MANILA, Philippines-Actor Cesar Montano laments the death of 57-year-old director Marilou Diaz-Abaya who succumbed to pulmonary arrest related to breast cancer on Oct. 8 at St Luke's Hospital in Quezon City at around 6:40 p.m.
Diaz-Abaya, who battled with the disease for several years, directed two of Montano's greatest films, "Jose Rizal" and "Muro Ami," both of which earned for him several acting awards in 1998 and 1999, respectively.
"Mahal namin...pagmamahal po ng Montano Family sa buong family nila direk," Montano said in a short interview aired by "Saksi" a few hours after her passing.
As of this writing, Diaz-Abaya's remains are at Arlington Chapel on Araneta Avenue where only her family are allowed to pay their last respect. "Saksi" reported that her remains will be brought to Loyola Chapel Ateneo for public viewing within the day. Diaz-Abaya had taught in Ateneo for close to three decades.
Diaz-Abaya was born on March 30, 1955 in Quezon City. She finished a degree in Communication Arts at Assumption College and also took Film and Television courses in Los Angeles and London. She had directed at least 21 full-length feature films including "Karnal," "Moral," "Sa Pusod Ng Dagat," "Ipaglaban Mo" and "May Nagmamahal Sa 'Yo." Some of her works have earned honors from FAMAS, Urian, Metro Manila Film Festival, British Film Institute International Federation of Film Critiques and the Network of Pan Asian Cinema Awards.
The Fukuoka Prize for Culture and the Arts in Japan had described her work as ones that "harmoniously blending entertainment, social consciousness, and ethnic awareness."
The director was the founder and president of the Marilou Diaz-Abaya Film Institute and Arts Center.