What more can Gloria Romero ask for?

STAR BYTES - Butch Francisco () - June 29, 2002 - 12:00am
The new millennium has been very good to beloved former movie queen Gloria Romero. In December 2000, her movie Tanging Yaman was entered in the Metro Manila Film Festival, in the process winning for Gloria her first Best Actress award in 46 years. (In 1954, she won the FAMAS Best Actress for Dalagang Ilocana and in between won Best Supporting Actress trophies in the films Saan Nagtatago ang Pag-ibig? and Nagbabagang Luha.)

She spent a great part of the summer 2001 accepting more Best Actress honors from the Urian, the FAMAS and Film Academy (also for Tanging Yaman).

Exactly a week ago today, she added another trophy to her growing collection of acting awards. (Her trophies are kept in her room – on top of a shelf near her TV set.) In the recently-concluded Manila Film Festival awards presentation, Gloria Romero was named Best Supporting Actress for her role as the kookie grandmother in I Think I’m in Love. Sadly, she wasn’t able to accept her award personally.

Gloria was all set to attend the awards night held at the Ninoy Aquino Memorial Stadium. In fact, she already had a dress made by Rene Salud. Unfortunately, her invitation to the awards presentation never reached her. A product of the old school, she didn’t want to just barge into the affair without the formal invitation. (In the 1990 Gawad Urian, the late Charito Solis was almost turned away by the CCP ushers when she failed to bring the invitation card with her.)

Without the invitation, Gloria decided to just stay home and watch the proceedings on television. While waiting for the awards telecast to begin, she started reading her Sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan script with grandson Christopher by her side.

Somehow she fell asleep and when she woke up, it was almost 11 p.m. She and Christopher immediately turned on the TV set and tuned in to the awards night presentation on Channel 13. When it was time to announce the Best Supporting Actress winner, excitement filled her bedroom – with Christopher rooting for her. "Lola, you’re going to win," Christopher told her. At that point, she didn’t even know how to react to her grandson’s forecast.

Then, it was time to open the envelope. Christopher, in a playful mood, once again jumped up and said, "And the winner is my lola, Gloria Romero!" And then it happened. Her name was announced winner. "Ay, lumukso ako!" recalls Gloria. "The first thing I said was, ‘Why am I winning? What did I do?’" "You see, I’m your lucky charm, Lola," an equally excited Christopher shot back.

Within the hour, text messages from friends started filling up her cell phone. One was from Coney Reyes, who sent the message, "God loves you so much. Nanalo ka naman. Nakaka-inggit ka."

That night, Gloria Romero had difficulty sleeping – still excited over the fact that she won another acting trophy. And all the while, she kept telling herself, "I should have been there!"

The following day, Gloria had her trophy picked up from producer Lily Monteverde’s house in East Greenhills. She describes the gold-plated trophy done in the image of Rajah Soliman as "cute and petite."

This is her second time to win in a comedy film. (Dalagang Ilocana was purely comedy.) "I Think I’m in Love is a very entertaining film. But I didn’t really think I’d win an award for it," says Gloria, adding that her winning there was "a very pleasant surprise."

In the beginning, everyone in the industry was expecting Judy Ann Santos to win Best Supporting Actress for Magkapatid. Too bad for the young superstar, she was elevated to the Best Actress category and was pitted against co-star Sharon Cuneta, who eventually won. "But had Judy Ann stayed on in the Best Supporting Actress cagetory, I would have lost," humbly insists Gloria.

Gloria Romero and the rest of the cast and crew of I Think I’m in Love started doing the film around Christmas of last year. But lead star Joyce Jimenez had to leave for the US and they had to temporarily halt filming. When they resumed work, Gloria found herself donning a scuba diving gear for her beach scenes in Anilao, which were difficult, but fun. This film is particularly memorable to her because it reunites her with Luis Gonzales, her perennial leading man in the many blockbuster films she did for Sampaguita Pictures.

Aside from films, Gloria is also neck-deep with TV assignments. For Channel 2, she does the daily soap opera Sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan and the Tuesday night comedy Okay, Fine Whatever with Aga Muhlach and Bayani Agbayani, who – believe it or not – play twins in the series. She’s extremely happy working with Aga because she was among those who supported the matinee idol when he was launched in his first serious film, Miguelito, Ang Batang Rebelde in 1985. "Baby pa siya noon. Tapos, ngayon, ang galing-galing na niyang artista," says Gloria.

Taping for Okay, Fine is really fun for her. "Every time Bayani cracks a joke, hay, naku, si Aga hindi na makapag-dialogue. Tawa ’yan nang tawa – to the point na naiiyak na ’yan sa katatawa," she reveals.

At this point in her life and her career, she claims that there’s nothing else to ask for. Had she been at the awards night, her acceptance speech would have been a long list of acknowledgements that would include the producer (Lily Monteverde), director (Maryo de los Reyes, whom she personally called up to say thank you), co-stars, the crew, the jurors and the Lord Almighty who have been so good to her.

On our part, perhaps we should also thank the good Lord for giving us a living treasure like Gloria Romero.

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