Vilma talks about doting on first grandchild, dishing advice to her ex
I promise that I will try not to be a stage lola,” said veteran actress Vilma Santos, who became a grandmother for the first time when Jessy Mendiola, her son Luis Manzano’s wife, gave birth to a girl early this month.
“Lucky (Luis’ nickname) said they won’t mind if I borrow Baby Peanut every day as long as she goes home to them with diamonds each time. That’s how crazy he is,” said Vilma, laughing. “To be honest, I was so excited for her to arrive that I turned down opportunities to travel abroad last December. I wanted to be around when they give birth to her.”
On Jan. 7, Jessy posted on Instagram that she had given birth to daughter, Isabella Rose, two weeks prior.
“Lucky really took care of Jess, who had a hard time moving when her tummy got too big. With what I saw, I can only imagine how much love there will be now that they are already a family. I was a witness to how they took care of each other, so I’m confident that they will be able to look after Peanut really well,” Vilma said.
The new grandmother continued: “They were very prepared for her arrival. Peanut’s room was ready way ahead of her birth, especially once Luis and Jessy learned of her gender. I really felt their happiness. While eagerly waiting for Peanut, people also kept asking me about them to the point that I already felt like a stage lola. I would sometimes stop myself from talking and just say, ‘How Peanut will be raised will all depend on her parents.’”
Vilma was also asked to comment on the highly publicized love story between her ex-husband Edu Manzano, father of Luis, and actress Cherry Pie Picache. To this, she said: “I’m very happy for him and Pie. She is a good friend—we’ve worked on a lot of movies together.
“If they take care of their relationship, I’m sure they will last long. Edu is lucky to have Pie. Not only is she kind, she’s also very intelligent. I’ve been praying for this for Eduardo. It’s about time!”
She then talked about the secret to her 29-year marriage to Batangas Rep. Ralph Recto. “Actually, if you add to that the seven years we dated, then that’s 36 long years. We have quarrels just like any couple because we’re not perfect, but at the end of the day, we sit down and talk about our disagreements,” she said. “The key here is respect. If there’s respect toward each other, then a couple can easily patch up after any argument. If respect is absent in a relationship, then I don’t think it will be successful.”
Professional success is another matter, said Vilma, who pointed out that longevity is more important to her than popularity. The actress recently celebrated her 60th year in the business.
“Lasting up to 60 years in this industry is no joke, especially at this point when there are so many who want to become show biz celebrities. For those who are already part of this industry, my advice is to protect the name that you have. Work on what people refer to as longevity. You can be a superstar overnight, but your celebrity status does not guarantee that you will last long. I’m grateful that I’m still here after all these years, that my Vilmanians continue to support me, that writers like you find my story interesting and still want to interview me.”
While Vilma claimed “nothing is final yet,” she did confirm to agreeing to do two movies under Reality Entertainment, “because I’m one of those praying hard for people to return to watching in cinemas. This is in spite of the fact that streaming platforms are doing well in terms of providing content, along with social media sites,” she told Inquirer Entertainment.
The projects, to be directed by Erik Matti, are her gifts to her fans, she said. “I’m a fan of Direk Erik. What happened was that he presented two concepts to me, one of which can be turned into a series. This is something different for me because it’s an action project, although not hard action. The theme is revenge, so I will be asked to carry guns. The pitching got me really curious, but we have yet to sit down about how the whole project will turn out,” she recalled.
Vilma then said that while the existence of streaming platforms, as well as social media sites, can no longer be ignored, “nothing can compare to the experience of watching films inside the cinemas—artists and producers are likely to earn more if their films end up being a hit in the box office. But the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over and most of us are still not ready to go out. Even I am not sure when I’ll be ready. That’s why I asked my producers to just wait for me to finally be up for it.” INQ
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