Gloria Romero

MANILA — Another golden moment has come for film icon Gloria Romero. She is the latest recipient of the Gabay ng Industriya award of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), a rare honor usually reserved for matriarchs of Philippine movies. 

“Maraming salamat at hanggang ngayon naaalala niyo pa rin ako. Salamat sa pagpapahalaga nyo sa akin,” Romero told ABS-CBN News in a rare phone conversation opportunity facilitated by her daughter, chef Maritess Gutierrez. 

It’s been over a year since Romero last faced the cameras in her GMA series “Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko.” Her last public appearance was last September in the industry’s tribute to departed movie pillar Marichu Maceda. 

With the pandemic, the world has changed so much, rued Romero, who has been house-bound and under the eagle-eye care of Maritess and her son Christopher in New Manila, Quezon City since the Metro Manila lockdown started March 2020. 

She laughed at the thought of going out again and being visited at home by friends who have missed her. That has to be cleared with her daughter who is ultra protective of her. 

Romero takes calls every now and then, though. “Mabuti hindi ny’o pa rin ako nalilimutan!” she exclaimed. 

It is hard to forget the legacy of Romero who endured in her career for nearly 70 years. In its “Ilaw ng Industriya” citation, FDCP recognized the multi-awarded movie queen “for serving as a veritable matriarch to the film industry and as a beacon of professional artistry and sublime inspiration to generations of film actors.” 

At 85, she made a record of sorts by clinching the 2018 Metro Manila Film Festival award for best actress for Joel Lamangan’s “Rainbow Sunset.” 

In a normal world, it would be ideal to have an actual conferment of the FDCP award, together with an exhibit and gallery of Romero’s memorabilia. “We actually want to personally give it to her, perhaps soon at the right time,” FDCP chair Liza Dino told ABS-CBN News. 

Diño and her team have prepared a fitting tribute for Romero and another top honorary awardee, cinematographer Romy Vitug (Haligi ng Industriya award) at the FPCP Film Ambassadors Night on February 28 at the FDCP YouTube channel. 

The event will also honor over 50 other achievers in various movie industry categories. 

Singers Karla Gutierrez and Lawrence Jatanya will pay homage to Romero, Vitug and others with their rendition of “Saan Ka Man Naroroon” with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra. Beverly Salviejo will also sing a medley of Ilocano songs to recall Romero’s award-winning role in the 1954 Sampaguita movie, “Dalagang Ilocana.” 

With the honorary award, Diño has also announced a cash award of P30,000 each for Romero and Vitug. 

“The industry is grateful and honored to have witnessed their admirable artistry, incredible work ethic, and encompassing love for film,” said Diño. 

Maritess, who recently posted their family picture on Valentine’s Day, is also grateful for the FDCP award. She said, “Maraming maraming salamat sa pag-alala sa aking ina sa Ilaw ng Industriya award. We appreciate that you have not forgotten her contributions to Philippine cinema.” 

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Zooey Ibañez

By Zooey Ibañez

Philippine Normal University – Manila PNU is a public research university, established in 1901 during the American occupation of the Philippines, and was elevated to university status in 1991. In 2013, the university had an organizational makeover and established three colleges as well as three institutes.