Anne Curtis says goodbye to legendary director Peque Gallaga

Jan Milo Severo - Philstar.com
Anne Curtis says goodbye to legendary director Peque Gallaga
Anne Curtis and Peque Gallaga on the set of the 1997 fantasy movie "Magic Kingdom: Ang Alamat ng Damortis."
Anne Curtis via Instagram, screenshot

MANILA, Philippines — Legendary film director Peque Gallaga passed away today due to pneumonia in a hospital in Bacolod City. He was 76.

Recently, Peque's fellow director, Lore Reyes, posted on Facebook the statement of Peque's family that he was in the hospital, but not due to rumored novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“The family of Peque Gallaga would like to make this statement in regard to the news and [rumors] circulating about him. Peque Gallaga is in the hospital due to complications arising from past health conditions,” the statement said.

The veteran director was known for his films “Scorpio Nights,” “Unfaithful Wife,” “Magic Temple,” "Shake Rattle & Roll,” and “Oro Plata Mata,” to name a few. 

Reyes co-directed over 20 films with Gallaga, including "Shake Rattle & Roll 2," "Shake Rattle & Roll 3," "Shake Rattle & Roll 4," and "Baby Love."

Upon learning that the director passed away, Anne quickly posted a tribute for him on Instagram.

“I will forever be grateful to him and Direk Lore for choosing me to be their Princess Dahlia.. it breaks my heart knowing that he won’t get to meet my own little Dahlia,” said the “Magic Kingdom” star, who named her firstborn after her first movie character.

“Direk Peque, thank you for giving me a role that would change my life forever. I will miss you and will treasure the memories and lessons you taught me in the craft of acting. Rest In Peace. I love you. My deepest condolences to the Gallaga Family.”

Deni Bernardo, Philstar.com Lifestyle and Entertainment Editor, was among Gallaga’s Production Design students in a short course hosted by Production Designers of the Philippines and Mowelfund.

“He jokingly introduced himself to us as the man who made Anne Curtis famous, because he directed Anne’s debut film ‘Magic Kingdom.’ He made fun of that movie and also 'Batang X,' but he was always proud of them because despite the shoestring budget, he managed to make them epic in both scale and commercial success,” Bernardo shared.

She described Peque as a “rock star” and generous mentor who shared everything he knew about filmmaking and production design.

“He would bring all the biggest stars in class, mostly those he worked with over the years like the iconic Cherie Gil and Joel Torre, to boost our love for Philippine cinema,” she said.

“My fondest memory of him was him always saying how he missed ‘mental lovemaking’ or picking the brains of fellow legendary director Lino Brocka. He was so cool and unorthodox! We would always end a class doing something fun like street food snacking or a dance showdown. He was charming and never intimidating given all of his achievements.”

Born Maurice Ruiz de Luzuriaga Gallaga on August 25, 1943 in Bacolod, Peque was a proud Negrense, which is why Negros is also the setting of his 1982 film "Oro, Plata, Mata," considered as his best contribution to Philippine cinema. 

Gallaga directed over 37 films, wrote more than 10, and acted in 10 more. He was among the few in the industry who can multi-task as director, actor, screenwriter and production designer.

In 1976, he and and Laida Lim-Pérez won Best Production Design at the Gawad Urian for Eddie Romero’s "Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon?" In 1980, he won the same award for Ishmael Bernal’s "City after Dark." 

In 1996, Gallaga and Reyes won Best Director and Best Screenplay for "Magic Temple" at the Metro Manila Film Festival.

Gallaga is survived by wife Maddie, and children Bing, Jubal, Mitch, Wanggo and Datu.

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