriguez proceeds to weave a tapestry of screen sorrow that is at once beautiful, beguiling, and believable. Spurned by the callous cad who had begotten her child, Dolor Mendoza stabs him in righteous rage while still in her pregnant condition, and gives birth to the ogle-worthy Olga (Gina Pareno) while in prison. She is paroled after years that permanently scar her with justifiable bitterness against man's injustice -- a tender spot in her armor of secretiveness that she carries to her grandfather's barrio home where she has gone with her small daughter to live, hidden from the prying eyes of the sententious, the pretentious, and the plain nosy.
Into this quietly sorrowing life come society's censure and the contrived complications of Paano Kita Lilimutin: an automobile crash brings a former movie queen, Matilda (Gloria Romero), and her daughter (Blanca Gomez), when grown up), who is about the same age as Olga, into Dolor's sphere of existence with attendant newspaper reporters' curiosity and the recalling of her prison term. She is invited to live with Matilda in Manila, and the two manless matrons proceed to raise their young daughters together -- with the same maternal devotion but with quite dissimilar methods of exhibiting and engendering affection.
While Matilda runs true to the actress's artificial sweetness and coy charms, Dolor remains faithful to the Filipino mother's deep, abiding concern and Lolita Rodriguez's strong character. The latter tries her best to inculcate discipline in her daughter while devoting her time and care to her, and exhibits in the process some of the dazzling qualities that have made Lolita a consummately fine actress; the former strives to bring material comfort and gifts to her daughter while neglecting her because of movie work, and displays on the scene several of the glittering gowns and peacock poses that have made Gloria Romero a superbly sumptuous looker. Gloria, it is to be recalled, is also a FAMAS awardee as best actress (for Dalagang Ilocana), but in this picture she has a role that lives her, not vice versa. And as the antithesis to Lolita Rodriguez's flavorful portrayal, she has all the scenic sequences but no acting chance.
The young stars do better. Gina Pareno as the headstrong Olga has all the younger beauty of Gloria Romero and some of the acting potentialities of Lolita Rodriguez. She it is who brings about the cataclysmic clinches of Paano Kita Lilimutin: rebelling against restrictive dressing and diet imposed by their humble condition, she snitches food when her mother's back is turned, borrows Blanca's expensive clothes, shoes, and jewelry whenever she has the need and the chance, and gives wonderful realization to the character of the ambitious but not totally evil young girl born into unfortunate circumstances; disregarding society's class distinctions, she falls in love with a rich boy (Ramil Rodriguez) who has a fastidious grandmother (Etang Discher), and brings upon herself and her mother the tragedy that was predictably to befall them; and, forgetting herself and her innate love for her, she defies her mother passionately and even disowns Dolor completely when the mother's imprisonment becomes known to her, an insurmountable obstacle to her young love. Extremely pretty, expressive, and susceptible, Gina engenders all the stormy emotionalism and underscored sentimentality of VP Pictures' 4th anniversary and New Year presentation.
And Blanca Gomez, as the rich movie star's daughter who temporarily loses her mother to the opulence and the rat race alleged for the movies by Gloria Romero, is noticeable and sceneworthy in her own way. She is raised almost to womanhood by Dolor, but she maintains her natural affection and emotional need for Matilda, for whom she waits at their doorstep night after night almost, up to several birthdays. When she turns to a laundrywoman's son (Edgar Salcedo) for the love and tenderness she has been yearning for, she is majestically slapped by Matilda.
Slapping is not the only traditional melodramatic feature that Paano Kita Lilimutin proudly and purposefully carries, although this standard climax of confrontation scenes is turned into a new and somehow effective dramatic device by Lolita Rodriguez and Gina Pareno -- when she goads her mother into nearly punishing her physically, Gina bravely proffers her classic profile, daring Dolor to strike against truth, and Lolita freezes her action into a towering figure of womanly grief, anger, and frustration arrested at the core of bitterness. There is prayer, too, done by the family that stays together: Edgar Salcedo's poverty-haunted one, to which he brings Blanca in obvious contrast to the wealth-bespangled home where her mother is distressingly absent from her birthday celebration.
