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Rest in peace, Mila del Sol





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Mila del Sol, the grand lady in the golden age of the Philippine cinema, has died at the age of 97. This was announced by her grandson, former Parañaque Vice Mayor and later Rep. Gus Tambunting. Mila del Sol (Clarita Villarba Rivera in real life) starred in over 40 films (including Ibong Adarna and Villa Hermosa) between 1939 and 1955, and co-starred with other movie greats like Fernando Poe Sr., Leopoldo Salcedo, Rogelio de la Rosa, and Jaime de la Rosa.

She was the recipient of the Cinema’s Living Treasure Citation (1994), Natatanging Gawad Urian (2013), and a Congressional Citation “for her contributions to the movie industry that enriched Philippine culture and Philippine society in general (2014).”

When she retired from the movies, she founded Superior Maintenance Services (SMS), a hugely successful provider of janitorial and related services, whose business is now being run by her grandchildren. SMS directly employs over 100,000.

Gus Tambunting described his “Lulay” as “a “loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and great-great grandmother who lived a long, charmed life.” Mila del Sol is survived by her children Sonny Tambunting, actress Jeanne Young, Ancel Romero, and Leo Romero.

Auntie Mil was the younger sister of my mother, another pre-war actress whose screen name was Gloria Imperial. A younger brother was Duds Rivera who in the 70s was a top radio and TV news anchor. Auntie Mil’s daughter is Jeanne Young, popular TV host, movie actress, and singer in the 80s. Her nephew Robert Rivera (former Press Undersecretary and TV network executive) was once dubbed the John Travolta of the Philippines. Her grandson is musician Ira Cruz. Her grand nephew is OneMig Bondoc, popular movie actor and teenage heartthrob in early 2000.

Another colorful personality who passed away recently was Madam Auring. Aurea Sabalboro in real life, Madam Auring is said to have correctly predicted that Spain’s Amparo Muñoz would become Miss Universe during the contest held in Manila in 1974. Thus began her fame as a fortune teller. Soon movie and political celebrities started coming to her “office” to have their fortunes told. In time, she also started playing bit roles in movies and was a frequent guest in entertainment talk shows.

In the course of my stint as chair of the Metropolitan Manila Authority (forerunner of the MMDA) in 1991-1992, Madam Auring sent me an invitation to her forthcoming birthday party. When she called me by phone to confirm if I was coming, I replied: “Hulaan mo!” I heard hearty laughter at the other end of the line.



On two consecutive days last week (just before typhoon “Ulysses” hit), I attended two important business meetings. Last Monday, the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) board had its annual planning session. Unlike last year’s whole day meeting which was held at Fairmont Hotel, this year’s had to be done via virtual mode. But just like in in-person meetings, Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala (JAZA) punctually started the session and expertly guided the discussions to remain within time limits. The discussions went smoothly (marred only by the spotty Internet connection) as the bank’s senior management officials led by President Bong Consing gave their assessment of where the bank stands, given the pandemic, and the strategic initiatives moving forward. At 12 noon, JAZA called a lunch recess. Almost simultaneously, I heard, via intercom, the voice of our condo lobby receptionist announcing “the delivery of packed lunch from Mr. Consing.” Now, that’s flawless timing and execution.

Last Tuesday, I attended, also via virtual mode, the Ayala Integrated Corporate Governance, Risk Management, and Sustainability Summit. The summit is part of Ayala’s continuing education program and was attended by 460 directors and senior management officials from around the conglomerate.

This year’s summit underpins the Ayala group’s commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as well as to build better before and during the pandemic. As Solomon Hermosura, Ayala’s chief corporate governance officer, explained: “The collective pursuit across the Ayala group of ways to turn the pandemic into an opportunity to raise the standards of our governance, risk management, and sustainability practice led us to our theme today.”

Fernando Zobel de Ayala elaborated: “I strongly believe that the best way forward for businesses is to make their balance sheets future-ready through an unwavering commitment to shared value and sustainability. As we move forward and design meaningful and effective ways to build back better, let us keep (our) stakeholder groups and our commitment to them at the center of our efforts even after the pandemic ends.”

The resource speakers (in the main session and in the breakout sessions) included the following: Steve Howard, co-chair and founder of We Mean Business; Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala; Nina Arquint, chief risk officer of Corporate Solutions; Rodney Irwin, managing director of World Business for Sustainable Development; Jose Teodoro “TG” Limcaoco, Ayala CFO and chief risk and sustainability officer;

Ernest Cu, Globe President and CEO; Elisa Mallis of Asia Pacific Center for Creative Leaderships, James Wong and David Hill of Wills Towers Watson; Jane Drummond of AON; Ronald Chung of the Fung Group; Wouter Drinkwaard of Shell Global; UnanchernLoh of Black Sun; and Cherrie Atilano, president and CEO of AGREA.

No packed lunch this time, for the simple reason that we started after lunch.

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Written by Tempo Desk

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