What could I do? I was a Cory Aquino diehard, the opposition press was making her out to be a plucky young heroine for her role in campaigning for her imprisoned dad during the 1978 elections, much of showbiz media was agog about her interest in joining the movies, and she happened to look like my sister, give or take a few paligo (peace, Ate!).
Our obligatory reading fare at home post-August 21, 1983 were the courageous We Forum, then Malaya, then Mr. & Ms. Special Edition, and finally the Inquirer when it came out a few days before the snap elections. One Mr. & Ms. issue stands out in my memory: a Christmas release with a cover showing Kris resting her head on her mother's shoulder during a campaign break. The title was "Mother and Child." How could I not be hooked?
I never saw her now-historic guesting on Inday Badiday's "See True," since we didn't have television in the province. Maybe if we had, and I had heard her voice that early, I'd have signed off permanently. But that's getting ahead of the story.
The first time I saw Kris on a TV show was when she and Louie Heredia subbed for Martin Nievera and Pops Fernandez on an episode of "Penthouse Live." She was pretty, rather nervous and hyper, and--very Kris--babbled about her accessories. We saw all this on betamax tape, because with TV unable to reach us, enterprising video shops taped the weekly primetime shows and had them rented out (Yes, I watched every fabulous "VIP" opening number on betamax). Needless to say, "Kris Aquino on Penthouse Live" was a blockbuster video, and my mother even invited her officemates to watch it in our house.
So there I was, clinging to her every word and cutting out every good picture of her. Proof? Here:
That's Kris' first print advertisement, for Lux--snipped from I don't recall which magazine now. I found it last December when I rummaged through my Sorsogon-based baul, and the thought that I had bothered to keep it tickled me no end.
Ian Casocot has written a thoughtful piece on our continuing (adoring or horrified, take your pick) fascination with Ninoy Aquino's youngest daughter. I'd like to think I've outgrown my adolescent obsession with her, but I can never say I've lost interest--not when her very public life has grown more and more gripping through the years. Though nowadays she makes me cringe every time, it's true that I can't look away, either. I've always liked her being articulate and straightforward, but she loses me the moment her shallowness and self-absorption kick in.
So why am I blogging about her? Because her recent marital blues splashed on TV made her hot copy, as usual, and kept me glued to "The Buzz" far longer than I would care to admit. And also because this blog's recent encounter with an irate Sarah Geronimo fan (and self-proclaimed Palanca awardee) made me think of a similar experience I had relating to Kris Aquino.
As has been pointed out, with Kris, either you like her or you don't. And some people who like her can really lose it sometimes.
In January 2005, right after the close of another disastrous Metro Manila Film Festival, I wrote an omnibus review titled "Memo to RP movies: Back to basics, please." One of the entries in that filmfest was "So Happy Together," directed by Joel Lamangan and starring Kris Aquino and Eric Quizon. Here's the entirety of what I said about that film.
"It seems pointless to talk about Lamangan's third entry, "So Happy Together"--billed as a gay comedy--when talking about plausibility and the movies' chief obligation to the notion of 'suspension of disbelief.'
"It's a comedy, you say, so give it leeway. Well, try sitting through two hours of Kris Aquino's sonic-boom screeching to see if you feel buoyant afterwards.
"More to the point, in this movie, Aquino and Eric Quizon play best friends from their 20s to old age. Yet while Quizon visibly ages, even appearing bald, paunchy and sick in the end, Aquino remains young-looking and vibrant throughout. How sweet."
I got about two dozen e-mails from readers after the review came out, all--except four--saying I did the right thing by pointing out how lame or rotten most of the entries were. Three letter-senders castigated me for my use of "big words" like "Oedipal undertones" and "puerile counterfoil." One e-mail, coming all the way from a lady in Los Angeles, California, was the strangest:
"You've been maligning Kris Aquino, yet her movie came out # 2. True her voice is distracting. but voice is just one element that is easily overcome by other positive factors. Regardless of what you say and think about Kris Aquino, the fact is she is very successful and rich because she works very hard and she deserves what she gets. And to think that she does not even have to work and subject herself to critics who are of lesser status is what makes her admirable and adorable.
"What about you? Do you have her beauty, brain and wealth? I am sure your response is you are not immoral, you did not have STD, blah, blah......Well, get this....God does not allow perfection on any human being because He does not want any man to boast before Him."
Note the anger, the non-sequiturs, the utter lack of irony. Reminds you of someone we came to know quite recently, right? (So there are more of them than I had thought!)
I shared this e-mail with my friends, and for weeks after that, they had a foolproof punchline.
"Sa Max's Megamall na lang tayo kumain."
"Why there? Do you have her beauty, brain and wealth?"
To which I would reply, "Currect!"