Remembering Bella Flores

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Hatred (poot) and Jealousy (inggit) – “…In the Joey Reyes short film, Bella gave her audience an idea of how she became a most hated screen villain. On the whole, the film was a funny but down-to-earth crash course on how to achieve immortality as a screen villain. The fool-proof ingredient, according to Bella, was to invest and perfect that art of hatred (poot) and jealousy (inggit) and make use of them to the hilt. Then she added another lesson on the fine art of slapping and hair-pulling and how to produce an equally important wicked laughter as she saw the object of her hatred expire from her equally malevolent stare. Declared Bella in her last film (Kontrabida 101) after dousing wine on the face of the poor waiter: “Bidas (heroines) they come and go. Pero kaming mga kontrabida, we never fade away.” There is a ring of truth in Reyes’s declaration: “There is one and only Bella Flores. She is indeed one of a kind.” Stage director Anton Juan can only agree: “Bella Flores, how many who tried to imitate your art in front of their own mirrors could approximate your wicked eyebrows, flaring nostrils, the sharp-lined lips that formed the word at the edge of gritting teeth, a voice that rasped deep through the breath of smoke. You created the Filipino archetype of the ‘kontrabida’ till your name itself was synonymous with villainy. Rest in peace, Ms. Bella Flores and flowers for you…” – Pablo A. Tariman, The Philippine Star, 20 May 2013 (READ MORE)

Roberta and Trudis – “…Contravida Queen Bella Flores was featured in “Showbiz Central’s” Most Influential segment as she plays a big part in GMA Films’ new movie with Rhian Ramos and Aljur Abrenica, “My Kontrabida Girl.” It’s also a tribute to Bella as she’s celebrating her 60th anniversary in showbiz. The screen name Bella Flores was given to her by the late Sampaguita Pictures’ boss Dr. Jose Perez. “I was so glad when I was told it means beautiful flowers,” she said. Her real name is Remedios Dancel and she was born on Feb. 27, 1936, which means she turned 76 yesterday, Monday (Feb 27/2012). She was only 15 when she did her first villain role maltreating child star Tessie Agana in the blockbuster “Roberta.” She recounted that Vilma Santos auditioned with her for her first movie, “Trudis Liit,” in 1963. “Natakot siya at tumakbo dahil nakita niyang pinahirapan ko ‘yung ibang batang nag-audition,” she said. “Ngayon, governor na siya. Sina Roderick Paulate at Gina Alajar, sa’kin din nagsimula as child stars sa ‘Kaibigan Kong Sto. Nino’…” – Mario Bautista, Malaya (READ MORE)

Female Eddie Garcia – “…There is nothing that I can ask for more,” sambit ni Bella. “I’ve played all kinds of roles. I played the madre roles. Meron akong mga action pictures…plus mga drama. “Even on television, all of my TV shows got the highest ratings. Honest to God! Katulad ngayon, itong Trudis Liit, nakadagdag na naman ako. Nakasama ako sa magandang ratings ng show. “I’m so proud and I’m so happy and so contented that after all those five decades, you know what I mean, I’m still standing up, not sitting down.” Marami nga ang naghahalintulad kay Bella bilang female counterpart ni Eddie Garcia sa patagalan sa showbiz industry. “They compare me always to Eddie Garcia when they interview me. It’s true that we have the most respected names in the world of showbiz. “Kapag sinabi mong Eddie Garcia, sold na lahat. Yari na ang lahat. Wala nang puwedeng ipalit. Ganoon din ang sinasabi nila sa akin,” aniya. Aminado naman si Bella na may mga pagkakataon din na hindi dumarating ang projects sa kanya….” – Paul Mata, PEP, 20 October 2010 (READ MORE)

