When Ricky Davao was introducing a guest of honor last July 11, he told the audience at the jampacked Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, "Mga kaibigan, ito ang isang artista na matatawag nating uliran at namumukod-tangi. Let tonight be her night. Si 'Adela', the great Anita Linda!"
Guests, artists, students, filmmakers, and members of the media immediately stood up to give a standing ovation to Ms. Anita Linda during the ceremony prior to the screening of her tribute film Adela at the CCP. Directed by Adolf Alix Jr., Adela was the opening film of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, which will officially end this Sunday, July 20.
When the applause died down, the veteran actress started her speech by saying, "Maraming, maraming salamat po. Alam ninyo, nung sinabi sa akin na ako raw ay bibigyan ng isang tribute o parangal na katulad nito, ang pumasok sa isip ko, ano ba ang nagawa ko? Ano ba ang naibigay ko sa movie industry? Ano ba ang naitulong ko? Lahat ‘yan ay sumagi sa isip ko at pinagdikit-dikit ko. Pero hindi, ano ang nagawa sa akin ng movie industry? Ano ang ibinigay sa akin?
"Hindi ko lubos maisip ang lahat ng mga tao... Kung ano man ako ngayon, ang lahat ng tumulong sa akin at nagbigay ng suporta, maraming-maraming salamat. Unang-una, ang mga direktor na naniwala sa akin. Ang mga producers na nagbigay ng tulong sa akin. Noong pag-uwi ko galing sa Amerika, after the war, si Willy Santiago ng Premiere Productions ang siyang kumuha sa akin, nagdala sa akin sa Premiere Productions. Sa kanya, ang laki ng utang ng loob ko dahil doon nagsimula ang aking pagiging artista."
In her entry listed in the Internet Movie Database, it says that Ms. Anita Linda has appeared in over 170 films during her career, which started in the 1940s. With a career spanning several decades, she remains very grateful for everything that the entertainment industry has given her.
"Sa movie industry, ang laki ng utang na loob ko sapagkat binigyan ako ng identity, binigyan ako ng fame, binigyan ako ng pera, binigyan ako ng reputasyon, nakapag-travel ako, at nagkaroon ako ng maraming kaibigan. Kaya ang laki ng utang na loob ko sa movie industry."
At 83, she has no plans of leaving showbiz. In fact, she said in her speech: "Ito [movie industry] ay mamahalin ko habang buhay at kung ako ang tatanungin, hindi po ako magre-retire!" Her declaration was greeted by loud applause and cheers from the audience.
TV host Boy Abunda watched the movie Adela along with his ward Erik Santos and theater actor Arnold Reyes. When PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) asked him why Ms. Anita Linda deserves a tribute film such as this, he readily answered:
"She's brilliant. I think someone who has dedicated her life to film deserves much more than just a tribute. She shouldn't retire. She deserves a tribute because she has given us so much. I think this lady has given the Filipino public so much."
Also present that night were Cinemalaya stars Christian Vasquez and Angel Jacob, as well as Laurice Guillen, her husband Johnny Delgado and their daughter Ina Feleo. Rosanna Roces also attended the ceremony to introduce Direk Adolf, who will be at the helm of her comeback movie Manila, which is co-produced by actor Piolo Pascual.
In the movie Adela, screen veteran Anita Linda portrays a lonely woman who is celebrating her 80th birthday. This role comes to her 30 years after her last leading role in the Lino Brocka film Tatlo, Dalawa, Isa (1974). Two showbiz veterans join her in this film: German Moreno and Perla Bautista (who has a sexually charged scene with a much younger man). Adela is slated to have a regular run in the country this September.
Ms. Anita Linda was congratulated by students and guests who all wanted to shake her hand and greet her for this milestone in her life. With everyone wanting to take a photograph with her and talk with her even for a while, July 11 was certainly Ms. Anita Linda's night.
On Sunday, July 20, supporters of the independent film industry will eagerly await the decision of Cinemalaya jurors regarding the top awards to be given out this year. The public is invited to watch the awarding ceremony of Cinemalaya that will take place at the Main Theater of the CCP at 7 p.m.
Click HERE to view movie stills and synopses of the full-length films and short films competing in Cinemalaya 2008.