In My Life, which co-starred her with John Lloyd Cruz and son Luis Manzano, despite its sensitive gay theme and being shown in the midst of a tropical storm, emerged as 2009's second highest-grossing movie. Her recent project, Star Cinema’s The Healing, was a monster hit which grossed more than 100 million and is included in the Top 10 top-grossing movies for 2012.
The academic community has also recognized Vilma’s achievements as a film icon. In 2005 the University of the Philippines honored Vilma with the Gawad Plaridel for being a media practitioner who has “excelled and performed with the highest professional integrity and in the interest of public service,” the first and only film artist who has been accorded this distinction thus far. In 2006, she was one of the four artists feted with a lifetime achievement award at the University of the Philippines’ First Diwata Awards, the only actor among the honorees (Click here to see list of Lifetime Achievement Awards).
For her exemplary achievements in showbiz and in politics, Vilma is probably the most successful actor-politician in Philippine history.
Arguably, Vilma -- despite limited time for showbiz -- is still its one and only queen, at this age where local movies are in decline. Not only her outstanding contribution to the movie industry supports this statement, but the love and the respect that the industry people and the public have for her point to the fact that no Filipino actress has endured and sustained a loyal following than Vilma Santos. No star shines brighter than her. Only FPJ (RIP) and, perhaps, Dolphy (RIP) enjoy the same stature.
- R.R.I. ESPINOZA