Mila del Sol

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Mila del Sol
Mila del Sol, Gawad Parangal night, 2010
Born Clarita Villarba Rivera
(1923-05-12) May 12, 1923 (age 91)
Tondo, Manila, Philippines
Occupation Filipino actor entrepreneur philanthropist
Years active 1939-present

Clarita Villarba Rivera (born May 12, 1923[1]), better known as Mila del Sol, is a Filipina film actress, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Del Sol was born in Tondo, Manila. She gained fame in her very first lead role in the 1939 film Giliw Ko. She had been discovered by LVN Pictures President Doña Sisang de Leon, who insisted in casting her over the objections of the film's director, who felt she was too young for the part.[2] It was the film's director, Carlos Vander Tolosa, who gave her the screen name "Mila del Sol", for "causing the sun (sol) to appear as if by miracle (milagro) over his otherwise overcast set whenever she was called in to do her scenes".[3]

Film production shut down during the Japanese occupation and was restored only in 1945. Del Sol returned to LVN and starred in its production of Manuel Conde's Orasang Ginto, the first post-war Filipino film. She starred in other LVN films of the 1940s, including Ibong Adarna (1949) and Villa Hermosa.[1]

Del Sol retired from films to raise a family in the 1950s, but staged a comeback in 1960 with two films released that year, Pakipot and Tatlong Magdalena.[1] The following year, she starred in an international production, Espionage Far East, and later starred in a long-running television series. She began her career as an entrepreneur in 1964, and focused on philanthropic work from the 1970s onward.[4]

Pope Francis imparted the Apostolic Blessing upon del Sol on the occasion of her 90th birthday.

Early life[edit]

Del Sol was born into poverty[4] in Tondo, Manila at the Mary Johnston Hospital, in the free ward. Her father, Amado C. Rivera, worked at the internal revenue service during the day, and was a waiter at night. He served as a guerilla in the Philippines during World War II. Her mother, Lorenza Villarba, stayed at home to raise eight children.

Del Sol attended Malate Primary School, San Andres Elementary, and Intramuros Intermediate School. She could not go to high school, since she had to start working, at the age of 12. She later attended Hollywood High School in the 1950s, after the birth of her third child. She took some courses at Los Angeles City College and Ateneo de Manila University.

Career in Film & Television[edit]


Del Sol appeared in three films in 1938 (including Ang Maya opposite Fernando Poe, Sr.), but got her big break as a principal character in the 1939 classic Giliw Ko, for which she was honored by then Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon.[5] This was the first movie of the storied film production company. She made twelve other films for LVN during this period, including Hali (1940), an early example of the Sarong genre, and Sawing Gantimpala (1940), which was based on a song written for del Sol by Aurora Quezon.


LVN stopped film production during World War II, when the Philippines was occupied by Japan. Del Sol volunteered for the Red Cross, and frequented Prisoner of War camps along with other "Blue Ladies" of the Philippine film industry. LVN's first post-war film, Orasang Ginto again starred del Sol. She made more than twenty other films during this period including Garrison 13 (1946), which recounted atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines during the war.

1960 onward[edit]

Del Sol migrated to the United States, and lived there and in Europe for much of the 1950s. She returned to the Philippines in the 1960s, when she made two more films, and starred in the hit television series Problema mo na yan. She continued her work as an actress well into her 80s, most recently as a lead in the television series Rosalka.

Actors & Directors[edit]

Del Sol acted opposite all the male leads of her period, including Teddy Benavídez, Fred Cortes, Armando Goyena, Fernando Poe, Sr., José Padilla, Jr., Ely Ramos, Jaime de la Rosa, Rogelio de la Rosa, and Leopoldo Salcedo. She was directed by Lamberto V. Avellana, Emmanuel Borlaza, Manuel Conde, Ramon A. Estella, Gregorio Fernandes, Gerardo de León, José Nepomuceno, Vicente Salumbides, Manuel Silos, and Carlos Vander Tolosa.


  • The Cinema's Living Treasure Citation, 1994, The Metropolitan Manila Authority and The Metro Manila Film Festival
  • Nagtatanging Gawad Urian, 2013, Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino[6]

Business & Philanthropy[edit]

In 1964, del Sol founded Superior Maintenance Services, which has employed over 100,000 people, and continues to be managed by her grandchildren.[4] Del Sol chairs the Pagasa ng Kabataan Foundation, which provides scholarships to indigent youth, and affordable housing to the elderly,[7] and the Mila del Sol & Eddie Romero Fund for Community Development, which supports nonprofits and non-governmental organizations focused on local improvement. Del Sol has also been an active member or officer of several philanthropic organizations, including Lion's Club, Mowelfund, the Philippine National Red Cross, and the Rotary Club.


