The Philippine movie industry has lost another iconic director in Emmanuel “Maning” Borlaza who succumbed to a heart attack Wednesday. He was 81.
Borlaza was one of the most prolific filmmakers from the 1960s to the 1980s. He is best known for his dramatic works with Vilma Santos, but also for the actress’ starring roles as “Dyesebel,” and “Darna” in two movies.
In the ’80s, he directed a number of Sharon Cuneta’s blockbusters, including “Bituing Walang Ningning,” “Bukas Luluhod Ang Mga Tala” and “Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin,” as well as Snooky Serna’s “Blusang Itim.”
His last movie on record is the 1996 remake of Dyesebel, then with Charlene Gonzales in the lead role.
Borlaza won a total of seven Best Director awards throughout his career from the country’s major movie award-giving bodies. His trophies comprise the Famas, FAP, Gawad Urian and Young Critics Circle.
Until the time of his death, Borlaza was officially a member of the board of the MTRCB, and even served as interim chairman in 2013 when then agency chief Grace Poe resigned from her post to run for the Senate.
Moreover, Borlaza had chaired the Directors’ Guild of the Philippines, Inc.
Back in May, The Manila Times Entertainment columnist George Vail reported that Borlaza’s health had deteriorated, quoting a text message from former actress and director Jackie Aquino.
She requested, “Please pray for Director Brother Emmanuel “Maning” Borlaza who is down to 98 lbs. He only takes in like three spoons of food. He does not want any visitors and told his nephew Roy that he is ready to go. Let’s storm Heaven with prayers for Bro. Maning Borlaza. May the Good and Merciful Lord grant him recovery. Amen.”
As of this writing, condolences have poured in for the revered director from fellow members at MTRCB as well as actress Lea Salonga and colleague, director Joey Reyes.
Born November 5, Borlaza would have been 82 on his next birthday.
According to early reports, the director’s remains will be taken to Loyola Memorial Chapel in Sucat, Parañaque.