We are constantly bombarded with information on a daily basis. The moment we open our eyes in the morning, and tap on the cell phone screen, our brain starts to process all the information we see and hear. This goes on for the rest of the day. We may have a break for a few minutes to even an hour, as we tune out everything that surrounds us. But the moment we tune them back in, more information comes, which means our brain needs to offload some of it to accommodate data that we consider more important.
Perhaps this is why we oftentimes forget about some of our beloved celebrities who have passed on, especially those who are not big mainstream ones. Sometimes we even forget that they are no longer here to entertain us. We come across an article that mentions them or suddenly catch sight of them on TV as we’re flipping through the channels. Then we find ourselves asking the question, “Whatever happened to…?” And then we realize or we are reminded that they are gone.
There’s always a tinge or sadness when we reminisce about these people who may or may not have been a big part of our lives, but who, in one way or the other, made us laugh a little louder, cry a little harder, and feel a little more deeply.
Here are some of the celebrities you probably didn’t know or forgot have passed away:
1.) Raphael John “Ralph” Gil Eigenmann (25 September 1961 – 1 September 2014)
Known as Mark Gil, Raphael John Gil Eigenmann was a popular character actor who started his showbiz career in the late ‘70s. He continued acting until just before he died at age 52. The veteran actor died of cirrhosis of the liver just 24 days shy of his 53rd birthday.
He appeared in Ang Bagong Dugo (2014) with another veteran character actor Dick Israel.
2.) Ricardo Vizcarra Michaca (10 December 1947 – 11 October 2016)
Ricardo Vizcarra Michaca, or Dick Israel to many of us, was one of the most recognizable faces on the silver screen. Always playing a villain, Dick was very effective in any role he portrayed, that even up to now, many still see him as the ultimate bad guy.
Dick, however, was more than a villain. He was an extremely talented actor. In 1988 and 1994, he won the Metro Manila Film Festival Best Supporting Actor Award for the movies Patrolman and Kanto Boy: Anak ni Totoy Guwapo.
In July 2010, appeared on TV asking his co-actors for financial help. He had suffered a stroke which left him paralyzed.
On 11 October 2016, Dick started vomiting blood. He later died in his home. His wife passed away less than a week after he had died.
3.) Rolando Desembrana Aquino “Roldan Aquino” (May 2, 1948 – March 10, 2014)
Rolando Desembrana Aquino was a Filipino actor and director, best known for playing antagonist roles in films and television shows.
Roldan’ last film was DOTA: Nakakabaliw.
He also starred in comedy films such as Mama’s Boys together with Michael V., Ogie Alcasid.
What people, or at least the writer, remembers most about him is his baritone voice, which reminded her of Barry White’s very deep voice. His voice would’ve been perfect for radio.
4.) Remedios Papa Dancel-Reyes “Bella Flores” (February 27, 1929 – May 19, 2013)
Bella Flores was more than an icon. She was an archetype. To many people she was the ultimate kontrabida (villain). Her high-arched eyebrows alone could send the protagonists in her movies running for the hills. She was and will forever be the epitome of villainy, or in today’s lingo, #kontrabidagoals. She wasn’t known as the original ‘Primera Kontrabida’ in Philippine show business for nothing.
After working for decades, Bella Flores succumbed to complications which resulted from a hip surgery. The doctors tried to revive the actress after her blood pressure had dropped to an alarming level. However, the ordeal was too much for her and she died soon after.
Bella Flores was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Film Academy of the Philippines in 1989.
5.) Teresita Joy De Leon-Viado “Joy Viado” (April 10, 1959 – September 10, 2016)
Joy Viado was a multi-talented Filipino actress. Perhaps not a lot of people were aware that she was a great singer. In 1994, she won the grand prize in the Fe S. Panlilio Scholarship singing contest. At around the same time, she joined the cast of Ang TV, a youth-oriented gag show on ABS-CBN.
Joy was comfortable on a TV or movie set. She would also act in various theatrical productions.
Joy died of a heart attack in 2016. She had suffered from diabetes for almost three decades, and had to undergo four debridement surgeries.
6.) Myrna Villanueva (Tiya Pusit) (March 23, 1948– October 2, 2014)
Tiya Pusit was a veteran comedienne whose career spanned almost three decades. She was known for her feistier-than-usual roles. She rose to fame through an ’80s sitcom titled Eh Kasi Babae. She was last seen playing Kim Chiu’s nanny in the TV series Ikaw Lamang.
What some people may not know is that Tiya Pusit was the sister of another famous Filipino actress Nova Villa.
Tiya Pusit fell ill in April 2014, battling several serious health problems, including kidney failure and aortic aneurysm. She underwent a double coronary bypass surgery on Sept. 9 but failed to recover from it.
Tiya Pusit’s son Christian Uybengkee said in a statement that his mother had suffered two strokes since the operation. Her kidneys also shut down rapidly.
She passed away due to multiple organ failure at the age of 66.
7.) Elizabeth Indino Ramsey (December 3, 1931 – October 8, 2015)
Elizabeth Ramsey was and forever will be close to the hearts of many Filipinos. She was a Filipina stand-up comedienne, singer and actress, beloved by many because of her witty and self-deprecating brand of humor. Her signature Visayan accent was also endearing to many.
She was dubbed “Queen of Rock and Roll” and “Original Queen of Comedy.”
Elizabeth’s last TV appearance was in May 2015 in an episode of ABS-CBN’s Your Face Sounds Familiar, a singing contest wherein the contestants imitate an artist assigned to them. The show turned out to be the perfect tribute for the veteran performer, wherein Melai Cantiveros, one of the contestants of the show and who would ultimately win the grand prize, impersonated Elizabeth.
