Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Angel Esmeralda (1915 - )

Ángel Esmerelda Born on October 1, 1915, is 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.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.)
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.

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 Corita Sta. Maria 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
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
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
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
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”.

“He did some trading there, mostly of Philippine products like bangus and other local produce,” says Leslie, his third child.

In 1981, he was honored with the Walang Kupas Lifetime Achievement award by the Donya Josefa Edralin Marcos Foundation, together with his wife, Corazon Noble.

Angel Esmeralda was a true showbiz royalty. His father was the famed playwright [[Hermogenes Ilagan]], the acclaimed father of Philippine sarzuela. He was among the 13 children of Hermogenes and wife Casiana de Leon. He was uncle to Liberty Ilagan, brother to national artist Gerry de Leon, husband to Candelaria Sison and movie queen Corazon Noble, and father to one of the finest actors who ever graced the cinema, Jay Ilagan.

In the spiritual world, emerald was the stone on the Ephod representing the tribe of Judah. But in the movie world, Angel was the most striking emerald in the tribe of pre-war actors.

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


1934 - Ang Dangal

1936 - Sa Paanan ng Krus

1937 - Mga Pusong Dakila

1937 - Nasaan ka, Irog

1937 - Ang Kumpisalan at ang Batas

1937 - Anak ng Kadiliman

1938 - Ruben [Parlatone]

1938 - Ang Pagbabalik [Parlatone]

1938 - Sanggumay [Parlatone]

1938 - Binatang Bukid [Parlatone]

1938 - Dasalang Perlas [Parlatone]

1938 - Isang Halik Lamang [Parlatone]

1939 - Lihim ng Dagat-Dagatan [Parlatone]

1939 - Yaman ng Mahirap [Parlatone]

1939 - Langit sa Karimlan [Parlatone]

1940 - Cadena de Amor [Sanggumay]

1940 - Pangarap [Lvn]

1940 - Prinsesa ng Kumintang [Lvn]

1940 - Bawal na Pag-ibig [Parlatone]

1940 - Santa (film) [Majestic]

1940 - Tala sa Kabukiran [Majestic]

1940 - Estrellita [Sampaguita]

1940 - Kahapon Lamang [Sampaguita]

1940 - Buenavista

1941 - Mariposa [Sampaguita]

1941 - Kung kita'y kapiling [Acuna-Zaldariaga]

1944 - Liwayway ng Kalayaan [X'Otic/Eiga Heikusa]

1946 - So Long America [Sampaguita]

1946 - Ligaya [Oriental]

1947 - Isumpa mo Giliw [Sampaguita]

1947 - Maria Kapra [Sampaguita]

1948 - Meme na Bunso [Panay Negros]

1949 - Dasalang Ginto [Filcudoma]

1954 - Ang Manyika ng Sta. Monica [Palanca Bros.]

Filmography by Edgar Ebro

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