Isabel Granada’s mom can’t take her unica hija’s cremation



by Boy Villasanta


Until the last moment, everything is very painful for Mommy Guapa, Isabel Castro Villarama, the late Isabel Granada’s mother, to even take a quick last look at her daughter before her cremation early Sunday afternoon at the Arlington Memorial Chapels and Crematorium.

All throughout the time that friend, colleagues, kin and mourners paid their last respects to Isabel  Mommy Guapa was just sitting in her car parked outside the chapel, praying and looking at an empty space if not shedding tears.

According to Virgie Balatico, a veteran showbiz observer and one of Granada’s confidantes, Mommy Guapa couldn’t still accept the fate that had befallen her only child, her unica hija. “Hindi niya matagalan. Nado’n lang siya sa kotse. Gano’n niya kamahal si Isabel. Hindi pa niya matanggap ang nangyari (She couldn’t take it any longer. She’s just inside her car. That’s how she loves Isabel. She couldn’t accept her fate yet),” said Virgie who has been Isabel’s on and off adviser.

“Titingnan na lang ni Mommy Guapa ang mga abo ni Isabel sa lalagyan(Mommy Guapa will only look and take a glimpse at Isabel’s ashes in the urn),” added Balatico.

The only time that Mommy Guapa came out of her car to the chapel where Isabel laid in  state was during the eulogy offered by the actress’ fellow workers and friends in the entertainment industry.

Shirley Fuentes, Charlotte de los Santos in real life, one of Isabel’s friends and fellow German Moreno’s “That’s Entertainment” mainstay in the 1980s, was one of the speakers. “You know what? I couldn’t remember what I said during the necrological service. I was really sad and I was about to cry a lot,” claimed Fuentes who according to her was with Isabel a few days before the latter suffered aneurysm in Doha, Qatar.

“We were together in Dubai a few days before she went to Doha. Then she texted me her last message, after all. She reminded me of our guesting in ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ some time ago.

“We played villains in the story. She told me that at least, we were not really contravida in real life. That if people only knew who we were. She told me to take care.

“She also texted Mommy Guapa in Spanish. She said that she should also take care and she loves her so much,” Shirley gushed in our conversation with her at the wake.


Fuentes, in her surprise moment, saw her longtime love pair Romano Vasquez, also a friend and contemporary of Isabel.

“I will miss Isabel so much. She’s an angel. We share so much stories with her, right, Romano?” Fuentes told Vasquez to affirm which the actor said so immediately.

            According to Shirley, Aiza Seguerra sang during the eulogy on the last night of Isabel’s wake. Mother and daughter Annabelle Rama and Ruffa Gutierrez were also in the necro service program with Jeric Raval, Zeny Marcelo-Poe, Jestoni Alarcon, Janno Gibbs, Bing Loyzaga, Ogie Diaz, Sharmaine Suarez, Maricel Morales, Maila Gumila and movie reporters Boy Romero, Nonie Nicasio, Jayjay Espiritu, Alice Vergara, Linda Cabuhayan, Rommel Placente, Anthony Solis, Raymond Vargas and photographer Mona Patubo.

            ER Ejercito with wife Maita Sanchez came to pay their last respects to Isabel whom they considered a surrogate daughter. “Mahal na mahal namin si Isabel (We love Isabel so much),” exclaimed ER who came all the way from Laguna Province where he helps Maita run the municipal government of Pagsanjan, Laguna as mayor. Character actors Jess Sanchez, Bobby Duran, Amay Bisaya with film director Jose “Kaka” Balagtas were one with the Granadas in their moment of grief.

            Isabel’s estranged husband Jericho Aguas was with his current love Jaycee Parker. Jericho said that everything was fine with him and Isabel’s husband Arnel Cowley. “There’s no gap between me and Arnel. The intrigues aren’t true,” attested Jericho who informed this writer that his grandfather Rudy Genasky, the singer who was aping Tom Jones, Engelbert Hamperdinck and Victor Wood during the 1980s, was also with them as they mourn Isabel’s passing.

            “It was Jaycee who arranged for our papers to be able to go to Doha, Qatar. It’s not true that I am leaving her,” clarified Aguas, an incumbent councilman in Angeles City in Pampanga.

            Hubert Aguas, Isabel and Jericho’s son, was very much around during the hour of the family’s bereavement.

            Hubert, a 14-year old guy, had admitted that he hadn’t seen his mom for a long time already.

            This writer had also spoken to Arnel who was the person taking charge of the funeral wake of his wife.

            According to Cowley, he doesn’t yet know what to do at this moment. “People have been asking me my plans after all this. But I can’t say a word. I don’t what to do after all this.

            “My other half has died when Isabel died. It’s so sudden. I don’t know how to pick up the pieces yet. I don’t know if I will go back to Australia or stay here in the Philippines.

            “But I have or we have a business here in the Philippines. It’s a networking company Isabel and I started two years ago. It was so successful we gave it a shot but look at what happened,” shared Cowley who was again teary-eyed.

            His children with a former relationship, Sarah and Abby Cowley came to the country to pay their last respects to their stepmom.

            “Isabel took care of them in Australia when she was there for almost a year. Then, we came back here to sort of revive Isabel’s career and it took off again,” Arnel recalled.

            Isabel and Arnel were childhood friends when he started to pay the young star a visit on the set of GMA Network’s “Hapi House.” “From there, I wouldn’t want to let go off Isabel,” Cowley volunteered.

            He said that he, too, couldn’t take what happened to Isabel. It’s hard, he said to see her being cremated.


            Isabel ashes, he informed will be perched side by side with her dad Humberto Granada at the columbarium of the Santuario de San Jose in Greenhills.

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Saturday, 20 January 2018
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