During one of the lockdown episodes, Willie Revillame played the drums during the closing segment of his afternoon show “Wowowin.” My husband sighed that Willie played the drums well to which I replied that before he became The Willie Revillame, he was a good drummer in Loveliness.
Loveliness was the weekly night show of Alma Moreno during the 80s. Fans were glued to the screen to see her dancing while taking off her clothes until all was left was a tanga. When wearing a tanga was a fad among actresses with a weekly night show like Vilma Santos and Sharon Cuneta, it was Alma Moreno who was hailed as the “Tanga Queen.”
Back to Willie Revillame, people knew him in the 80s as Alma’s drummer, Helen Vela’s son-in-law, and Princess Punzalan’s husband. He was one of Randy Santiago’s “Hawi Boys” in the noontime show Lunch Date. Shortly after, he tried acting and became the onscreen sidekick of famous action stars like Phillip Salvador.
When Meryll Soriano started her acting career as a child star in the early 90s, nobody made it a big deal that her father was Willie Revillame. After all, what’s there to talk about Willie who was then married to Princess Punzalan? Some people even thought that her mother was Princess but the strong Soriano features pointed out who her real mother was. Becbec Soriano, Maricel’s elder sister, was Willie’s ex-partner. And by now, we all know that his marriage to Princess did not last but they remain to be good friends.
Willie’s luck started when he was given a chance to be one of the main hosts of MTB in 2001. A dispute with the management resulted in him being kicked out in 2001. Two years later, he was able to return to the show but was suspended due to a sensitive joke that he cracked while on live TV. I was able to watch an episode of the Extra Challenge in 2004 wherein he was one of the challengers and I could feel that he was sending feelers to Paolo Bediones about his desire to be part of the show. Whether this was his deliberate attempt to make his presence felt in GMA or not, the gods of ABS-CBN realized that Willie still had it. In 2004, he even released his first album.
So in 2005, Willie was back in ABS-CBN as the main host of Wowowee. His comeback proved to be more powerful than any of his previous assignments combined. At this time, Willie had the masa’s back- the unknowns, the poor, the elderlies, the forsaken, the class C and D of the society. While the elite and the conservatives found him vulgar, the masa identified a champion in him. Willie was on top of his game and even married the beautiful Liz Almoro from the wealthy Almoro clan of Laguna. (Note: Liz and Willie annulled their marriage years later) In February 2006, the Ultra Stampede happened and critics blamed Willie for causing it.
His net worth continued to soar high and so were his connections. He started as a nobody early in his career and now, even famous politicians to the likes of Noli de Castro and Manny Villar are within his circle of friends. He financed Meryll’s education in London in 2011 then had a falling out later when she decided to pursue a career in Product Design instead of something related to business. Now a billionaire, Willie wanted her eldest child to learn the ways of the business so that when he retires, there would be somebody to look after his hard-earned wealth for him and his other three children.
Nineteen years after his MTB stint, I was forced to watch Wowowin whenever I needed to take the shuttle after work. The bus driver was a big fan of Willie so we had no choice but to watch the show, as well. Surprisingly, I found the show entertaining and he had a nice balance of co-hosts like Herlene Budol, Elaine Timbol, and Almira Teng! In all fairness to Willie, he has evolved into a pleasant host unlike two decades ago. I think that aside from his growing older and wiser, his female co-hosts have something to do with his mellowed behavior.
In his 60th birthday celebration, he flew a helicopter and landed on top of the Wil Tower. But despite his immense wealth and status, the celebrant burst into tears because he missed his live audience.
There’s a lot to learn from Willie Revillame’s life from his love-life to the ups and downs of his career. Aside from having loads of talent, what sets him different from the rest is his belief that he can do things and be successful.