May 11, 2020

Last Thursday, May 7, veteran director Peque Gallaga passed away. Gallaga was one of the pioneers of folklore and horror films in the country and has founded a number of film workshops in Negros to support aspiring filmmakers. Many know him for his work in the first “Shake, Rattle and Roll” films, the country’s longest running horror movie franchise. But here are other must-watch Gallaga films that built him his esteemed reputation.


Oro, Plata, Mata (1982)

No Gallaga film list would be complete without this masterpiece. Starring Cherie Gil and Joel Torre, this movie follows the story of two haciendero families in the Negros province as they cope with World War II. The film brings to light themes like class and the downfall of the rich amid political strife. Considered to be Gallaga’s greatest contribution to Philippine cinema, the film won all major awards during the 1982 Gawad Urian and is considered as one of the best Filipino films of the ’80s.

Buy or rent the movie on Amazon and


Sonata (2013)

“Sonata” tells the dreamlike, melancholic story of a middle-aged artist (Cherie Gil) losing her reputation and fame. She places herself in self-exile, only to meet a young boy who reminds her of her youth and artistry. The film, one of Gallaga’s last works, can be considered an homage to his homeland, Bacolod City, and is one of his more emotional and personal pieces.

To watch, rent the movie on Vimeo on Demand.


Tiyanak (1988)

Before directing his first “Shake, Rattle and Roll” movie, Gallaga had already dabbled in Filipino horror stories with “Tiyanak,” which follows the story of a young maiden (Janice de Belen) who takes in an abandoned baby  who turns out to be a demon in disguise. This campy horror film is an absolute screamfest filled with blood, gore and the occasional jumpscare.

Buy or rent the movie on Amazon.


Magic Temple (1996)

Gallaga doesn’t disappoint with the multi-awarded g fantasy-adventure film, “Magic Temple.” Working alongside his longtime filmmaking partner Lore Reyes and critically acclaimed director Erik Matti as the screenwriters, Gallaga tells the tale of three teenage boys and their journey to the “Magic Temple” where they can obtain the elements to save their world from evil forces. This film was a critical and box office hit, winning all 14 nominations including the Best Film Award at the 1996 Metro Manila Film Festival.

Buy or rent the movie on Amazon.


Scorpio Nights (1985)

One of his more experimental and risque masterpieces, “Scorpio Nights” tells the story of a love affair between a young man and a married woman that was born out of voyeurism and an uncontrollable passion—which is why it’s considered by many as one of Philippine cinema’s most  controversial (and notable) Filipino films. Despite being deemed provocative, it has been revered and praised for its social commentary during the last years of the Marcos Regime. Starring Daniel Fernandez and Anna Marie Gutierrez, and supported by veteran actor Orestes Ojeda, this film masterfully portrays a corrupted society.

Watch it on



Header photo courtesy of Bayani San Diego Jr. for Philippine Daily Inquirer

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TAGS: Film magic temple movies Oro Plata Mata peque gallaga philippine cinema scorpio nights sonata Tiyanak