Marilou Diaz-Abaya

Marilou Diaz-Abaya
President and Director of Studies

Born on March 30, 1955 to Atty. Conrado P. Diaz and Atty. Felicitias Correa Diaz

Married to Manolo Abaya, filmmaker

Children : Marco Abaya, TV host, musician, filmmaker, producer
: David Abaya, filmmaker, film instructor

Medallion of the Fukuoka Arts Asian Culture Prize

Fukuoka with Mohammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate

Fukuoka Laureate Marilou Diaz-Abaya

FUKUOKA ASIAN CULTURE PRIZE 2001 Award Citation (translated from the original in Japanese):

Director Marilou Diaz-Abaya is one of the leading filmmakers in the Philippines today. She is attracting international attention as one of Asia’s most important filmmakers. In particular, in recent years, her activities have gained further recognition and popularity receiving broad support by citizens of Fukuoka through her annual participation in the Focus on Asia-Fukuoka International Film Festival.

Born in Quezon City in 1955, Ms. Diaz-Abaya attended Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, U.S.A. and also studied at the London International Film School in England. Since releasing her first picture in 1980, she has been among the foremost directors in Philippine cinema.

Her early films include “BRUTAL”, “KARNAL”(OF THE FLESH), and “BABY TSINA”, sharp condemnations of the oppressive social system of the Marcos era. These and the works of the master Lino Brocka brought Philippine cinema to worldwide attention.

The Marcos regime fell in 1986 and was replaced by the government of Corazon Aquino. Ms Diaz-Abaya left filmmaking for several years and produced television programs dealing with social and political problems to achieve social reform. Since launching her career as a film director, she has consistently worked for the establishment of democracy in the Philippines.

With the release of “IPAGLABAN MO” (REDEEM HER HONOR) in 1995, she returned to cinema in a burst of activity. In the films that followed, including “MAY NAGMAMAHAL SA IYO” (MADONNA AND CHILD), “ SA PUSOD NG DAGAT” (IN TE NAVEL OF THE SEA), “ JOSE RIZAL”, “MURO-AMI”(REEF HUNTERS), she has consistently maintained an uncompromising stance in her examination of difficult social problems. At the same time, her work became richer, suffused with affection for the people of the underclass, women, and children who struggle to survive harsh conditions. Ms. Diaz-Abaya’s films contain an even greater generosity of spirit and human warmth.

The filmmaker’s masterpiece “JOSE RIZAL” has been hailed as a brilliant work of art that depicts with originality and exceptional expressiveness a National Hero from an entirely new perspective as a human being and artist. The film was a great success in the Philippines and worldwide where films with a high degree of entertainment are very popular, ushering in a new era in Philippine filmmaking.

Ms. Diaz-Abaya’s body of works harmoniously blends entertainment, social consciousness, and ethnic awareness. It has won acclaim both in the Philippines and abroad for its high level of artistic achievement. It is an ideal manifestation of the artistic culture of Asia, and so is most deserving of the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes.

Professional Background

  • Film and Television Producer/Director/Educator
  • 2001 Laureate, Fukuoka Culture Prize
  • 2006 Awardee, Tanglaw ng Lahi, Ateneo de Manila University
  • Film Instructor , Ateneo de Manila University
  • President and Director of Studies, MDAFI
  • Trustee, Jesuit Communications (JESCOM)
  • Trustee, Archdiocesan Media Apostolate Network Unlimited(AMANU)
  • Member, SILSILAH Dialogue Movement for Peace
  • International Film Jurist
  • International Film Lecturer
  • Member, Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC)
  • FIPRESCI awardee
  • 2005 Women for Peace, co-nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize
  • 2006 Awardee, Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Auditor for CINEMALAYA 2007


  • Bachelor of Arts, major in Communication Arts Assumption College, Makati, 1976
  • Master of Arts in Film and Television Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, U.S.A., 1978
  • Film Course, London International Film School, 1978
On the set of “Milagros” with Rolando S. Tinio


24 feature films FROM 1980 to date 2007 including “KARNAL”, “JOSE RIZAL”, “MURO-AMI”, “BAGONG BUWAN”, “NOON AT NGAYON”

Partial Filmography – 24 feature films to date including: (Internationally exhibited films with English titles)

