Personal lives of movie stars whether in front or behind the camera also follow a dramatic arc of twists and turns and happenstance of dizzying emotional roller coaster ride toward a happy or tragic ending or both. As the cliché goes it’s a case of art imitating life or vice versa.
Greta Garbo is one Hollywood icon known for her total turnabout from the klieg lights while at the zenith of her thriving acting career. She never cared to turn back. Urban legend had it that she retreated into a sedate outback where no one could give a damn that she could do her groceries unperturbed by any molesting fan.
Locally, Carmen Rosales who to her last breath had prevailed upon the late Queen of Intrigues Inday Badiday’s insistence to put her on video in her famous talk show agreed with the condition to put a veil on her face.
The same holds true with the original bold star of Philippine movies, Merle Fernandez. Now in her gorgeous ‘80s, she has been in seclusion with few select friends from high society, one of whom is the famously rich but self-effacing cineaste/couturier Boyet Fajardo.
She entrusted her brother Rudy to the late talent manager-director Deo J. Fajardo, Jr. who made him a big action star more than she could have imagined. She made good her promise though to stay away from the limelight after retirement, rejecting roles offered to her even with fat talent fee by leading networks to appear in teleseryes.
At Fajardo’s wake, some of Merle’s loyal fans deliberately positioned themselves till the crack of dawn wishing to catch a glimpse of her, but she was a no-show, disappointing her equally ageing stalkers.
Meanwhile, the love story of actress and one of the original talents and pretty faces of the late German Moreno’s That’s Entertainment Lani Mercado and action star-turned-politician Senator Bong Revilla would have been a pretty perfect romance in local show business. Had it not been spoiled by the PDAF scam engineered by Janet Lim Napoles, who played the wicked witch, theirs could have been the Camelot in local lore.
As has been our traditional practice with some close friends from the entertainment press of the actress, we paid a visit and sang some meaningful Christmas carols to the former congresswoman of Cavite now holding court as first time mayor in her swanky municipal building at the city of Bacoor.
When we started singing “Sana Ngayong Pasko,” which tells of a desperate longing of an anguishing soul for a loved one’s return, the pretty mayor apparently shot gravely in the heart by the message of the song almost fell off her seat, but managed to laugh it all away even as her radiant eyes moistened with tears which she tried to hold back with aplomb.
Our song hit a sensitive chord on the mayor, as the Sandiganbayan denied the petition of her husband to overturn his suspension just a couple of days earlier.
However, Lani—with prayers and all-out support from her highly empathetic staff, colleagues, and constituents of Bacoor—has high hopes that with their combined strength and wisdom from the Lord, things for her and Bong will return to its former happy order.
Barely a year in office, her leadership has earned for the community and the province of Cavite at least nine highly creditable national awards, foremost of which is the much-coveted 2016 Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG), the highest award given by the DILG to local government units.