FILM producer and Philippine film industry stalwart Maria Azucena “Marichu” Vera-Perez Maceda, affectionately known as Manay Ichu, passed at the age of 77 on Sept. 7 due to “an ongoing illness.”
The announcement of her death was made via radio station DZBB where actress and DZBB anchor Ali Sotto said that Ms. Maceda had long been suffering from an illness.
Ms. Sotto, a close friend of Ms. Maceda, said that the family is asking for privacy at this time.
“She has been ill for a long time, she was just fighting very hard. For the past few days, so many prayed for her healing but God, in His wisdom, decided to bring her home,” Ms. Sotto said.
Her passing was confirmed by her nephew, Congressman Christopher de Venecia, son of Ms. Maceda’s sister, Gina de Venecia, in a Facebook post.
“Mami-miss kita nang tahasan Mama Tutu. Isang haligi sa industriya ng pelikulang Pilipino na nag-alaga at nag-aruga sa akin sa aking paglaki, hanggang sa aking pagtanda. Mahal na mahal ka namin,” said Mr. De Venecia. “Ipagpapatuloy namin ang iyong nasimulan at ang legacy ng Vera Perez family.” (I miss you greatly, Mama Tutu. You are a pillar of the Philippine film industry who took care of and nurtured me from childhood to adulthood. We love you dearly…. We will continue what you started and the legacy of the Vera Perez family.)
Born on Dec. 23, 1942, Ms. Maceda was the daughter of Azucena Vera-Perez and Jose R. Perez, the owners of one of the first film production companies in the Philippines: Sampaguita Pictures. Sampaguita Pictures was a behemoth of the film industry at the time, having produced some of the biggest productions from the 1930s to the 1970s.
She was married to former Senate President Ernesto M. Maceda who passed away in 2016.
As someone who from a young age had been exposed to how cinema is made, Ms. Maceda developed a passion for it and worked as both a film producer and a patron of the industry. She was instrumental in the creation of several film organizations in the country including the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), the Movie Workers Welfare Fund (Mowelfund), the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP), the Philippine Motion Pictures Producers Association (PMPPA), and the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines (ECP).
As a producer, she produced films such as Batch ’81 (1982), directed by Mike de Leon, and Dyesebel (1978), by Anthony Taylor. Her Internet Movie Database (IMDb) page lists nine credits as producer, 29 credits for the costume and wardrobe department, and six credits as a writer. Some of the films she wrote screenplays for are Always in My Heart (1971) by Mar S. Torres and Just Married ‘Do Not Disturb’ (1972) also directed by Mar S. Torres.
“Remember that aside from being an art form, this is basically a business, so you have to at least break even so you can recover your investment and produce the second film… Never make a film solely to satisfy yourself. Make your film for a wide audience,” Ms. Maceda said in a 2018 speech after she was named as a “Mother of Philippine Cinema” by the FDCP.
“Love your craft and love the industry. Don’t expect anything back aside from your investment of course. Don’t expect that they will love you immediately. One day, the love you gave will come back to you like what happened to me,” she added.
Film industry stalwarts took to social media to express their condolences at her passing. “Your kindness and love for Filipino cinema make you immortal in our hearts,” wrote film director and writer Jose Javier (Joey) Reyes on Facebook. “Rest in God’s embrace. We will miss you very much Manay Marichu Maceda,” wrote producer and manager Girlie Rodis in a Facebook post.
Ms. Maceda is survived by her five sons, Emmanuel, Ernesto, Jr., Erwin, Edmond, and Edward, and several grandchildren. — Zsarlene B. Chua