The Butcher | Will the real Marites please stand up?

Maritess happens to be a uniquely Filipino nickname for girls – short for Maria Teresa. In Spain and in other Hispanic countries, a Maria Teresa usually ends up being called Marite’ (with the accent on the open “e”) as a term of endearment. In the 1930s, Teresa or Teresita became a popular girl’s name in the Philippines after the devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux was introduced by the Carmelites in the country. Most of them were nicknamed Tessie, however. After the war, a lot of girls baptized Maria (usually shortened to Ma.) Teresa became Maritess.

Maritess happens to be a uniquely Filipino nickname for girls – short for Maria Teresa. In Spain and in other Hispanic countries, a Maria Teresa usually ends up being called Marite’ (with the accent on the open “e”) as a term of endearment. In the 1930s, Teresa or Teresita became a popular girl’s name in the Philippines after the devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux was introduced by the Carmelites in the country. Most of them were nicknamed Tessie, however. After the war, a lot of girls baptized Maria (usually shortened to Ma.) Teresa became Maritess.

As far as I know, there had only been three women in Philippine show business named Maritess – all of them already inactive: Maritess Revilla, Maritess Gutierrez, and Maritess Ardieta. Maritess Ardieta, who?

Maritess Ardieta was the child villain in the soap opera Flordeluna. As Wilma in the series, she made life miserable for Janice de Belen who played the title role.

Ardieta stayed in the series for less than three years. Her character was killed around 1980, but for a while returned as a ghost. Fans of Janice de Belen’s soap would surely remember her – not as Maritess though perhaps, but as Wilma, the bad girl in Flordeluna.

So why am I dragging Maritess Ardieta’s name back from obscurity and why am I doing a roll call of showbiz people named Maritess? Let me tell you.

Unless you’ve been doing your quarantine under a rock, surely you’d know that last year’s buzzword was Marites, which is interchangeable with Maritess. Of course, no one gives a hoot about spelling in the internet!   

Nobody knows exactly how it started, but Marites or Maritess in popular lingo today means gossip-monger or chismosa (from the Castilian word chisme). Supposedly, it came from “Mare, eto ang latest.”

Maritess happens to be a uniquely Filipino nickname for girls – short for Maria Teresa. In Spain and in other Hispanic countries, a Maria Teresa usually ends up being called Marite’ (with the accent on the open “e”) as a term of endearment.

In the 1930s, Teresa or Teresita became a popular girl’s name in the Philippines after the devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux was introduced by the Carmelites in the country. Most of them were nicknamed Tessie, however.

After the war, a lot of girls baptized Maria (usually shortened to Ma.) Teresa became Maritess. There is, incidentally, another Maritess in showbiz I failed to mention earlier. But she is known among fans as Dulce, Maria Teresa Llamedo in real life.     

Now, if we are really going to scrape the bottom of the barrel for this obviously short list, maybe we can include Marithez Samson. She was the winner of Miss Tondo Girl, a contest organized to promote the launching film of Amy Austria. Her runner-up was Laarni Enriquez.            

Marithez’ name was originally spelled Maritess in the beginning. But somewhere along the way, it became Marithez. She is now Mrs. Trinchera and appears from time to time in soap operas. That makes her the only woman named Maritess – okay, Marithez – still active in show business.

Maritess Revilla quit the movies right after she married Iking Araneta in December 1973. Although she made only nine films, she is still remembered fondly by the public for her famed beauty – the longest-reigning Camay Girl.

She is the oldest daughter of matinee idol Armando Goyena and Paquita Roses, the very first Camay Girl. Paquita was actually pregnant with Maritess when she did her Camay print ad.

After Maritess ended her stint as Camay Girl, two more Revilla sisters became the soap’s image model: Rossi and Cita. Tina Revilla went the other way and endorsed Eskinol instead.

Prior to her becoming a Camay Girl in her teens, Maritess was a child star first  - in Sta. Zita and Mary Rose, a weekly drama series about the lives of housemaids. This was aired late Sunday afternoon by ABS-CBN in the mid-1960s.

As the face of Camay, she became a sought-after leading lady to top leading men. For her first film, The Prince and I, she had Indian superstar Sajid Khan as screen partner. She also did two films with Dolphy and one with Fernando Poe, Jr. - Esteban, which was shot on location in Bohol.

