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David Sanders
David Sanders

[FULL] Elizabeth Oropesa Bold Movies

''Bernal was my nanay. He made me watch the rushes and filmsof veteran actors. He gave me acting tips. He noticed that Imoved my head and eyebrows a lot so he said, 'You bettercorrect that,''' she recalls.For a long while, though, Elizabeth never duplicated her maidenfeat. But in this year's Urian, she and Maricel Laxa were declaredco-winners in the best supporting actress category. She won in''Milagros'' directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya.That she had to share an acting plume with another actor doesnot bother her at all, for at one time, she also had to share amore important part of her life, a husband, three other women!She is referring to her fabled romance with Chinese actionsuperstar, Meng Fei. Whirlwind romanceElizabeth was at the height of her career when caught in theexcitement of the whirlwind romance. She was doing fourmovies at the same time, and success went to her head. Shethought she was the star, therefore, indispensable. She kepteverybody in the production waiting as she arrived late forshooting. Her manager, Ethel Ramos, got her back to her senses.And change she did, but it was too late. A new trend hadevolved: bold films had become bolder.''Dati ang babae, pinapakitang naglalaba o naliligo sa ilog,basa ang damit ay maaaninag na walang bra. But later, themale and female actors were made to do bed scenes in the raw,''she says.Ardent suitorShe had to turn down a lot of offers, and was unhappy. Enterthe ardent suitor, Meng Fei. Thus, the love-stricken Elizabethleft the crew in the middle of a shoot. The duo eloped to Taiwan.But her mother went after them.''Na-pulis-pulis ako hanggang Taiwan. When I returned here,nagkahiwalay na kami,'' she says.Eleven years later, in 1985, Meng Fei returned to the country tooffer her marriage. That time, she had nothing left for a career.He promised to take care of her family (she married at 16 and hadthree children when widowed at 21), so she said yes. It wassome kind of a ''business'' decision.''Eleven years had passed and I was not deeply in love with himanymore. But his offer was very good. Just think of it, here wasa man offering to take care of your family financially, and whowas only four years older and good-looking, you don't have ajob and a boyfriend--aba, bakit hindi?'' Still, her mother did notlike him.The union bore them a son. Seven years later, as Elizabeth wasvisiting Manila, Charo Santos offered her a show on Channel 2.The pay was good, but Meng Fei felt bad about her return toshow biz. When she returned to Taiwan, she discovered herhusband had another woman. Divorce''He already had two other wives aside from me. There, the manis allowed to have four to five wives. But I was the original, the'queen.' In our contract, the man is not allowed to bed otherwomen in our conjugal home because each wife has her ownhouse. So when I found out, I said, 'Okay, do you want adivorce?' He said, 'It's up to you,' which meant yes--you see, aChinese man will never say yes. So, nag-divorce kami.''She could have been entitled to a part of Meng Fei's fabulouswealth had she left their son with him, in accordance with thelaw in Taiwan. But, unlike her decision to marry the wealthyChinese actor, Elizabeth chose not to be practical this time.''My children are my priority, not money. I would rather startfrom scratch than leave my son with him. Anyway, he is MengFei's firstborn and at age 21, his father's sole heir,'' she saysconfidently.Elizabeth is now married to a 28-year-old probinsiyano, who istending their piggery business in Batangas. Is she happy atlast?''Yeah, e di kasi. Nobody is perfectly happy.'' FrustrationsStill, she has her share of frustrations. She had wanted tobecome a pilot. She used to be a professional skydiver, ''the nextbest thing.'' ''But my vision is no longer 20-20,'' she says, with afar-away look in her eyes. The same big, brown eyes suddenlylights up with joy as she waves to a group of familiar faces.Curiously, her special interest in activities traditionally identifiedwith men has led some people to doubt her sexuality.''A lesbian? Of course not! But I admire beautiful women. If awoman with a beautiful pair of legs walks across the street, I'dprobably stare at her. I'm like that, appreciative,'' she says.How would she describe herself?''I am not an out-and-out liberated woman. I'm not for abortion. Iwas never a querida. Before, I did not wear a bra, but afterhaving four children, I have to wear one.''What does she do when depressed? ''I eat a half gallon of icecream in one sitting. Which goes to show that I am seldomdepressed because I have a nice body,'' she quips, showing offher whistle-bait figure.Father's roleAsked to describe her relationship with her children, she says:''I'm very lucky with my children. We're close. Maybe my beingtough or masculine in some ways has helped. Kasi, nang walana silang tatay, I also had to assume the father's role. I taughtthem how to whistle and to go fishing. It wasn't difficultbecause, even at age 13, I was already the head of the family. Ilearned to change the car's tires. My father died early.''Her way of disciplining her children bears some semblance tothe military. Not surprisingly, since her uncles were in the armyand the navy.''Nanununtok ako ng anak. If you do not come home on time, Iwon't sleep, I'll wait for you,'' she says. ''Pag kumakain, they donot rely on the maid to put their plates in the kitchen sink. I giveeach one of them a chore. And we pray the rosary nightly,'' shebeams.What are her expectations this time? ''I will still be serious withmy craft. I remember that my nanay (Ishmael Bernal) went to myfirst taping at Channel 2 after my divorce. He reminded me that Ishould know what to do with my career this time. Otherwise, Ishould not return to show biz at all!'' she laughs, her big,beautiful eyes suddenly misting over.

[FULL] elizabeth oropesa bold movies



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