At a time when beauty could be had by just a quick visit to a cosmetic surgeon, and at a period when almost everything aesthetic could be faked, it is refreshing to hear from an individual who is not only well-regarded for her genuine good looks but is also esteemed for giving honor to her country.
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) was lucky enough to get in touch with former beauty queen and actress, Gloria "Bong" Dimayacyac who is now based in Los Angeles, California, USA.
The 1983 Mutya ng Pilipinas-Asia and Miss Asia Pacific Quest beauty was gracious enough to entertain PEP despite being away from the limelight for quite awhile.
It would be remembered that Bong was one of the beautiful faces that graced the boob tube and the big screen during the ‘80s.
She was one of the sexy model-housemates that made the wacky TV comedy Chicks to Chicks so popular, together with still-very-active Carmi Martin, Lorraine Schuck, and the late Maria Theresa Carlson.
Ms. Bong was also cast in movies opposite big stars like Fernando Poe, Jr. (1987's No Retreat, No Surrender...Si Kumander), Ramon Revilla, Sr. (1987's Hitman), Dolphy and Panchito (1985's Kalabog en Bosyo Strike Again), and Lito Lapid (1986's Kamagong).
"I was barely 18 when I won both Mutya [May 1983] and Miss Asia [July 1983]," related Bong. "In 1984, I was asked to join Chanel 13's Chicks to Chicks, which eventually became Chicka Chicka Chicks when we moved to ABS-CBN, and I stayed until I left in September 1988."
"Chicks to Chicks was the number 1 show at that time," she stressed, adding that it also raked in a lot of money. But more than that, it was the cast and crew that made the experience unforgettable.
"The late Ading Fernando was the director then," she informed. "He was such a wonderful, funny and warm person. Of course, Direk [Johnny] Manahan was just as awesome. The casts were wonderful, too. We all got very close and it was more like a weekly family reunion than it was a job. It was a lot of fun. I loved every minute of it. We all shared laughter and tears. If there is anything I miss to this day...it is the filming/taping of Chicka Chicka Chicks."
"I have been in touch with them [Chicks to Chicks cast] since I left the show. [In fact] Carmi, Nova [Villa], Lorraine, and myself had a reunion when [my family] came to visit the Philippines last June ," she shared, adding that she also kept in touch with other colleagues. "I was able to get ahold of some beauty queens and models and kept in touch with them since June, including Joyce Ann Burton and Jane Brummitt."
It is smart to note that some of her contemporaries are still, in one way or the other, involved in the industry which she decided to leave in 1988. And this prompted PEP to ask if she harbored regrets for her decision to leave.
"None at all!" she denied. "Sure I miss showbiz, but would I like to return? Perhaps... especially if I would have the opportunity to work with the people I worked with in the past."
But there is no question that Bong had made the right decision when she left the limelight in 1988. "I left because I knew I was ready to move on to a more stable life, something more fulfilling!"
The former actress recalled, "The last movie I did was the Italian production film, Indio," she informed. "[It starred] Francesco Quinn, Marvin Hagler, and Brian Dennehy, and Leopoldo Salcedo, I think. They did a sequel to this film in 1990 and they called me here in LA to do it, but I had to decline as I was already pregnant with my second child that time. They asked Tetchie Agbayani instead [I think]."
At that point, there were more pressing roles for Bong to
From beauty queen to queen of the house. "I did not work full-time until about six years ago," Bong confessed, relating that she concentrated on being mom and wife previous to said six years. Of course it could be pointed out that being mom and wife are full-time jobs as well—if more demanding but gratifying nonetheless.