On television, she did On With the Show for ABS-CBN and a horror-comedy, the title of which I no longer recall. Was it Pamilya Impaktum? But I do remember that one of her co-stars there was the comedian Popoy.

Maritess also excelled in drama. In Karimlan, she was very impressive playing a blind woman trapped in her house with members of a notorious drug syndicate. Karimlan was a TV adaptation of Wait Until Dark, which starred Audrey Hepburn.

Months after she got married, she went on for a while hosting Noontime Matinee on a semi-regular basis. After doing her final Camay commercial, she disappeared from the world.

In 1975, she resurfaced in a Johnson’s Baby Powder TV ad – this time with first-born, Paolo Araneta. After that, she was gone again.

Then two years later – wham! - she became a victim of the Mariteses of that era. Maritess Revilla found herself the subject of a vicious rumor claiming she had died.

The gossips really became quite creative and came up with incredible stories about how she died: from consumption to the most harrowing of communicable diseases. Oh, no wonder her death was not made public.  Her family must have been too embarrassed to talk about it. That was the reaction of those who heard the rumors.

Strangely enough, media didn’t pick up the story. News programs back in the day stuck only to hard news and didn’t have “Chika Minute” portions.

Inday Badiday already had her talk show, but the format of her program only allowed her to have celebrity guests grilled on all sides by a whole slew of movie reporters. There was no room for raging showbiz updates.

Inday’s show, then called Nothing But the Truth, actually made its own news and hardly relied on gossip for content. One instance was when Amalia Fuentes rushed over to the studio—uninvited—to verbally assault ex-husband Romeo Vasquez. That issue became so scandalous, it ended in lawsuits – with Inday bringing the house down when she was asked by the court to tell “the truth and nothing but the truth.”

It was also strange that Crispina Belen also had her daily entertainment column in Manila Bulletin and yet didn’t bother to touch on the story. Ricky Lo was not yet the Ricky Lo that he eventually became. Or maybe, legitimate media knew it was just a stupid rumor and refused to dignify it.

Nothing was heard from the Revillas either because – like the wronged wife – they were the last to know. In a magazine interview a few years later, it turned out that Maritess found out about the rumor quite late and it would have been too anti-climactic to even discuss the issue at that point.

Maritess eventually stuck to her being a private citizen and decades later came to be known by a new generation as the mother of Bianca Araneta. When her daughter decided to leave the limelight herself to become Mrs. Elizalde, Maritess took pride being the aunt of actors Bernard and Miko (RIP) Palanca and Lexi Schulze.    

She is now a grandmother to five beautiful girls (no grandson) – four by Bianca and one by Paolo. Based in the US, Paolo entered into a late marriage – to Denise Gonzalez, the cousin of Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez.

Maritess currently lives in a townhouse in Ayala Alabang and spends most of her time watching Korean dramas. When the husband of Rossi died, she invited the widowed sister to come live with her and so the two former Camay girls presently keep each other company.

Yes, she is aware that her name Maritess had taken on a new meaning, but is hardly bothered by it. Family and close friends, after all, call her either Mari or Tess. She also takes consolation in the fact that her Maritess had always had a double S, although – phonetically – it still sounds the same.

“There really is nothing I can do about it,” she says, insisting that she doesn’t have the patent to the name.

And at this point of her life – after having been at the receiving end of vile chismis herself – not even the nastiest Marites in this world can bother the peaceful existence of showbiz’ original Maritess ... when Maritess was just a beautiful, innocent name that didn’t mean anything else.   

Another entertainment personality named Maritess is Maritess Gutierrez. She is actually an uncrowned showbiz royalty – the only product of the union between eternal movie queen Gloria Romero and 1950s matinee idol Juancho Gutierrez. Maritess was christened Maria Teresa Galla Gutierrez.

At a young age, Maritess got interested in acting and appeared in three movies: For You Mama (as the younger sister of Tirso Cruz III), Fiesta Extravaganza and Nobody’s Child. She points out that “I wasn’t the bida in those projects” and was allowed by her parents to work only on weekends.

After she was done with college, however, she tried showbiz once more. She was very impressive as a juvenile delinquent in Bulaklak sa City Jail in 1985.       

The following year, she was voted Metro Manila Film Festival best supporting actress for playing the monster in Halimaw sa Banga.

