Members of the Philippine Air Force drape the Philippine flag over the white casket of actress Isabel Granada whose remains arrived in Manila on Thursday, November 9, 2017. Granada was a reservist with the rank of staff sergeant. PHOTO FROM THE PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE FACEBOOK ACCOUNT
SHE is finally home.
Almost a fortnight since actress Isabel Granada suffered an aneurysm in Doha, Quatar and died on October 4, her remains arrived in Manila aboard a Philippine Airlines PR 685 flight.
An enlisted personnel of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) with a staff sergeant rank, the 41-year-old Spanish-Filipina was given full military honors upon arrival. Unknown to most, Granada is a licensed pilot having earned a degree in B.S. Aeronautical Engineering in 2001 from the Philippine Air Transport and Training Services College of Aeronautics.
Her family, headed by husband Arnel Cowley, had been waiting at the cargo warehouse of Philippine Airlines when the actress’ white casket arrived.
Granting a short interview, a weeping Cowley told reporters, “We did things together, we traveled together… Now that she’s gone, I really don’t know what I’m going to do pero somehow I’m going to try to push through. She was a loving wife, a caring person. She’s always giving time to people and she’s just a people person, very loving.”
The actress’ ex-husband Jericho Genasky Aguas and her only son Hubert were also present at this heartbreaking homecoming.
Maj. Aristides Galang Jr., PAF spokesman, said in a statement: “During this time of mourning, we, the men and women of the PAF, share the sense of grief and great loss of Ms. Granada and we wish to pay tribute to this great woman who has achieved so much in her life.”
Galang said Granada was recruited by PAF through its Direct Enlistment program in 2001.
She was temporarily assigned to the Air Force Special Service Group and was given an Air Force Specialty Code skill in recreation, which was volleyball.
Galang said the actress spent a year as an active PAF enlisted personnel as part of the Women’s Volleyball team.
“[Granada] opted to remain as a reservist where she continued her support by willingly performing, hosting, and lending her celebrity status to draw crowds in PAF events,” Galang said.
“Her proper demeanor, both as a celebrity and an aviation enthusiast, also contributed to the PAF’s public image by virtue of her reservist status, which she had proudly admitted,” he said.
The Philippine Air Force gives the late actress Isabel Granada full military honors on November 9, 2017. PHOTO FROM PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE FACEBOOK ACCOUNT
As a final respect to a member of the PAF, Galang said the Air Force would extend a funeral honor and service to the actress “as PAF’s way of demonstrating its concern for the welfare of its personnel.”
From Pasay City, the remains of Granada were taken to Santuario de San Jose Parish in Greenhills, Mandaluyong City.
Meanwhile, Granada’s close friend, actress Bianca Lapus, posted on her Instagram account (@biancalapus) a sketch of the dress waiting for Granada for her wake.
“I’ve been up staring at the design of my friend @beabianca.ph [fashion designer Bea Bianca]based on the description I imagined you to wear for the last time. Simple, classy, like an angel,” Lapus, Granada’s co-star in the movie “Halik ng Sirena” wrote.
“When you arrive, you will wear this ethereal gown, created with fine French lace and flowy Gaze Faconne fabric, accentuated with heavy embroidery lace and white Topaz Swarovski crystals. You will look just like Sleeping Beauty,” continued the post.
A popular actress especially in the late 1980s and through the early 1990s, Granada’s family has allowed public viewings to take place on November 10 and 11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, the first and final nights of the wake tonight and Saturday will be strictly private for family and friends.
Granada’s remains will finally be transferred to Arlington Memorial Chapels on Sunday morning where a mass will be held at 1 pm to be followed by cremation at 2 p.m. WITH REPORTS FROM DEMPSEY REYES, ROSVEL DIAZ