Arts & Entertainment

Claudia Zobel: The Sexy Bold Star with the Incorruptible Corpse

She once beat Sharon Cuneta at the box office.
IMAGE Regal Films

Is she a sinner or a saint?

This is the question many people are asking after the remains of Thelma Maloloy-on, who was more known by her screen name Claudia Zobel, was exhumed 29 years after her death.

Ironically, the last movie she worked on before she died at the age of 18 is titled Sinner or Saint. Zobel perished in a car accident that happened in front of Mantrade in Pasong Tamo, EDSA, Makati City on February 10, 1984. Originally, the film’s title was Forbidden, but after her death, Regal Films producer Lily Monteverde decided to rename Sinner or Saint.

Photo by Regal Films.
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When it was released in theaters on March 7, 1984, her wake attracted full media coverage at Loyola Memorial Chapels in Guadalupe, Makati City. National attention was also focused on the her funeral in Cebu City.

Incorrupt Remains of Claudia Zobel


On August 27, 2013, Claudia's body was exhumed.


Her 75-year-old father died, so their family decided to include Claudia's father's coffin.

But when the family opened the coffin of the deceased actress, everyone was shocked because her whole body was still intact, comparing her case to the incorrupt body of saints.

"Maybe she’s really a saint," Anthony Garcia said in an interview with The Freeman.

Freddie was one of Claudia's friends who personally saw the unidentified corpse of the deceased sexy actress.

But the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory-7 Medico Legal Officer Nestor Sator has a scientific explanation.

Sator explained the corpse was mummified due to heat exposure, soil type in the grave, well-performed embalmment, and a tightly sealed coffin that prevented water damage and bacterial growth.

“Water hastens decomposition due to bacteria, so if there is no leaking of water, then the body will be preserved. We can consider it as a natural process of nature, ” Sator told The Freeman in August 2013.


Sator's explanation proved to be true because in November 2019, Claudia's tomb was dug up again to include the remains of her deceased mother. It was then when her body was discovered to have fully decomposed.


Claudia Zobel's Controversial Movie Launch

Thirty-seven years ago today, Shame — the launching movie of Claudia Zobel and Patrick dela Rosa — was released in theaters on June 30, 1983.

Claudia's launching movie made a lot of noise as priests and moralists protested that they didn't like the Senakulo movie scene.

The Board of Censors for Shame banned the film in theaters because of complaints from church members. But the movie was aired in theaters when Monteverde agreed to remove scenes that were offensive to priests.

Photo by Regal Films.

Shame became a certified blockbuster for the noise it created, and because of the rumor that Claudia was a true Zobel. The movie produced very long queues at the cinemas. If anything, the controversy helped the movie’s performance at the box office. At the time it was released, it was anticipated to go head to head with Sharon Cuneta’s movie, To Love Again. Cuneta’s film did not stand a chance and Shame dominated the box office.

This story originally appeared on  Edits have been made by the editors.

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