MANILA, Philippines—The Country has just lost “the archetypal Filipino villainess,” actress Boots Anson-Roa said of the death of veteran character actress Bella Flores on Sunday.
Flores, Remedios P. Dancel in real life, passed away at Quezon City General Hospital, where she was being treated for complications following hip surgery and a stroke she suffered in September last year, according to her daughter Ruby Arcilla. Flores was 84.
Doctors at Quezon City General Hospital declared Flores dead at 1:27 a.m. after several attempts to revive her, reported Arcilla. Her remains lie at the Loyola Memorial Chapels on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.
“I thank all of her friends and fans. I hope they will continue to remember my mom and her contributions to local show business,” said Arcilla. She added that burial plans were still being finalized.
Roa said Flores was a contemporary of her late father, actor Oscar Moreno, in the now-defunct Sampaguita Pictures. She said she became personally close to Flores when the two of them joined Baliksamahan, an informal group of veteran actors formed 10 years ago.
“We attended retreats and participated in the group’s outreach projects, along with actresses Susan Roces and Nova Villa,” Roa recalled.
“I remember her as someone with a kind soul. People remember Tita Bella for her raised eyebrows and arms akimbo, but what they didn’t know was that she had a great sense of humor. She will surely be missed.”
When Flores’ health took a turn for the worse late last year, Roa said the Baliksamahan group got involved by bringing Flores to San Juan Medical Center. “The members took turns going to the hospital to visit her,” she said.
“It had been very sad during her last days. She couldn’t communicate with us anymore so we just whispered encouraging words in her ear,” Roa said. “I remember telling her, ‘Tita Bella, kulang lang sa mah-jong ’yan.’” Roa added that Flores and her late mother Belen Cristobal were mah-jong buddies.
Flores had hip-replacement surgery in September 2012. She also suffered a stroke that affected the right part of her brain, which resulted in difficulty speaking, moving and recognizing people, Arcilla said in an interview with the Inquirer in February.
Flores was born on Feb. 27, 1929, in Santa Cruz, Manila. The top movie kontrabida appeared in over a hundred films since she joined show biz at age 14 in 1950 (“Tatlong Balaraw”).
Inquirer Entertainment columnist Nestor Torre described Flores as the “really nasty villainess” who made life a living hell for the little Tessie Agana, a character in “Roberta” (1951).
Incidentally, the box office success of “Roberta” saved its producer, Sampaguita Pictures, from financial ruin after the studio was ravaged by fire, Torre added.
Flores won a best supporting actress award from the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (Famas) in 1967 for her performance in “Ang Kaibigan Kong Santo Niño.” She was part of many films by Elwood Perez like “Isang Gabi, Tatlong Babae” and “Mahal Mo, Mahal Ko.” She was also seen in the 2003 hit “Crying Ladies,” by Mark Meily.
In 2008, Flores received the Diwata Award, given by the University of the Philippines Film Institute, for her extensive contributions to the entertainment industry. The UP Film Institute website called her “irreplaceable, iconic.”
She was last seen on TV in the adaptation of the komiks classic “Trudis Liit” (2011) on GMA 7. In 2012, she appeared in Jade Castro’s feature film “My Kontrabida Girl,” produced by GMA Films, and Jose Javier Reyes’ short film “Kontrabida 101: Kontrabida Pa Rin at 84,” produced by clothing company Bench.
Flores’ remains lie at the Loyola Memorial Chapels on Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City.
Originally posted: May 19, 2013 | 11:57 am