Today, we lost one of the greats. Maurice “Peque” Ruiz de Luzuriaga Gallaga was a veteran director who was unafraid to put a spotlight on Philippine horrors, both real and imagined, in a filmography of fun and probing classics.
Rest in peace, Peque Gallaga.
Multi-awarded Negrense filmmaker Peque Gallaga, 76, passed away at the Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod City this morning, his brother Dr. Ricky Gallaga confirmed. | @carlapgomezINQ pic.twitter.com/9ms4NQwL9C
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) May 7, 2020
His brother, Dr. Ricky Gallaga, confirmed that the multi-awarded filmmaker passed away at the Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod City this morning. Yesterday, his family announced in a statement through frequent collaborator Lore Reyes’s Facebook account that Gallaga was hospitalized due to “complications arising from past health conditions.”
Celebrities and other individuals from the Philippine film industry have posted tributes for the man whose notable works are still well-regarded and enjoyed to this day. Among the stars who shared their photos with Gallaga are Zsa Zsa Padilla, Agot Isidro and Solenn Heussaff.
From Hiwaga Sa Balete Drive. Took his photo while he was giving me instructions for one scene. Maraming salamat, Peque Gallaga. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/f7jTekfsIY
— zsa zsa padilla (@zsazsapadilla) May 7, 2020
Rest in Power, Direk Peque ❤️ pic.twitter.com/TgQWwZINxf
— Agot Isidro (@agot_isidro) May 7, 2020
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I Love you Direk Peque. Thank you for always believing in me and being the best teacher I could ask for. You literally moved my scenes with music and taught me to be simple in a loud way. Will miss your joie de vivre, your sarcasm and views on certain subjects/people , the way you brought a cast together and made set feel like an actual home. I will forever be your fan in all aspects of your Art and the great human being you are. RIP, I love you.
We rounded up some of our favorites from actor-director-writer Peque Gallaga in celebration of his life and legacy.
“Oro, Plata, Mata”
This multi-awarded film is regarded as one of the top Philippine films of the ’80s. For this project, Gallaga worked with Jose Javier Reyes to tackle Philippine history and class through a story centered on the fall of two haciendero Negrense families. The film was also lauded for incorporating a Philippine architectural superstition in creating its narrative structure. It featured riveting performances from the likes of Cherie Gil and Joel Torre.
One of the blueprints for Philippine family-fantasy-adventure flicks, “Magic Temple” introduced the mystical world called Samadhi. It follows the journey of teenagers Jubal, Sambag and Omar to the Magic Temple as they learn about their powers and the value of friendship. Written with Lore Reyes and Erik Matti, it’s not only a Hollywood-level visual treat but a heartwarming testament to bringing Philippine regional culture to the mainstream.
Gallaga lent his acting chops to “Hubad,” an indie drama about sexuality, censorship and marriage. He played the role of Andre Joaquin, a director who refuses to compromise the language of his play. Although the character is pretty similar to him IRL, he does a great job of matching the performances of Irma Adlawan and Nonie Buencamino. The story written by Rody Vera and Liza Magtoto also provides a look into the local theatre scene.
“Shake, Rattle & Roll”
Who can forget Gallaga’s contribution to local horror cinema? “Shake, Rattle, & Roll” is the Philippine series with the most installments and he was part of the team that spearheaded it. He directed and wrote for the first four films in the series. Some of its most iconic stories like “Mananananggal,” “Aswang” and “Nanay” had Gallaga at the helm. He also discovered one of the industry’s most recognizable horror film extras, Lilia Cuntapay, through the series.
Gallaga was a risk-taker and Philippine cinema is all the better for his boldness.
Photo screengrabbed from the “Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay” trailer
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