Sunday, February 4, 2018

Direk Maryo J: Magnifico!

Acclaimed director Maryo Jarolan delos Reyes—Direk Maryo J to many—had thoughts of retiring in his mother's home province of Bohol where he owned several pieces of property.

He owned a villa on a farmland in Barangay Progreso, Alicia town, about 88 km northeast of Tagbilaran.

The property was an inheritance from his mother, Lourdes, which he converted into a farm which was planted with rice, coconuts and bananas.

The death of famed director Maryo J. Delos Reyes set off an instant
emotional outpouring from a stunned industry including one
of his many talents Scarlet Geulen-Boiser. Contributed Photo
He once said that farming was viable industry that would benefit the townfolk and that he saw himself retiring as a farmer.

Direk Maryo also acquired a property in Barangay Dao, Tagbilaran City, which he named “Celebrityville.” Inside the property were his house and four-unit apartment which he named after his movies --“Pari 'Koy,” “Niño,” “Annie Batungbakal” and “Magnifico.”

Last week, Direk Maryo instructed his caretaker Tata Castillo, 40, to clean his house since he would be there on Jan. 29 with some of his celebrity friends. He also wanted to supervise the finishing touches on his house and the plans to build a pool inside the property.

But Direk Maryo didn’t make it home. He died on Jan. 27 after suffering a heart attack.

His sudden death brought shock to his fellow Boholanos.

“Nakurat ko kay kalit lang jud (I was so shocked because [his death] was so sudden),” said Castillo.

The industry began an outpouring of grief and remembrance immediately after news of his death.  The director’s reputation and generosity evidently touched those across his life.

Among those grieved the loss of such a major and influential talent was singer-actress-comedianne Scarlet Geulen-Boiser, one of Direk Maryo’s talents whom he treated like his children.

“He’s like my second parent, mentor, critic, talent manager and friend. He was a very generous friend. It seemed that I lost an angel who was always helping me,” said Scarlet.

Scarlet started her showbiz career in 1998, but she made a big splash when Delos Reyes pushed her career to star in films and some teleseryes on ABS-CBN and GMA.

She said she learned valuable lessons from Direk Maryo.

“Positive nga tawo si Direk Maryo. He said we should learn to forgive and forget the bad things that happened.
He only wanted positive vibes, really happy,” she recalled.

He constantly told her that there was no point getting depressed by problems no matter how big these were because these would be dealt with by a bigger God.

Another actress TinTin Ng described Direk Maryo as "a big hearted and compassionate man.”

Lutgardo “Gardy” Labad, bosom buddy and musical scorer of his landmark films, described Delos Reyes as a “preciously Boholano and Filipino, a good, true, beautiful human being.”

Last Wednesday, Scarlet (who was with Ms. Rose Sabijon Rara, Architect Niño Guidaben and fellow actor Mark Sepe) broke down as soon as he saw Direk Maryo inside a coffin.

Scarlet was overjoyed by the number of people who love Direk Maryo...people from showbiz, politics, business, all sectors of society.

“Many people love Direk Maryo J,” said Scarlet.

And they keep coming to bid Direk Maryo a fond farewell last Saturday, perhaps less with tears but more with recollection of beautiful memories and anecdotes about Direk Maryo.

Direk Maryo was all that — and more.

Every time we met, he would ask, “Kailan ka ba bibisita sa farm ko?”  Before I could answer, he added,
“Anong masasabi mo sa teleserye?”

In 2013, when he saw me and my nephew Jhelmar Jala during the first Saulog celebration, he convinced me to allow my nephew to enter showbiz. But Jhelmar didn’t enter showbiz because he’s still studying.

The last time we met was in 2016 during the launching of the Blue Way, a dance workshop organized by Gardy.

He asked, “Kumusta ka na Leo? Bakit hindi ka nagpapakita sa akin? Kailan ka ba pupunta sa farm ko?”

He was also very accommodating if I want to interview him or his talents.

Direk Maryo wanted to become a priest. But it didn’t happen when he enrolled at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communications in 1974.

At that time, he was very active with 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, Direk Maryo remained grounded and level- headed.

Close friend Gerry Lugod said that while the director was born and based in Manila, he knew how to remember 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 the fanfare and publicity. His family donated a lot for Progreso Elem. School in Alicia.

He accepted speaking engagements and conducted acting and film making workshops.

In fact, Direk Maryo had planned to establish a film school in Bohol and conduct a local film festival.

Direk Maryo 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.

I once asked him why did he choose to film the movies on location in Bohol?

His replied: “I'm from Bohol and I want to showcase the beauty of my home province.”

Direk Maryo 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 earthquake on Oct. 15, 2013 which brought Bohol to its knees.

Down-trodden by the tragedy, Direk Maryo offered “Bamboo Flowers” to OBB as part of his contribution to the fundraising.

So long Direk! You’re truly magnifico!

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