Vilma Santos shares mixed feelings about national artist nomination

Vilma Santos shares mixed feelings about national artist nomination

/ 12:15 AM July 04, 2024

Vilma Santos shares mixed feelings about national artist nomination

Santos (center) with Dantes and wife Marian Rivera —photos from VILMA SANTOS/ INSTAGRAM

Actress Vilma Santos said she has mixed feelings about the news that she was recently nominated for the title of National Artist for Film and Broadcast.

Santos said she was surprised about the move of Aktor: League of Filipino Actors, headed by its chairperson Dingdong Dantes, to lead the nomination and organize a formal media announcement about it on June 29. The actress also claimed to be grateful to Aktor and to 27 other groups that endorsed her nomination “for their trust, support and effort to make this happen.”


However, Santos is also sad because news that Aktor and Dantes are being bashed by some on social media has reached her, and that she found this to be “really unfair.”


“I’m currently in the States for a vacation with my family. I was unaware of the nomination and the press conference because I was on a cruise with my family and there was no Internet there. I was only able to watch the whole thing on Facebook during the weekend,” Santos told Inquirer Entertainment in a Viber interview on Monday afternoon (Manila time).

“I couldn’t explain the happiness I felt when I first found out. I am humbled. My heart is full, especially when I watched Dingdong speak about me. I immediately texted him to say ‘thank you.’ I also learned that there was even a presentation about my life as an actress and public servant, and that there were messages of support from industry colleagues like Charo (Santos-Concio) and Tirso Cruz III, who even attended the event,” she added.

“I’m very grateful to friends who really worked hard for my nomination. That’s why I don’t want them to experience anything bad as a result of the whole thing. I know there are a lot of industry people who deserve to be called national artist, but we all see their effort to nominate me. For that, I already consider myself a winner.

“I was caught unaware. The only thing I can promise is my continued support to the entertainment industry. Even before this nomination happened, I have been very active with Cine Icon, a project of the CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines). This is because after 60 years, I feel that it’s payback time.”

Santos said she made sure to attend most of the public screenings of her restored films, especially those held in schools and universities. “I also participate actively during talk-back sessions. I want Gen Z to watch the movies from before. I try to explain to them what our industry was like then and why we made those kinds of movies before,” she began. “This has already become my advocacy long before this campaign for my being a national artist began.”

Vilma Santos-Recto

Vilma Santos-Recto



Loud cheers

Santos then said she is finding it hard to understand why Dantes was getting bashed for Aktor’s decision to nominate her. “I hope these people will stop. I would actively defend Dingdong and the group against them. I’m not expecting everybody to like me, but please don’t bash those who do. This is really unfair.”

She said she draws strength from her No.1 supporters, her family. “When I got nominated for best actress at the Metro Manila Film Festival for ‘When I Met You in Tokyo,’ they teased me by saying, ‘Ibigay mo na ang trophy sa iba. Iba naman.’ But when my name was called, they cheered the loudest,” recalled Santos, adding that she and husband, Finance Secretary Ralph Recto, have yet to talk about the negative online comments.

“My family is everything. Everything I have, I offer to them. There’s also this bigger family of mine in the movie industry, and an even bigger family from when I was a public servant in Batangas. They are my life, my everything,” Santos said.

Her trip to the United States is an annual thing that had long been planned. “My siblings have been living here for over 40 years now,” said Santos, who was in Los Angeles, California, at the time of the interview. “Because of the pandemic, we didn’t get to see each other for five years. We’re trying to make up for lost time. Since Ralph is busy, he could only stay for 10 days.”

Santos plans to return to Manila in mid-July.

Aktor: League for Filipino Actors chairperso

Aktor: League for Filipino Actors chairperson Dingdong Dantes —MARINEL CRUZ

A gift

“I will forever be grateful, until my last breath, to those who gave their trust to me and supported me by means of their endorsements. This is priceless. I consider this a gift. They said this will take a year and a half to process. Can you just imagine the effort of those who will deliberate on this? Again, for this alone, I consider myself a winner,” she said.

Meanwhile, Dantes claimed that there were over 20 groups from various sectors advocating for Santos’ nomination.

“Aktor is just one of them,” he stressed. “Movies are one of the primary cultural forces contributing to the formation of the Philippine nation. They reflect the struggles, challenges, triumphs and also the future we aspire for. In this context, we believe that movies serve as our representations and aspirations. Actors, on the other hand, act as the nation’s storytellers.”

He added: “We imagine all of us being in the persona of a proud actor. This is the root of our organization. For us, a proud actor, first of all, is a paragon of professionalism. He is also the protector of the community, a cultural champion, and most importantly, a nation builder. Our vision is brought to life by this person. She is one of our members and is part of our board of advisers,” he added.

“Today, we celebrate Vilma Santos, a name synonymous to versatility, excellence and unparalleled craftsmanship in Philippine cinema. For over 60 years, she has graced the silver screen with an incomparable body of work. She has portrayed a diverse array of characters that showed her immense talent. She is the most awarded actress in Philippine cinema history,” Dantes said.

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“Beyond the accolades, she continues to leave an indelible mark on our cultural landscape, portraying iconic roles that deeply resonate with the Filipino psyche. She has continuously evolved, by tackling challenging roles that not just inspire but also provoke thought. From when she started in ‘Trudis Liit,” she has also immortalized beloved fantasy characters on the big screen like ‘Darna’ and ‘Dyesebel.’”

TAGS: National Artist, Vilma Santos

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