Are you a Noranian or a Vilmanian? Younger generations weaned on Judy Ann and Jolina would find the question quaint. But not the movie fans (and who isn't in this country?) who grew up in the '70s and early '80s, the heyday of the Guy-Vi idolatry.
Back then, hordes of Nora and Vilma diehards would literally come to blows to defend and advance the cause of their respective idols--a kind of fever that has not been seen since in local show-biz, not even in the succeeding era of Sharon Cuneta and Maricel Soriano.
My mom was a staunch Vilmanian, which meant she had to keep tabs on Nora as well. One weekend, while my father was giving me a haircut, Mama let out a shriek. That was a big thing, because my mother hardly ever raised her voice. Startled, my father asked what it was. "Nag-anak na si Nora! Lalaki! (Nora gave birth to a boy!)," answered my mother breathlessly, reading from the newspaper.
There it was, the front-page story of Bulletin Today (now The Manila Bulletin), complete with a picture of the baby Kristoffer Ian. Relieved, my father, who was never into show-biz, berated my mother for her undue excitement. "Paghuna ko kun nano na" (rough translation: "That's it?"), he snorted, adding that he almost cut off my ear when she yelped. Ugh.
Nora and Vilma, Vilma and Nora. The two most-awarded and most enduring stars of Philippine movies. Once upon a time, in their teeny-bopper years, they also cut music albums aside from starring in movies and television. Singing, of course, came naturally to Nora, who had kick-started her superstardom by winning in "Tawag ng Tanghalan." It was infinitely harder for Vilma, who couldn't sing if her life depended on it. But warble she must, if she had to go toe-to-toe with her fiercest rival. So she also released her own albums.
Both of them would record their own take on the Jackson 5 Christmas hit, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." Who knew the clips would become a huge cult hit on the Internet nearly 40 years later?
Listen to them below and take your pick. Who's got the better version, Ate Guy or Ate Vi? 'Wag lang tumawa, vote nuh! (Finger pointing upwards.)
(Thanks, AJ, for the clips!)