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Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Peque Gallaga's signed photo
(thru the kindness of Ronald Rios)

PEQUE Gallaga was recently awarded The Natatanging Gawad for Lifetime Achievement for Filmmaking from the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino during the 32nd Gawad Urian last September 19 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, founding member of the Manunuri, the society of respected film critics, says Gallaga is “the epitome of the compleat Filipino cinema artist,” and that it is only fitting that Gallaga be honored by all those who love Filipino cinema “before the sun completely sets on the film industry.”

The waxing and waning of the fortunes of mainstream cinema seems reflected in the person of Gallaga, a serious filmmaker with a track record of box-office hits and successful remaking of commercial genres, particularly of horror and fantasy movies. As mainstream commercial cinema struggles, independent and out-of-studio films have shown vibrancy and resilience, even catapulting Filipino movie to new global renown. Part of these stirrings of hope can be gleaned from the emergent regional cinema, whose mentorship and encouragement owes to Gallaga’s selfless tutelage.

Gallaga has won several Urian awards: Best Director for “Oro Plata Mata” in 1982; Best Production Design for “Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon?” (together with Laida Lim Perez) in 1976, and for “Manila By Night: City After Dark” in 1980. Gallaga entered into prominence with “Ganito Kami Noon...” directed by Eddie Romero. This important historical movie was shown on the same year as Brocka’s “Insiang,” Ishmael Bernal’s “Nunal sa Tubig,” Lupita Concio’s “Minsa’y Isang Gamu-Gamo,” Gerry de Leon’s “Banawe,” Mike de Leon’s “Itim,” Mario O’ Hara’s “Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos,” and Gil Portes’ debut movie, “Tiket Mama, Tiket Ale, Sa Linggo ang Bola” – making 1976 the peak of the second golden age of Philippine cinema.

Gallaga’s early career illustrates the truism that great filmmakers do not necessarily influence each other; more practically, they work with each other, often in an unwitting sort of apprenticeship. Brocka had worked with Romero as scriptwriter; Mike de Leon had worked with Brocka and later, Romero, as cinematographer. Gallaga, who finished Commerce and Liberal Arts at De la Salle University but had enrolled briefly in the architecture school of the University of Santo Tomas, had worked with Romero and Bernal (notably in “Manila By Night”) as production designer. Also an actor, Gallaga played a part in “Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos,” and Brocka’s “Gumising Ka, Maruja” (1978).

Gallaga would become a full-fledged filmmaker with his second directorial effort, “Oro Plata Mata” (1982), and later, “Scorpio Nights” (1985), arguably his two best movies. In both movies, Gallaga shows directorial breadth of vision and art director’s capaciousness, and it is hard to tell which is which. Since he’s also the writer of “Oro,” Gallaga may have demolished the classic auteur theory or embodied it in its fullest sense: he is author and creator in one.

He would exhibit the same bravura in “Virgin Forest” (1985), “Unfaithful Wife” (1986), and in his recasting of the horror genre, the very successful “Shake, Rattle and Roll” series. His “Once Upon a Time” (1988) is another brilliant recasting, this one of Filipino folklore, with Dolphy playing the mythical role of the Filipino netherworld’s tikbalang. And his “Gangland” (1998) may have set off the gritty urban street drama of today, as manifested in such provocative movies as Brillante Mendoza’s “Tirador” and Jim Libiran’s “Tribu.”

Gallaga continues to make movies while based in his hometown of Bacolod, where he is artist-in-residence, and where he teaches theater and film at the University of St. La Salle. He has mentored future filmmakers and media artists, including Jay Abella, Manny Montelibano, Vicente Groyon and Richard Somes. A multi-variegated artist of intrepid vision and incredible stamina, Gallaga has become one of our few elder statesmen of the cinema arts.

