Vilma Santos-Recto (born November 3, 1953) commonly known as Ate Vi is a multi-awarded actress and politician. She is known as the Star for all Seasons for her longevity in showbiz and holds the titles of Grand Slam Queen and as the longest reigning box office queen of Philippine cinema. Santos is also a politician, currently serving as Governor of Batangas and once as mayor of Lipa City.
Santos started her acting career when one of her uncles, who was a cameraman at Sampaguita Pictures, convinced her to try out for the movies. Initially, Sampaguita Pictures had planned a child star role for her in Anak, Ang Iyong Ina (1969). When Santos was in the studio, she noticed a long line of little girls. Thinking that that line was the line for her audition, she decided to queue in. The long line turned out to be for an audition for Sampaguita Pictures' offering Trudis Liit (Little Trudis). When it was her turn to audition, she was asked by the panel to sing, dance and cry on cue. She got the part of "Trudis Liit" for which she received the FAMAS Awards Best Child Performer award for 1963.
She was cast in Sa Bawat Pintig ng Puso (1964), Maria Cecilia (1965), Kasalanan Kaya? (1968), Iginuhit ng Tadhana (1965) (with future Senator Bongbong Marcos, as future Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos) and later in its sequel Pinagbuklod ng Langit (1969).
Vilma Santos has the unique distinction of being the only actress who still has substantial public support after five decades in the film industry. her continued commitment to enrich her craft catapulted her to become the Philippine's greatest actress and one of the world's finest. Her accomplishments as an artist in Philippine show business remains unrivaled to this day. She is highly revered by her peers and continues to be a popular role model of upcoming artists.
In 1998, she entered politics and ran for mayor of Lipa City, Batangas where she won three consecutive elections, becoming the city's first female mayor.
In 2005, the University of the Philippines conferred to her the Gawad Plaridel Award for her achievements and contributions both as an actress and a public servant. In the same year she was conferred an honorary doctorate degree (honoris causa) in humanities by the Lipa City College. She was again honored in 2006 by the University of the Philippines as one of the four awardees in UP's First Diwata Awards.
Vilma Santos-Recto is married to Senator Ralph Recto. Together they have a son, Ryan Christian. She is also mother to actor/model/television host Luis Manzano by her previous marriage to actor Edu Manzano.