Being part of the demographics called us Generation X, I consider myself and my co-generation peeps lucky for we have witnessed a bunch of amazing women called queens of Philippine movie.
Majority of them, our acquaintances happened thru their vintage movies shown as an after lunch, siesta entertainment fare, black and white photos, press clippings, and coffee table books.
The last four universally accepted Philippine movie queens are Nora Aunor, Vilma Santos, Maricel Soriano, and Sharon Cuneta. Majority of us have a memory or two of their films, box-office wonders and critical flops and television shows, drama anthologies or musical variety shows.
With the quartet of queens, it is only with the superstar Nora Aunor that I managed to muster enough courage to have a photo opportunity. The rest, Cuneta, Soriano, and Santos, I was just too star-struck and shy to request a short and sweet posing time with them.
Alas, let us roll call the powerful feminine movie queens list:
Carmen Rosales, heralded as the first Philippine movie queen ever. Rosales was always glammed up in her films. Her chemistry with Rogelio dela Rosa was unmistakable. And she, I think, for the longest time was the Queen Bee in the film outfit where she was always given stellar billing, and respect was accorded to her by the younger stars.
In their LVN and Sampaguita movies, Nida Blanca and Gloria Romero are the next movie queens whose specialty then are comedic roles. It is in their later years that Mesdames Blanca (remember her in Miguelito) and Gloria Romero (Tanging Yaman, anyone?)that were the motion pictures that showcased further their acting greatness.
Also, the black and white movies of the next movie queens, Amalia Fuentes, billed as Miss Number One, and the Face that Refreshes, Susan Roces, were such a delight, immensely enjoyed their Amy, Susie, and Tessie movies.
During the first golden Pinoy movie eras, fondness and reverence to the legends such as Norma Blancaflor, Delia Razon, Paraluman, Bella Flores, Zeny Zabala, Carol Varga, and Rosa Rosal.
The movie queens that are officially part of my wonder years are the superstar Nora Aunor, Vilma Santos, the star for all seasons, megastar Sharon Cuneta and the Diamond Star Maricel Soriano.
As multi-awarded screenplay writer Eric Ramos pointed out, which refers to Aunor and Santos, and also holds true for Soriano and Cuneta: “Bakit kailangang pumili kung pareho naman silang katangi-tangi?”
Vilma Santos’ Relasyon, Broken Marriage, Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga and Sister Stella L.
Maricel Soriano’s Saan Darating ang Umaga, Hinugot Ka Lang Sa Langit, Ikaw Pa Lang Ang Minahal and Inagaw Mo Ang Lahat Sa Akin.
Sharon Cuneta’s Bituin Walang Ningning, Madrasta, Nang Iniwan Mo Ako and Crying Ladies.
During the reign of the fantastic four, I also marveled the beauty and talents of Rio Locsin, Alma Moreno, Elizabeth Oropesa, Chanda Romero, Tetchie Agbayan, Cherie Gil and the one and only Ms. Hilda Koronel.
True, some other actresses made their mark and niche like Judy Ann Santos, Claudine Barretto and Jolina Magdangal. Following them are Vina Morales and Donna Cruz. Even Angelu de Leon created a stir. However, they are all ladies in waiting but not movie queens.
If there will be a rise of millennial movie queens, that only time can tell. What we have now are TV stars, with movies that are either mammoth hits or duds. There are no pronounced rivalries are not that pronounced. And there are few film masters around to challenge their capabilities and go out of their acting boxes and comfort zones. The new directorial hopes are still feeling their way in and are always ready to compromise.
To all the movie queens mentioned here, thank you for the inspiration and your wonderful movies and memories.
To the last four, Nora Aunor, Vilma Santos, Sharon Cuneta and Maricel Soriano, looking forward still to your next cinematic and television offerings.