By Lito Zulueta

Philippine Daily Inquirer

September 2009

***Peque Gallaga Pop Art photo (above)- Part of Gallery 7's
Pinoy Icons Exhibit held last January 2009

The young Peque Gallaga (standing, far right), then working as a copywriter at Ace-Compton Advertising with friends and office mates during the company's Christmas party sometime in 1968 or 69. Also in the photo are Butch Perez (standing, second from left) which he soon collaborated to do their initial movie, "Binhi" in 1973, Cid Reyes (standing, third from left), now an established art critic and Rod Samonte (standing, third from right), a well-respected printmaker and artist, now based in the United States. (photo courtesy of Rod Samonte)

Source: Focus on Filipino Films: A Sampling 1951-1982
(Thanks to James dela Rosa of Pelikula atbp blog for the book)
---click image to enlarge---

"Binhi" (1973)- Stars Rosemarie, Dindo Fernando, Ronaldo Valdez and Divina Valencia/ with Cristina Reyes, Van de Leon, Dondon Nakar, Virginia Montes/ Directed by Peque Gallaga and Antonio Perez

"Oro Plata Mata" (1982)- Stars Cherie Gil, Sandy Andolong, Liza Lorena, Fides Cuyuga-Asensio, Manny Ojeda, Maya Valdes, Lorli Villanueva, Ronnie Lazaro/ Special Participation of Kuh Ledesma' Introducing: Joel Torre/ Directed by Peque Gallaga

"Shake, Rattle, Roll!" (1984)- Three Episodes/ Directed by Emmanuel Borlaza, Ishmael Bernal and Peque Gallaga/Episode 3:"Manananggal- Stars Irma Alegre, Peewee Quiajano, Mary Walter and Herbert Bautista

"Scorpio Nights" (1985)- Stars Orestes Ojeda, Daniel Fernando and Anna Marie Gutierrez/ Directed by Peque Gallaga

"Virgin Forest" (1985)- Stars Miguel Rodriguez, Abel Jurado and Sarsi Emmanuel/ Directed by Peque Gallaga

Left- "Unfaithful Wife" (1986)- Stars Michael de Mesa, Joel Torre, Lala Montelibano and Anna Marie Gutierrez/ Directed by Peque Gallaga

Right- "Kid...Huwag Kang Susuko!" (1987)- Stars Richard Gomez, Nida Blanca, Mark Gil, Jang Hwang Kim and Rachel Anne-Wolfe/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Left- "Once Upon A Time" (1987)- Stars Dolphy, Gloria Romero, Janice de Belen, Joel Torre, Lani Mercado, Chichay, Tessie Tomas and Richard Gomez & Snooky Serna/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Right- "Tiyanak" (1988)- Stars Janice de Belen, Lotlot de Leon, Ramon Christopher, Chuckie Dreyfuss, Carmina Villaroel, Rudolph Yaptinchay, Smokey Manaloto/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Left- "Hiwaga sa Balete Drive" (1988)- Stars Charito Solis, Gina Alajar, Joel Torre, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Jestoni Alarcon, Rita Avila, Michael Locsin, Harlene Bautista, Joe Ed Serrano and Ian Veneracion/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Right- "Isang Araw Walang Diyos" (1989)- Stars Richard Gomez, Edu Manzano, Janice de Belen, Alice Dixson, Eric Quizon and Joey Marquez/ with Manilyn Reynes, Carmina Villaroel, Aiko Melendez, Isabel Granada, Chuckie Dreyfuss, Smokey Manaloto, Ronnie Quizon/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Left- "Abandonada" (1989)- Stars Alma Moreno, Gabby Concepcion, Janice de Belen, Joey Marquez, Fe delos Reyes, Melissa Mendez/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Right- "Shake, Rattle & Roll II" (1990)- Three Episodes- All Star Cast/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Left- "Shake, Rattle & Roll III" (1991)- Three Episodes- All Star Cast/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Right- "
Shake, Rattle & Roll IV" (1992)- Three Episodes- All Star Cast/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Left- "Aswang" (1992)- Stars Alma Moreno, Manilyn Reynes, Aiza Seguerra, Joey Marquez, Janice de Belen, Aijon Jimenez, John Estrada, Orestes Ojeda, Berting Labra/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Right- "Dugo ng Panday" (1993)- Stars Ramon 'Bong' Revilla, Jr., Edu Manzano, Aiko Melendez, Jaime Fabregas, Leo Martinez, Max Laurel, IC Mendoza/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Left- "Darna Ang Pagbabalik" (1994)- Stars Anjanette Abayari, Edu Manzano, Rustom Padilla, Pilita Corrales, Bong ALvarez and Cherie Gil/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Right- "Baby Love" (1995)- Stars Jason Salcedo, Anna Larrucea and Edu Manzano/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Left- "Batang X" (1995)- Stars Janus Del Prado, John Prats, Anna Larrucea, J.C. Tizon, John Ace Zabarte and Aiko Melendez/ with Michael de Mesa, Chuck Perez, Al Tantay, Jaime Fabregas/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Right- "Magic Temple" (1996)- Stars Jason Salcedo, Junell Hernando, JunUrbano, Anna Larrucea, Gina Pareno, Aljon Jimenez and Jackie Lou Blanco/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Left- "Magic Kingdom or Mortal Kombat: Ang Alamat ng Damortis" (1996)- Stars Jason Salcedo, Junell Hernando, Janus Del Prado and Jun Urbano/ with Mark Gil, William Martinez, Ramon Christopher, Maricel Laxa/ Introducing Anne Curtis / Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Right- "Halik ng Vampira" (1997)- Stars Anjanette Abayari, Raymond Bagatsing, Beth Tamayo, Parick Guzman, Jaime Fabregas, Jason Salcedo, Mark Solis and Michael V./ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

