Zeroing in on the Padillas

Amadís Ma. Guerrero - The Philippine Star
  Zeroing in on the Padillas

The Padillas (from left) Robin, Rebecca and Daniel: Among one of the most enduring clans in the showbiz industry... with more of them coming

MANILA, Philippines - “I am rebellious by nature and Robin calls me his first revolutionary teacher,” laughs his (slightly) older sister Rebecca Padilla, a one-time Mass Communication student at the University of Santo Tomas, flamenco dancer, member of composer Jerry Dadap’s Andres Bonifacio Concert Choir and an aspiring director of films.

“You can say we are a rebellious clan,” she opines.

The Padillas are a remarkable clan with many political and showbiz luminaries. Boxer Sonny Padilla Jr. was the referee in the famous Thrilla in Manila showcasing Muhammad Ali (the former Cassius Clay), and Carlos Padilla Sr. and Jose Padilla Jr. were big movie stars during the heyday of Premiere Production.

The late Rudy Fernandez was a first cousin of Rebecca and Robin.

Flash forward to the present. There’s Daniel, Rommel (a big name in telenovela), Kylie, Zsa Zsa, BB Gandanghari, et al.

Rebecca’s idol is her uncle Mariano (Naning) Padilla, who directed commercials like “there’s a light of Hope” and “Safeguard ako ang iyong konsensya,” says Rebecca, “he is the only surviving Padilla who is a director. He refused to be eaten up by the system, you know, magpa-yaman. He didn’t want to have anything to do with rubbish, that’s why he is not rich.”

The patriarch of the clan was Rebecca’s grandfather, Jose Padilla Sr. and the family was originally from Plaridel, Bulacan. It was his son Roy, defender of workers, who initiated the move to Bicolandia, specifically Jose Panganiban town in Camarines Norte.

Roy, father of Robin and Rebecca, later became governor of the province and a parliamentarian during martial law, and was killed by presumed political enemies, a crime which Robin had investigated with inconclusive results.

Officially there are 48 Padilla siblings, with no distinction between half-brothers and half-sisters. Basta’t Padilla. Since the father’s death, the siblings have not seen one another as much as they want to; and so Robin and Rebecca have been trying to set up some kind of big reunion.

“Robin is very dedicated to his craft,” his sister enthuses. “I have seen him work on a movie project. Grabe yan. Sobra. He’s so detailed, very meticulous.”

As for herself, Rebecca is pursuing her dream to become a writer-director for films and has enrolled in classes by Bing Lao, Brillante Mendoza and Surf Reyes: “My passion is to make one brilliant meaningful film. But as of now, I dance the flamenco and sing with our choir whenever I can. My dancing, my music are keeping me alive so I can reach my goal, to become a director.”

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