[COLUMN] Vilma Santos nominated for National Artist

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STAR for All Seasons and current Congresswoman Vilma Santos-Recto’s name has cropped up in a list for nominees for National Artist, according to an article in Inquirer.net by columnist Dolly Anne Carvajal.

Administered by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Order of National Artists is the highest national recognition given to Filipinos who have made significant contributions to the development of dance, theater, visual arts, literature, film, broadcast arts and architecture and allied arts. Originally, it was an award that started to be given out in 1972; it was elevated to order status in 2003.

According to the article, the Manila City Council has issued a resolution supporting Vilma’s nomination.

According to Carvajal, Vilma, who is known as Ate Vi to her legion of fans and industry workers, issued the following comment to her when asked about the nomination: “Friend, pass muna ako sa issue ng National Artist. I truly appreciate the support and trust of our friends for the nomination, but mahirap mag-comment at mag-assume. Salamat, Dolly. Sa next issue na lang tayo (laughs). Love you, friend.”

Among those who have been bestowed the National Artist recognition include Fernando Cueto Amorsolo, Juan Felipe de Jesus Nakpil, Leonor Luna Orosa-Goquingco, Nick Joaquin, Carlos Romulo, Atang de la Rama-Hernandez, Lucrecia Kasilag, Lino Brocka, Levi Celerio Cruz, Fernando Poe Jr., Carlos Quirino, Ishmael Bernal and Ryan Cayabyab.

Fellow artist and erstwhile box-office and acting awards Ate Vi rival Nora Aunor (Ate Guy to her fans) has been nominated for National Artist twice. Much to the chagrin of Ate Guy’s fans, former Philippine President Benigno (Noynoy) Aquino decided not to include Nora for National Artist honors in 2014 due to her alleged involvement with drugs.

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In sad news, former Jukebox Queen and Original Pilipino Music icon Claire dela Fuente passed away on Tuesday, March 30 due to cardiac arrest. She was 62.

This was confirmed by her son Gregorio (Gigo) de Guzman in an article recently published in the Philippine Star.

Claire had recently been diagnosed with COVID-19 and was admitted to a hospital.

“She died from cardiac arrest, believed to be a result of her stress and anxiety. My mom has anxiety, hypertension and diabetes and her tendency to worry, to stress a lot led her to weaken and in her sleep, her heart gave up,” Gigo was quoted as saying in the article.
In the interview, Gigo also described their last exchange.

“Yesterday, she was fine, I got to speak to her. Got to argue with her one last time, because she gave me the wrong address and she didn’t tell me she was transferred to another hospital. She made me order food for her,” he said.

“All the while, she kept worrying about me and my symptoms. I told her not to worry about me because she’s the one who needs, who is more at risk,” Gigo, who is also positive for COVID-19, added.

Acknowledged as the Karen Carpenter of the Philippines and also given the title “Asia’s Sweetest Voice” when she hit her peak in the ‘70s, Claire belted out hits like “Sayang,” “Minsan-Minsan,” “Nakaw na Pag-ibig,” “Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw,” “Mga Nakaw na Sandali,” “Ikaw ang Simula” and “Marupok Ka Man.” Claire’s songs dominated the airwaves, along with her contemporaries like Imelda Papin, Eva Eugenio, Didith Reyes and Geraldine.

After leaving the music industry, Claire became a businesswoman, setting up and operating a transport company. She also at one point operated a stall at the then-popular Virra Mall in Greenhills.

In another recent interview, Gigo acknowledged that he and his mother became closer due to the recent controversy he got involved in. Gigo, along with a few others, had been implicated in the death of Philippine Airlines flight attendant Christine Dacera. He regrets that Claire will not be able to see the end to the case.

“I would say that most recently, we have been more closer. It’s hard to describe because we never got to close that door, if you know what I mean,” he said. “We’re just like siblings.

Siya yung makulit na kailangang alagaan because matigas ang ulo niya. She worries a lot and I’m the one to make sure that she calms herself down. This case, honestly, took a lot of her. My only regret is that she didn’t get to see the finish line na parang ‘Ma, wala ka nang alalahanin. Okay na, tapos na.’”

Gigo expressed his gratitude to the people who have shown love to his mom.

“I would like you to know that I am very grateful. I’m sure my mom is, for the support and looking out me and my brother at this very difficult time. We’re doing our best to get through this. Thank you for everything,” he stated.

1 Comment
  1. Correction on your article. Fyi, No such nomination on Vilma Santos for National Artist. It’s fake news. NCCA Issued a press release on their facebook page dated March 30, 2021. It was stated that the nomination is a rigorous and multi-step process and that it will take them approximately six months before nominations are announced. Please visit their page for reference. There were also clarification articles published on Interaksyon site and by columnist Bong Godinez on the said Dolly Ann Carvajal inaccurate news.

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