"Gangland" (1998)- Stars Jason Salcedo, Junell Hernando, Ryan Eigenmann, Blakdyak, Jesus Simoy/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Left- "Sa Piling ng Aswang" (1999)- Stars Maricel Soriano, Gina Alajar, Gardo Verzosa and Manilyn Reynes/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Right- "Unfaithful Wife 2: Sana'y Huwag Kang Maligaw" (1999)- Stars Ian Veneracion, Ryan Eigenmann and Patricia Javier/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

"Ang Kabit ni Mrs. Montero" (1999)- Stars Edu Manzano, Sunshine Cruz, Gardo Verzosa and Introducing Patricia Javier/ Directed by Peque Gallaga & Lorenzo Reyes

Agaton & Mindy (2009)
Puso 3 (2006)

Pinoy Blonde (2005)

Sa Piling ng mga Aswang (1999)

Unfaithful Wife 2: Sana'y Huwag Kang Maligaw (1999)

Kabit ni Mrs. Montero, Ang (1999)

Puso ng Pasko (1998)

Gangland (1998)

Diliryo (1997)
Halik ng Vampira (1997)

aka. Mortal Kombat (Alamat ng Damortis) (1997)
Baby Love (1995)

Batang X (1995)

Darna: Ang Pagbabalik (1994)

Dugo ng Panday (1993)

Shake, Rattle and Roll IV (1992) (segment "Ang Guro")

Aswang (1992)

Shake, Rattle and Roll III (1991)

Leon at ang Kuting (1991)
Shake, Rattle & Roll 2 (1990)

Trese (1990)

Abandonada (1989)

Isang Araw Walang Diyos (1989)

Impaktita (1989)

Tiyanak (1988)

sa Balete Drive (1988)
Kid, Huwag Kang Susuko (1987)

Once Upon a Time (1986)

Unfaithful Wife (1986)

Scorpio Nights (1985)

Shake, Rattle & Roll (1984) (segment "Manananggal")

Bad Bananas sa Puting Tabing (1983)

Oro, Plata, Mata (1982)

Binhi (1973)

Source: Focus on Filipino Films: A Sampling 1951-1982
(click image to enlarge)

Here’s one horrifying and tense scene from the 1982 movie, “Oro Plata Mata,” ---a family leaving their ancestral home and fleeing to the hills when the invading Japanese forces were closing in ---a very horrible and scary scenario of how war decided the fate of a family as their fortunes gradually went down the drain. Peque at his best!

Courtesy of Experimental Cinema of the Philippines (ECP)


Rodolfo Samonte said...

Congrats, if you happen to be reading this.

TheCoolCanadian said...

Simon & Rod:

Though I've seen just three or four Peque Gallaga films, I liked all of them. These films have grittiness in them that makes them very watchable and enjoyable.

Another Fipino filmmaker with the same panache is Jeffrey Jeturian. I like his TUHOG (Eskewered) very much.

Both these guys films remind me some of those French filmmakers: Rebellious and possessing "the devil may care" attitude.

Yeah, just like Goddard in his heyday.


Rodolfo Samonte said...

