JUST A THOUGHT: ‘Loving what you do is the secret of everything.’ —Julia Roberts

Family members and close, loyal friends gathered Nov. 13 at the residence of Amalia Fuentes in New Manila, Quezon City to mark the 40th day of her passing.

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Amalia Fuentes

The short guest list was headed by Susan Roces, who, like Amalia, reigned as queen of Philippine movies in the 1960s.

Susan said that just like many of those present that early evening, she, too, missed Amalia. Guests, including Lollie Mara, Chuchie de Vega, and Pempe Rodrigo, spoke about the late movie queen’s sense of humor, intelligence, and generosity.

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Susan Roces with Joey Perlado

Roger Calvin, Amalia’s co-star in movies made by Lea Productions, recalled how Amalia bought for him an expensive watch — without his knowledge — while they were shopping in New York.

Minda Morena, former actress and another close friend of Amalia’s till the very end, said she was gifted with an expensive, long-stemmed onyx necklace while they were in another shopping expedition in San Francisco, USA.

Elwood Perez, who directed Amalia in five movies, all of them box office hits, spoke about how Miss Fuentes didn’t encash a check he had written for her as fee for a brief appearance in a movie he was producing. A year later, Amalia returned the check to him as a gesture of genuine friendship.

“Amalia was like that. She’d love you to heaven and back if she considered you her friend. It’s quite the contrary if you’re her enemy,” recalled Minda, who was teary-eyed during the memorial mass.

Fr. Armand Tangi, who celebrated mass, noted that following our Christian faith, the soul of a dead person finally leaves earth and moves up to heaven on the 40th day of his or her passing.

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Alfonso Martinez (left) with Fr. Armand Tangi

“We must find comfort in the fact that our friend, Amalia, has been freed from all earthly pains and problems,” he said.

A simple balloon flying ceremony held at the patio of Amalia’s mansion followed the mass. Amalia’s grandchildren, Alfonso and Alissa, led the ceremony.

Alissa came with her husband, Paulus, whom she has just married in Canada.

As they freed their pink balloons, the children waved, “Goodbye, Lola.”

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Alissa Martinez with husband Paulus Reyes

Amalia Fuentes died on Oct. 5, four years after a debilitating stroke while vacationing in Seoul, South Korea. She was 79.

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