By Joseph Peter R. Gonzales

Whether it’s a movie or television show or concert or recording, the rivals are always on their toes to come up with only their best performance, to the delight and satisfaction of the audience.

Undoubtedly, rivalries make showbiz highly exciting and colorful. It’s inevitable that two outstanding stars who are contemporaries will be compared and pitted against each other. Their legions of followers won’t settle for anything less. The question as to who’s more popular, talented, charming and has stronger mass appeal is always the bone of contention. Needless to say, the competition stirs, attracts and generates huge interest from among the public.

Over the years, film aficionados have witnessed numerous rivalries in the local ‘biz. Fan hysteria is always alive due to such especially when each camp try to outdo each other. In the final analysis, it’s the viewing public that benefits from these showbiz rivalries since they are treated to the best offerings of the competing parties.

Below are some of the most celebrated rivalries in Philippine show business:

Nora Aunor vs. Vilma Santos


This is considered as the most popular and enduring rivalry in the history of the local ‘biz. Spanning five decades already, the competition of these two movie queens is simply admirable. From their teenybopper days, they evolved into critically-acclaimed and award-winning actresses. Each has a legitimate title tucked under her sleeve: Ate Guy is the one and only Superstar, while Ate Vi is the Star for All Seasons. They starred in countless hit potboilers and hosted their own musical variety shows titled Superstar and Vilma! respectively. It’s amazing that their fans are still with them until now, ever supportive of their respective endeavor. At present, Nora still continues to collect Best Actress trophies both in the local and international scenes, while Vilma dabbles her time successfully between public service and showbiz.

Sharon Cuneta vs. Maricel Soriano


The junior superstars of the ‘80s. Shawie started out as a tin-pan-alley princess while Marya was a renowned child actress. They were prized possessions of rival studio outfits Viva and Regal. Sharon was a consistent Box-office Queen and sought-after product endorser while Maricel exhibited versatility in her early works, excelling both in drama and comedy. The latter also had a long-running drama anthology called Maricel Drama Special which put her acting skills to the fore. On her part, Sharon hosted a top-rating musical variety show titled The Sharon Cuneta Show which lasted for more than a decade. Both have also collected numerous Best Actress accolades and continue to make their presence felt in the showbiz scene up to this time. All the success they’ve attained is just fitting to their stature as the industry’s undisputed Megastar and Diamond Star.

Aga Muhlach vs. Richard Gomez


Theirs is an exciting rivalry, which dates back to their matinee idol days in the mid-‘80s. Aga came into the scene a year ahead when he was introduced in the classic youth-oriented flick Bagets where he instantly made waves. Goma’s introductory movie was equally impressive as Maricel Soriano’s object of affection in the fantasy blockbuster Inday Bote. Goma and Aga are perfect rivals since they are each other’s opposite: while the former is the tall, dark and handsome type, the latter is the good-looking mestizo who sports a boy-next-door image. Over the years, they became premiere leading men and starred in hit potboilers and top-rating TV shows (Oki Doki Doc and Palibhasa Lalaki). For some, Richard has the edge when it comes to versatility since he can be both “bida” and “contravida” on screen like his portrayal in the thriller Dahas which won for him a number of Best Actor trophies. Aga, meanwhile has done numerous romantic-comedies which made a big killing at the tills and has also nabbed Best Actor recognition from various award-giving bodies. Even up to this time when they’re already ideal family men, Goma and Aga are still forces to reckon with. The more seasoned they’ve turned out and can give younger actors a run of their own money.

Alma Moreno vs. Lorna Tolentino vs. Rio Locsin


In the mid-‘70s, Ness, LT and Rio reigned supreme as local filmdom’s premiere sex goddesses. This lovely triumvirate top-billed countless hit flicks including Waikiki where they shared the screen all together for the first time. In the initial stage, Alma was the clear leader in the race as she churned one box-office hit after the other. In fact, there came a point when she was considered as the third biggest female star after Nora and Vilma because of her projects’ huge commercial success. She also made waves on television with her musical variety show called “Loveli-Ness.”

Lorna and Rio also have their own share of box-office hits and gradually transformed into good actresses, specially the former who scored a grand slam victory for Narito ang Puso Ko. LT also tried hosting via Startalk over at GMA 7 and like Rio, appears in soaps at present. Alma, meanwhile diverted to politics as she recently ran for senator in this year’s elections.

Gabby Concepcion vs. William Martinez 


Local cinema’s fair-haired boys during the ‘80s. Female and gay fans alike swooned over these two matinee idols then who are prized possessions of Regal Films. Gabu and Yam were a stark contrast of each other: the former is mestizo while the other one is very Filipino. They were also the official screen partners of the top female stars of the era namely, Sharon Cuneta and Maricel Soriano. No fan magazines then would not place them on the cover because of their massive popularity.        While William was the funny type who excelled in comedy vehicles, Gabby’s image was that of the next important leading man—which later took shape. Although it was Yam who initially made attempts at serious acting via City after Dark and Alapaap, Gabby gradually honed his acting chops after working with critically-acclaimed directors like the late Ishmael Bernal (Pinulot Ka Lang sa Lupa) and Chito Roño (Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin). At present, Gabby was able to revive his showbiz career and manages to get meaty parts in soaps like GMA 7’s Because of You opposite Carla Abellana. Meanwhile, William occasionally plays supporting roles both in films and boob tube.

