Bella, the quintessential ‘kontrabida’

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CELINA Le Neindre, Pinay contender on “The Apprentice Asia”

The show biz industry lost another pillar in Bella Flores.  She was so good at being bad on-screen.

It takes an effective “kontrabida” to make the “bida” shine.  Although  she didn’t  invent  the art of portraying  the villain, she mastered it.

In today’s parlance, people say “I-Bella Flores mo siya!” when they want to terrorize someone.  Que horror! Que “Bella!”

To pay homage to the Grand Dame,  I asked some celebs to share their fondest memories of her.

Boots Anson Roa:  I fondly remember the Bella Flores na hindi nakataas ang kilay, hindi nanlilisik ang mata at hindi nakapamewang. The real Bella Flores was jovial, full of energy. She

GLADYS Reyes

always made us laugh.

Direk Joey Reyes: I had the privilege of working with her on a short film that was to be her final major work.  I was asked by my nephew Marci if I wanted to direct Bella Flores in one of the shorts. There was not a moment of doubt! The old lady became a Grand Dame, the actress she truly was at 84 years of age. She lit the screen, filled the room with energy and never … I repeat … never complained despite the long hours of  the day-long shoot.

Gladys Reyes:  I remember when Tita Bella and I worked together in “My Kontrabida Girl.” She was so malambing. I was touched because she was very vocal about her admiration for me.  She told me that when she was asked in interviews  who her favorite kontrabidas were, she would always include me.

Rita Avila:  Tita Bella had high energy. She was like a teenager. One cute and funny anecdote about her was when we were taping for “Marinella.” We were wondering why we all had black marks on our  faces after kissing her. It turned out that it came from her eye-lined mole that rubbed on our cheeks when we made beso-beso with her.

Mark Gil: Tita Bella was always fun on the set.  She had so many interesting  stories. She was one funny woman. She was admired for her humility.

RITA Avila

Benjie Paras:  We did a couple of movies. I asked her if she had a boyfriend. She told me that she was having a hard time choosing because there were four men fighting over her. Contrary to her kontrabida roles, she was a very funny and lovable woman.

Rez Cortez:  She repeatedly lamented that senior actors were not respected enough and not held in high esteem in the industry. Tita Bella became the icon of kontrabida actresses.  When actors would ask what kind of villain they should portray,  the director would say “a la Bella Flores.” She served as the yardstick of  the ultimate kontrabida.

Davaoeña apprentice

Creating a buzz nowadays is the Pinay contender on “The Apprentice Asia,” the half-French, half-Filipino (and proud Davaoeña) Celina Le Neindre.

BENJIE Paras

She was selected from among more than 30,000 applicants across Asia, proving once again that Pinoys have what it takes to excel in the international arena.

A certified chef, the well-traveled Celina is confident she can represent the country capably, perhaps even becoming the first apprentice to Asian boss Tony Fernandes of Air Asia and Tune Hotels Group.

Will she be able to take on the challenges or will she be fired? Let’s tune in and see!

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