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Guy chooses to remember only the good times with her fave ‘kuya’

/ 12:50 AM February 18, 2018

Maryo J. delos Reyes with a poster of “Annie Batungbakal”

Superstar Nora Aunor is hurt by all those nasty criticisms, making a huge deal of her nonappearance at the wake of perennial director, Maryo J. delos Reyes, who died after suffering a heart attack on Jan. 27.

La Aunor’s tribute to Direk Maryo J was also missing in the deluge of testimonials that flooded media—social and traditional. Did she purposefully avoid the press during that sad time?

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In an exclusive interview with the Inquirer, the Superstar explained her side of the story.

Turns out she has been sickly of late. At the time of the filmmaker’s wake, she was downed by asthma. “Hindi stable ang blood pressure ko,” she clarified. “Hindi bumababa sa 158/110. Kailangang i-monitor lagi.”

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She sent word to June Torrejon-Rufino, the director’s manager, of her condition. “Kung wala akong nararamdaman, bakit naman po ako hindi pupunta?”

She said she understood why some people got upset that she didn’t drop by at the wake.

She asserted, however, that she would rather remember her beloved “Kuya Maryo,” as she calls him, as he was when he was still active in the biz. “Hindi lamang isang direktor ang turing ko sa kanya…isa siyang kabarkada, kapatid, kapamilya kahit na hindi kami nagkikita at nagkakausap nang madalas,” she pointed out.

She and the director went a long way back. “Una ko po siyang nakilala sa isang workshop.” The acting class was set up for Lupita Aquino-Kashiwahara’s “Alkitrang Dugo,” which the Superstar had bankrolled for NV Productions in 1975.

A theater stalwart, he was in charge of training the entire cast, led by that era’s teen stars Roderick Paulate, Jingle and La Aunor’s late brother Eddie Villamayor.

After two well-received films (“Gabun” and “High School Circa ’65”) in 1979, Direk Maryo J went on to helm a movie musical, topbilled by the singer-actress that same year.

“Ito ’yung ‘Annie Batungbakal’ na kumita ng malaki para sa NV Productions,” recalled Ate Guy. “Dahil dito, nakilala siya ni Mother Lily (Monteverde) at kinuha siyang magdirek sa Regal Films.”

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Guy and Maryo J later collaborated on a number of comedy/musical movies in the early 1980s: “Bongga Ka ’Day,” “Totoo Ba ang Chismis” (which costarred Gabby Concepcion), “Ibalik ang Swerti” and “Rock ’n Roll.”

Direk Maryo J. delos Reyes and Nora Aunor on the set of “Magpakailanman”

Under Regal, Maryo J handled the Superstar in a variety of projects from 1983 to 1986: drama (“Minsan May Isang Ina”), fantasy (“Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang”) and family dramedy (“I Love You Mama, I Love You Papa”).

They last worked together on the big screen in “Naglalayag” in 2004. On the small screen, he directed her when she guested in two GMA 7 shows: the prime-time series “Pari ’Koy” and the drama anthology “Magpakailanman,” both in 2015.

“Nagkita rin kami nang bigyan siya ng Lifetime Achievement award ng Star Awards (noong 2015) at ang pinakahuli noong imbitahan niya ako sa ToFarm film fest noong isang taon,” she recounted.

But Guy’s fondest memory of Maryo J was an impromptu Hong Kong holiday in the 1980s. On a whim, she flew to Hong Kong on her own. “Pagdating ko doon, natakot ako. Tinawagan ko siya at pinilit na samahan ako. Nagulat siya at natawa. Pinadalhan ko siya agad ng ticket.”

That same day, Direk Maryo J arrived in Hong Kong and spent the next three nights with Guy. “Tawanan lang kami nang tawanan. Wala kaming ginawa kundi mag-shopping.”

She insisted that she would rather focus on the good times. “Hindi naman alam ng karamihan kung gaano kalalim ang pinagsamahan namin. Ayokong isipin na wala na ang isa sa mga taong tinuring kong kapatid, kaibigan at pamilya.”

She couldn’t bear to see him in a coffin, too. “Hindi ko po yata kaya ’yon.”

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TAGS: Maryo J. delos Reyes, Nora Aunor
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