Many Filipinos are mourning the loss of Lilia Cuntapay, the “Queen of Philippine Horror Movies,” who passed away at age 81 on Saturday, August 20.
On Instagram, actor Mon Confiado posted his farewell to the horror icon. He wrote, “Paalam sa ‘Queen of Phil Horror Films,’ Aling Lilia Cuntapay… Maraming salamat sa lahat ng pinagsamahan. Kayo po ang Best Aswang ng Pelikulang Pilipino (Goodbye ‘Queen of Phil Horror Films.’ Thank you very much for the memories. You are the Best Ghost of the Filipino Film).”
Actor Mark Herras also expressed his thanks to Cuntapay, while well-known “makeup transformation” actor Paolo Ballesteros conveyed his farewell and managed to jest “’wag moko dalawin ha. Labyu’ (Don’t visit me. I love you).”
Meanwhile, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos joined Ilocanos as they grieved the death of their fellow Ilocano.
In a text message to Inquirer, Marcos said, “We have lost a vibrant and gracious Ilocana but we have forever been given an unforgettable icon, whose talent enlivened the screen and brought magic to our humdrum lives. We will miss you, Nana Lilia!”
Every Halloween, the horror icon was a part of the “ghost” parade called “Parada Iloca-locana” that made the Ilocanos love Cuntapay more.
Lydia, also known as Lilia, Cuntapay was known for her frequent roles in Philippine horror movies. She frequently played an aswang, witch, ghost, or other creepy characters that left impressions on Filipino viewers.
Before becoming an actress, Cuntapay was a teacher and worked at a buy-and-sell business. While working at the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM), she was discovered by a movie producer.
She is perhaps known best for her role in the horror series “Shake, Rattle, and Roll,” alongside Kris Aquino.
Earlier this month, Cuntapay asked the public, especially her colleagues in the entertainment industry, for financial help as she had been suffering from a severe spinal cord ailment.
“Wala na ako sa showbiz dahil may sakit ako… Kung mahal niyo pa ako, any help will be appreciated (I am not in the showbiz anymore because I am sick… If you still love me, any help will be appreciated),” she said.
Elma Cuntapay-Daet, Lilia’s granddaughter, confirmed the death of her grandmother. She died at the home of her son, Gilmore Cuntapay, in Ilocos Norte.
“I intended to have her confined at a hospital in Batac City (on the day she died) so I asked a midwife from this town for assistance. But my mother was gone by the time they arrived to take her to the hospital,” Gilmore Cuntapay said.
Lilia Cuntapay once expressed her desire to be buried in Gonzaga, Cagayan but her son decided to bury her in a public cemetery near her family. She is set to be buried before September 16, her birthday.