Del Sol is the sister of actresses Gloria Imperial and Guia Imperial, sister of TV News Anchor, Duds Rivera, aunt of the Arroyo administration Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye, mother of Pinay actress and television host Jeanne Young, mother in law of Alex "Bones" Cruz (founder of iconic Pinoy rock bands Juan de la Cruz and Anak Bayan), and grandmother of 2007 Rock Awards Guitarist of the Year Ira Cruz, actor Onemig Bondoc, and Philippine Congressman Gustavo Tambunting of Parañaque City.


  • 1938 -Ang maya
  • 1938 -Hatol ng mataas na langit
  • 1938 -Mariang Alimango [X'Otic]
  • 1939 -Giliw Ko (LVN)
  • 1940 -Hali (LVN)
  • 1940 -Prinsesa ng Kumintang [LVN]
  • 1940 -Sawing Gantimpala [LVN]
  • 1940 -Maginoong Takas [LVN]
  • 1940 -Nag-iisang Sangla [LVN]
  • 1941 -Angelita [LVN]
  • 1941 -Hiyas ng Dagat [LVN]
  • 1941 -Rosalinda [LVN]
  • 1941 -Villa Hermosa [LVN]
  • 1941 -Ararong Ginto [LVN]
  • 1941 -Ibong Adarna [LVN]
  • 1942 -Caviteno [LVN]
  • 1946 -Orasang Ginto [LVN]
  • 1946 -Garrison 13 [LVN]
  • 1946 -Alaala Kita [LVN]
  • 1946 -Dalawang Daigdig [LVN]
  • 1946 -Ang Prinsipeng Hindi Tumatawa [LVN]
  • 1947 -Maling Akala [LVN]
  • 1947 -Violeta [LVN]
  • 1947 -Binatang Taring [LVN]
  • 1947 -Isang Ngiti mo Lamang [Eduque]
  • 1947 -Romansa [LVN]
  • 1947 -Sarungbanggi [LVN]
  • ???? -Tatlong limbas [FPP]
  • 1948 -Malaya (Mutya sa Gubat) [LVN]
  • 1949 -Hiyas ng Pamilihan [LVN]
  • 1949 -Kuba sa Quiapo [LVN]
  • 1949 -Lupang Pangako [LVN]
  • 1949 -Batalyong XIII [LVN]
  • 1949 -Don Juan Tenoso[LVN]
  • 1950 -Nuno sa Punso [LVN]
  • 1950 -Dayang-Dayang [LVN]
  • 1950 -In Despair [LVN]
  • 1951 -Reyna Elena [LVN]
  • 1951 -Anak ng Pulubi [LVN]
  • 1952 -Romansa sa Nayon [LVN]
  • 1952 -Haring Solomon at Reyna Sheba [LVN]
  • 1957 -Escapade in Japan
  • 1960 -Pakipot
  • 1960 -Tatlong Magdalena
  • 1961 -Espionage: Far East
  • 1969 -Young Girl
  • 1974 -Batya't Palu-palo
  • 1989 -Kahat Wala Ka Na



  1. ^ a b c Danny Villanueva (1994). "Philippine Film". In Nicanor Tiongson. CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art VIII (1st ed.). Manila: Cultural Center of the Philippines. p. 237. ISBN 971-8546-31-6. 
  2. ^ Paras, Wilhelmina (1998-12-04). "Return of a Golden Oldie: A regional film-restoration effort bears fruit". Asiaweek Magazine. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  3. ^ Francisco, Butch. "Mila del Sol: Hard life, beginnings, romances, hollywood days, the bright twilight years". Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino. 
  4. ^ a b c Protacio, Romy R. "Mila del Sol: Entrepreneur". Asian Journal. 
  5. ^ San Diego Jr., Bayani (29 Sep 2008). "Little Miss Sunshine". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 
  6. ^ "Mila del Sol, Urian lifetime awardee". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 13 Jun 2013. 
  7. ^ Carballo, Bibsy M. (December 2008). "Mila del Sol: Away from the Kleig Lights". Seniors Monthly 12: 8. 


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