The stars of yesteryear: Where are they now?
STAR BYTES - Butch Francisco () - June 6, 2009 - 12:00am

(Second of two parts)

A couple of Saturdays ago, I was watching GMA 7’s Cool Center and in one of their segments, hosts Anjo Yllana and Eugene Domingo were conducting a contest that required the home participants to bring the oldest picture of a celebrity. One of the entries was that of Blanca Gomez and Eugene Domingo misheard this and said Bianca Gomez.

Apparently, she has never heard of Blanca Gomez, who is actually the younger sister of Daisy Romualdez. Ms. Gomez was one of Sampaguita Pictures’ Stars of ‘66, which included among them Gina Pareño, who is still very active in the field of entertainment and is, in fact, still winning international awards for her films.

I had the chance to interview Blanca for this paper in the early ‘90s when she visited Manila (she is based in the US) and stayed with Daisy, who was then still living in Kamias. I thoroughly enjoyed myself during that interview because Blanca was so honest and candid. And she was still pretty.

It’s just too bad that most movie fans of today no longer remember her and this is one reason why I came out with this series on whatever happened to... because I myself am curious as to what happened to this and that celebrity of the past. Maybe some of our readers could fill us in on the whereabouts of the former entertainment personalities I am enumerating below. And so for the concluding part of this series, I want to ask whatever happened to:

Novo Bono Jr. — The 1970 Tawag ng Tanghalan champion — our local version of American Idol back then (but without the voting power of the viewers) — this Cebuano went on to do a couple of films and was paired with Sahlee Quizon (daughter of Dolphy), who I met during the wedding of Vandolph two years ago. 

Eva Vivar — She was in the same batch as Esperanza Fabon (who later became a judge). She was very petite, probably not even five feet tall — but with long curly hair that went way below her waist. Fans likened her hair to that of the Virgin of Antipolo, but without necessarily being sacrilegious.

Frankie Navaja Jr. — A child actor from Cebu — our Robert “Buboy” Villar of today — he appeared in both Cebuano (mostly with Gloria Sevilla) and Tagalog films. Years and years back, when Mat Ranillo III was interviewed on TV and was asked about the whereabouts of Frankie Navaja Jr., he said something like: “He couldn’t pursue his movie career after the awkward years kasi nabansot.” Well, that’s the curse of most child stars, who were not given much time to sleep — no thanks to overnight shoots.

Cita Avecilla — As the 1970 Miss Young Philippines, she later did a movie with Dolphy, Rodolfo Valentino. I don’t know if she made any more movies after that, but somehow had the taste of showbiz.

Jean Jasmin — Her real name is Jean Altavaz. She was one of the ABS-CBN promo girls (they came out during station IDs and gave the schedule for the day). In 1970, she joined Mutya ng Pilipinas and placed second to Alice Crisostomo, mother of actress-beauty queen Mutya, who was based abroad for a while, but was back again a couple of years ago.

Polly Penson — She was Mutya ng Pilipinas in 1974 and did Bornebol with Dolphy the same year. Earlier she had a brother who also joined showbiz and his screen name was Juancho Juarez. If I am not mistaken, they are the siblings of Margie Juico, who used to be with the staff of former President Cory Aquino. But Ms. Juico and I had never been personally introduced to each other. So paging Ms. Juico.

Love Admana — She was the leading lady of Dolphy in one of his early ‘70s comedies — the one with Liezl (now Martinez). When Love later joined a beauty contest, she used her real first name: Pag-ibig.

Dolly Favorito — I distinctly remember the name, but have no idea what she did (so help me, please). Maybe she was in the radio show Operetang Putol-putol — in the same batch as Esperanza Fabon.

Efren Montes — A child star who played the youngest son on Padre de Pamilya in the old Channel 9 — with the late Ric Rodrigo, Jimmy Morato and Millie Mercado.

Boy Mondragon — A young singer in the early ‘70s with a very powerful voice.

Boyet Orca — Always mentioned in the same vein as Boy Mondragon when you talk about those old days of very ‘70s entertainment. But come to think of it? Those stars then came in with just raw talent: No acting workshops, used their own voices (no modern technology to aid them during recording) and with face, skin and body untouched by science.

Zernan Manahan — A child actor (quite talented) who quit in his early teens. He was always cast as a bit of a nerd.

Allan Valenzuela — A matinee idol always present in variety programs. He also played stud on screen to a lot of sexy leading ladies.

Trixia Gomez — A very sexy actress in the mid-‘70s, who appeared in trilogies mostly with Alona Alegre.

Manny Luna — He was Lorna Tolentino’s leading man in Dulce Amor Ina and in her other movies in the late ‘70s.

Perla Adea — She was with Vilma Santos on D’ Sensations in the old ABS-CBN. Her partner was Romy Mallari and they eventually got married and had kids. From what I know, she continued with her studies when her children also started schooling. She enrolled at the Trinity College along E. Rodriguez and even took public transportation at times when the car wasn’t available. That was in the early ‘80s. Romy went on acting on TV and in the movies till the mid-‘70s. Now I have no idea where this couple is. Maybe they are lolo and lola to very small grandchildren — and hopefully still very happy together.

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