Sampaguita Pictures,Inc.
SPI Television
Ortigas Avenue Extension
Quezon City
Tels: 727-34-72 * 724-52-70 * 725-58-78 * 725-11-79
Mrs. Elizabeth Nakpil    [email protected]

The history of Sampaguita Pictures Inc., the oldest and most prestigious movie company in the Philippines, spans five decades covering three significant eras --- pre-war, post-war to early 50's till the 80's. Sampaguita Pictures was organized in 1937 by the late Congressman Pedro Vera and Judge Jose O. Vera with a group of friends.


The first movie was "Bituing Marikit" starring Elsa Oria, the "Singing Sweetheart of the Philippines" directed by the late Carlos Vander Tolosa. It was a huge success, inspiring the company to sign up many actors and actresses whose names became a byword in the movie world: Rogelio de la Rosa, Rudy Concepcion, Rosario Moreno, Ely Ramos, Yolanda Marquez, Corazon Noble, Carlos Padilla, Carmen Rosales, Angel Esmeralda, Jose Padilla, Norma Blancaflor, Ernesto Laguardia and many more, names familiar to the older generation. During World War II, Sampaguita ceased operations, resuming in 1946.

To the Sampaguita roster was added during this period more and more names that rose to fame, among them: Oscar Moreno, Paraluman, Fred Montilla, Tita Duran, Pancho Magalona, Linda Estrella and Lillian Leonardo. Tragedy struck in 1951 when a big fire razed the studios to the ground completely.


Sampaguita almost closed shop but Judge Jose O. Vera was inspired by the loyalty of the studio personnel to rebuild Sampaguita literally out of the ashes. He requested his son-in-law, Dr. Jose R. Perez, to help him in this giant task.

Together, they produced "Roberta", a low-budget movie starring unknown names --- with a five-year-old moppet by the name of Tessie Agana in the title role. The movie, set amid the studio ruins, established an unprecedented record in box-office history unequalled for many years, and Tessie became the darling of the movie fans.

Other names scintillated in the movie firmament with stars like Gloria Romero, Luis Gonzales, Daisy Romualdez, Amalia Fuentes, Rita Gomez, Barbara Perez, Susan Roces, Juancho Gutierrez, Tony Marzan, Jose Mari, Lolita Rodriguez, Boy Alano, Van de Leon, Bella Flores and Alicia Vergel. Other stars gained fame during the late 60's and the 70's including Eddie Gutierrez, Rosemarie, Pepito Rodriguez, German Moreno, Ricky Belmonte, Blanca Gomez, Gina Pareņo, Nora Aunor, and Tirso Cruz III. Movie stars of great caliber and character are produced by SPI.

The whole moviedom mourned when Dr. Perez passed away. There could never be another Dr. Jose R. Perez. It seems as though after God created him, He threw the mould away.

The interment was a glorious affair. The super-abundance of flowers and offerings, the unashamed display of emotion, the throng of attending people --- all were obvious manifestations of the scope of Doc's popularity and prevalence. Not even the greatest star was accorded such an outward exhibition of pompish sadness that encompassed all classes of people from all walks of life. But Dr. Perez must have wanted it no other way. He always did things big. It was a fantabulous farewell, true to his fashion.

And, once more, the prestigious studio faced the prospect of extinction. But the movie world did not reckon with seven young people who would not permit the memory of their idolized father to die. They could not ignore the rich heritage that he had left behind. They rallied together to take up the work he left for them to continue, dividing the responsibilities among themselves: Marichu P. Maceda as Executive Producer, Georgina P. Cruz for Finance, Roberto for Studio Administration, Lilibeth for Promotions, with Chona and Cocoy in the Wardrobe and Editing Departments, respectively.

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