It is only Luis Gonzales, among the cast of Paano Kita Lilimutin, who does not resort to any melodramatic device when he performs his most memorable scene in the picture. A doctor who attends to Matilda during the automobile accident that claims the life of her husband, Ruben Reyes (Luis Gonzales) nurses a lifelong love for her as well, which she ignores in her dedicated drive toward stardom and more money for her daughter's future. He patiently waits for her to notice him, though this is hardly understandable when one sees the obvious good looks of Gonzales and hears the ripple of adoring admiration from his countless fans inside the theater, and gives lustre and surprising dash to the figure of a constant lover debilitated by an adamant lady and the script's feministic discrimination. Whe he gets a chance to jolt Matilda to a realization of their mutual love for each other, Ruben rises like any self-respecting lover and worldly doctor would: taking advantage of the jealousy she fancies of her daughter, he shows Matilda some sample of what a romance with him could be like -- and what she is deliberately denying herself.
A consistent good actor and un-aging idol type, Luis Gonzales carries off the romantic sequence with Blanca Gomez very well, indeed. In fact, were it the objective of the story of Paano Kita Lilimutin, a colorful match between the experience Luis Gonzales and a fresh, gaily innocent girl (either Gina Pareno or Blanca Gomez) would have been vastly more interesting than pairing him with an actress who has been type-cast for the role because of their approximately corresponding number of years. One appreciates this fact more when the picture's ending comes, in which Luis Gonzales puts his arms around Gina Pareno to console her in her grief: this supposedly fatherly gesture generates more electricity than all the polite embraces among the three conventional couples of the film.
Sure, the three pairs of lovers finally find their rightful places beside each other in Paano Kita Lilimutin after the numerous serialized tribulations: the rich Blanca Gomez with her shy, darkly handsome and devoted poor woman's son Edgar Salcedo; the malleable Gina Pareno with her forgiving Ramil Rodriguez; and the domesticated Gloria Romero with her dependable doctor Luis Gonzales. Lolita Rodriguez, after seeing her irrepressible daughter Gina Pareno go through a colorful sequence of being a willful woman, a pathetic bride-not-to-be, and aleggy striptease dancer, chooses to die rather than see her offspring's proud loveliness to be transformed into the weeping mask of a belated mourner in imitation of life.
FEBRERO 25, ala-una ng tanghali. Sa isang silid ng St. Martin de Porres Ward ng Manila Medical Center ay nasa loob ng oxygen tent si Tessie Quintana. Hirap na hirap siya sa paghinga. Ikasampung araw na niya iyon sa ospital.
Kumilos ang nagbabantay na doktor. Inalis ang oxygen tent at oxygen mask ang ipinalit. Itinakip iyon sa ilong at bibig ni Tessie. Lumuwag ang paghinga niya. Idinilat ang mga mata at isa-isang pinagmasdan ang mukha ng mga nasa silid. Naroon ang kanyang tatlong anak na sina Freddie, Albert at Mylene. Naroon ang kanyang dalawang kapatid na babae. Naroon ang kanyang kabiyak na si Johnny Reyes. Naroon din ang mga narses. Naroon din si . . .
Dahan-dahang inalis ni Tessie ang maskara ng hanging tumatakip sa kanyang ilog at bibig.
"Nasaan ang Mama?" tanong ni Tessie kay Rebecca.
"Umuwi siya upang matulog. Ilang gabi na siyang puyat sa pagbabantay sa iyo," tugon ni Becky.
"Ipasundo mo siya . . . baka hindi na niya ako abutan," hiling ni Tessie.
Lumapit kay Tessie ang doktor at akmang ikakabit na muli ang maskara ng hangin.
Hinawakan ng pasyente ang kamay ng manggagamot. Umiling at sinabing hindi na niya kailangan iyon. Hindi nagpilit ang doktor. Kilala niya ang ugali ng kanyang pasyente. Mahirap suwayin ang kagustuhan niyon.
Bumaling na muli si Tessie kay Becky. Nanghingi ng isang sigarilyo at isang boteng serbesa.
"Makasasama sa iyo ang magsigarilyo at uminom," tutol ng doktor.
Ngumiti si Tessie. "Doktor, kung ako ba'y hindi manigarilyo at uminom ng serbesa ay hahaba pa ang aking buhay?"
