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Cherie Gil's riveting moments as 'La Primera Contravida' beyond that 'copycat' line

By NICK GARCIA Published Aug 06, 2022 2:50 pm

Cherie Gil shocked showbiz colleagues and fans with the news of her passing Friday night, Aug. 6. She was 59.

Gil began as a singer and later pursued a movie and television career that spanned five decades. She referred to it as her "destiny."

It's almost impossible for Filipinos to not recall the "You’re nothing, but a second-rate trying hard copycat!” line of her character Lavinia Arguelles in the 1985 blockbuster movie Bituing Walang Ningning. (Fun fact: It's an ad-lib line.)

Since then, Gil cemented her name in the industry for her riveting portrayal of villains, earning her the title "La Primera Contravida."

Here are other moments in which she proved why she's called as such, in no particular order.


Gil starred in ABS-CBN's 2004 fantasy teleserye Marina as the witch Victoria.

In the story, Victoria is out to exact revenge on the woman Esther (Snooky Serna), who her former lover, fisherman Elias (Joel Torre), met and replaced her with. Victoria cursed their unborn child (Jane Oineza/Claudine Barretto) to become a mermaid upon growing up.

In a pivotal scene later on in the teleserye, Gil shows off her villain acting chops beyond delivering a sassy line and splashing wine at someone. Here, she also delivers an evil laugh that can only be associated with her.

Cherie Gil as Victoria in Marina. (Star Creatives/ABS-CBN)
Gulong ng Palad

The Cherie Gil school of villainy includes being alta and matapobre—a package deal.

Though the role is seen as archetypal, she's still able to make it iconic, like in the 2006 teleserye Gulong ng Palad, originally a radio drama series in the '50s and a soap opera from the late '70s to the early '80s.

Gil portrayed Philomena "Meng" Medel, a socialite who doesn't approve of her son Carding (TJ Trinidad) dating Luisa (Kristine Hermosa), who comes from a poor family. She despises the lower class, generalizing them as gold diggers who would feed off of their wealth.

In a scene uploaded by Twitter user @azure, Meng is seen berating Luisa's mother Idad (Rio Locsin) who then walks out on her. She then raves and rants about the poor in a loathesome but effective performance.

Ikaw Lamang

She reprises her matapobre role in the 2014 teleserye Ikaw Lamang, a period drama that revolves around hacienderos, secret lovechildren, and class struggle.

In this clip uploaded by Twitter user @ImNotthatScary, Gil is in her element toward obreros.

Ang Babaeng Nawawala sa Sarili

Did you know that Gil portrayed a ghost in the 1989 movie Ang Babaeng Nawawala sa Sarili?

She's Oliva, a young woman who becomes the mistress of a married pastor named Gracias (Dante Rivero). Upon learning that she's pregnant, Gracias pushes away the pleading Oliva and dumps her. But her getting pushed knocks a lamp in the process, starting a fire that eventually kills her. Oliva then turns into a ghost who would later haunt and possess Gracias's daughter Alvina (Dina Bonnevie), who becomes hypersexual with several men.

A clip from Viva shared by @audiovisualaidz shows Oliva speaking to Alvina, initially displaying her sultry seductress side but eventually unleashes her menacing supernatural self.

Muling Buksan Ang Puso

More often than not, the kontrabida in our lives comes from the family. And Gil shows exactly that in the 2013 teleserye Muling Buksan Ang Puso, a story of "three generations of love and betrayal, and how the sins of the past continue to haunt two families whose lives are destined to be intertwined."

Gil portrayed Marietta Beltran, who verbally abuses her daughter Sarah (Belle Mariano) for using her makeup without permission—even though it's her birthday. In fact, Sarah is not her real child and is her bestfriend Carissa's (Agot Isidro). Marietta swapped their babies as hers was found to have a heart condition.