How Maryo J. delos Reyes touched the lives of Aga, Alice, other celebs

IMAGE Mark Atienza

Aga Muhlach, Alice Dixson, Ara Mina, Gabby Concepcion, and other stars pay tribute to Maryo J. delos Reyes, the man they called "genius filmmaker," mentor, and true friend.


"Thank you and congratulations for a life so well lived, for a job so well done."

This was how Regal Entertainment, Inc. matriarch Lily Monteverde Yu summed up the late Maryo J. delos Reyes's colorful years in the entertainment industry.

Better known in showbiz circles as Mother Lily, the veteran producer said that Maryo was more than a "genius filmmaker" who did countless films for Regal.

She said, "He will always be family. He is a great friend.

"We will remember him for his signature laughter that will forever be heard in our hearts."

Mother Lily and the Directors Guild of the Philippines, Inc. (DGPI) organized the program for the wake of Maryo J. held at The Loyola Memorial Chapels and Crematorium in Commonwealth, Quezon City, Wednesday night, January 31.

In the photo below, Mother Lily was photographed with Gabby Concepcion, who also paid his respects to Maryo J.

Gabby starred in the 1983 Maryo J. film Don't Cry For Me Papa.


Aga Muhlach arrived just before members of the directors' guild did their eulogy for Maryo J.

Then Aga was asked to do an impromptu speech for him to share how being in the cast of Maryo J.'s Bagets catapulted the actor to stardom.


Alice Dixson captivated the crowd with her story of how she used to have a huge crush on Maryo J.

Recalling her first impression of Maryo J., Alice said, "I was 18, he was 38.

"If you knew Direk 30 years ago, he was a good-looking guy. He was tall, balbas-sarado, and the way that he moves in a room...

"Kasi siguro, Libra siya, he knew how to talk with everyone."

Alice recalled that she waited until the second day of filming of the movie Batang Ama to confess her crush on him.

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"Sabi ko, 'Direk, I have a crush on you.' He just smiled!

"And now that I think about it, that admiration became inspiration that I brought with me all throughout my career. " 


Ara Mina, for her part, recalled how Direk Maryo J. gave her the chance to do her first dramatic role via the 1998 film Pahiram Kahit Sandali.

She described how the director was so patient in guiding her through one particular crying scene.

But in the middle of her eulogy, Ara mistakenly called the late director by the name of Direk Joel Lamangan.

She said, "Natutuwa ako kasi ang daming friends dito ni Direk Joel. Nakakalungkot lang..."

Unintentionally drawing laughter from the crowd, Ara backtracked and corrected herself, "Ay, Direk Joel! Direk Maryo. Sorry! Hindi ako prepared!"

Then she addressed Direk Joel, saying, "I love you, Direk!"

Ara added, "Sa totoo lang, ang init ng mukha ko ngayon. Hindi ako prepared na magsasalita ako." 


Cesar Montano said that the last time he saw Direk Maryo J. was in their hometown in Bohol.

"Nung huli ko siyang nakita malakas, malaki ang tiyan. Kaya sabi ko, 'Direk, siguro babae 'yan. Kasi maganda ka, e.'"

Turning serious, Cesar added, "Sa Bohol po, si Direk ay isang napakasigasig na Boholano to help the film industry in Bohol, para tulungan ang artists sa Bohol...

"It is a great loss for the industry to lose one brilliant director and a great friend."


Bacoor, Cavite Mayor Lani Mercado also paid tribute to Direk Maryo J., with whom she first worked  in the 1985 film Mga Kuwento Ni Lola Basyang.

She recalled, "Pinaglaruan ako ni Direk Maryo. Ginawa talaga niya akong karakter because I played a witch in that episode."

Among their other projects together was the 1990 film My Other Woman and the 2008 Kapuso sine novela Saan Darating Ang Umaga.

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"Saksi rin po siya kung ano ako as an actress.

"Mahal ko si Direk Maryo together with Kuya Jake Tordesillas.

"I am sure he is with Kuya Jake. Siguro yun na lang ang consolation natin." 

The late scriptwriter Jake Tordesillas, who passed away just seven months ago, was Direk Maryo J's partner for many years.


Direk Maryo J. was the talent manager and mentor for 20 years of current Manila Third District Representative Yul Servo.

The late director helmed the 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival entry, Naglalayag, which paired Yul opposite Nora Aunor.

The movie earned several awards from the 31st Brussels Independent Film Festival: Maryo J. (Special Jury Prize), Nora (Best Actress), and Yul (Best Actor).


Director Joel Lamangan related an incident during the martial-law regime when he knew that Maryo J. was a true friend. 

"Alam naman ni Maryo na aktibista ako dati. Bago ako maging miyembro ng PETA, galing ako sa kulungan...

"Hanggang sa nahuli ako ulit. Bumisita ako sa PETA, may escort ako.

"Yung mga tao, ayaw pumunta sa akin. Natatakot sila, may escort akong military.

"Si Maryo lang pumunta. Hindi siya natakot."

Pointing out Maryo J.'s gumption and compassion, Joel said, "Yun ang pinakamahirap gawin. Ang pagiging mabuting tao."


Director Jose "Joey" Javier Reyes, for his part, lauded Maryo J.'s efforts to help boost the film industry in the Philippines.


The members of the directors guild gathered in front of the casket and laid white roses on it as a symbol of their love and friendship.

Seen below were Direk Joel (third to the right) and Direk Joey (rightmost).


Prior to the program Wednesday night, (from left to right) Rich Asuncion, Glaiza de Castro, Katrina Halili, and Alessandra de Rossi paid their respects to Direk Maryo J.

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Mother Lily was flanked by former GMA-7 and TV5 executive Wilma Galvante (left) and GMA-7 Senior Vice President for Entertainment Lilybeth Rasonable (right).


Rez Cortez (left) starred opposite Nora Aunor in the 1979 blockbuster film Annie Batungbakal directed by Maryo J.

For his part, Joel Torre (right) did the TV adaptation of Saan Darating Ang Umaga for GMA-7 in 2008.


Pen Medina previously worked with Maryo J. in the 2014 Kapuso afternoon series Magkano Ba Ang Pag-Ibig?


Veteran actress Caridad Sanchez worked with Maryo J. in the 1988 film Kapag Napagod Ang Puso, starring Christopher de Leon and Snooky Serna.


Among the early visitors at the wake were Mel Chionglo, Joel Lamangan, and Marichu Maceda.



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