"Hindi, pero hindi ka naman mahihirapang huminga," sagot ng doktor.
Tinipon ni Tessie ang nalalabi pa niyang lakas at dahan-dahang umusad na pasandig sa kama. Akmang tutulungan siya ni Becky pero tumanggi siya. Kaya raw niya ang kanyang katawan. Inilibot niya ang kanyang paningin na tila namamaalam sa mga nasa loob ng silid.
Ilang araw bago dinala sa ospital si Tessie ay naglibot siya sa set ng mga ginagawang pelikula ng kanyang mga kaibigang artista at direktor.
Noong unang linggo ng Pebrero ay dumalaw siya sa set ng "Dolpe de Gulat" sa La Mesa Dam. Masaya siyang nakipagkuwentuhan kina Dolphy, Direktor Chat Gallardo, Pilar Pilapil, Max Alvarado, Katy de la Cruz at iba pang artista.
Dinalaw rin ni Tessie ang set ng "Kumander Balisong" na sa La Mesa Dam din ang siyuting. Kalahating oras siyang nakipagbiruan kina Eddie Fernandez, Paquito Diaz, Von Serna, Direktor Armando Garces at iba pa.
Nagtungo rin si Tessie sa Premiere-People's Studio s Caloocan. Matagal siyang naging bituin ng maraming pelikula ng dalawang kompanya. Ito ang naging pangalawa niyang niyang estudyo. Ang una ay ang LVN Pictures na siyang nagbigay sa kanya ng pagkakataong maging bituin at reyna ng pelikula, tulad ng pagiging reyna ngayon nina Susan Roces at Amalia Fuentes. Lalong nagningning si Tessie bilang bituin nang siya ang mapili ng FAMAS bilang pinakamahusay na bituing babae ng taong 1961 dahil s pagkaganap niya sa "Alaala Kita."
Ang karera ni Tessie sa tanghalan at pelikula ay isa na sa pinakamahaba. Wala pa siyang sampung taong gulang noong 1942 nang sumikat siya bilang batang mang-aawit sa Cine Palace (sa kinalalagyan ngayon ng Palace Theater). Isa pang batang artista ang malimit niyang makatambal: si Berting Labra. Bituin na rin noon sa tanghalan si Johnny Reyes samantalang si Efren ay telonero pa.
Maraming kapwa-artistang dapat pagpaalaman si Tessie. Bago siya pumasok s ospital ay alam na niyang hindi na gaanong tatagal ang kanyang buhay. Katunayan, maraming buwan nang lumampas ang taning sa kanya ng mga espesyalista sa kanser. Ang kulang sa kanya ay ang panahon upang mapuntahan silang lahat.
Nang nasa ospital na si Tessie, ipinagbilin niya sa kanyang ina, mga kapatid at mga narses na papasukin kaagad sa kanyang silid ang sinumang artistang nais dumalaw sa kanya. Kung sakaling magkataong siya'y natutulog, ipinamanhik niyang gisingin siya upang makausap ang mga dumadalaw. Nasunod naman ang kanyang kahilingan. Maraming artistang dumalaw kay Tessie sa pagamutan. Maging ang mga dati niyang tagahanga ay dumalaw rin.
Nagpasindi ng isang sigarilyo si Tessie. Hinitit niya iyon nang buong-kasiyahan. Hiniling niyang buksan ang malamig na bote ng serbesa. Tumalima naman si Becky. Parang uhaw na uhaw na nilagok ni Tessie ang serbesa. Napailing na lamang ang doktor.
"Ngayong ako'y nakapanigarilyo na at nakainom ng serbesa, gusto kong magbilin sa aking mga anak," mahina na ang tinig ni Tessie.
Lumapit sa kama ang kanyang tatlong anak. Ang bunsong si Mylene ay iniupo sa kama. Hinimas-himas ni Tessie ang buhok ng bata.
"Freddie, ikaw ang panganay. Sa iyo ko ipinagbibilin sina Albert at Mylene. Pakatandaan mo ito: kahit na ano ang mangyari ay huwag kayong maghihiwa-hiwalay. Magsama-sama kayong tatlo. Ipangako mo, Freddie. At kayo naman, Albert at Mylene, huwag ninyong iiwan ang Kuya Freddie ninyo. Susundin ninyo siya," bilin ni Tessie sa mga anak.
