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‘Direk’ Gil Portes’ cinematic journey

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‘THE JOURNEY’ – Director Gil Portes’ used to tell me his farewell movie would be titled “The Journey.” It would chronicle his sad journey to claim the body of his younger brother who drowned in Samar… to be brough back to his home town (Pagbilao, Quezon). Along the way,childhood and youthful memories – mostly happy – would come back.

The film would end as he stepped down the train station with his brother’s body…to the waiting arms of their grieving mother and other loved ones and relatives.

But before “The Journey,” “direk Gil expressed the desire to do a sequel to “Mulanay,” about doctors to the barrios, a small gem of a film written by Doy del Mundo and topbilled by Jaclyn Jose and Gina Alajar.

Well, all that wasn’t to be. Gil died last week of heart attack. He was 71.

His farewell movie turned out to be “ Moonlight Over Baler,” a bittersweet love story shown last February, penned by Eric Ramos.

FINE FILMS – “Direk” Gil’s cinematic journey started in the mid-’70s via “ Tiket Mama, Tiket Ale, sa Linggo ang Bola,” which even impressed Ishmael Bernal for being “daring and innovative.”

Other films followed, including three submitted to the Oscars: “Gatas, sa Dibdib ng Kaaway,” Saranggola,” and “Mga Munting Tinig.”

Gil directed two acclaimed Nora Aunor starrers: “Merika” and “Andrea.” He also directed Vilma Santos in the blockbuster “Miss X.”

He always said it was honor and pleasure to direct Dolphy in “Markova: Comport Gay,” which co-starred two sons of the comedy king, Eric and Epy Quizon.

Aside from Doy del Mundo and Eric Ramos, he collaborated with other very good scriptwriters: Senedy Que, Adolf Alix, Ricky Lee, Butch Dalisay, Tony Espejo, Lualhati Bautista.

Many of his films were independently produced.

SMALL-TOWN BOY – Gil Portes had been all over the world, where his films were shot and won awards. But he always considered himself a small-town boy, referring to Pagbilao,Quezon, where some of his best films were shot.

He studied in City University of New York and British Broadcasting Corporation. His family is based in New York. But he kept coming back to direct… and to visit and enjoy Pagbilao and nearby Quezon towns.

Condolences to his wife Telly (Math professor at Monroe College) and sons Carlo (graduate of University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern University) and Justin (graduate of Boston College).
Farewell “ direk” Gil Portes.