Superb cover of Desmond Dekker and Leslie Kong’s 1968 ‘Israelites’.
Vilma Valera started off as the 1961 Miss Press Photography of the Philippines (PPP) second runner-up winner. She was 15 in 1960 when she was discovered by LVN character actor Alfonso Carvajal and introduced in ‘Bakit Ka Nagtampo?’ (directed by Tony Santos Sr.), top billed by Nida Blanca and Nestor de Villa.
Her biggest break was in 1964 in the movie, ‘Salambao’ with Eddie Rodriguez, Sylvia Gumabao and Van de Leon as her co-stars. she was versatile as an actress landing her in several roles in action, drama, comedy, musical with top actors at that time as her leading men (FPJ, Dolphy, Eddie Mesa, Eddie Gutierrez, among others).
Vilma Valera recorded several albums before her retirement from show business whose ’60s hit songs included ‘It Must Be Him’ and ‘One Day’. A Bicolana, Vilma is Vilma Johnson in real life, whose father was also American.
When LVN closed shop soon after, Vilma signed a contract with Larry Santiago Productions which loaned her to other companies. Through out the Sixties she continued to sing and tour many Asian cities, like Okinawa, and then come back do a movie or two. In the Seventies work dried up and she migrated to the US and settled down.