Vilma Santos-Recto (born Maria Rosa Vilma Tuazon Santos November 3, 1953 in Bamban, Tarlac) is the most awarded and one of the most popular actresses in the Philippines. She is known as the “Star for All Seasons.” She is currently in politics as the first woman Governor of Batangas. She was also the first woman Mayor of Lipa City for 9 years (3 terms).
Vilma Santos began acting at the age of nine, after winning the title role for the hit drama film Trudis Liit (Little Trudis). She immediately received her first acting trophy as Best Child Performer from FAMAS for the same film.
Groomed as a lead actress in her teens, her popularity grew further, bolstered by her loveteam with actor Edgar Mortiz and rivalry with contemporary actress and real life friend Nora Aunor. At the height of her showbiz career she was a consistent box-office drawer highlighted by comic-book adapted films like the Darna series and Dyesebel, and dramatic/daring films like Burlesk Queen and Sinasamba Kita, among others.
In 1998, she entered politics and ran for mayor of Lipa City, Batangas where she won by landslide victories in three consecutive elections. As the first woman mayor of Lipa City, she helped bring not just economic progress and infrastructure development to Lipa City, but more notably her various programs on public health, education and environment, which again earned various local and international awards and recognitions.
In 2005, the University of the Philippines conferred to her the Gawad Plaridel Award for her achievements and contributions both as an actress and a public servant. In the same year she was conferred an honorary doctorate degree (honoris causa) in humanities by the Lipa City College. She was again honored in 2006 by the University of the Philippines as one of the four awardees in UP’s First Diwata Awards.
Governor Vilma Santos is married to Senator Ralph Recto, who belongs to a well-known political clan in the Philippines. Together they have a son, Ryan Christian. She is also mother to actor/model/television host Luis ‘Lucky’ Manzano, from previous marriage to actor Edu Manzano.
Santos-Recto was proclaimed as the Governor-elect of the province of Batangas on May 21, 2007 after garnering 475,740 votes against Sanchez’s 344,969 for a winning margin of more than 130,000. She is the first female governor of the province of Batangas.