Body Talk with Gloria Romero
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo () - May 26, 2006 - 12:00am
If, at 70-plus, you can look as gloriously beautiful (as the Ricky Reyes billboard says, Ganda ng Lola Mo, ‘No!) as Gloria Romero, then you must have been among the lucky ones born with good genes. That’s not all, though. It takes more than having "good genes" to maintain one’s good looks (and last this long – more than half a century!) in a competition-laden and youth-dominated field like showbiz, as you’ll find out by and by.

Gloria has mellowed before our very eyes and we didn’t notice her growing old(er), did we? Once a week, we laugh with her in the ABS-CBN sitcom Ok Fine Whatever (co-starring with Aga Muhlach, Edu Manzano and Bayani Agbayani, among others) where the weekly female star-guests fail to "outshine" her (not that they try to, anyway).

"I’m glad that I’m still around," said Gloria who suffers from vertigo which prevents her from taking the plane. "Actually, I have a cut-off time and people respect it. I can work only until 12 midnight, except in rare times such as when we shot the wedding scenes in Ok Fine. Nakakahiya naman umalis ng set na hindi pa tapos, di ba?"

Her vertigo sometimes gets in the way of her work, like when she’s made to lie flat on her back (at home, she sleeps with two pillows, one on top of the other, beneath her head) or made to stand on a chair (in a scene from her landmark 2000 drama starrer Tanging Yaman where she played a matriarch afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease).

How do you preserve your looks?


"I get as much sleep as I can, as much as nine hours per night. I usually go to bed at 10 or 11 p.m. When I come home late from shooting, I sleep at 1 a.m. but I make sure that I make up for it by taking power naps. I really love to sleep even when I was young. Hilig ko na talaga ang matulog."

Do you work out?


"No, I don’t. I’m lazy. Pa-bending-bending lang."

Do you take vitamins?


"Yes. Vitamins C and E, multi-vitamins and stresstabs."

What about your diet?


"I eat anything in moderation. I love to taste everything, anything. And I love rice. They keep on telling me, ‘Don’t eat too much rice,’ but I can’t stop eating rice. Mahilig talaga ako sa kanin."

Do you avoid any food?


"Lechon. If I can’t resist it, I take a piece of crispy balat, just a little bit."

Favorite food?


"I like fish and vegetables. I’m lucky to have a chef in the family, my daughter Maritess (Gutierrez, a cooking graduate), who is also fond of fish and vegetables."

Is your blood sugar normal?


"I think so; I hope so."

What about your blood pressure?


"Normal naman, thank God."

How much water do you take every day?


"Oh,
I drink lots of water. I avoid drinking too much only when I’m on location shooting because I don’t want to be going back and forth to the comfort room. I even drink water in the middle of the night."

Softdrinks?


"Sometimes, but only those that are sugar-free, the ‘light’ ones."

Do you take hard drinks?


"No, I don’t. Not even wine."

Do you smoke?


"I do, especially when I’m tense."

How do you cope with stress (especially on the set)?


"I have learned to adjust. I’ve been in this business for 65 years. When I’m not needed, I relax on my bonbon chair and study my script. Or I just close my eyes and try to relax my mind. Or I get a massage on my back and feet. I love having a foot spa."

Does having a positive outlook in life help make you look good?


"Of course, it does. If there’s a problem I cannot solve, I leave it at that. I’d say, ‘Tomorrow na lang,’ and go to sleep. I never carry my problems to the bedroom. Iniiwan ko sa sala. And I pray to God to help me and guide me."

Any favorite hideaway?


"My bedroom. I remove my clothes in the closet and sort out those that I don’t need and give them away."

Your husband (Juancho Gutierrez) died in October last year. Did you have a hard time adjusting to sleeping alone in your room?


"I didn’t have to because he stayed in a separate room." (Juancho was paralyzed by a stroke and was confined to a wheelchair until he died.)

Are you over the grieving process?


"You know, you’re never over it. I guess you just learn how to live with it. We miss him a lot, especially when we pass by his room and seeing him not there anymore." (Gloria shares the same house she has been living in for decades in New Manila, Quezon City, with Maritess and Maritess’ son Christopher.) "When we hear Mass at the nearby Mt. Carmel Church, we never fail to visit his crypt there."

Doesn’t he send any, you know, "feelers?"


"No, he doesn’t. How nice of him not to scare any of us. But every now and then, Maritess would smell candles burning."

Do you find it hard to recover from the death of a loved one?


"Yes, I do. My mother died more than 50 years ago but I still cry when I remember her. When my (younger) brother Tito (Galla) died, I was depressed for more than two years. I took care of him, you know. I was more than a sister to him; I was like a mother to him because when our mother died, Tito was only nine years old. I didn’t want to work, until Gilbert, my other brother who is a doctor, told me that I had to move on. Oh, let’s change the topic. Naiiyak na ako."

How do you unwind?


"Maritess, Christopher (now 14) and I would eat out and watch movies together."

Do you apply anything on your face?


"I just clean it well after work. My skin is dry, so I apply lots of night cream."

Does being religious (or spiritual) help keep a balance in your life?


"Oh yes, a lot! They say that when you reach 70, you’re lucky. From then on, bonus na ‘yan. I’m 72. Every morning when I wake up, I would say, ‘Thank you, Lord! Ito na naman ako, buhay pa! Thank you for another day’."

And work helps, too, ‘no?


"Yes. Without my work siguro, baka I’d be bored. I want to be busy. I prepare all the clothes that I need on the set. I love pushing the cart at the supermarket; it’s a nice form of exercise. I don’t have an alalay (factotum). I have a driver. After the taping, I just call him to pick me up."

Who are the senior citizens whom you admire?


"Now that you’re asking... Nakakalungkot that most of my contemporaries are gone. Wala na sina Charito (Solis), sina Nida (Blanca). Who else are around? Oh, there’s Anita Linda. Only very few of them are left. Oh yes, I admire Mama Nene (Vera-Perez). She’s 90-something and she’s still very healthy and very active."

How do you feel when you watch old movies (on QTV’s Ginintuang Telon which shows old Sampaguita movies Sunday afternoons, 1 to 3 o’clock)?


"Of course, I feel sad. Those movies bring back beautiful memories. My happiest years were those I spent at Sampaguita. I was young and didn’t have so many problems. At the same time, those old movies make me sad because, you know, nabibilang ko ‘yung mga pumanaw na."

Of the hundreds of movies you’ve done, what are your favorites?


"Several. Among the comedies... Hong Kong Holiday, Kurdapya, Cofradia, Dalagang Ilocana and Pilya. Among the drama naman... Saan Nagtatago ang Pagibig, Magnifico and, of course, Tanging Yaman."

(E-mail reactions at rickylo@philstar.net.ph)

AGA MUHLACH ANITA LINDA DALAGANG ILOCANA EDU MANZANO AND BAYANI AGBAYANI GININTUANG TELON GLORIA ROMERO MARITESS OR I TANGING YAMAN WHEN I
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