Inspiring Pinoys

In Memoriam, the Greatest Peque Gallaga Films Ever Made

Metro Manila

Gari Sy Rivera
Gari Sy Rivera | May 07, 2020

Celebrating the life of Philippine veteran filmmaker Peque Gallaga, we remember his iconic films that have touched our heart and memories. Here are some of the multi-awarded filmmaker’s greatest works that have left a mark on Philippine cinema and its artists today.

Oro, Plata, Mata (1982)

Directed by Gallaga in 1982, the film is set on the island of Negros during World War II where a couple of families depict the life and morals present during this time during Japanese occupation. With an all-star Filipino cast and superb execution of the story, the film is honored as one of the, if not the best, film Gallaga has worked on. Digitally restored and remastered, Oro, Plata, Mata is available on iTunes today.

Shake, Rattle and Roll I, II, III & IV (1984-1992)

Gallaga was able to co-direct the iconic horror movie franchise for its first four installments in 1984, 1990, 1991, and 1992 with awarded filmmaker Lore Reyes, Gallaga also wrote the second and fourth film. The franchise produced these films in its respective years as entries to the Metro Manila Film Festival, commonly referred to today as MMFF, the annual film festival at Christmas time. Shake, Rattle and Roll today has still been produced throughout the decades since its first films, though its latest and 15th film was released in 2015.

[related: During COVID-19, Filipino Photographers Unite in Support of Fellow Visual Artists!]

Tiyanak (1988)

Also directed and written alongside Reyes and fellow filmmaker Don Escudero, the horror film starring Janice de Belen, Lotlot de Leon, Ramon Christopher and more known cast members was praised as a horror film to remember. With the story revolving around a demon disguised as a child, its reception offered praise and acclaim with its daunting execution. Filmmaker and former critic Lav Diaz shares, “Films like Tiyanak, even when it is horror, are the ones that will save or contribute quality to the development of Filipino cinema.... One thing that elevates this film is its success in achieving its ambition – to scare. [It is] really scary.”

Magic Temple (1996)

The Filipino family-fantasy-adventure received numerous awards and nominations, sweeping all 14 awards, including best film during the 1996 Metro Manila Film Festival. Its magical storyline of three teenage boys facing magical creatures and self-realizations of strength and trust while journeying to fight the forces of evil was widely acclaimed through the direction of Gallaga and the writing of Reyes and filmmaker Erik Matti. Fun fact: the three main characters were written and inspired by the three largest islands in the Philippines, Igorot Jubal from Luzon, Sambag from the Visayas, and Omar from Mindanao.

[related: Pinoy Resilience Uplifts Hearts and Spirits in COVID-19 ECQ Videos]

Scorpio Nights (1985)

The erotic-thriller film about a young man and married woman’s love affair was a controversial film directed by Gallaga, yet was said to have played a vital part in defining Filipino cinema in its time. Set in the times of the Marcos regime’s end, Scorpio Night was also received as a great film about social awareness, portraying life in the Philippines amidst disturbing and chaotic events in society.

Ganito Kami Noon… Paano Kayo Ngayon? (1976)

Gallag, along with Laida Lim-Perez, was awarded Best Production Design at the 1976 Gawad Urian for this film. Directed by Eddie Romero, the film’s theme followed the events of the Philippine Revolution against Spanish and American colonization. Here, Gallaga and Lim-Perez’s eye for the overall aesthetic is noteworthy for its impact on the tone of the film, its impression, and response from the audience.

ALSO READ: Meet the Young Filipinos Listed in Forbes Asia’s “30 Under 30”!

Add to your: Wishlist Done That

Be a Pinoy Wanderer!

Choose Philippines encourages writers, photographers, travelers, bloggers, videographers and everyone with a heart for the Philippines to share their discoveries and travel stories.

Share Your Journey

Other Stories by Gari Sy Rivera

Tell Us What You Think