Hindi ito ang unang pagkakataong hiniling ni Tessie sa kanyang mga anak na manatiling magkakasama. Sinabi na niya ito noon pa mang hindi siya napapasok sa ospital.
"Ipinangangako ko, Mama," gumagaralgal ang tinig ni Freddie.
Si Freddie ay natanggap kamakailan bilang kawani ng Philippine Air Lines. Kumuha na siya ng isang apartment na magiging tahanan nilang magkakapatid. Ang makakasama nila ay dalawang katulong na matagal na nilang kasama sa bahay.
Pagkatapos magbilin sa kanyang mga anak hiniling ni Tessie sa mga mahal sa buhay na nasa loob ng silid na sabayan siya sa pagdarasal ng rosaryo. Siya ang namuno.
Hindi napigilan ng mga nasa loob ng silid ang pagluha.
"Bakit kayo umiiyak? Ako ay masayang-masaya sapagka't alam kong malapit ko nang makaharap ang Panginoon. Hindi ba dapat ipagsaya iyan? Natutuhan ko sa Cursillo na ang pagkamatay ng isang tao ay nangangahulugan lamang ng pagtungo niya sa kabilang buhay," paliwanag ni Tessie.
Noong nakaraang taon, nang malaman naming malala na ang karamdaman ni Tessie, nagtungo kami ni Direktor Armando Garces sa kanyang inuupahang apartment sa Sta. Mesa. Ibinalita namin kay Tessie na kami ni Manding ay kapwa Cursillista at tutulungan namin siya anumang oras na naisin niyang mag-Cursillo.
"Alam ninyo, simula nang ako'y magkasakit ay naging relihiyosa na ako. Dinalasan ko ang pagsisimba, pagnonobena, pagkukumpisal at pakikinabang. Sa palagay ko'y malapit na malapit na ako ngayon sa Diyos. Ipaaalam ko na lang sa inyo kung ako'y handa nang mag-Cursillo," paliwanag ni Tessie.
Ilang linggo pagkatapos ng pagdalaw naming iyon ay nag-Cursillo si Tessie sa Lipa City. Masayang-masaya siya nang lumabas sa Cursillo House.
"Gayon pala kasaya ang Cursillo. Akala ko'y puro dasal. Ang harana kanginang madaling-araw at ang awiting "Mananita" ay hindi ko makakalimutan habang ako'y nabubuhay," wika pa niya. "Biro mo, kung saan-saang malalayong lugar pa nanggaling ang daan-daang nangharana sa amin."
Ganyan din kahalaga sa maraming Cursillista ang "Mananita." Pangalawa lamang ito sa popularidad. Ang una ay ang "De Colores."
"Kung sinuman sa inyo ang gustong umiyak, maaari bang lumabas? Ayaw kong pabaunan ninyo ako ng luha sa aking pagpanaw," pamanhik ni Tessie sa mga nasa silid.
Nagpahid ng luha ang mga mahal sa buhay ni Tessie. Pinigil nila ang pag-iyak at pinilit ngumiti.
"Ganyan ang gusto ko," nasisiyahang wika ni Tessie.
Hinuni-huni ni Tessie ang himig ng "Mananita". Kapagkuwa'y inusal ang mga titik...
"How beautiful is the morning
as we come and waken you
with God's early morning blessing
with pleasure we sing to you ..."
Tumigil sa pag-awit si Tessie. Hirap na hirap siya sa paghinga. Hinimas niya ang nagsisikip na dibdib. Lumapit sa kama ang mga mahal niya. Isa-isa silang pinagmasdan ni Tessie. Pagkatapos ay ipinikit ang mga mata.
"My Jesus, mercy . . . my Jesus, mercy . . . Jesus . . ." usal ni Tessie na tutop ang dibdib.
Ganap na ala-1:40 ng hapon, Pebrero 25, nang bumalik si Tessie sa sinapupunan ni Bathala. Pumanaw siya sa gulang na 37.
Dalawang gabing pinaglamayan ang labi ni Tessie sa simbahan ng Mount Carmel sa Quezon City. Libu-libong tagahanga at mga kapwa-artista ang nagbigay-galang sa kanyang bangkay. Punung-puno ng mga bulaklak ang santuwaryo.