Miss Bulaklak – “…Acting didn’t run in Bella’s family of eight brothers and seven sisters. Remedios Limson in real life (a mixture of Chinese, Spanish, and German bloods), Bella was a rice vendor on Blumentritt and Antipolo streets in Sta Cruz and eventually became “Miss Bulaklak of 1949” before she invaded the movies. She had her first taste of movies without the knowledge of her parents. “It was only when I arrived home with five stiches on the head I sustained from a freak accident during a shooting that they learned about it. My producer, the late Mommy Dolores H. Vera, took me home. So my parents couldn’t back out anymore!” Bella Flores started out in films as an extra in Ang Lumang Bahay Sa Gulod which was Premiere Productions’ first picture in color and starred Rogelio de la Rosa and Leila Morena. She transferred to Sampaguita Pictures where the late Dr. Jose R. Perez screen named her Bella Flores, which means “magandang bulaklak” in Pilipino. She was to be an extra again in Kilabot Sa Makiling but a sudden twist of fate landed her a longer role as the “other woman.” Bella’s biggest break came when she portrayed the stern and mean aunt to then child stars Tessie Agana and Boy Alano in Roberta, a tearjerker. The sob movie was a smash hit and literally revived Sampaguita Pictures, which was razed by fire in 1951. Bella was then signed up for 13 years and got P500 per picture with a P50 weekly allowance. On top of that, for every picture she made there after, she would be paid P3,000. “During those time, you could already buy a house and lot for only P10,000. Regular taxi fare was P10 and you could go back and forth to studio and home…Age is a state of mind. If you say you’re old, then you’ll look old. Me? I don’t believe I’m old because I always feel young!…” – Manny B. Fernandez, People Magazine, 05 February 1982 (READ MORE)

