Jericho Rosales (main photo) was named Best Actor for Baler in last night's Star Awards for Movies. (Insets) Sharon Cuneta won Best Actress for Caregiver, while Batangas Governor Vilma Santos was conferred with Ulirang Artista award.

Photo: Noel Orsal

Garnering nine trophies from the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC), the period film Baler took home the lion's share of the honors given out last night, May 28, during the silver anniversary of the Star Awards for Movies.

In this battle for recognition, the love story set during the Philippine-Spanish war received major awards such as Movie of the Year, Movie Director of the Year (for Mark Meily), and Movie Actor of the Year (for Jericho Rosales).

Echo, who arrived at around 11:30 p.m. last night, was just in time to receive his acting award for playing the role of a soldier in love with Feliza (played by Anne Curtis).

"I don't know what to say... Jaded na ako," said Echo during his acceptance speech. "Medyo sa isip ko, malabo. Natatakot na ako pumunta sa awards night... Last year sa MMFF [Metro Manila Film Festival], lahat ng tao sa Baler nanalo except me. Umiyak talaga ako nun."

This time, the actor will be shedding tears of joy for his triumph.

Sharon Cuneta was hailed as the Movie Actress of the Year for her performance in Caregiver, but she was unable to attend the awarding ceremony held at the Henry Lee Irwin theater of the Ateneo de Manila University.

Two stars tied for the Movie Supporting Actor of the Year category: Emilio Garcia for Walang Kawala and German Moreno for Paupahan.

This is the second year in a row that Emilio has been named Movie Supporting Actor of the Year by the PMPC. Last year, he was recognized for his supporting role in Selda.

Master Showman German Moreno was very grateful to be given an acting award after a long time. "Twenty-five years na ang PMPC at mahigit 25 years na ko nasa industriya. Salamat kay Allen Dizon, sa producer ng Paupahan.

"Kinakabahan nga sila kung tatanggapin  ko yung role kasi gay-themed siya. Ngayon ko napatunayan na ang mga artista gumagawa ng pelikula hindi dahil sa pera kung hindi dahil sa puso. Salamat sa PMPC at pinapahalagahan n'yo pa rin ang isang Kuya Germs," says the Master Showman.

Kuya Germs's co-star Snooky Serna bagged the award for Movie Supporting Actress of the Year.

For the digital film category, the big winner was the Cinema One Originals entry Yanggaw, with its four trophies: Digital Movie of the Year, Digital Movie Director of the Year (for Richard Somes), Digital Movie Production Designer of the Year, and Digital Movie Cinematographer of the Year.

SPECIAL AWARDS. One of the most highly-anticipated segments was the Ulirang Artista Award conferred to Batangas Governor Vilma Santos. In the middle of the program, the Star for all Seasons entered the venue, causing a flurry of excitement among the fans.

After a few minutes, her co-star John Lloyd Cruz arrived and sat down with the actress-politician. JLC introduced Ms. Vilma as a person who crossed over from the world of entertainment to the world of politics and is much admired in both realms.

When Ate Vi went up the stage to accept her award, she emphasized her love for acting even though she already holds public office.