Former Sampaguita star Barbara Perez returns to acting via "Gulong"


Barbara Perez stars with husband Robert Arevalo in the indie film Gulong. After her long career in mainstream movie production, she now realizes that independent film making is just as rigorous. "I was amazed na dekalidad lahat, from the camera works to the production design."



A legendary pair reunite onscreen in the independent movie Gulong that's part of Cinemalaya 2007— Robert Arevalo and Barbara Perez.

Married for more than 40 years with two daughers and two grandchildren, nagbabalik ang tambalan nina Robert at Barbara sa produksiyon ni Butch Jimenez at direksiyon ni Sockie Villanueva.

"Magka-partner kami rito ni Robert, pero hindi consumated ang affair namin and that's part of the story," kuwento ni Barbara sa presscon ng Gulong sa Taste of LA last Monday, July 16.

This marks the return of Barbara Perez on the big screen since Malikmata in 2003.

"Ay, bilang ba 'yon? One day lang ako nag-shoot for the movie, hindi ko na rin matandaan kung ano ang last movie ko," sabi ni Ms. Perez about the said horror movie.

Pero hindi naman ibig sabihin na semi-retired na ang veteran actress. In fact, Ms. Perez misses acting daw and wants to act pa rin.

"Kaso, nakalimutan na yata ako ng industry," natatawang sabi niya.

Ang huling big participation ni Barbara was for GMA-7's Ang Iibigin Ay Ikaw in 2002. Okay rin sa kanyang mag-TV ulit, but the former Sampaguita Pictures contract artist admits na hindi na niya kaya ang work schedule ng TV, na minsan ay umaabot hanggang alas-kuwatro ng umaga.

"Kung ang iba, nagri-request na hanggang alas-dose lang, ako nga nag-i-extend pa ng one a.m., pero beyond that, the only emotion I am capable of doing at my age is to sleep," natatawa niyang paliwanag.

That is why tuwang-tuwa si Barbara nang ma-offer sa kanila ni Robert Arevalo ang pelikulang Gulong.

"Noong una, sabi ko ay independent [film], baka below quality lahat. But when I read the script, I said yes immediately. Ang ganda. Tapos when we started production, I was amazed na dekalidad lahat, from the camera works to the production design," kuwento ng veteran actress.

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An international model for Pitoy Moreno, Barbara was dubbed as the local Aubrey Hepburn during her time. She belongs to the very few local actresses to be given the oppornunity to star in a Hollywood movie opposite a bona fide superstar. Barbara was paired with Jeffrey Hunter in the 1962 movie No Man Is An Island, which was shot in the Philippines.

Universal Studios wanted to sign her up for a five-year contract after completing the movie. "Kaso, buntis na ako noon, kakakasal lang namin ni Robert so I turned it down," sabi ni Barbara. "Ang sa akin lang noon, maka-experience makagawa ng isang Hollywood movie. At least, I was able to do that."

Barbara and Robert also made history when they became the first husband and wife couple to win back-to-back FAMAS Best Actor and Best Actress awards for Daigdig ng mga Api.

Always cast as the rich girl or the mannequin, Ms. Perez accepted the farmer's wife role Daigdig Ng Mga Api and allowed herself to be deglamorized.

"Kasi ang ganda ng role. Tinanong pa ako noon ni Doc [Perez, owner of Sampaguita Pictures] kung talaga bang gusto kong gawin ang pelikula; sabi ko, opo," kuwento ni Barbara.

In the 1965 FAMAS Awards, Robert and Barbara won the Best Actor and Best Actress awards. They were the first couple to achieve the distinction.


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