Bella Flores and Vilma Santos’ Films

  • Ikaw Ang Mahal Ko (1996) – ”…In 1996 Vilma Santos did “Ikaw Ang Mahal Ko” with the late FPJ. The film did not do well, both critically and commercially. This year also was a bad year for the local entertainment industry as Ishmael Bernal died on June 2nd. It was reported that he was scheduled to direct a film about the life story of Lola Rosa Henson, the comfort woman during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. The project was also reportedly offered to Vilma Santos. From 1997 to 2009, Vilma Santos completed 6 full featured films, two were considered record breaking films and almost all gave her acting recognitions including two international best actress recognitions…” (READ MORE)
  • Pinay, American Style (1979) – “…The film was so forgettable that the critics didn’t even bother to write any reviews. The lack of enthusiasm on the part of the critics was compensated with the box office success of the film. Vilma fits the role as the illegal alien, PX. Her attempt to speak fluent English and pretend that she’s rich when she met the boyish looking Christopher was funny and poignant. She was given enough scenes to shine. One was when she was harassed by her landlady, she promised her the rent money the next day and when she’s gone, she opened her refrigerator and found a staled piece of bread. She took bottled water and ate the staled bread, went to the bedroom and found her mom’s letter. Lying down in bed, she started to break down. A quiet scene without dialogue. A contrast from the earlier scenes where she was talkative as she tried to impress Christopher and telling him she’s rich and from a well-known family. It was obvious in 1979, Elwood Perez wasn’t the kind of director you will expect to produce a serious output. He wasn’t a Bernal or Brocka. He’s a commercial director. It was a better effort though, compared to a much more convoluted Magkaribal or their past successful projects like Nakawin natin ang bawat sandali and masakit masarap ang umibig. In Pinay, Toto Belano’s script wasn’t efficient in ironing out the “love quadrangle” plot twists and establishing the characters of four actors. So the blame can’t be put to solely to Perez’ shoulder. There was a scene were Vilma Santos and Christopher were watching a concert which was obviously not part of the script…” (READ MORE)
  • Huwag hamakin! Hostess (1978) – “…Do you always succeed in packaging a movie? “Often, yes, But, alas, I have failures too.” For instance? “Well, some reasons for failure are due to wrong chemistry of the cast, to the vehicle (story) and/or unsuitability of both elements. Let’s take the movie, Huwag Hamakin: Hostess, which with solid actresses, a move that proved to be contrary to the image of La Aunor. It would have been all right, if Alma Moreno, Nora’s co-star, was paired with another bold actress. But that, we learned only later and too late! I was aware of Guy’s image. But I wasn’t aware that her image wouldn’t go well with the combination. Not even the controversy of including Vilma Santos in the cast helped. It only antagonized both camps of Nora-Vilma fans…” (READ MORE)
  • Big Ike’s Happening (1976) – “…Enrique “Big Ike” Lozada (August 13, 1940-March 8, 1995) was a Filipino comedian, actor and TV host. He was born on August 13, 1940 in Iloilo City. He started acting at the age of 11 on the movie Mga Bituin ng Kinabukasan with the younger Susan Roces. He died on March 10, 1995 in Manila, of heart attack. He was 54. His had lain at Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City…” (READ MORE)
  • Ding Dong (1970) – “…Ding Dong, adapted into movie from comics written by Pablo S. Gomez; Illustrated by Alfredo P. Alcala for United Komiks, 1970…” (READ MORE)
  • Young Love (1970) – “…The loveteam of Edgar Mortiz and Vilma Santos endured a stiff competition from teeny bopper love team of Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III and came up with equal success with string of hit films during the musical era of the 70s. Together they did forgettable but commercial hits and also some hints of the years to come to Vilma Santos’ long career. The most notable one: Dama De Noche. Total Number of films with Vilma Santos – 25 (Young Love, Teenage Jamboree, Songs and Lovers, Renee Rose, My Pledge of Love, Mga Batang Bangketa, Love Is for the Two of Us, I Love You Honey, From the Bottom of My Heart, Baby Vi, Love Letters, The Wonderful World of Music, The Sensations, The Young Idols, Sweethearts, Sixteen, Leron-Leron Sinta, Edgar Love Vilma, Don’t Ever Say Goodbye, Dama de Noche, Anak ng Aswang, Because You Are Mine, Kampanerang Kuba, Kasalanan Kaya, Karugtong ang Kahapon…” (READ MORE)
  • Trudis liit (1963) – “Ang pelikula ni Ate Vi na Trudis Liit ay tandang tanda ng maraming Vilmanians. Nagdulot ito ng unang karangalan para kay Ate Vi at sa murang edad ng siyam. Sa mga Vilmanians ang maraming madramang eksena ni Vilma rito’y natanim sa ating alaala. Ang sabi nga ng isa sa ating Vilmanian na si Henry Llaneza, “the first movie I’ve seen in Black & White TV mula sa bintana ng kapitbahay ay ang “Trudis Liit” na napaiyak ang lahat ng nanonood dito nagsimula ang lahat…” ng kanyang pagiging isang Vilmanian. Katulad ni Henry, dito rin nagsimula ang aking paghanga sa star for all season. Galit na galit ako nuon kay Bella Flores dahil sa pang-aaping ginawa niya kay Trudis. Sa pagkapanalo ni Ate Vi ng FAMAS Best Child Actress sa pelikulang ito, sinundan pa ng Sampaguita Pictures ang tagumpay nito sa pamamagitan ng pelikulang Ging. Dito makikita ang malinaw na talento ni Ate Vi. Hindi lamang sa kanyang hindi pilit na pag-iyak kundi sa pagkanta rin. Dito rin sa pelikulang ito’y nakipagsabayan siya sa pagganap ni Olivia Cenizal at sa pang-aapi ni Carol Varga. Ang dekada ng sisenta ay patuloy na nagbigay ng maraming pelikula kay Ate Vi magmula sa pagiging isang batang artista hanggang sa isang teenager. Umabot ito sa unang karangalan niya bilang isang hindi na batang artista sa pamamagitan ng pagkanominado niya sa Best Supporting Actress muli sa FAMAS at ang kanyang pagkapanalo ng parehong titulo mula naman sa San Beda College…” (READ MORE)

Bella Flores (February 27, 1929 – May 19, 2013), was a FAMAS award-winning Filipino film actress. She was best known for her “iconic” portrayals of film villains. Flores was born in Manila. She was a college sophomore at the Far Eastern University when she appeared in her first film, Tatlong Balaraw (1950), at age 14. Flores was signed by Sampaguita Pictures. She was cast in Roberta as the cruel stepmother of Tessie Agana’s titular character, despite being 15 years old. The film was a box-office success, credited with saving Sampaguita Pictures from bankruptcy after a fire had destroyed its studio. The film’s success also elevated Flores into the upper tier of stars, and typecast her in villainous roles. The film critic Nestor Torre remarked that Flores had “been making life miserable for many generations of hapless stars—all the way back to little Tessie Agana and Boy Alano in ‘Roberta’ in the early 1950s, to her fresh batch of victims in the New Millennium… doing it without skipping a beat—and without aging (much) to boot.” She received the 1967 FAMAS Best Supporting Actress award for her role in Ang Kaibigan Kong Santo Niño. Flores died on May 19, 2013, in Quezon City General Hospital. Her death was a result due to complications from a recent hip surgery. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

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