Manila’s social and fashion scene got a shock on Thursday when news spread that one of the city’s prettiest faces had died.
Model Helena Belmonte, touted as one of Manila’s eligibles, fell to her death from her 28th-floor condominium in Pasig City in the early morning of Thursday. She turned 28 only last month.
Those who had the chance to meet and spend time with the young woman, including us in Inquirer Lifestyle, knew her to be a bright, fun-loving person. Quite likable, she was bold and easy-going and never backed away from a challenge. “Bubbly” and “giggly” are words that are often used to describe her in remembrances.
There was an outpouring of grief by friends and acquaintances on social media where they expressed their regret for the loss of a girl many saw grow up before their eyes.
Helena, only daughter of former magazine executive Lorraine Belmonte, used to hang out after school at her mother’s Mega Magazine office, according to accounts. Pretty soon, she would be gracing the covers of glossies.
No one expected the tragic end of the model, who, just a day before she died, had posted an Instagram photo of herself getting her nails done. On the eve of her death, she even attended an event hosted by editor Liza Ilarde, her godmother.
On her Facebook page, Ilarde posted a screen cap of her last phone chat with her goddaughter. Helena was inquiring about the dress code to her ninang’s event. Ilarde lamented that she didn’t get to see Helena that night.
We had traveled on assignments abroad with Helena. On one trip to Macau, she was with us for a magazine cover shoot. The girl was no diva; she did her own makeup, styled her own wardrobe and was a breeze to work with, judging from her rapport with the photographer. She must have been only 21 or 22 then, the youngest in our group, and the only one who dared to bungee-jump off Macau Tower.
She was the same vibrant girl on a trip to Tokyo, who cajoled us older girls in the media group to chaperone her clubbing. She relished a good meal and enjoyed the good life. Her vivacity and lovely smile will be sadly missed.