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Remembering Peque Gallaga

By RICA AREVALO

Peque Gallaga

Peque Gallaga

Maurice Ruiz de Luzuriaga Gallaga, better known as Peque Gallaga, 76, was first and foremost an esteemed teacher. 
In Gabriel Fernandez’ Facebook post, the Nasaan si Francis? director reminisces: “You were the greatest teacher there ever was. Long before the phrases ‘learner-centered’ or ‘multiple intelligences’ were in vogue in academic circles, you were aware and practiced them in your classroom.”

He honors his former mentor. “The techniques you used are still today considered revolutionary. Your legacy of students who have gone on to become teachers and leaders will last for many generations,” his post continues.

Peque and other Filipino directors

Peque and other Filipino directors

Direk Peque was an artist-in-residence at the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod and a hundred percent La Salle-bred mestizo. He mastered the horror genre and also made fantasy films for children.

He brought the exotic Scorpio Nights on the big screen. His wide array of films defined Philippine cinema to the world.

Joey Reyes acts in Peque Gallaga's SHAKE RATTLE AND ROLL 3

Joey Reyes acts in Peque Gallaga’s SHAKE RATTLE AND ROLL 3

Entering showbusiness, Jose Javier Reyes was then a ”rookie” when Peque asked him to write the classic film, Oro Plata Mata. “If Peque Gallaga did not take a chance to let a neophyte 27-year-old writer put his masterpiece into words, then I wouldn’t be in my here and now,” he says.

Kung wala si Peque, wala rin ako ngayon. Ang sakit-sakit (If Peque was not around, I wouldn’t be here. It’s too painful). He showed me what it was like to be a director—to be the captain of a ship, to run it efficiently, and to nurture each and every co-worker to be part of a collaborative process,” remarks the award-winning director. “I have said it too often: I have become who I am because of mentors who were titans. Peque is one of them.”

Manet Dayrit Lore Reyes and direk Peque

Manet Dayrit Lore Reyes and Peque Gallaga

Film editor Manet Dayrit was also 27 years old when Peque took a chance on this fresh film school graduate for Gunita, where she also got her first editing award. “He always treated me as an equal even if he was the Peque Gallaga,” she muses. “He was always encouraging and collaborative with me, always excited to hear my ideas, which motivated me to always do my best for him. I’ve always aspired to be like him for others.”

The two worked together in Batang X, Magic Temple, Magic Kingdom, Sonata, T’yanak, and in the upcoming Magikland, which Gallaga produced.

Manet Dayrit (2nd from right) with the film restoration team of Oro Plata Mata

Manet Dayrit (2nd from right) with the film restoration team of Oro Plata Mata

Director May Cruz Alviar first worked with the Bacolod master as a production assistant (PA) for Magic Temple. She recalls: “I was shy, just quietly observing him in meetings and oculars, learning just by listening and watching. I thought back then that being a PA, I should just be in the shadows lurking.”

On the night before their first shooting day, Peque asked her: “What about you, Mae…. What exactly are your responsibilities?” 

May Cruz Alviar

May Cruz Alviar

Alviar realized she mattered to him even if it was her first film project. “In the course of our shoot, he would give me responsibilities like choose mood music for a scene or buy cabinet knobs to use for the wise men’s costumes. And after each task there was always an encouraging word or thank you,” she added. “When I filled in as Script Continuity for a day, he approached me after editing the scenes and said I did a really good job. That meant the world to me!”

Peque gave importance to every member of the production team, encouraging them and showing kindness, especially to the newbies.

Carlos Siguion-Reyna and Peque Gallaga

Carlos Siguion-Reyna and Peque Gallaga

For Carlos Siguion-Reyna, the greatest lesson he got from Peque was on “the universal value of serious work, a professional work ethic, community service (e.g., teaching, in Peque’s case), and honesty far outweighs their costs.” He tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle: “Like my parents in their ways, Peque lived and generously shared that lesson.”

Both attended the Toronto International Film Festival more than two decades ago. Peque exhibited Diliryo and Gangland to a North American audience. 

One of Bacolod's Finest Directors Peque Gallag

One of Bacolod’s Finest Directors Peque Gallag

“Peque supported our national cinema as a movement, pushed not only his own films, excitedly watched works from other parts of the world, and shared notes with the rest on which movies were worth seeing,” he recollects. “It was a time when colleagues in a national delegation saw and supported each other in a top international film festival. His eagerness, like that of a hungry student, was infectious and inspiring, and brings back great memories,” shares the Hari ng Tondo filmmaker. 

Godspeed to the most influential person in the theater and film communities in the Negros island. 

You will be missed big time, Direk Peque!


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://lifestyle.mb.com.ph/2020/05/08/remembering-peque-gallaga/)

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