Cover Photo: Peque Gallage on the set of Tiyanak / Wikicommons

We pay tribute to one of Philippine entertainment’s most popular directors, Peque Gallaga, who has shaped the local cinema scene into what it is today

Amid the hardships brought on by the current pandemic, alongside the shutdown of ABS-CBN network, cinema fans were saddened to hear news of the passing of Peque Gallaga on 7 May 2020. While his family mourns in his native Bacolod, many cinephiles stand by today remembering his body of work, many of which are considered Philippine classics and nostalgic favourites. Today, we revisit some of his movies that have left an indelible mark on our minds and memories. 

Read also: The Glory And The Glamour: Reminiscing The Golden Years Of Philippine Cinema

Oro, Plata, Mata (1982)

Arguably Gallaga’s most well-known and critically acclaimed film, Oro, Plata, Mata tells the story of two wealthy Filipino families in the throes of World War II. In order to survive, they must escape the invading Japanese forces and so take to the jungle to hide. 

First released in 1982, Oro Plata, Mata, which translates to “gold, silver, and bad luck” respectively, stars the likes of Cherie Gil, Manny Ojeda, Liza Lorena, and Joel Torre during their early years on the silver screen.

Shake, Rattle, and Roll (1984, 1990)

The Shake, Rattle, and Roll franchise is legendary in the multiple instalments that have graced Philippine cinemas in over four decades. Its nascent premier in 1984 featured a segment entitled Manananggal, which was directed by Gallaga. In it, a young farm boy (Herbert Bautista) pursues a girl (Irma Alegre) who later turns out to be a manananggal

In 1990, Gallaga returned to the Shake, Rattle, and Roll franchise to direct all segments of the triptych alongside Lore Reyes. 

Hiwaga Sa Balete Drive (1988)

Capitalising on local folklore, Hiwaga sa Balete Drive is a two-part movie that features a young couple who encounter the mythical white lady said to roam the streets late at night. The second part of the film introduces us to a young boy with a “third eye” who is able to witness crimes due to his supernatural gift. 

Darna, Ang Pagbabalik

Darna, beloved Filipina superwoman, was created as a comic book character by Mars Ravelo and Nestor Redondo in 1950. Gallaga’s take on the superhero casts Anjanette Abayari as Darna, who must defeat Valentina, a Medusa-like super-villain who is attempting to take power through subliminal messages in religious programming. Exciting and nostalgic in the way movies from the 90s are (the old-time CGI just adds to the charm), Darna, Ang Pagbabalik has become a cult classic, especially for the youth of the early 90s. 

Magic Temple (1996)

Having won all its 14 nominations in the 1996 Metro Manila Film Festival, Magic Temple reignites our imagination through the adventures of Jubal, Sambag, and Omar. The three boys are sent to battle the evil forces of Ravenal in the world of Samadhi. In the movie, Gallaga introduces us to an extraordinary world of magic and beauty — a seeming trademark in all the works of his decades-long career. 

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