It’s a sad day for Philippine cinema. On May 7, we lost the prolific director Peque Gallaga at the age of 76 due to pneumonia. He brought us important Filipino films like “Oro, Plata, Mata” and “Scorpio Nights.”
But for ’90s kids and Y2K film students, his biggest contributions are his fantasy films.
’90s kids’ childhoods were magical through “Batang X” and “Magic Temple.” In these films, we met young Anne Curtis, Carlo Aquino and many more actors we still adore. It’s important to note how he kickstarted a lot of their careers through cinema. Although, what we really love him for is the way he created new worlds even with a shoestring budget.
“I will forever be grateful to him and Direk Lore for choosing me to be their Princess Dahlia in ‘Magic Kingdom,’” says Anne Curtis through Instagram. “It breaks my heart knowing that he won’t get to meet my own little Dahlia. Direk Peque, thank you for giving me a role that would change my life forever.”
Hailing from Bacolod, this Negrenese director loved Philippine cinema. He loved the aspiring filmmakers of today and the youngbloods the industry produces. For him, Philippine cinema’s future lies in its children. These are the same children that owe a chunk of their childhoods through his films.
“I think we are at the dawn of very exciting times for Philippine cinema. The whole enterprise is exploding with new and unexpected possibilities,” said Gallaga in his Inquirer interview. “From the idea of creating huge movie concepts from your bedroom to the idea of a truly national cinematic art form that accepts stories told in Ilocano, Bicolano, Cebuano, Kapampangan, Tausug and Hiligaynon at iba pa.”
What he hopes for young filmmakers and storytellers out there is to learn the balance of storytelling and its business side. “We need young juicy Mother Lilies. We need young Joey Gosiengfiaos and Douglas Quijanos who are alive,” said the deceased filmmaker.
Pegue Gallaga’s death is a huge loss for Philippine cinema. It is now up to fresh, young filmmakers to keep his legacy and local cinema alive.
Still from “Magic Temple”