Eva Darren, a familiar face throughout generations
From ‘Ang Pulubi’ to ‘Pangako Sa’yo’

Eva Darren: A familiar face on TV, film that transcends generations

/ 06:01 PM May 28, 2024

Eva Darren: A familiar face on TV, film that transcends generations

Eva Darren (second from left) in scenes from “Pangako Sa’yo” and “Brides of Blood.” Images: Courtesy of ABS-CBN Entertainment, IMDb

Eva Darren has been gracing TV screens and cinemas for more than five decades, lending support roles to up-and-coming artists, to screen veterans.

A familiar face to many, Darren’s acting prowess transcended generations. She started her acting career as a film star in the early 1960s, starting with the groundbreaking afternoon drama, “Hiwaga sa Bahay na Bato” (1962). Since then, she had provided the perfect foil for the lead stars.


Her scene-stealing performances have bagged her several acting nominations and awards from the Gawad Urian Award, the Manila Film Festival, and the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) Awards, which is now at the center of controversy after she was dropped as one of the presenters in last awarding on May 26.


Darren’s own performance fetched her a Best Supporting Actress award from FAMAS in 1970 for her performance in the Luis Nepomuceno-helmed film “Ang Pulubi,” which tells the story of an imprisoned woman who lost her sons and bright future. She also received a FAMAS nomination for her work in the films “Ang Langit Sa Lupa” and “Igorota.”

Check out the highlights of Darren’s most prolific work in film and on television below.

“Ang Pulubi” (1969)

The film is a heartbreaking tale of an imprisoned woman who goes mad after losing her sons, breathtaking beauty, and the successful future that awaits her. Also joining Darren in the cast were Charito Solis, Fred Galang, Gloria Sevilla, Anita Linda, Verna Gaston, and Elvira Manahan.

Not much is known about “Ang Pulubi” due to much of it being lost in the archives. But it was for this film that earned Darren her first FAMAS win and a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the Manila Film Festival.

“Pangako Sa’Yo” (2000)

Many 90s kids will remember Darren as Belen Macaspac in the 2000 drama “Pangako Sa’yo,” who raised Yna Macaspac (Kristine Hermosa) as her daughter and was even willing to defend her from her abusive adoptive brother Caloy (Jay Manalo).

This was evident in the drama’s fifth episode where she stopped an angry Jay from blaming Yna after their house was destroyed by the fire. Holding the pain of a mother, Darren cried, “Caloy, tama na! Tama na! Sige, kung papatayin mo siya, patayin mo na rin ako. Patayin mo na kaming lahat (Caloy, stop it! Stop it! Okay if you’re going to kill her, kill me too. Kill us all)!”

“Ligaya ang Itawag Mo sa Akin” (1997)

Darren also had the chance to star as John Arcilla’s protective onscreen mother Gunda in the 1997 film “Ligaya ang Itawag Mo sa Akin.” The movie centers on Ligaya (Rosanna Roces), a prostitute who enters into a relationship with the farmer Polding (Arcilla), whom she believes is her ticket to a better life. Gunda, however, is against their relationship, having been made aware of the woman’s reputation.

One of the highlights of the movie was Darren’s exchange of lines with Roces as the latter’s character desperately tried to get Gunda’s approval.

“Mila” (2000)

Darren also showcased her skill in “underacting” in the 2000 film “Mila” where she starred as the mother of the titular Mila Cabangon (Maricel Soriano). While Mila is determined to keep going with her teaching job while fighting for proper wages, her resigned mother (Darren) goes against her teaching career, hinting that she has always voiced her dislike for her daughter’s chosen industry.

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“Maalaala Mo Kaya: Picture Frame” (2013)

The screen veteran also starred in several episodes of the anthology series “Maalaala Mo Kaya,” but one of her standout appearances was in the family-centered “Picture Frame.” Darren took on the role of Maria, the mother of Grace (Devon Seron and Assunta De Rossi), who staunchly disapproved of her daughter’s relationship with Robert (Joshua Dionisio and Cris Villanueva).

Maria’s clear dislike towards Robert started when Grace was young after he impregnated her. Even though Robert asserted that he could take care of her multiple times, Maria forced her daughter to marry Chris (Ramon Christopher). This led to Claire, Grace’s daughter, discovering that her grandmother had a hand in hiding her true identity.

“Brides of Blood” (1968)

One of Darren’s most well-known film appearances was in the 1968 film “Brides of Blood,” where she portrayed the seductive yet two-faced Alma, the granddaughter of the tribe leader Arcadio (Andres Centanera).

The Eddie Romero and Gerardo de Leon-helmed film tells the story of Dr. Paul Henderson (Kent Taylor), Carla Henderson (Beverly Powers), and Jim Farrell (John Ashley) who find themselves in the mysterious Blood Island while in search of a radioactive material that would be crucial in Henderson’s bomb tests. They soon cross paths with Arcadio and Alma, the latter of which acts as an interpreter between the explorers and the tribe. But Alma doesn’t reveal to the explorers that the island hides a sexually frustrated beast who’s hungry for women before mutilating them into pieces.

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