Action star-turned-politician Joseph “Erap” Estrada got nostalgic recently as he talked about his life as a movie star.
It’s common knowledge for everyone that Erap played lead role in over a hundred films. He produced more than 70 films in an acting career that spanned some three decades. Among his notable works are “Sa Kuko Ng Agila,” “Mamang Sorbetero,” “Kumander Alibasbas,” “Ito Ang Pilipino,” “The Moises Padilla Story,” and “Tatak Ng Mundo.”
After a 20-year hiatus from showbiz to focus on his political career, he made a comeback on the big screen via the 2009 film “Ang Tanging Pamilya,” alonsgside Ai Ai delas Alas, Toni Gonzaga and Sam Milby.
In an intimate lunch with members of the entertainment media recently, the 81-year-old Manila Mayor reelectionist said that though he’s not visible anymore in the field of filmmaking, it still holds a special place in his heart.
Several reporters suggested that he should restore his films in order to keep its memory alive especially for the young generations.
“Unfortunately, most of these films are now gone,” he admitted. “Binaha ang film center, napasama. Sayang.”
Erap was the first FAMAS Hall of Fame recipient for Best Actor (1981) and also became a Hall of Fame award-winner as a producer (1983). He often played heroes of the lower classes, making him popular among several impoverished citizens.
“Back then, everybody in the movies was mestizo. I was the only one who’s very Pinoy. That’s why I become the favorite of masa. It was the poor who catapulted my career as an actor,” he said.
While his contemporaries, say Eddie Garcia and Gloria Romero, are still doing movies, Erap would rather not follow suit. He admitted, though, that he misses it “once in a while.”
“You know, I’d like to keep an image. I’m too old to do films. If ever I do one, baka sabihin ng mga tao, ‘Ay ang tanda na ni Erap, ganu’n na ‘yung mukha,’’’ his reason was. “I’d like them to remember me the way I was before. Let’s just leave it to the younger actors.”
Erap also remembered the late Fernando Poe Jr.
The best buddies off-cam and on-cam co-starred in many movies in the ’60s and ’70s. Among those are “To Susan With Love,” “Baril Sa Baril” and “Tatak Ng Tundo.”
“We’re like brothers,” he said.
In 1974, Erap founded the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (Mowelfund), which helps filmmakers through medical reimbursements, hospitalization, surgery and death benefits, livelihood, and alternative income opportunities and housing. Its educational arm, the Mowelfund Film Institute, has produced some of the most skilled and respected producers, filmmakers, writers and performers in both the independent and mainstream sectors of the industry since its inception in 1979.
He also founded, together with Guillermo de Vega, the first Metro Manila Film Festival in 1975.
On a lighter note, he has no “secret” when it comes to aging gracefully. Surprisingly, he eats whatever he wants. He also drinks red wine occasionally.
Erap’s colorful love life is an open book. He also quipped he still has an active sex life.
According to the actor-politician, he has “15 children” from different women.
“Walang na-agrabyado ni isa sa mga anak ko,” he noted. “I support them, send them to good schools, give them what they need in life.”
Erap turns 82 on April 19. And since that is Holy Week, he will not have a big party.
“I’m just going to have a simple celebration,” he said.