Everyday History
Helen Vela
Daily History Women in Philippine History

Helen Vela, broadcaster, was born: Oct. 31, 1946

On this day in 1946, Filipina radio/TV personality Helen Vela was born. She is best known as the host of the radio drama anthology Lovingly Yours, Helen and its TV incarnation in GMA Network as well as its film version.

Vela started her career in broadcasting in 1963 in the radio station DZRM after a successful audition as a radio announcer. She later joined DZBB, radio station of GMA Network in 1975, where she hosted Lovingly Yours, Helen. The program dramatizes real-life stories sent to the program by letter senders, with Vela giving on-air advice to the letter senders.

While hosting Lovingly Yours, Helen, Vela was also one of the hosts of the noontime variety show Student Canteen, which was GMA Network’s noontime show prior to Eat Bulaga!

Because of its popularity, GMA Network turned Lovingly Yours, Helen into a TV program, with Vela as its host. The TV show starred several popular actors of the time such as Nora Aunor, Christopher de Leon, Maricel Soriano, Vilma Santos, and Sharon Cuneta, among others.

In 1984, the program had a film incarnation. The four-part anthology Lovingly Yours, Helen: The Movie starred Julie Vega, Coney Reyes, Vivian Foz, and other popular Filipino actors.

That year, the TV program temporarily aired in Banahaw Broadcasting Corporation, a TV network that Marcos crony Roberto Benedicto owned. It aired in BBC 2 until the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, after which, it returned to GMA Network. Aside from her program, Vela also began hosting the primetime news program GMA Balita together with Mike Lacanilao and Rene Jose.

Lovingly Yours, Helen continued to air with Vela as its host until her death on Feb. 14, 1992 due to lymphoma. After her death, her daughter, actress Princess Punzalan took over hosting duties of her program until it ended its run on Sept. 1, 1996.

References:

Dimapilis, Marie. “Helen Vela Through The Years.” Manila Standard, April 17, 1988.

Francisco, Butch. “Past memorable shows on GMA.” The Philippine STAR, July 1, 2003

Francisco, Butch. “Remembering dead stars.” The Philippine STAR, November 1, 2003

Trivia Question:

Which Filipino radio broadcaster remarked that Vela’s infotainment format as host of GMA Balita revolutionized broadcasting?

Yesterday’s answer: Fidel V. Ramos

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