Wenn Deramas, the most commercially successful director in Philippine cinema, passed away early Monday due to cardiac arrest.
His manager and friend June Rufino relayed the news Monday morning. Deramas was 49 years old.
Rufino told news channel ANC that the director was rushed to Capitol Medical Center at 2 a.m.
According to dzBB’s Lhar Santiago, Deramas had just learned that his sibling had died of a heart attack, triggering his own.
Rufino said Deramas almost had a heart attack two years ago. In 2015, he underwent angioplasty.
Deramas’s remains will be brought to Arlington Memorial Chapels in Araneta. Other details of the funeral will be released some other time, he added.
Deramas’ “Beauty and the Bestie”, an entry in the most recent Metro Manila Film Festival is, to date, the biggest-earning Filipino movie of all time, grossing an estimated P526 million.
In total, five of his films are among the Top 10 highest-grossing Filipino films. Besides “Beauty and the Bestie”, the list includes “The Amazing Praybeyt Benjamin”, “Girl Boy Bakla Tomboy”, “Sisterakas” and “The Unkabogable Praybeyt Benjamin”.
Vice Ganda, the star of all these blockbusters, immediately shared his grief on Twitter.
Stars, colleagues grieve sudden demise of director Wenn Deramas
Shortly after news of the death of blockbuster director Wenn Deramas was confirmed Monday morning, his biggest star, comedian and TV host Vice Ganda, took to Twitter to express his grief.
This was immediately followed by social media posts from fellow filmmakers as well as other stars who had worked with Deramas.
Through its president, Mike Sandejas, the Directors Guild of the Philippines posted this statement on Facebook.
“Direk Wenn had written and directed several box-office favorites consistently over a career spanning 3 decades. His understanding of the Filipino audience makes his films effortlessly spawn laughter and tears. His impact not only resonates in the hearts of his many fans but also with his staff, cast and crew who had benefited from his commercial successes. Direk Wenn was a great force in the Philippine Film Industry. He leaves a void that will be hard to fill. We not only lost an influential artist…we lost a good friend. The guild will miss you Direk Wenn. Till we meet again…”
DGPI member and indie film director Jim Libiran also posted his own Facebook salute.
“Paalam, direk Wenn Deramas. Madalas tayong nagkakasalubong sa ABS at nagngingitian lang. Awkward man ang batian, damang dama naman ang respeto sa bawat isa. Nabuhay kang andami mong pinapatawa na mga tao, ngayon marami naman ang malulungkot sa iyong paglisan. Biyaheng mapayapa, direk.”
On Instagram, Kris Aquino, star of Deramas’ “Sisterakas”, posted, “Mapagmahal na ama, magaan at masayang katrabaho, a generous & caring mentor, a true inspiration…Paalam Direk Wenn.”
Another “Sisterakas” star, Ai-Ai delas Alas, simply posted an image that says “Rest in Peace” and captioned it, “Mahal kita.”
Eugene Domingo — whose breakout role of Simang in the 2001 teleserye “Sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan” co-directed by Deramas led to her stardom and was the headliner of another Deramas’ hit, “Momzillas” — posted this Instagram message.
“My dearest director and friend … You have been so wonderful. You are a gift . Thank you for everything that you are. And for everything that you have done for the industry. Rest in peace i love you.. I am glad we were able to enjoy your last film together in the moviehouse. I will miss you everyday. Everyday…direk everyday.”
Other celebrities who were saddened by the passing of Deramas promptly tweeted their thoughts.
Wenn excited on his book .. says “malapit na!!!
More than being just a good director, the late Wenn Deramas wanted to be known as “a good person.”
This was revealed by writer and publicist Gay Ace Domingo, one of the authors of the late filmmaker’s yet to be published biography, “Direk 2 Da Poynt.”
In the book — which has been in the works since 2014 and is scheduled to be published by Viva Entertainment this coming April — Domingo writes that Deramas, who succumbed to cardiac arrest early Monday, often joked about his own mortality whenever he was praying but turned serious as he asked God to give him a longer life.
Following are excerpts from a chapter written by Domingo:
“Today, Wenn’s foremost prayer is to be blessed with a long and healthy life so he can be around to take care of his two children. This plea becomes more fervent whenever he feels the pain from the stitches of a recent gallstone operation. Wenn reveals that he talks to God in a very candid and outspoken manner that’s become the signature of his comedy films.
“First he tells God that he’s actually ready to go. ‘Tinatakot ko si Lord,’ Wenn says solemnly. “Kinakausap ko Siya… ‘Eto ako Lord. Kunin mo na ako. Okay naman sa akin.’ ”
“But then Wenn reminds the Creator that his children need him as he says, ‘Pero remember, meron pa akong inaalagaang dalawang bata. Anong mangyayari sa kanila? Ni-reject na nga sila ng tunay nilang mga magulang. Dadanas pa sila ng hirap sa akin? So, ikaw na ang bahala sa kanila… Hmm… ‘Di mo kayang kunin ako? Madami kang problema?… Gagaling na ako! Magaling na ako bukas!’ ”
Deramas began his entertainment career as a production assistant in the ABS-CBN magazine show “Tatak Pilipino” in 1990. He made his TV directorial debut in the hit teleserye “Mula Sa Puso” in 1997 and his feature film debut in “Dahil Mahal na Mahal Kita” starring the then hot loveteam of Claudine Barretto and the late Rico Yan. Two years later, he directed the film version of “Mula sa Puso”.
His string of phenomenal box office hits began with “Ang Tanging Ina” in 2003 which became a franchise after it grossed over P100 million in the box office. From then on, Deramas became more identified with the comedy genre.
In 2010, he began his collaboration with gay comedian Vice Ganda in “Petrang Kabayo”. This turned into a regular partnership that culminated last year with “Beauty and the Bestie”, an entry in the most recent Metro Manila Film Festival which, to date, is the biggest-earning Filipino movie of all time, grossing an estimated P526 million.
The record-breaking top grossers were well and good but as Domingo concludes in the chapter she wrote for Direk Wenn’s biography, the unassuming filmmaker wanted to be remembered for something much simpler.
“Ultimately, Wenn wants to be recognized not as a good director but as a good person, one who gives his all to his loved ones—co-workers, family members, friends, significant others, but most especially his children.
“ ‘Puwede mong sabihin na hindi ako mabuting director. Pero hindi mo puwedeng sabihin na hindi ako mabuting tatay, anak o lover dahil sa tingin ko na-perfect ko ang mga role na ‘yon,’ ” Domingo quotes Deramas. (E. Sallan, Interaksyon)