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Osang, Oro & Sarsi: From sex symbols to fine actresses

Manila, Philippines – ROSANNA ROCES – Upon reading the title of this column, Rosanna Roces right away comes to mind. A sex symbol who turned into a fine actress, with awards to boot, including an Urian.

Osang doesn’t hide her background, from Pegasus to broken relationships to the big screen. Formerly billed Ana Maceda, single mother to two children (and now a grandmother), she inherited her mestiza features from a German father who she never knew. Offcam, Osang is Jennifer Adriano, adopted by a couple who treated her like their own flesh and blood.

From so-so sexy roles, the brutally frank actress merited raves for her performances in Carlitos Siguion Reyna’s “Ligaya” and “Selya” and Chito Roño’s “Curacha,” “Babae sa Bintana,” and “La Vida Rosa,” where she won an Urian best actress award, tied with Assunta de Rossi for “Hubog.”

When her sexy days were over, Osang starred in indies where she also shone, including Adolf Alix’s “Presa.”

She shares the limelight with Nora Aunor on TV5’s “Sa Ngalan ng Ina.”

SARSI EMMANUEL – Then there’s “softdrink beauty” Sarsi Emmanuel, discovered by the late Rey de la Cruz. Pretty, sexy, and yes classy despite the cheap build-up. She co-starred with Miss Rita Gomez in “Bomba Star” and was directed by Peque Gallaga in “Virgin Forest,” a historical film with the capture of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo as backdrop.

Too bad she disappeared from the movie scene while battling many personal problems. A few years back, Sarsi was “rediscovered” by a TV program, working as takilyera in a perya.

Other “softdrink beauties” also had unhappy endings: Pepsi Paloma (suicide), Coca Nicolas, Brandy Ayala. Ah, but the last was a “hardrink beauty,” found some years back loitering in a Tondo market, dazed and stoned.

ELIZABETH OROPESA – The dusky Bicolana beauty, former Miss Luzon, and now a healer known as “Dr. Elizabeth O. Freeman.” Her father was an American.

Oropesa is one of the favorites of director Ishmael Bernal, who directed her in the classic “Nunal sa Tubig,” “Mister Mo, Lover Boy Ko,” and “Lumapit, Lumayo ang Umaga,” which gave her a FAMAS best actress award.

Her other memorable roles: Marilou Diaz Abaya’s “Milagros” and “Sa Pusod ng Dagat” and Joel Lamangan’s “Bulaklak ng Maynila,” which gave her a grand slam, five best actress trophies.

Elizabeth is one of the Belles of producer and starmaker Jesse Ejercito. The others: Lorna Tolentino, Chanda Romero, Beth Bautista, Alma Moreno, Daria Ramirez, Rio Locsin, initially built as sexpots but later becoming good actresses. Yes, including Alma, who was outstanding in Mel Chionglo’s “Kapalit.”

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