MARCH 9, 1976-NOVEMBER 4, 2017 MOVIE-TV ACTRESS & PRIVATE PILOT
O n October 24, 2017, Isabel Granada collapsed. She was then in the capital city of Doha in Qatar as a celebrity guest of the Philippine Trade and Tourism Conference. She was immediately brought to the intensive care unit of the Hamad General Hospital, where she slipped into a coma, from which she never recovered.
Isabel’s husband, Arnel Cowley, who was with Isabel at the time, issued an official statement on Facebook saying that the 41-year-old actress “suffered from a brain hemorrhage which indicates aneurysm and in turn affected her heart.”
An aneurysm occurs, according to the medical website www.healthline. com, “when an artery’s wall weakens and causes an abnormally large bulge” which can then “rupture and cause internal bleeding.” It commonly occurs in the brain, aorta, legs, and spleen. With Isabel, it occurred in the brain.
The news came as a shock to many, especially because Isabel was known to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. On her Instagram account, she regularly posted photos of her Zumba classes and badminton games, as well as of her personal discipline of “eating in portions.”
Isabel’s only child, Hubert Aguas, her son from her previous marriage to Jericho Aguas, immediately flew to Doha. With him was Isabel’s mother, known in showbiz circles as Mommy Guapa, who told everyone she was certain her daughter—her only child— would wake up. Both son and grandmother spent the next days with the actress until she breathed her last on November 4, 2017, or 11 days after her collapse.
Isabel, a Filipino- Spanish beauty, enjoyed a showbiz career that spanned three decades. She was an in- demand
commercial model before she appeared in her first movie, Magchumikap Ka!, in 1985, at the age of nine. Among her first movies were Bakit Madalas ang Tibok ng Puso? and Remember Me, Mama, and she considered her 1997 film Ligaya ang Itawag Mo sa Akin, directed by Carlos Siguion-Reyna, her most memorable. On television, she became a regular in the teen musicalvariety show That’s Entertainment, and acted in numerous teleseryes of the country’s two major networks.
Off-cam, she pursued her education, earning, in 2001, a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering at the Philippine Air Transport and Training Services College of Aeronautics. Isabel was a licensed pilot for private light aircraft.
In 2003, the multitalented actress took a break from work to give birth to her son Hubert, before returning to both acting and flying. But she always considered herself a mother first.
In a 2007 interview with PEP. ph, the online affiliate of YES!, she described herself as a full-time mother: “Kasi since his first day, kahit na caesarian ako, I was hands-on. Ngayon, pag may work ako, may yaya siya na lahat ng bilin ko, nakasulat. But if I don’t have work, kahit nandiyan ’yang yaya, ako pa din ang paligo, magpakain, patulog, to keep that mother’s touch.”
In another PEP interview, in 2011, she explained why family always came first for her: “While I would like to believe that anyone can do what she wants to do, and be who she wants to be, at some point you need to step back and see where you want to go to make your life matter.”
Her life mattered. Today, those she left behind are consoled by the wonderful memories she made with them. As her son Hubert told PEP.ph during Isabel’s wake, “I’ll definitely miss ’yong pagyayakap namin, ’yong pagki-kiss niya, talagang ’yong mag pinaka-sweet na ginagawa naming dalawa.”
1 As a child star, Isabel Granada captivated the public with her strong mestiza features, and she grew up to be an even more attractive woman. 2 She had a posterity shot with another child star, Billy Joe, when they were mainstays in the 1980s TV show That’s Entertainment. Billy Joe is now known by his full name, Billy Crawford. 3 Another That’s Entertainment graduate, Jennifer Sevilla (left), posted this old photo of herself with Isabel on her Instagram account to honor the memory of the late actress. “She was very supportive and a dear friend through the years,” Jennifer wrote. 4 In her youth, Isabel worked constantly with fellow child star Chuckie Dreyfus. The onscreen partners reunited in 2011 to participate in the reality-TV show Survivor Philippines: Celebrity Doubles Showdown. In an interview with PEP.ph at Isabel’s wake, Chuckie shared this message for his dear friend: “Hinding-hindi kita makakalimutan, Isabel, mahal na mahal kita, alam mo ‘yon.”
5&6 Isabel loved posting photos of herself and of her hobbies, passions, and loved ones on Instagram. Last October 18, she posted a snap with her husband Arnel in celebration of their wedding anniversary. It turned out to be her last post. 7 The actress remained friends with her ex-husband Jericho Aguas (foreground), with whom she had a son, Hubert (center). 8 Isabel shared many happy moments with Hubert (leftmost) and her Mommy Guapa. 9 Jericho and Hubert paid their last respects to Isabel during the wake.
At Isabel Granada’s wake, her husband Arnel Cowley (left photo) was inconsolable. “All in all, Isabel is a package to me talaga,” he told PEP.ph. “Kasi, she does not have any bad bone in her body.
“Although, there were some things that went on in her life na she kept it to herself. But you never heard her say anything bad towards anyone talaga. I always remember my wife as the most beautiful and caring person.
“She’ll be very, very missed by a lot of people. And she will be irreplaceable for me talaga.”