By Joseph Peter R. Gonzales

According to Judy Ann Santos, clinching the Best Actress plum in the 41st Cairo International Film Festival for her work in the film “Mindanao” was one thing she didn’t expect. She is the second Filipina to achieve such feat, the first one being Superstar Nora Aunor in 1995 for “The Flor Contemplacion Story.”

“Honestly, a part of me still couldn’t believe that the experience is real,” she avers. “Now I realized that dreams can really come true. It’s one of my wishes to be part of an international film festival but not actually bagging an acting trophy. I thought that just to be part of it is already a big thing. Now, it was given to me and I’m very thankful to God!”

It’s just unfortunate that the 41-year-old actress wasn’t able to attend the awarding ceremonies. She received the information from her director Brillante Mendoza.

“Yes! Actually, I was scrubbing the floor when I received the word. Ha-ha-ha! Of course, there’s some sort of regret on my part but you know, things happen for a reason. Perhaps, if I was present at the affair, I wouldn’t have made it to the stage, I would have fainted. But in that proud moment, when you’re a star, it’s your dream to come up the stage and make your country proud. It’s one thing that you’ll be very proud to show your children.”

One thing that Juday realized after her CIFF victory is the value of waiting for the right project.

“I won’t deny that with this positive development, I feel more inspired to work. But it also made me choosy about the projects that I’ll do. I realized it’s worth the long wait. My last major potboiler shown was ‘Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes’ in January of 2018.

“I prayed that I’d be able to work with Direk Brillante and it came at the right time. He came up with the right project for me. And we didn’t really know each other personally then, huh! We haven’t worked in any project yet. I guess, it is destiny!”

What the popular actress is most proud about her international triumph is that she was able to bring honor and prestige to the country.

“That’s right! To be able to bring pride to the Philippines through my craft is already enough for me. It’s truly a great accomplishment to have scored a victory in the international scene,” states Juday.

Interestingly, “Mindanao” is also an official entry to the ongoing 2019 Metro Manila Film Festival.

“Yes! And I hope it does well at the tills and that our local viewers will like it!”

Generally, the premiere Kapamilya star is very much okay with her life’s present state.

“If you’ll just analyse, it’s been a fruitful year for me: I have a successful soap opera airing at present (‘Starla’), there are my business ventures and my family life is happy. I’m so blessed and grateful. Truly, I couldn’t ask for more,” ends Juday.