Bacolod Director Recalls Lessons Taught By Acclaimed Mentor Peque Gallaga
Lory Joyce Andagan | May 14, 2020
Bacolod, the hometown of the award-winning director Peque Gallaga, is saddened by the death of a great genius in the Filipino film industry. The director's life has been integral to shaping the career paths of many of those who had the privilege and honor to work alongside him in his various projects.
One of them is Barney Molina, a known film and tv director from Bacolod City. He shared how his mentor, Peque Gallaga changed his perspective in making films, where his first encounter with the famed director was a memorable one. “I remember when we were in high school in USLS Bacolod, my friend, Joel Torre, invited me to watch his play directed by Peque. When I entered the hall, I felt like I was in another world. The smell, the lights, sounds, and the production itself is amazing.” It was a dream come true for Barney when he snagged an opportunity to work with the great director, quickly discovering that Peque preferred a collaborative work process in any project. “He turned down my first application,” Barney laughs, "His wife hired me. Eventually, we started working together after some time."
Peque’s works are always marked with passion and compassion towards his colleagues. Barney shared one moment when the crew was coming from Olongapo for the casting of an American bar owner. It was late and the driver was nodding off to sleep at the wheel. “Peque had him go to the back of the car to sleep it off,” Barney revealed, “He took the wheel himself and I transferred in front with him as we drove back to Manila.”
According to Barney, Peque was also a director that balances fidelity to quality with understanding for human errors. One time, when he was working as a script and continuity supervisor in one of Peque’s movies, Barney noticed that an earring was missing in a critical drama sequence, so they had to reshoot the scene again. Upon reviewing the rushes, the scene that they had just reshot lacked the intensity of the previous one. Peque decided to use the original shot without the earrings, saying that they would be in trouble anyway if the audience was paying more attention to the earring than the story. “He never compromises the quality of his films. It has always been the acting of the actors that gives meaning and justice to it,” Barney recalled.
The seven years that Barney worked with Gallaga were formative ones that shaped how he approached his craft. “I had initially planned on staying till I got enough screen credits so I can apply in an advertising agency,” he admits, “I was having so much fun and learning so much doing films, stage theater, tv productions and commercials that eventually I decided that working with this group of professionals was more rewarding and fulfilling.”
Eventually, all good things must come to an end, and Barney decided to head back home to Bacolod. Initially, Peque opposed this decision because he was grooming Barney to become a movie director. “I explained to him that it’s time for me to go home because I already learned so much for him and I feel like I want to do pioneering work in Bacolod,” Barney shared, “Peque understood and gave me his blessings. I had the whole year to say goodbye to Peque and he called it ‘the long goodbye.’”
It was an experience that defined his mentality towards his work and his craft, helping pave the path for Barney to become one of Bacolod’s biggest names in the local film and tv industry, responsible for the creative direction of several local teleseryes in ABS-CBN Bacolod and helming the TV Production department for ABS-CBN in Western Visayas. “He allowed others to express their own ideas and acknowledge them when they had good ones. That’s the way he worked and that’s the way I learned from him.”