With his outstanding, wide-reaching body of work in Philippine cinema, Direk Maryo J delos Reyes will be sorely missed with his untimely passing on Saturday, January 27 due to a heart attack. He was 65.
We all remember him as the impressive director behind such pop culture film classics as Annie Batungbakal and Bagets. He also directed such Pinoy film classics as Saan Darating Ng Umaga, Kaya Kong Abutin Ang Langit, Kapag Napagod Ang Puso, Sinungaling Mong Puso, and Sa Ngalan Ng Pag-Ibig.
He also shifted genres with the scintillating thriller Linlang, and provocative films such as Red Diaries, Laman, and Torotot.
But, direk Maryo J will always be remembered for wielding his magic in unforgettable Kapamilya teleseryes.
In 2005, he helmed the tearjerker Mga Anghel na Walang Langit, which was based on a film written and produced by Fernando Poe, Jr. A sad take on the plight of five children, who were abandoned and exploited, and left to fend for themselves, the primetime teleserye was very much lauded by critics and had topped the ratings throughout its 9-month run. It starred impressive young actors then—Nikki Bagaporo, Carl John Barrameda, Miles Ocampo, Sharlene San Pedro, John Manalo, Eliza Pineda and Nash Aguas.
The drama was so successful, it started a string of children-focused dramas on primetime. Direk Maryo J followed it up with another emotionally charged drama Calla Lily in 2006, which starred the child actress whose talent at a very young age impressed him a lot—Sharlene San Pedro in an extraordinary dual role. It depicted the tale of twin sisters who are caught in serious family complications that affected their precious young lives.
His affinity with children inspired him to direct Magnifico, an enlightening take on a boy’s inspirational journey as a selfless kid, Magnifico (Jiro Manio) who only seeks the happiness of others. This brought Direk Maryo countless accolades, including the Crystal Bear for Best Feature Film and the Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk Grand Prix in the 2004 Berlin International Film Festival, among others. The Gaward Urian bequeathed his most recognized work as the “Best Film of the Decade,” and winning seven trophies in the 2004 FAMAS Awards.
He then helmed Naglalayag, another widely recognized film about a May-December affair and the consequences of their union that starred Nora Aunor and Yul Servo, which further brought him honor and worldwide distinction. It bagged the Special Jury Prize in the Brussels International Film Festival also in 2004.
His final work, Star Cinema’s The Unmarried Wife in 2017, also garnered much acclaim with lead actress Angelica Panganiban bringing home a FAMAS award last year.
Direk Maryo J’s work truly inspired and pushed the boundaries of Philippine cinema and television. His legacy and efforts will always be remembered and continue to resonate in the entertainment industry.