Philippine cinema and TV’s most iconic “kontrabida,” Bella Flores, passed away on Sunday at the Quezon City General Hospital. She was 84.
Flores, whose blood pressure dropped from 86 to 44, was rushed to the hospital by her only child Ruby Arcilla and friend, singer Imelda Papin. After several attempts to revive her, she finally succumbed and was pronounced dead at 1:27 a.m.
In an interview with dzBB, Papin said they brought Flores to the hospital.”She could hardly breathe. We were trying to revive her I think three times, but we weren’t able to revive her.”
Flores’ daughter posted on Facebook, “I will miss you mommy! I love you very much. Rest now for you have done so much for your loved ones. God will welcome you in His Kingdom.”
In previous interviews earlier this year, Arcilla asked for prayers for her mother whose condition continued to worsen after she fell inside her bathroom last year. This accident prompted the then 83-year-old actress to undergo a hip surgery, after which she became bedridden.
Flores was also suffering from diabetes, heart disease and early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Flores, whose real name is Remedios Papa Dancel, began acting at the age of 14 with her first ever film Balaraw (1950). A year later, she was officially signed as a Sampaguita Pictures talent. Under the film production company, Flores portrayed her first antagonist role as the a cruel stepmother for film Roberta. (International Movie Database)
Flores was recognized for convincing portrayal of a villain. She had made over 100 films as the hateful kontrabida for actors and actresses including Gloria Romero, Susan Roces, Nora Aunor, Vilma Santos, Maricel Soriano, Dolphy, Joseph Estrada and Fernando Poe Jr.
This earned her the unofficial title “Lady Dean of Contravidas” of the Philippine showbiz industry.
The veteran actress’ achievements for film included FAMAS Best Supporting Actress for Ang Kaibigan Kong Sto. Niño (1967). In 1989 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Film Academy of the Philippines. (International Movie Database)
Her last screen project which recognized her as the ultimate Filipina kontrabida actress was for the Bench’s short feature film, Kontrabida 101. Directed by Jose Javier Reyes, the film premiered July 2012.
Flores’ remains can be viewed at the Loyola Commonwealth Crematory 1 at 7 p.m. on May 19 and at Loyola Commonwealth Premiere 2 on May 20. EUDEN VALDEZ