EMMANUEL “MANING” BORLAZA, the man who brought to the silver screen Bituing Walang Ningning (1985) and gave birth to one of the most famous lines in Philippine movie history – “You’re nothing but a second-rate, trying hard, copycat!” – has passed away at the age of 82.
Entertainment writer Mario Dumawal reported Mr. Borlaza’s death (due to a heart attack) in a tweet that was confirmed by his nephew, Roy Ramirez.
Another relative, Apolonio Ramirez, Jr., announced the director’s passing on Facebook adding that he died while on the way to Lourdes Hospital.
“Wake shall be in Loyola Chapel Parañaque City Sucat road. His soul Rest In Peace,” said Mr. Ramirez, Jr., in his post.
Mr. Borlaza had a storied career that resulted in more than a hundred film credits to his name including two Darna films: Darna and the Giants (1973) with Leody M. Diaz in the title role, and Lipad, Darna, Lipad! (1973), an omnibus flick he directed alongside Joey Gosiengfiao and Elwood Perez, with Vilma Santos-Recto playing the titular Filipino answer to America’s Wonderwoman.
He also directed Kaputol ng Isang Awit (1991) which starred Sharon Cuneta and Gary Valenciano, and the mermaid film Dyesebel (1973), also starring Ms. Santos-Recto.
His last film was 2000’s Mapagbigay starring Nini Jacinto and Miya Nolasco.
Mr. Borlaza was also an acclaimed scriptwriter aside from being a director, and many of the awards he won were for this side of his work. According to an entry in the international film resource page IMDb, Mr. Borlaza had won seven awards in his career: FAMAS (Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences) awards for best screenplay for Pinagbuklod ng Langit (1969) and Psycho Maniac (1968); Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) Awards for Best Story Adaptation for Kapag Langit ang Humatol (1990 with Salvador Royales), and Best Director for Paano Tatakasan ang Bukas? (1988); and the Young Critics Circle awards for Best Screenplay for Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang? (1994, shared with Jose Dalisay, Jr.), and a Silver Prize for Bakit Ikaw Pa Rin? (1990). He was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the FAP in 2016.
Borlaza was born in Liliw, Laguna on Nov. 5, 1939, the son of educators. After graduating with a degree in English, he worked as a movie extra and scriptwriter in Sampaguita Pictures. His first screenplay was made into a film in 1957, Mga Ligaw na Bulaklak. He was a prolific screenwriter, according to the CCP Encyclopedia, which said she wrote “over 200 stories and screenplays,” many of which were based on “komiks and radio dramas.”
Mr. Borlaza was also the vice-chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
Film professor and MTRCB board member Roland Tolentino, took to Facebook and shared a photo of Mr. Borlaza with actress Gloria Sevilla, touted as the Queen of Bisaya movies, who is also member of the board.
“It is with a heavy heart that I heard about Direk Emmanuel ‘Maning’ Borlaza’s passing this morning. He was the kind, free-spirited and tireless vice-chair of the MTRCB. I will miss him,” Mr. Tolentino said in his post.
Fellow film director Jose Javier Reyes in a separate post said, “Celebrate a life dedicated to Filipino films. Goodbye, Direk Maning Borlaza. You have inspired.”
“Rest in Peace, Direk Maning Borlaza,” singer/actress Lea Salonga posted on both her Twitter and Facebook pages.
Director and playwright Frank G. Rivera posted a lengthy tribute to Mr. Borlaza chronicling the times they worked together in the business, starting from Mr. Borlaza’s adaptation of Mr. Rivera’s Palanca-winning play, Ama, which became Dalawang Ina, Isang Ama (1975) when filmed, among other collaborations.
“The last time I was with Emmanuel H. Borlaza was during the Pagsambang Bayan performance in Ateneo last month. We had a great time reminiscing our adventures. It was of course a sad news when our common friend Joel Lamangan, called me up this morning to inform of Direk Maning’s demise… May you rest in peace, Direk Maning,” he said in his post. – ZBC