LIBERTY ILAGAN… Now ; Then…
She was one of the brightest Sampaguita stars and composer of the classic kundiman ‘Bughaw Na Buhangin’, LIBERTY ILAGAN today at 70 is still as beautiful as ever. Here is a reblogged item from Movie Celebrities Then and Now on the star : A member of the Ilagan family (with Robert Arevalo and Jay Ilagan), she was married to Rod Evans (or Rod Ongpauco, the son of Bonifacio Ongpauco of Everlasting Pictures). She gained stardom almost simultaneoiusly with Susan Roces, Amalia Fuentes, Daisy Romualdez and their contemporaries). She appeared in Kaming mga Talyada with Juancho Gutierrez Jose Mari, Tony Marzan, Boy Alano, Charlie Davao, Rod Navarro, Bino Garcia as the gays, Barbara Perez, Daisy Romualdez, Meldy Corrales, Naty Santiago, Juvy Cachola and Nory Dalisay. Another film whe appeared in was Tindahan ni Aling Epang where she co-starred with Jose Mari and Matimtiman Cruz.
Her career in the movies began when she was only 4 years of age. As a child star, she appeared in “So Long,” “America,” “Hindi Kita Malimot,” “Selosa” and a few others she barely remembers now. Even before appearing in the movies, Liberty was quite comfortable in movie sets, as her Tia Laling, who was very fond of her and took her everywhere.
At age 6, she started going to school. As a teenager, she was invited to participate in a Santacruzan at the Manila Hotel, where the late Dr. Jose Perez of Sampaguita Pictures chanced on seeing her. He immediately asked her uncle, Conrado Conde to give her a screen test, which she passed with flying colors. Actually, her father, director Gerry de Leon was not keen and her joining the movies. Nevertheless, when she turned 14, she was introduced in the film, “Lover Boy” which starred Susan Roces, Romeo Vasquez and Jose Mari.
Looking back, Liberty admits that she had difficulty balancing her time between the movies and attending school. In fact, she lost a scholarship during her third year high school. However, she still managed to take up Law and continued until she was in the second year. During all this time, Tia Laling was her constant chaperon, unusually knitting while Liberty did her scenes. She even accompanied her when Liberty began going out on dates. But she still recalls how badly she felt when her Tia Laling did not allow her to go out on a date with the French actor, Alain Delon, when he came to Manila to promote his film, “Forever My Love.”
It was only when Liberty get married to Rod Ongpauco that her aunt ceased to accompany her. By now too, she had settled down to raise a family. She has 3 children by that marriage that ended in divorce several years later.
Love is her eldest, who is presently in the United States. She is the brains behind LOVE recipes such as bottled spreads, sauces, dips, low fat garlic and pesto cheese. There is also spicy sundried tomatoes, tinapa, longganisa with vinegar, and sardines. She eagerly looks forward to her daughter’s return from Chicago where she is taking a special course in baking cakes and decorating.
Second daughter, Happy is very much involved in running different types of restaurants. She owns World Topps, Bento Box chain restaurants and lately, Pinoy Fiesta and Lechon Express at the Baywalk. The youngest, Soeng which in Chinese means Mountain Flower, recently got married. She is the one who manages her mother’s restaurants, one of which is Barrio Fiesta along Makati Avenue.
What few know is that Liberty is a graduate of the Philippine Institute of Interior Design, where she enrolled after she got married.
Liberty is now married to Carlos Lardizabal, a real estate lawyer from Los Angeles, California.