From ‘Oro Plata Mata’ to ‘Magic Temple’: Peque Gallaga’s films remembered as celebrities, fans mourn his death

May 7, 2020 - 5:42 PM
Peque Gallaga
Film director Peque Gallaga. (Haaynaku via CC BY-SA 4.0)

Filipino personalities and fans honored legendary film director Peque Gallaga by recalling some of their favorite works of him following the announcement of his passing on Thursday morning.

The veteran filmmaker died at a hospital in Bacolod City at 11:45 a.m. due to pneumonia, according to reports.  He was 76.

His colleague and friend Lore Reyes on Tuesday shared that Gallaga was hospitalized “due to complications arising from past health conditions.”

Gallaga’s family in a statement announced that there would be no funeral service to “observe safety precautions.” The kin added that Gallaga will be immediately cremated, as what he would’ve “wanted,” according to his widow, Maddie Gallaga.

“He was a visionary and artist; a loving husband, father, and grandfather; and a dear friend. He has brought so much joy to so many people and he will always live in our memories and in his art,” part of the family’s statement reads.

Maddie also encouraged the filmmaker’s friends to create their own online memorial for him as they “remember him at his best.”

Meanwhile, personalities like Jake Ejercito, Anne Curtis-Smith and some of the filmmaker’s fans shared how some of the director’s works had left a significant impact on them, especially in their youth.

Ejercito said that Gallaga’s fantasy films, “Magic Temple” and “Batang X,” were his childhood favorites.

Curtis-Smith, on the other hand, shared a photo of her when they were shooting the 1997 film “Magic Kingdom: Ang Alamat ng Damortis.

She played the character of Princess Dahlia on that movie.

Curtis-Smith’s two-month-old daughter was coincidentally named “Dahlia.”

“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,” she wrote in her tribute post.

A Twitter user named Sonny Mata also shared how 1996 film “Magic Temple” will always have a “special place” in his heart. He accompanied his post with a picture of the movie poster and wrote:

I know that Oro Plata Mata is the ultimate Peque Gallaga film. But this one always has a special place in my heart. Hanggang sa muling pagkikita sa kaharian ng Samadhi. Maraming salamat, Ginoong Peque Gallaga.” 

Another online user shared that he only saw “Oro, Plata, Mata” recently but added that the movie left him thinking how the Philippine film industry “needed” such kinds of films nowadays.

“Just saw Oro Plata Mata a month ago and thought we need more of these films—not only epic in scale but also retrospective without being preachy. I know Peque Gallaga had influenced and will continue to influence a lot of today’s artists. Rest in peace, Mr. Gallaga,” he wrote.

Contributions to local film industry

Peque is considered one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of Philippine cinema. His works span age groups and genres, from adult films to child and family-oriented ones.

Some of his most memorable films that made a mark in the industry are “Oro, Plata, Mata,” “Scorpio Nights,” “Tiyanak,” “Batang X” and “Magic Temple,” among many others.

The director also created episodes for the “Shake, Rattle and Roll” movie franchise and “Darna: Ang Pagbabalik.”

Peque’s most recognized film that stars a young Cherie Gil and Joel Torre, “Oro, Plata, Mata,” has won several awards in the 1982 Gawad Urian for best picture, direction, cinematography, production design, musical score and sound.

It tells the story of two rich families in the province who cope with the changes in their lives brought upon by the horrors of the Second World War.

The movie is also considered a landmark Filipino film which is usually recommended by cinephiles and Gallaga enthusiasts.

Meanwhile, “Magic Temple” is considered one of the most iconic fantasy-adventure films that became a top-grosser in the 1996 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

It features three teenage boys who went on an unexpected journey in the mystical world of Samadhi and encountered a mix of friendly creatures and evil forces along the way.

The film bagged 14 awards in the MMFF for that year, namely the Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award, Best Float, Best Sound Recording, Best Make-up Artist, Best Visual Effects, Best Musical Score, Best Original Theme Song, Best Screenplay, Best Original Story, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Director, and Best Film.