Simon, JM,
I've actually just seen Oro, Plata, Mata, and Scorpio Nights, and these are the ones to see and a couple of forgettable ones. I think some of his movies are forgettable, and he will be the first to admit he did it for commerce - to make money. Oro, Plata, premiered to U.S. audience in 1982 here in LA and that was the first time I saw the movie, and it just blew me away. I mean I could not believe anything of that quality was made in the Philippines. Peque was at the premier. I knew Peque from when we worked together in advertising, he was a copywriter. How he got into directing I'll never know. There was never any hint that he wanted to make movies, the film maker in our midst was Butch Perez, who was also working as a copywriter. I think he and his wife financed ORO themselves, and this was the movie that made him, plus the commercial success of Scorpio Nights and he was on his way. Here's a Picassa picture of Peque, Butch Perez, Cid Reyes (future art critic), myself and other office mates at a party. That's Peque's hand on me trying to push me out of the picture. http://picasaweb.google.com/rodolfo.samonte/RodAtAceCompton#5399993267281535378

TheCoolCanadian said...


That photo is a nice period piece.

Those were the days when advertising was alive and kicking and ad agencies hired people to work for them exclusively (in fact, they pirate each other's people).

In the 80s the whole scenario changed. Everybody became freelancers and the camaraderie disappeared in a wink of an eye.

These days, it's worse. We just telecommute. No more interaction with your co-workers.

Rodolfo Samonte said...

Bring back the good old days. Those were in fact the best years of my life, working in advertising. It was fun, working with crazy, talented people.

Anonymous said...

JM ,Rod,

I had the opportunity to shop talk and banter with Peque when he came to Iloilo City a couple of years ago, when there was some filmfest held at SM Mall in Mandurriao. The conversation lead to the virtues of piracy within the context of THIRD WORLD REALITIES. Nice Banter!


Rodolfo Samonte said...

I remember you telling me about this in one of the blogs, or sites we often visit.

Video 48 said...

Nice photo, Rod! What year was that? The early years of Peque, maybe around the early 70s. Can I use and put it up so others can see? Thanks for sharing!

Rodolfo Samonte said...

That photo was probably earlier than 70s, I'm not sure now, but I started working for Ace-Compton in 1966, I think Peque came on board a year after that, so that photo must have been 68 or 69. And I think it was a Christmas party.
Yes, you can use it.

Rodolfo Samonte said...

BTW, the other person in the photo is Butch Perez who's also an established film maker. However, I don't know much about his movies. During our advertising days, he was the one always lugging his video camera around. I had no idea Peque would be such a success as a director and an actor too. Also working at the same agency (Ace-Compton), at the same time were, Noel Trinidad (and his brother too, forgot his name) I think he was an AE, and Leo Martinez, working in media, both became establish Filipino actors. Not to mention National Artist J.Elizalde Navarro, who was our creative director, and Manuel Duldulao, who was an Account Executive too.

Anonymous said...

looking at his filmography one cant help but notice that its all downhill-artistically wise-from the start of his collaboration with lore reyes to the pinoy blonde(with the only bright spot-for me-are gangland(a great underrated film) and baby love). Hearing the praise of the critics with his current picture im hopeful that he got his mojo back.


Unknown said...

I've been a fan ever since I saw ORO PLATA MATA back in the 80's and its the film that made me awe about Phil. Cinema. He's back on the right track again with AGATON & MINDY and I believe some of his collaborations with Lore Reyes are worthy particularly WAKWAK, SRR 2, BABY LOVE, GANGLAND, & ONCE UPON A TIME. His films have such a distinctive mark and high production values that differentiate it from other Filipino films.

Oro Plata Mata said...

What a wonderful Filipino cinema we had because Peque Gallaga.

Anonymous said...

Good day.

This is Gerald Vista of GMA 7. Can I use the photo of Direk Peque posted on your blog for an episode about Lilia Cuntapay I am working on? I shall place Video 48 for the courtesy of the photo. The segment will air on October 28, 2011 at GMA after Saksi.

Thanks and God bless.

Unknown said...

Bad Bananas!
Ito yung pelikula na gusto ko, kung tama ang aking natatandaan - dito ako naguluhan, na-intriga, nag-isip at natuwa. The chemistry behind the volatile and explosive combination of Gallaga and the Bad Bananas is one that few failed to appreciate. A time when absolute rebellion from the norms. I would love to own a copy of this on disc.


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