Another inspirational drama from direk Maryo J.

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - “It is a ‘secularly’ domestic drama,” says direk Maryo J. delos Reyes of his latest GMA drama series, Pari Koy, which stars Dingdong Dantes and premieres tonight after 24 Oras. “It is inspirational and not (leaning much on) heavy drama. It is similar to Niño (another inspirational soap he directed in 2013). Walang nawawalang (mga) sanggol na pinagpalit (There are no babies being switched at birth here).”

With that, direk Maryo J. has added another genre to his body of work. On TV, he showed his ability to handle child actors in Munting Heredera and Mga Anghel na Walang Langit. In the movies, he started from his signature youth-oriented High School Circa which led to Bagets, capturing the MTV-pop culture of the ‘80s. From there, he transitioned to the adult-and-relationship-themed My Other Woman and Sinungaling Mong Puso and gave his take on the inspirational genre in Magnifico, placing a child, full of innocence and honesty, in the grown-up world.

“My inspiration is guided by the Lord,” says direk Maryo J. of the career path he has taken through the years. “Na nagpapasalamat ako.”

Pari Koy is a manna from heaven that direk Maryo J. is grateful to receive and to sink his teeth into. He is the perfect person to be at the helm of it since direk Maryo J. was a former seminarian. He knows the intricacies of priesthood and the sensibilities of handling the tale of a religious persona.  

Dingdong and direk Maryo J. with (from left) Rap Fernandez, JC Tiuseco, Dexter Doria, Luz Valdez, Carlo Gonzales, Chanda Romero, Gabby Eigenmann, Sunshine Dizon, Jillian Ward, Jeric Gonzales, David Remo, Lindsay de Vera, Jojit Lorenzo and Hiro Peralta

“We have to be very careful because the Church is sensitive,” he says. “That’s why I recommended to have a consultant in the person of Father Erik Santos. Aside from the fact that he is my father confessor, he is a priest with liberal ideas. So I guess, he is the perfect adviser for certain critical and controversial issues (which) the church is confronting (in the series), issues like marriage. He has been with the marriage tribunal and he has been an advisor with the charismatic churches of the Philippines and organizations. His experience is very wide. You need to have a religious consultant. Instead of getting favorable responses from your community, you might get the ire of the audience.”

And Dingdong, who received his basic education from the Jesuits, is taking the progressive parish priest role of Pari Koy, also known as Father Kokoy.   

“You just have to observe. He is not really extremely progressive na ibang-iba yung kanyang mga idea,” describes direk Maryo J. of the lead character. “Siguro hindi siya yung traditional na pari, na hindi approachable, hindi sociable. If we have a running priest, we have Paring Koy — pari siya na Kokoy. His name is Jericho. Kokoy is his nickname. So naging Paring Koy.”

Given Pari Koy’s arresting looks and undeniable charm and his standing in the community, temptations and issues abound. Some gay men and women will show their interest in him while local politicians will keep an eye on the young priest. What is interesting here is how Pari Koy will deal with these individuals without compromising his faith. 

“I had worked with him in Pahiram ng Sandali with Lorna Tolentino, Max Collins, Christopher de Leon and (the late) Mark Gil. That’s why I wanted to work with him again,” replies the director when asked about his present collaboration with Dingdong. “So far, I love his portrayal. Aside from the fact that he looks so handsome as a priest, he is very vulnerable, he is out of the box. He plays along with the role. Hindi (siya) typical or traditional na pari (and what the show will also tackle is) yung relasyon niya sa iba. Like, he will give advice on violence against women.”

According to direk Maryo J., Pari Koy is good for 16 weeks. The issues the drama tackles will come along the way and characters have already been planted for issues they stand for. This sounds inspirational and informative, touching on the core values of a Christian life.

“I’m a devout Catholic and I believe na hindi ko pa rin maiaalis sa akin na nanggaling ako sa seminaryo (that my seminary roots cannot be taken away from me),” direk Maryo J. says. “Even if you say that going to the church is a habit, it is a habit that I believe in, hindi habit na nagiging obligasyon (it is not a habit which has become an obligation). Naniniwala ako sa Diyos. May takot ako sa Kanya.”

As for his career, direk Maryo J., whom others may think has come full circle, will continue to explore new genres and challenge himself to thrive in them. “Nag-se-set ako ng panibagong goals para hindi ako maging kuntento (I always set new goals so I won’t rest on my laurels). Kasi kapag sinabi kong fulfilled na ako, titigil na ako (If I feel that I’m fulfilled, then I will stop [working]).”

(Pari Koy also stars Sunshine Dizon, Chanda Romero, Luz Valdez, Dexter Doria, Gabby Eigenmann, Jillian Ward, David Remo,  Jojit Lorenzo, Rap Fernandez, JC Tiuseco, Carlo Gonzales, Jeric Gonzales, Hiro Peralta and Lindsay de Vera.) 










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