On TV, she was part of the sitcom UFO, along with Nanette Inventor. She also did a guest appearance in Lovingly Yours, Helen.

Marriage and motherhood (her son Christopher is now pushing 30) finally put an end to her showbiz career. She later became a chef and did the rounds of some of the finest restaurants in Metro Manila.

And now that we are still in the middle of this health scare, Maritess has to be hands-on attending to the needs of her mother. Gloria turned last 88 last December 16.

Although it had been ages since her last screen appearance, Maritess is still very much aware of what is going on in show business (she still hangs out with people in the industry). Yes, she knows that her name is now the new term for chismosa. She still recalls the first time she heard it used in that context.

The TV set then was tuned in to Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) and the housemates apparently were discussing who the Marites was in the group. Maritess wasn’t exactly watching the show. She was mostly in the kitchen that time, but could hear how the PBB people kept saying “Marites.” She then asked herself: “Was one of the housemates named Maritess?”

After a few weeks, she realized that her name suddenly was all over the place – in comedies, on radio, on social media and even in news programs.

In time, her friends carefully explained to her why her name had suddenly become quite popular. She wasn’t exactly upset when she found out that her name had already taken on a totally new meaning. But she wasn’t amused either.

“Bad trip.” That was her initial reaction. She later told herself, however, that she shouldn’t take it personally since it wasn’t referring to her specifically. There was a point though when she began asking herself: “Couldn’t they have thought of an another term to refer to chismosa?”

So, is she really a Marites?

The only time she remembers being a Marites was onscreen – and this was when she was still a child actress. In the early 1970s, she and her mother appeared in an episode of Panagimpan, the drama anthology of Marlene Dauden on ABS-CBN.

The story was quite daring that time. Gloria and Maritess played mother and daughter. No great shakes there. But here was the twist: Gloria and Marlene were lesbian lovers.

One day, Maritess unwittingly shared her mother’s secret to some people in her school and that ruined the reputation of the two women. A hundred per cent Marites handiwork.

In real life though, it’s difficult for her to be a Marites because if you share a gossip with her right this minute, you only have to count up to 100 and she’d forget about it eventually and may remember only fragments of the juicy tale. Don’t bother to ask her for details because – even if she tries to – she wouldn’t know anymore.

Maybe it’s part of the Gloria Romero training. Ms. Romero spent 73 years in show business a model of perfect behavior. She is legendary for her professionalism and is well loved by everyone – and I mean everyone – in the industry.

Ms. Romero never speaks ill of anyone and has never been a Marites. Through the years, I’ve managed to study how she was able to perfect her ways.

Every time there is a dinner get-together, she stays on for all the courses – till dessert. But she gets up as soon as chismis is served, which is a staple in all showbiz gatherings.

And she does it smoothly and casually – without calling attention to herself. She makes it look like she simply needs some air.

This practice makes sense. Showbiz is a very small world. In time, those subjects of gossip will eventually find out that they’ve been talked about and most certainly won’t be pleased to hear that. If a roll call is made to find out who were present in that discussion, Gloria Romero can always say she wasn’t around, which is true.

Surely, that is one way to avoid being branded a Marites. Now, if there is no opportunity to leave the table, go ahead and savor the chismis, but keep your peephole shut. Never, never contribute anything to the discussion.

In these pandemic times, rumor-mongering has gotten worse – maybe because a lot of people have so much spare time to devote to social media. The internet had truly become the new breeding ground for gossip.

But as the original queen of showbiz talk shows Inday Badiday had always admonished: “Careful! Careful!”

Yes, we all have to be careful. Anti-Cybercrime laws are starting to have teeth that may soon silence the Mariteses of this world.

 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

The Butcher | PINOY PASAWAY

The Butcher | The big acting winners 2021

The Butcher | There came the brides ... and the grooms

The Butcher | Goodbye, Love / Hello, New Love 2021

 

FOLLOW US ONLINE: 

Facebook: facebook.com/pikapikashowbiz

Twitter: twitter.com/pikapikaph

Instagram: instagram.com/pikapikaph/

YouTube: youtube.com/pikapikashowbiz

TikTok: https://vt.tiktok.com/ZGJBapkV4/

and join our Viber Community: tinyurl.com/PikaViber

Welcome to pikapika.ph! We use cookies to ensure your best experience when browsing this site. Continuing to use pikapika.ph means you agree to our privacy policy and use of cookies.