Stardom, solitude, and Jaclyn Jose

Stardom, solitude, and Jaclyn Jose
Jaclyn Jose —FB PHOTO

By this time the ashes of actress Jaclyn Jose, who died at 60 early this month, would have been laid to rest at the Garden of the Divine Word Columbarium in Quezon City.

Her older sister, the semi-retired actress Veronica Jones, believes that she is a pure soul. Indeed, she was a kind person, a natural being, unpretentious, open, direct, sincere, and gifted with a retentive memory.

I vividly remember the first time we met. She was introduced to me as Mary Jane Sta. Ana Guck by her mother, Rosalinda “Linda” Sta. Ana, and her future short-lived talent manager, Rino Fernan Silverio, a komiks writer/editor, entertainment columnist, and line producer of local movies.

Silverio and Boy C. de Guia led us to the small, dirt-poor house where the Filipino-American-German Jane lived in Novaliches, Quezon City. Both seasoned showbiz personalities, they were then helping Jane’s mother groom the teenager to be a star. (By “us” I meant the proteges of De Guia, the still missing popular entertainment writer, star creator, TV host and producer of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s—all of us movie reporters collectively called the “Special People”: Lhar Santiago, Danny Vibas, Pilar Mateo, Ronald Mendoza and myself, along with Silverio and Josie Manago, who were Boy’s contemporaries.)

I remember a dusty room with a wooden bed on the side and a dilapidated sala set in the living area.

Aling Linda had left it to Silverio, being Veronica Jones’ manager and already entrenched in showbiz, to handle Jane’s future career in entertainment.

Veronica Jones

At that time, Veronica was slowing down in her movie/TV career because she had gotten hitched with the then mayor of Caloocan City, Macario “Boy” Asistio. Aling Linda wanted Jane to take on and continue Veronica’s work so she could support her younger siblings, when all the teenager wanted was to become an interior designer.

Ariel Henson, who went on to become a character actor and director of skin flicks, said he was a neighbor and schoolmate of Jane’s at the Metro Manila College in Novaliches.  

Magkababata kami,” he said, recalling that Jane was in her third year in high school when he was a freshman, and that he was close to her mother and she to his, Marcela Henson, a public school teacher.

Henson said he still saw Jane after she graduated from high school. She took up interior design in college but eventually abandoned it when she embarked on a showbiz career. (In Jane’s 1996 film “Mulanay sa Pusod ng Paraiso,” he was in the technical unit.) 


And so the rat race, Jane’s screen job hunt, began.

Silverio took her to Baby Pascual, whose eponymous movie company was then, in 1984, about to shoot “Chicas,” a coming-of-age film about young girls in pursuit of the good life that popularity is thought to offer. Some of those in the cast had already been introduced or done walk-on parts in earlier films—among the boys were Dan Alvaro, Jeffrey Coronel, Marty Merino and Lito Pastrana; the girls included Tanya Gomez, Lovely Rivero, Rachel Avila (the future Rachel Ann Wolfe), and Karla Kalua.

The only big name in the cast was Rey “PJ” Abellana, the heartthrob mainstay of the daily GMA TV drama “Anna Liza.” He made up a love team with the equally popular fellow teenybopper Leni Santos.

Jane got in, and it was director William Pascual who gave her the screen name Jacklyn (with a “k”) Jose.

Silverio being too busy line-producing films and managing the partly active Veronica Jones, his unofficial management of Jane’s career was turned over to Ed Instrella, a friend of the Pascuals, who was mostly around during the film shooting and was also embarking on talent management at the time.

Jane’s acting talent was easily noticed in “Chicas,” a mild hit at a time when bold or mushy melodramas were the craze, giving the action capers of Lito Lapid, Rudy Fernandez, Ace Vergel, Phillip Salvador, Roy Flores, Anthony Alonzo, etc. or the comedies of Dolphy, Redford White, Chiquito, etc. a run for their money.

The rest, as they say, is history.

The now award-winning director Chito S. Rono immediately gave Jaclyn (the “k” now dropped) her biggest break, “Private Show,” in the same year. 

(Rono initially carried the screen name “Sixto Kayko” for whatever reason. But according to entertainment journalist Art Tapalla, Rono hid his real name in his directorial debut because he is the son of Jose Rono, a member of President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s Cabinet.)

In 1985, the director Lino Brocka who went on to become National Artist for Film got Jane to star in Special People Productions’ “White Slavery,” with Sarsi Emmanuelle, Emily Loren, Patrick de la Rosa, Daniel Fernando, Ricky Davao and Princess Punzalan.

The role as sex slave earned Jane her first best-actress nomination, from the prestigious Gawad Urian of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino.

In the true sense

Most of Jane’s films were sex cinema. But she was a cut above the rest primarily because of her unique acting chops and her directors’ adroit handling. She was billed as an actress in the true sense of the word.

Her artistry and originality, her dimensional body nuances, and her voice monotone gave rise to the “Jaclyn Jose School of Non-Acting”—distinctive in the smirk, the sidelong look, the arched brow and other minute details that marked her so-called non-acting, very Jane even in her private acts.

Many of her starrers were a cross between naturalistic and realistic trends, their environments mostly squalor and survival of the fittest, which mirrored her personal history.

In one casual conversation on portraying destitution and impoverishment onscreen, Jane quipped that it was nothing compared to what she had been through: “‘Yan lang. Samantalang ang pinagdaanan ko sa kahirapan, sobra pa.”

Jane was prey to the lure of her first choice—the glitz and glam of as well as the passion and inclination for interior design, and later, a conscious shift to the fame and fortune of showbiz to deliver her family from abject poverty.

In Brocka’s “Macho Dancer” (1988), her role as the prostitute Bambi was as pivotal as that of the male strippers and call boys: willing and revolting yet—a contradiction in themselves—thinking victims in the exploitative sex trade run by corrupt and oppressive proprietors in cahoots with the authorities.

Having navigated life with Jane for the longest time, I witnessed her humility in the right place and time and her prudent assertiveness on issues including personal and artistic rights.

She freely expressed her thoughts and opinions about censorship in her raw intelligence.

During the controversy about the paternity of her daughter Andi Eigenmann’s child, Ellie, Jane said her piece no matter who would receive the brunt of her straightforwardness, which was both logical and fair.

I also remember the entertainment writer JC Nigado telling me that during the filming of “Masahista” (2005) with then first-time director Brillante Mendoza, Jane spoke her mind on character motivation in a particular scene.  


Jaclyn Jose
The late actress —JACLYN JOSE’S FB PHOTO

Most of the time, Jane preferred to be alone; it was her natural tendency.

The mid-‘80s sexy actress Vida Verde (Catherine Mejia in real life) recalled that when she was running around with Jane in those years, Jane lived alone in her house in San Juan City. 

Vida and Jane hung out together because their boyfriends at the time were the brothers Mabasa, the singer Loy and the media man Roy, respectively. 

When Jane was found dead at home in a plush village in Quezon City in the morning of March 2, she was by her lonesome. According to her sister Veronica, she had allowed her house help to take a vacation.

Andi, daughter of Jaclyn Jose

Her daughter Andi has settled in Siargao with partner Philmar Alipayo, their kids Lilo and Koa, and Ellie. Gwen Garimond Guck, her son with musician Kenneth Ilagan, lives in the United States.

According to Andi in a press conference organized right after she arrived in Manila from Siargao, her nanay (mother) died of myocardial infarction or a heart attack. Veronica Jones and the police authorities ruled out suicide or foul play.

Jane is a happy soul.

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