Tuesday, July 23, 2013

DIVINA'S BIG SPLASH (The Weekly Nation, 1965)

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by George C. Alvarez

FROM A MERE innocent-faced teenager from Cavite late in 1963, Divina Valencia has since graduated into the forefront of the Philippine cinema's sex sweepstakes.

"Let's face it, I was a nobody then.  I was just a plain coed enrolled in a secretarial course in Cavite when I was discovere through a photo of mine at my sister's dress shop.  The rest is history -- and I became what I am now.  Modesty aside, I am a somebody now, and I simply love and enjoy it!"  Divina gushed as the Weekly NATION interviewed her as she was about to start shooting Labanan Ng Mga Babae, with Stella Suarez who is Divina's closest rival in the sex symbol race.  She had then just finished TIIP's Labanang Lalaki.

Divina was born Consolacion Divina Valencia Fuller on September 1, 1946 in Abucay, Bataan.  She is of Filipino-Spanish-German-American parentage.  Her father was US Army Major Waldorf Fuller.  She is the youngest in a family of six; she has three sisters and two brothers.

"My family turned full force against me when they learned that stardom would mean doing nude scenes.  My mother said she would reject me as a daughter; my brothers, my sisters, my relatives, and the whole neighborhood literally condemned me and kept stabbing me with killing looks!"  Divina reminisced.

Tips One's Hat

Looking at Divina's film record since she made quite a big splash in her first starring role (a bandit girl in love with Jess Lapid in TIIP's Kardong Kidlat), one can only tip one's hat off to her and throw her a meaningful glance and a wolf's whistle.

"In my first picture as a lead actress (she was just an extra in Basagulero, which preceded Kardong Kidlat), it took much time and effort from the TIIP producer, Atty. Esperidion Laxa, and Director Armando Garces to cajole me to do a bathing sequence fully nude.  I had not, in my life, appeared before in the nude in public -- and with people piercingly looking at me yet!, Divina, barely blushing, mused.

"So, naturally, I turned down their persuasions and explanations at first.  Thinking it over, however, I consented to do the scene because I said to myself that if I wanted to be an actress in the true sense of the word, I had to portray realistically the scenes demanded by the script.  Moreover, sex actually has already caught up with us, in this modern world.  As such, before anybody else jumps the gun on me, I reasoned to myself, why shouldn't I start the neo-realistic trend?  As you can see, I have somehow succeeded to a maximum degree, and I am glad!" Divina triumphantly smiled and winked at us, the mole below her left eye seemingly also smiling.

Gladsomely enough, the roles she has already portrayed are quite a variety of types.  She was a guerrillera in Ito Ang Lalaki, a bikini-clad smuggler in Agent 69, a ranch girl in Isa Lang Ang Hari, a cigaret-vendor who turned ballerina in  Lovers' Street, a village maiden in Markong Bagsik, a doctor's daughter in Api Ngunit Lumalaban, and a vamp, a tramp, a cat, a kitten, and what-have-you.

"What I want to try now is to act in a musical, a pure song-and-dance film.  I might yet do this kind of movie if Col. Jacinto B. Chong, producer of JBC Productions, and I agree regarding his recent offer to star opposite Eddie Mesa in his upcoming film, Manila A-Go-Go," she told us.

"I also want to play a nun or a girl who sets her wiles on a priest.  The girl, however, should eventually change.  Crime doesn't pay, you know!"

"To this effect, I would want to make it clear that sex isn't a crime.  Sex is something we, people, should cherish; it being God-given and all that.  It shouldn't be associated with dirt.  Sex, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, and the beholder should truly behold it or lo, there goes his existence!"

Having gone into this rather long explanation, Divina momentarily became quiet and seemed to palate each word that she had just uttered.

"I also would want to make it clear that stripping down to one's birthday clothes isn't a playful business, as most of my colleagues in the movie world think.  It requires much effort and talent, it requires much swallowing of one's own pride.  Hence, when I am literally spanked by statements that I haven't got talent to spare, I spank myself, and say that I have got IT, and that's enough.  Having IT, you know, is having talent!"

Divina then looked at us, piercingly, boldly, to show us perhaps that she really has got talent, that she really has got it.  And we Agree. 

Source:  The Weekly Nation Magazine
                Year 1965

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