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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 6, 2017

Elizabeth Oropesa, One Of Local Cinema's Most Awarded Actresses, Gets Another Plum Role As A Retired Teacher Pining For Lost Love In 'Moonlight Over Baler'

ELIZABETH OROPESA didn’t mind that she was just second choice for the plum role of Fidela in “Moonlight Over Baler” that opens in theaters this Wednesday. Direk Gil Portes said it was first offered to Celeste Legaspi, who wasn’t available.

“When they sent me the script, binasa ko at tinawagan ko agad si Direk Gil,” says El Oro. “Sabi ko, Direk, wag mo nang ibibigay kahit kanino yan, akin na si Fidela. Walang problema kahit sa iba unang inoffer. I love her character so much. Yung hintay siya nang hintay sa pagbabalik ng isang pag-ibig na hindi naman bumalik.”

And in all fairness to El Oro, she gave a very touching and heartfelt performance as Fidela. Now 62 years old, El Oro was first noticed when she did the wet look with Gloria Diaz in “Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa” in 1974. In 1975, she was successfully launched to full stardom by Jesse Ejercito in “Mister Mo, Lover Boy Ko”, directed by the late Ishmael Bernal. In 1976, she won her first FAMAS best actress award for Bernal’s “Lumapit Lumayo ang Umaga” (which, unfortunately, has no existing copy). She also won best supporting actress awards for “Milagros” and “Laman”. In 2000, she scored a best actress grand slam from all award giving bodies for “Bulaklak ng Maynila”, directed by Joel Lamangan, making her one of the most awarded actresses in local cinema.

Now, those who’ve seen her in “Moonlight Over Baler” say she has a good chance of being nominated again for her portrayal of Fidela. And how would El Oro rate her leading man in the movie, Vin Abrenica? “He’s good. He’s willing to learn and asks a lot of questions. May scene na sinampal ko siya, tumilapon ang salamin niya and he even appreciated it na tinotoo ko ang eksena.”

Since the Miss Universe is just over, El Oro is asked if she ever joined a beauty pageant. “I did, yung Miss RP. I won as Miss Luzon, pero binawi yung title ko at prizes ko, kasi they found out that my mom, na siyang nagsali sa’kin sa pageant, cheated my age. 15 lang ako, nilagay na 18 na ako, na credible kasi malaking bulas talaga ako. After that, di na ako sumali kasi pumasok na ko sa showbiz and my experience there helped me a lot in being an actress.”

El Oro put up her own movie company in the mid-70s. “Ako ang artistang unang kumuha ng manager, si Tita Ethel Ramos, who taught me how to smile, how to behave and how to talk well in English. Yung office namin in Burke Bldg. in Escolta, naging hub ng movie writers.”
She’s now also an official healer. “I lived in the States for seven years and I studied alternative medicine. I now have my own clinic in Fairview at lahat ng nire-reject na pasyente, sa’kin nagpupunta for healing and hypnotherapy.”