Elizabeth died a few months after that TV appearance in her sleep from a hyperglycemic attack at the age of 83.
8.) Lilia Cuntapay (September 16, 1935– August 20, 2016)
If Bella Flores was the favorite villain, Lilia Cuntapay was the Filipino moviegoers’ favorite aswang (Filipino malevolent mythical creatures) or multo (ghosts), known for playing “White Lady” roles.
Lilia started out playing bit roles in various movies. She was never really a mainstream actress until Filipinos started recognizing and patronizing indie films.
She would later play a fictionalized version of herself in a movie titled Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay, which was written and directed by Antoinette Jadaone. Lilia would end up winning a Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival Best Actress Award for that movie.
Lilia passed away on August 20, 2016 at her son’s home in Ilocos Norte. She had suffered from a spinal cord ailment since August 5, 2016, and could not walk because of it.
The actress was 80 years old.
9.) Ricardo Reyes “Ritchie D’Horsie” (September 13, 1957 – April 17, 2015)
Ritchie D’Horsie was a popular comedian who rose to fame as the trio Tito, Vic & Joey’s sidekick. He started a career on TV as part of the cast of Discorama. He later joined Iskul Bukol in 1978 and Eat Bulaga the following year.
His was a hard life. The actor constantly battled drug addiction and did time for drug-related crimes. He was released from prison in 2008 after Vic Sotto had paid the Php 120,000 bail bond.
He died at the age of 58 due to complications brought about by diabetes, kidney failure, and stroke.
One story that will not die, however, is Richie’s involvement with the alleged rape and eventual suicide of actress Pepsi Paloma.
He, along with Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon, allegedly raped the actress who, years later, would take her own life.
10.) Joseph Amoto-Formaran “Blakdyak” (25 July 1969 – 21 November 2016)
Blakdyak was a Filipino actor-comedian and reggae singer. He was of Filipino and Jamaican descent. His father was a US serviceman stationed in Subic where he met Blakdyak’s mother.
Blakdyak rose to fame as the first Filipino reggae singer with ‘90s novelty hits, like “Modelong Charing,” “Noon At Ngayon,” and “Asin At Paminta.”
Blakdyak was found dead inside his condominium unit in Sampaloc, Manila on November 21, 2016, with his head covered with a plastic bag. Foul play has been ruled out.
11.) Dominic “Papadom” Gamboa (19 December 1965 – 18 December 2013)
Papadom was the front man and founding member of the Filipino reggae band Tropical Depression. Their hit songs like “Bilog Na Naman ang Buwan” and ‘Kapayapaan,” dominated the airwaves in the ‘90s.
Papadom died just one day shy of his 48th birthday in December 2013. The family requested that the wake remain private. The singer’s cause of death was kidney failure.
The band stopped performing for a short time following Papadom’s death.
Papadom’s widow, Maria Amparo Concepcion “Teng” Santaromana-Gamboa, was reported missing on February 11, 2016. She was found dead on February 12 along Kalayaan Avenue, Makati. She had been shot in the head. Maria Amparo, who worked in a call center in Makati, is believed to have been killed just minutes after she had left her workplace at 2:20 a.m. on February 10.
12.) Gary Ignacio (27 February 1966-17 April 2015)
Gary Ignacio was a Filipino musician and a former vocalist of ‘90s rock band Alamid. Their hits include ‘Your Love,’ ‘Hesus,’ ‘Batibot’ and ‘China Eyes.’
Aside from music, Gary also loved the environment. He was an active member Dakila, a non-profit organization made up of artists, students, and individuals whose goal is to bring about social change.
He was also co-founder of the Malabon Musicians Alliance, and together with Dakila, they conducted Climate School Malabon, whose aim is to educate the youth about how one can protect the environment. This is all done through music and art.
Gary did not stop there. He also helped organized the annual Bazurock Concert, whose aim was to have a plastic-free Malabon.
Gary died in April 2015 after battling kidney cancer for eight long months. His wife said, “He died very peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends.” She went on to say, “He gave a good fight and did not give up until the very end.”
13.) Edwin Villanes Deramas (September 15, 1966 – February 29, 2016)
Wenn Deramas was a TV and movie writer and director known for his blockbuster, record-breaking comedies. His acting career started at the University of Santo Tomas, as a member of the theater group Teatro Tomasino. In 1990, he started working as a production assistant for the TV show Tatak Pilipino, and the rest was history.
Wenn’s longtime friend June Rufino said the director had died of a heart attack at the emergency room of Capitol Medical Center on February 29. He was 49.
Coincidentally, his sister Myra Ann had also died at the same hospital of a heart attack just one day before.
14.) Ronald Fredrick William “Ronnie” Nathanielsz (2 November 1935 – 11 November 2016)
Ronnie Nathanielsz was a staple in every boxing bout aired on TV. His very distinct accent was music to boxing fans, and his clear blow by blow explanation of each round, was much appreciated by every Filipino who watched.
Ronnie was born in Sri Lanka but made his home in the Philippines. He was a sports journalist, commentator, and analyst. He and his wife moved to Manila in 1962 but before they did, he had turned down an offer from a friend of his father’s to handle a weekly boxing show in Australia.
Nathanielsz died in San Francisco, California, of a heart attack. He was surrounded by his family. He was 81.
15.) Erwin Dolera (D. 7 July 2016)
Erwin Dolera was one of the three boys who wrote their hops and aspiration on paper boats and let them float on the Pasig River hoping they would reach then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The group was called “Bangkang Papel” boys (paper boat boys).
Erwin was working as a production assistant on News 5 when he died at San Lazaro Hospital on July 7, 2016. He had battled pneumonia and complications due to tuberculosis for two weeks. He died at the age of 24.
By: Katy Concepcion-Wiggins