Rosanna Roces vs. Joyce Jimenez vs. Ara Mina


During the era of the so-called “Titillating Films”, these three were the front-runners. Rosanna was the pride of Seiko Films, Joyce was Viva’s hot property and Ara was Regal’s best bet. Box-office-wise, Osang lorded it over then with mammoth hits like Patikim ng Pinya, Basa sa Dagat and Gabing Mamulat si Eba. Joyce became a sensation with her hit offerings Scorpio Nights 2, Warat and Balahibong Pusa, while Ara scored big with Sagad sa Init and Phone Sex. Rosanna was given the chance to become a TV host through the showbiz-oriented talk show Startalk and partnered in hit potboilers with some of the big names in the industry like Phillip Salvador, Bong Revilla, Jr., Vic Sotto and the late Rudy Fernandez. On her part, Ara was hand-picked by the late King of Philippine Movies Fernando Poe, Jr. to do a movie with him. Joyce meanwhile was tapped to do projects opposite Richard Gomez and Aga Muhlach. Eventually, Osang and Ara evolved into competent performers and were able to win Best Actress trophies. Joyce opted to shy away from the limelight after getting married.

Christopher de Leon vs. Jay Ilagan vs. Dindo Fernando


Although Christopher de Leon is regarded as the undisputed “Drama King” of local cinema, the late Jay Ilagan and Dindo Fernando were also worthy contenders during their prime. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, when there were lots of classic dramas, these three thespians exhibited outstanding acting range. Among Jay’s critically-acclaimed movies were: Kisapmata, Soltero, Brutal and Sister Stella L which won for him a handful of Best Actor trophies. Dindo’s best include: Langis at Tubig, Gabi na Kumander, Muling Buksan ang Puso and Init sa Magdamag. Of course, as the longest-reigning premiere leading man of Philippine Cinema, Boyet’s body of work is simply outstanding. There’s Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang, Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon?, Ikaw ay Akin, Relasyon, Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos, Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising and a whole lot more. Up to this day, Boyet still gets meaty parts both in film and television and is always the idol of the new generation of dramatic actors.

Judy Ann Santos vs. Claudine Barretto vs. Jolina Magdangal


They were the top three hottest female stars of their era. Juday’s Mara Clara was a phenomenal hit that propelled her popularity to greater heights, earning her the moniker Young Superstar. Claudine did Mula sa Puso which rated very well and cemented her status as one of her generation’s premiere stars. Jolina, meanwhile, is a triple treat since apart from acting she also does singing and hosting. She was once touted as Maricel Soriano’s heiress. In the long run, Juday and Claudine would win Best Actress trophies and were able to work with the top two superstars of the land namely, Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos. Judy Ann shared the frame with Ate Guy in Babae, while Claudine played Ate Vi’s daughter in Anak. For her part, Jolina is lucky to have worked with both ABS-CBN and GMA and still does well in recordings and hosting. The three are still active at this point and for sure, they will still surprise the public with their best offerings.

Piolo Pascual vs. Jericho Rosales vs. Dennis Trillo


Matinee idols-turned-serious actors. This best describes Piolo, Echo and Dennis who started out as screen heartthrobs but later evolved into reliable performers, the reason why until now, they’re still on top of the heap. Each has already won Best Actor trophies from various award-giving bodies and continue to mesmerize the public with their sterling on screen portrayals.

Piolo continues to dominate as one of his generation’s A-1 leading men as he gets paired with the country’s hottest female stars whether on film or soap opera. Echo stands out as well because of the quality and commercial viability of the projects he appears into. Meanwhile, Dennis’ weapon is his being experimental when it comes to the roles he breathes life on screen, like his ground-breaking portrayal in the hit soap My Husband’s Lover..

John Lloyd Cruz vs. Dingdong Dantes vs. Richard Gutierrez


This is an exciting match with talent, mass appeal and good looks as determining factors. All three have got what it takes to be on top of their game. Lloydie is the front-runner when it comes to acting recognition as he is regarded as the best male performer in his generation, winning a handful of Best Actor statuettes to his name. He also starred in many hit flicks opposite various leading ladies, proving his marketability. Dong will not be left behind since he’s also got Best Actor awards and is more versatile since he can also do hosting and top-bill action vehicles like the commercially successful Aswang Chronicles series.

Meanwhile, Richard is the ideal leading man with his well-chiselled face. He can also host effectively and can boast of his huge mass appeal as attested by the ratings success of all his TV shows regardless of who his screen partner is.

Marian Rivera vs. Angel Locsin


They have one common denominator: they both played Darna on its two last chart-topping installations on the boob tube. When Angel left GMA to be a Kapamilya, Marian filled her shoes and became the station’s Prime Time Queen. Angel already won Best Actress awards and so did Marian. These two are an exciting match since physically, their beauty are opposites. Both are voluptuous and good actresses. While Angel’s track record as a dramatic actress is quite impressive, Marian can boast of the fact that she is an all-around treat who, apart from drama can be an effective comedienne and TV host as well.

Bea Alonzo vs. Jennylyn Mercado


They are two of the most highly-competent actresses of this era. Both started with teenybopper roles in their respective home studios namely, ABS-CBN and GMA. Jen was the very first “Female Ultimate Survivor” in the Kapuso’s ground-breaking reality show StarStruck while Bea was one promising Star Magic talent then. It’s amazing how they evolved into good actresses: over the years, Bea is given very good projects by Star Cinema which let her show her acting chops while Jen’s training ground were the chart-topping soaps she top-billed in GMA. Both already nabbed Best Actress trophies and still have a long way to go in the ‘biz.

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