Tanghaling-tapat noong nakaraang Huwebes, Pebrero 27, nang ilagak ang katawang-lupa ni Tessie sa isang libingan sa Loyola Memorial Park. Hindi napigilan ng kanyang mga mahal sa buhay ang pagluha samantalang ipinapasok sa nitso ang kabaong at tinutugtog ang "Mananita."
"Bakit kayo umiiyak? Hindi ba ang sabi ng Mama huwag tayong iiyak? usisa ni Mylene sa mga nakapaligid sa kanya.
Lalong bumalong ang luha sa mga mata ng mga nakapaligid sa bunsong anak ni Tessie.
...lush tropical land of the fairest maidens and the sweet orchid-scented atmosphere, where the coast is fringed by palms and ferns, and where the sun meets the horizon in transporting glory.
ZAMBOANGA is a quaint and exotic name that conjures many images -- alluring maidens, enchanting paradise of variegated flora, colorful Moro vintas, kris-bearing juramentados, fabulous pearls.
Romantics have called this world of tropical enchantment by many names. It is the City of the Flowers, the Pearl Center of the South Seas, the Friendliest City of the World. It is no wonder that when the late Fernando Poe Sr. was in quest of a setting for a motion picture, he chose Zamboanga. Zamboanga, the film which starred him and the luscious Rosa del Rosario, became one of lthe most memorable motion pictures of a generation ago.
Zamboanga is approximately 50+ miles from Manila, or 2/12 hours by plane. It sits on the westernmost part of Mindanao, an overnight's sailing by kumpit from Jolo. Which is why Moro traders who are in direct contact with Borneo-smugglers find flourishing commerce in this land.
Nature has lavished on Zamboanga a gracious blend of myth and legend where east and west, ancient and modern merge.
While the port is a modern hub of activity where pleasure-seaking seamen find haven, not far away is a Moro village with its ancient mosques and peaked-roofed dwellings which bear the lasting stamp of the Muslim way of life.
The lush foliage that covers the area is a motley of colors redolent with the heady perfume of exotic blossoms. Most homes are surrounded by gardens. How can anyone forget the delightful lure of fragrant orchids and wild ferns, blazing flame trees and age-old acacias? Or how do you wash out the delectable taste of its strange fruits ...the mangosteen, the durian, and the mangoes?
"Don't you go, don't you go to far Zamboanga, where you may forget your darling far away ..." This familiar school ditty sings the praise of Zamboanguenas, the fairest of the fair maidens of the south. The Zamboanguena herself shows unmistakable traces of the country's historical past. Through her veins runs the blood of generations of Malays, Spaniards, Americans.
A few minutes walk from Zamboanga City itself is a breathtaking seascape of palm fringed beach. Here the waves deposit seashells that are lovelier than any that could be found anywhere.
A Moro village lines another stretch of the coast. Here Moro seamen sell pearls, and shells, and corals, French perfume and Scotch whiskey, not to mention the ubiquitous "blue seal."
Among the memorable scenes of Zamboanga seas are that of the Moro vintas with young Muslim boys waiting to dive for coins tossed into the blue waters by tourists.
Such is the allure and beauty of Zamboanga that it has imbued young Fernando Poe Jr. with the obsession to do a movie about the place as his father had done 30 years ago. The dream is about to be fulfilled. Work on the motion picture is under way. With Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces in the starring roles, Zamboanga will be shot in its entirety in Eastman color.
The story is that of a highly adventurous young man who becomes enamoured of the beauteous daughter of a venerable Moro panglima. The girl happens to be betrothed to the son of a very influential datu, played by Vic Silayan. Lito Anzures plays the part of the sultan's son.
The film is being directed by Efren Reyes. Emil Mijares provides the music.
The others in the cast are Pilita Corrales, Johnny Monteiro, Victor Bravo, Pablo Virtuoso, Dencio Padilla, Vic Varrion and Johnny Long. Also featured are Pedro Faustino and Totoy Torrente who incidentally, were in the old Zamboanga film. Ana Trinidad, best child actress for 1965, plays Susan's young sister.