“Please, please Mr. Love. Give me the boy that I’m dreaming of,” goes the lyrics of the song “Mr. Love,” the bestselling single of a female songbird of the 70s, Ms. Eva Vivar.
With her soulful singing, Eva, help defined the decade of earnest, novelty-ridden adult pop with throw-away hits like “Mr. Love,” “Tiny Bubbles” and “Nobody’s Child.”
“Kinamulatan ko na yung pagiging maarte,” she begins. “At the age of four, kumakanta at sumasayaw na ako to the delight of my father, who really wanted me to join showbiz.”
With his support, Eva was able to find an outlet for her talents in La Tondeña roadshows. “My showbiz career began as a performer in La Tondeña caravan,” she says. “We had weekly shows in the provinces. With us were dancers and singers. I was among the regular performers na nagda-drama. I also sang and danced. Parang Vilma Santos ang dating.”
Eva’s natural talent was so luminous, she was recruited to do an international film with screen goddess Ursula Andres and her former hubby John Derek. The film was “Once Before I Die.” It was shot in Subic and also featured Ron Kelly, the first Tarzan.
Eventually, Eva left showbiz to study. “When I was in third year high school, I was discovered by Ofelia Angeles, the Reyna ng Balagtasan. I was enrolled at UST (University of Sto Tomas ), where she used to work. She saw me in one of the declamation contests and invited me to join their show in Sta. Maria, Bulacan. I sang Eddie Peregrina songs, kasi sikat na sikat sila ni Guy (Nora Aunor) noon. Nagustuhan ng tao. Then and there, nilapitan ako ng Big 3 Sullivans at saka ni Ofelia, who convinced me to try professional singing.”
“When I agreed, they took me to Alpha Records, kay Kuya Buddy de Vera. I was given a contract and songs to record in no time. My first single was “A Girl’s Prayer” but my biggest hits were “Mr. Love,” “Nobody’s Child” and “Ako’y Iniwan Mo” with narration by Vic Silayan.”
Eva’s period in showbiz is marked as the golden age of local recording with Nora Aunor as the headliner. During this time, young stars like Lirio Vital, Manny de Leon, Rhodora Silva, Jay Ilagan and Darius Razon were also signed up by Alpha.
“Then, I was invited by Johnny de Leon to join “Operetang Putol-Putol,” where I was with Perla Adea, Dolly Favorito and Danny Taguiam,” she continues.
With a natural good voice, fame came easy to Eva. The fans also embraced her virginal image. She even made waves as the girl with the longest hair in showbiz. “Ipinaglihi ako ng mama ko sa birhen kaya pinalaki niya akong napaka-inosente. Bihira akong mag- smile unlike the other stars. Dekahon ang kilos ko,” explains Eva. “Maybe that’s one reason why I married young, I was only 19 when I got married.”
Marriage also meant quitting showbiz in those days. And so, in 1975, Eva bid showbiz adieu and married Gerardo Chiong.
The next ten years saw Eva singing with the Cruse Master’s Band in a ship, where her husband worked as staff captain.
The marriage was short-lived. After the birth of their only child Evangeline Wednesday, and eleven years of marriage, Eva and her husband parted ways.
“Marriage is not always honeymoon,” says Eva “Humans are not perfect. We have good and nice traits, and when the bad traits collide, yun ang masama. We had a serious misunderstanding.”
In her quest to find peace of mind, Eva studied in a Bible School. “Talagang hinanap ko ng todo si Lord,” admits Eva. “For two years, I studied at Faith Bible College.”
However, she found true happiness just last year, 2006. “After twenty years of ups and downs, I was reunited with my husband, through the intercession of our daughter,” says Eva. “It was God’s will. Before Vangie got married, she told me, ‘Mommy, ikakasal na ‘ko. Matagal ka ng hinihintay ni Daddy.”
Evangeline studied Christian Education and graduated cum laude from the Asian Seminary of Christian Ministry. “I’m so proud that we raised a God-loving daughter. We did not influence her to become a born-again Christian. We just introduced the Lord to her. Hindi namin alam, naging born again pala siya, and she had been praying for us to reunite, since she was ten years old. ”
At present Eva, aside from playing the role of a dutiful wife to husband Gerardo, also devotes her time to the music ministry of her church. “My greatest defeat was when I gave in to Satan, who used ‘pride’ to shame us. But I’m so thankful that God transformed that defeat into a gift of salvation.”
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