Ángel Esmeralda

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Ángel Esmerelda (October 1, 1915-1985) was a prewar Filipino actor, tumultuous period marked by Pancho Villa’s poignant Mexican revolution, but a most opportune time for Angel, who would grow up to be the filmdom’s golden boy. He is the husband of Sampaguita Pictures leading lady Corazon Noble and the father of Jay Ilagan also known as Ángel Ilagan.

The 30s[edit]

As destiny had it, four years after his birth, the Philippine cinema was born. In 1919, Jose Nepomuceno of Malayan Pictures produced “Dalagang Bukid” based on the country’s most celebrated sarzuela, penned by Angel’s dad, Hermogenes Ilagan. Angel therefore grew up in an environment that was suffused by the sounds and sights of colorful sarzuelas.

During Angel’s entry into movie acting, there was a boon in movie making. Film studios that catered to the insatiable appetites of eager movie fans were sprouting like mushrooms. There were Sanggumay Pictures, X’Otic Films, Excelsior Pictures, Majestic Productions, Oriental Pictures, Salumbides Pictures, Parlatone Hispano Filipino Inc, LVN Pictures and Sampaguita Pictures.

Incidentally, Angel did his first and last films under the same studio. He was 19, when he did his first movie “Ang Dangal”(1934) under Parlatone –Hispano-Filipino Inc. His last was “Pipo” (1970) starring Charito Solis under Nepomuceno Productions. “Ang Dangal” featured Angel opposite Dado Garcia and Patsy. His brother Gerry (de Leon) also starred in the film. (The first film outfit in history was Malayan Pictures. It was later renamed as Parlatone- Hispano-Filipino Inc, until it finally became the Nepomuceno Productions.)

The Contemporary of the 30s[edit]

Angel’s contemporaries were Rogelio dela Rosa, Rudy Concepcion, Carmen Rosales, Angelito Nepomuceno, Leopoldo Salcedo, Rosa del Rosario, Ana Maria, Fe Crisostomo, soprano Rosario Moreno, Flora Mirasol, Elsa Oria, Fernando Poe Sr., Patricia Mijares, Fely Vallejo and Ely Ramos who died at the zenith of his career.

Years of acting in sarzuela paid off very well for Angel because it prepared him for the instant movie stardom.

Parlatone Hispano-Filipino[edit]

As a contract star of Parlatone Pictures, he did close to twenty movies in a period of three years, that included: “Sa Paanan ng Krus” 1936), “Mga Pusong Dakila” (1937),“Nasaan ka, Irog” (1937), “Anak ng Kadiliman” (1937), “Ruben” (1938), “Ang Pagbabalik” (1938), “Isang Halik Lamang” (1938), “Lihim ng Dagat-Dagatan” (1939), “Yaman ng Mahirap” (1939) and “Langit sa Karimlan” (1939).

The 40s[edit]

He became a most bankable star and did a record seven movies in one year, under five different film outfits: “Cadena de Amor” for Sanggumay Pictures, “Pangarap” with Purita Santamaria and ”Prinsesa ng Kumintang“ with Mila del Sol under LVN Pictures, “Bawal na Pag-ibig” and “Binatang Bukid” under his home studio Parlatone- Hispano-Filipino Inc, “Santa” and “Tala sa Kabukiran” for Majestic Pictures, and “Estrellita” and “Kahapon Lamang” under Sampaguita Pictures.

The Japanese Occupations[edit]

he busied himself onstage as romantic lead to radio queen Tiya Dely Magpayo in “Nasaan Ka, Irog” under the direction of Lamberto V. Avellana at the Manila Grand Opera House.

The Siblings[edit]

At 30, Angel became a father to Lourdes, who met a tragic end from the hands of the Japanese soldiers during the fateful Battle of Manila in 1945. Eventually, Angel had six children: Melvyn (with Candelaria Sison) Lourdes, Leslie, and Jay (with Corazon Noble) and Marlon and Angel (Rebecca) (with Mercy Beck).

After the War[edit]

His winning streak continued after the war with hits such as “Buenavista” (1941), “Mariposa” (1941), “Liwayway ng Kalayaan”(1946), “So Long America” (1946),”Ligaya”(1947), and “Meme na Bunso” (1949). He also directed “Maria Kapra”(1947) starring Jose Brillante, Jose De Villa and Linda Estrella.

The 50s[edit]

In 1951, Angel migrated to Guam as an American citizen. But each time he went home, he would still go back to his movie roots, and in fact did two in 1954, ”Dasalang Ginto” and “Ang Manyika ng Sta. Monica”.

Angel’s career lasted for 36 years. He died in the Philippines in 1985 at the age of 70.


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