Actress Who Defied Stereotypes
Vanessa Balbuena (The Freeman) - April 23, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — One of the respected veterans in the Philippine acting industry, Caridad Yuson Sanchez first dreamt of becoming a lawyer.

But her parents did not see it fit for a woman to be an attorney, so they encouraged her to be a teacher or a nurse.

The feisty Cebuana would have none of it: her law school desires out of the window, she instead relentlessly pursued being an actress.

Born January 1936 in Mandaue City, Caridad is the youngest of 15 siblings.

In 1958, she left an already budding acting career in Cebu to follow a boyfriend to Manila who was there to also pursue film stardom.

The boyfriend was also her leading man in Cebu, and she had heard he was taken in at one of the capital’s film studios. She had no doubt she would also be accepted, what with their tandem already established in Cebu.

In Manila, after months of the boyfriend nowhere in sight and incommunicado, she finally traced him to a restaurant in Escolta where young Caridad rushed in excitement to reunite with him.

But his reaction left her crestfallen: he shooed her away, bidding her to return to Cebu, saying there was no way a non-mestiza like her would make it in Manila’s movie industry.

Humiliated and heartbroken, she almost walked towards a bridge in her dazed state. But as fate would have it, her steps were redirected to Quiapo Church.

There, she cried her eyes out before finally looking up to see the statue of the Black Nazarene. It was then she realized that the revered religious icon was black, but here it was, venerated by millions.

She returned to her apartment with a renewed confidence but with a determination to go home to Cebu.

After a few days, her cousin gave her a tour of the Big Three studios – Premiere, Sampaguita and LVN. Caridad thought at least the Manila trip would not have been totally futile for she would have souvenir snaps inside the famous studios.

Alas, it was in LVN that Caridad would be offered her first contravida role in the film “Malvarosa.” More movies followed and Caridad would never look back.

“It was the pain he caused me that drove me to really do my best. Hindi rin ako nagtanim ng galit, hinayaan ko lang, kahit ang sakit sakit ng ginawa nya sa akin,” Caridad would tell her daughter.

Caridad has since been in countless television shows and films, and won prestigious awards for her portrayals.

Now 83 years old, Caridad was last seen in the 2014 GMA-7 afternoon drama “The Borrowed Wife.”

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