Long before showbiz beckoned, Charo Santos was already an accomplished beauty queen, winning titles in her native Calapan, Mindoro.
Her mom, Nora Navarro-Santos encouraged her to join beauty tilts, of course with the approval of her dad Winifredo Santos.
But Santos didn’t entertain the thought that she would conquer beauty pageants as she revealed in her interview with Toni Gonzaga on the latter’s YouTube channel yesterday, March 1.
Santos won these titles: Miss Calapan, Manila’s Five Prettiest, Miss Green Race 1974 and Baron Travel Girl.
“Kasi sa probinsiya ay magkakakilala lahat. They would always approach my mom and my dad and ask, ‘Uy, puwede ba iyong mga dalagita mong anak isali natin?’ Isa ako sa mga paborito niyang isinasali,” she recalled.
(It is because in the province everyone knows everyone. They would always approach my mom and dad and ask, “Hey, can your teenage daughters join the contest?” I was one of her favorites to field in the pageants.)
Did she see herself as a beauty queen?
“No,” came Santos’s curt reply. “I was never conscious of my beauty. It was never about my beauty and myself. It was more like I was being an obedient daughter,” she said.
Growing up, Santos was already into listening radio dramas.
“I think my father also is a storyteller. He would gather all six of us. He loved to watch movies so he would gather us after dinner and would tell us the story of the movie he had just seen,” she said.
“Having grown up in a simple environment, having grown up in a probinsiya (province), when I listen to different stories, it transported me to different worlds. It broadened my horizon. It opened up the world to me,” she added.
Santos’s dad is a soldier while her mom is a teacher.
“Mahilig sila sa showbiz (They were into showbiz),” Santos revealed. At one point, when her father was still single, he worked as a ticket seller in a cinema in Bulacan.
“So, he got exposed to the world of cinema. He loved to buy showbiz magazines. Alam mo, ang favorite actress niya, si Helen Gamboa,” she revealed. (You know, his favorite actress is Helen Gamboa.)
Santos’s mother ventured into singing but was not able to pursue it because her father was very conservative.
“He thought that the place of a woman is sa bahay lang (just at home). So, I guess, iyong mga frustrations ng nanay ko ay na-project sa aming mga anak niya (my mom’s frustrations were projected onto us, her children),” she said.
Santos has since retired as ABS-CBN’s president and CEO but she remains the company’s chief content officer. She is also host of the long-running weekend show “Maalaala Mo Kaya.” NVG