Direk Maryo J a Boholano at heart
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol—Acclaimed director Maryo J. delos Reyes, who died recently of cardiac arrest at the age of 65, had thoughts of retiring in his mother’s home province where he owned several pieces of property.
He owned a villa and a farmland in Barangay Progreso, Alicia town, about 88 kilometers northeast of Tagbilaran. He inherited the property from his mother, Lourdes, which he converted into a coconut and banana farm.
He once said that farming was a viable industry that would benefit the people and that he saw himself retiring as a farmer.
Delos Reyes also acquired a property in Barangay Dao, Tagbilaran City. He called it “Celebrityville,” which included his house and a four-unit apartment—named after his projects “Pari ’Koy,” “Niño,” “Annie Batungbakal” and “Magnifico.”
Last week, Delos Reyes instructed his caretaker Tata Castillo, 40, to clean his house since he was set to entertain some of his celebrity friends there on Jan. 29. He also wanted to supervise the finishing touches on his house and also planned to build a pool inside the property.
But Delos Reyes didn’t make it home. He died on Jan. 27.
“Nakurat ko kay kalit lang jud (I was so shocked because [his death] was so sudden),” Castillo said. The director’s reputation and generosity had touched a lot of people.
Lutgardo Labad, bosom buddy and musical scorer of his landmark films, described Delos Reyes as a “precious Boholano and Filipino … a good, true, beautiful human being.”
Delos Reyes initially wanted to become a priest, but instead enrolled at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communications in 1974.
At the time, he was an active member of the Philippine Educational Theater (Peta), the country’s premiere theater group. From 1965 to 1975, he participated in various art and theater seminars and workshops here and abroad as organizer, moderator and instructor.
He also became a professor and lecturer at the UP College of Mass Communications and began writing for television drama anthologies.
He had directed many films and television series since his directorial debut in 1978. His critically acclaimed drama films were “Magnifico” (2003), which received the Crystal Bear in the 2004 Berlin International Film Festival, “Naglalayag” (2004) which garnered major awards in the 2004 Manila Film Festival, the box-office hit “A Love Story” (2007) and his last film “The Unmarried Wife” (2016).
Despite the fame and recognition, Delos Reyes remained grounded and level- headed.
Remembering his roots
Close friend Gerry Lugod said that while the director was born and based in Manila, he remembered his roots.
“He felt he was really Boholano even though he was born in Manila,” he said.
In Bohol, he supported students and some schools without any fanfare and publicity.
His family donated a lot for an elementary school in the municipality of Alicia.
He had also planned to establish a film school in Bohol and conduct a local film festival.
Delos Reyes made an effort to showcase local talents and promote Bohol when he directed movies such as “Nandito Ako,” “Nagmamahal Sa’yo” and “Bamboo Flowers,” which were entirely shot in Bohol.
On why he chose Bohol as the films’ location he said: “I’m from Bohol and I want to showcase the beauty of my home province.”
Delos Reyes supported Oplan Bangon Bohol (OBB), the brainchild of the Association of Young Boholano Professionals in Metro Manila, to help fellow Boholanos when the province was hit by a devastating earthquake on Oct. 15, 2013.
Nurturing young talents
While he’s primarily known to the public as one of the industry’s most esteemed directors for film and television, Delos Reyes was just as passionate in nurturing promising talents.
As the owner of the entertainment company Production 56 and consultant for GMA Artist Center, he crafted talent-development programs and conducted acting workshops. His singular goal was turning show biz hopefuls into “fine actors.”
“I want to continue developing new talents. Otherwise, the industry will get stuck. That was what (the late talent manager) Douglas Quijano used to always tell me … What will happen once the older generation of actors finally make their exit? Who are we going to watch?” he said at a thanksgiving party he hosted last December—one of his last public appearances.
“Spotting and honing aspiring actors is a continuous process,” he added.
Because he was a director, Delos Reyes always had a discerning eye for good acting. “We don’t stop training talents until they become good,” he said. “If they can’t act [well], I push them to work harder.”
Among the actors Delos Reyes was managing before his death were Manila Rep. Yul Servo, Neil Ryan Sese, Miggs Cuaderno and Ruru Madrid, who looked up to the filmmaker as a “second father.”
“You’re the reason I am here. Whatever I have now is because of you,” the 20-year-old actor said in a recent Instagram post, written in Filipino. “I’m incredibly lucky that I met you … You believed in my talent and never neglected me.”
Madrid recounted bumping into the veteran director recently at the airport, which turned out to be their last meeting. “We hugged each other. If only I knew that was the last time, I would have embraced you tighter and longer… I know I wasn’t able to say this, but I love you so much.”
In a statement sent to the Inquirer, GMA Network said it was “deeply mourning” the passing of Delos Reyes, whom it described as a “visionary” and an “extremely talented soul,” who served as “a catalyst in shaping the careers” of many actors.
Among the shows Delos Reyes directed for the Kapuso network included “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Pari ’Koy” and “Munting Heredera.”
For Mother Lily Monteverde, Delos Reyes was one of the pillars of her studio, Regal Films, and not just “a great Filipino director.” More than that, he was ‘Magnifico’… a great human being,” she said.
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