  • 1980: “TANIKALA” (The Chain), written by Pablo Gomez, produced by Cine Filipinas Productions, starring Susan Roces, Bobby Vasquez, Eddie Garcia and Rita Gomez
  • 1980: “BRUTAL” (Brutal) , written by Ricky Lee, produced by Bancom Audiovision, starring Amy Austria, Jay Ilagan, Johnny Delgado, charo Santos; multi-awards from the 1980 Metro Manila Film Festival, Film Academy of the Philippines, FAMAS; exhibited at the PIA Film Festival, Tokyo
  • 1983 : “MORAL” (Moral), written by Ricky Lee, produced by Seven Star Productions, starring Lorna Tolentino, Gina Alajar, Sandy Andolong, Ana Marin, Laurice Guillen; rated A by the Film Ratings Board; 1984 British Film Institute Outstanding Film of the Year
  • 1984 : “KARNAL” (Of the Flesh), rated A by the Film Ratings Board, written by Ricky Lee, produced by Cine Suerte productions; starring charito Solis,Vic Silayan, Phillip Salvador, Joel Torre, Cecile Castillo; Multi-awards from 1984 Metro Manila Film Festival, FAMAS, Film Academy of the Philippines, Catholic Mass Media; Gawad URIAN pelikula ng dekada 80; exhibited in Sceaux,Paris Women’s Film Festival (1985); in retrospective in Munich and Dusseldorf (1999)
  • 1985 : “BABY TSINA”, written by Ricky Lee, produced by Viva Films; starring Vilma Santos, Phillip Salvador, Caridad Sanhcez; exhibited in ASEAN Festival, Tokyo (1988)
  • 1991 : ” KUNG AKO’Y IIWAN MO, written by Mads Lacuesta, produced by Regal Films’ starring Lorna Tolentino, Gabby Concepcion
  • 1992 : “IKALABING-ISANG UTOS”, produced by Regal Films; starring Aiko Melendez, Gabby Concepcion, IKA LABING-ISANG UTOS Edu Manzano, Maricel Laxa
  • 1994 : “IPAGLABAN MO”,The Movie (Redeem Her Honor), written by Ricky Lee, produced by Star Cinema; starring nida Blanca, Ronaldo Valdez, Elizabeth Oropesa, ChinChin gutierrez, Sharmaine Arnaiz, Joel Torre, Ricky Davao; exhibited at the Fukuoka International Film Festival (1995), Tokyo (1995) New Delhi (1996)
  • 1995 : “MILAGROS” (Milagros), written by Rolando Tinio, produced by Crown Seven, starring Elizabeth Oropesa, Sharmaine Arnaiz, Dante Rivero, Joel Torre, Raymond Bagatsing, Noni Buencamino; exhibited at the Film Festivals of Fukuoka, Tokyo, Pusan Munich, Dusseldorf; Gawad Urian Pelikula ng Dekada 90.
  • 1996 : “SA PUSOD NG DAGAT” (In the Navel of the Sea), written by Jun Lana, produced by GMA Films; starring Jomari Yllana, Elizabeth Oropesa, Chin Chin Gutierrez, Rolando Tinio, Jhong Hilario; exhibited at the film festivals in Berlin, Munich, Dusselfdorf, Singapore, Brussels, Fukuoka, Tokyo, Pusan, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, New York, Chicago, San Fransisco, Los Angeles, Hawaii, and others; NETPAC Award; FIPRESCI award
  • 1998 : “RIZAL” (Rizal), written by Ricky Lee, Jun Lana, produced by GMA Films; starring Cesar Montano, Jaime Fabregas, Gina Alajar, Jhong Hilario, Gloria Diaz, Pen Medina; multi-awarded by the Metro Manila Film Festival (1998), Gawad Urian, Star Awards, FAMAS; commercially released at the Iwanami Hall, Tokyo (2000); exhibited at the film festivals of Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf, Madrid, Paris, Singapore, Fukuoka, Tokyo, Pusan, Monteal, Vancouver, Guggenheim Museum of New York, Chicago, San Fransisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Hawaii, and others.
  • 1999 : “MURO-AMI” (Reef Hunters), written by Ricky Lee, Jun Lana,produced by GMA Films; starring Cesar Montano, Amy Austria, Pen Medina, Jhong Hilario; multi-awarded by the Metro Manila Film Festival (1999), FAMAS, Star Awards; exhibited in the film festivals in Fukuoka, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Hawaii, and others
  • 1999 : “BAGONG BUWAN” (New Moon), written by Marilou Diaz-Abaya, Ricky Lee, Jun Lana, produced by Bahag-Hari Productions and Star Cinema; starring Cesar Montano, Amy Austria, Caridad Sanhchez, Jhong Hilario, Noni Buencamino, Ronnie Lazaro, Jericho Rosales; rated A by the Film Ratings Board; multi-awarded by the Metro Manila Film Festival (2001); exhibited at the film festivals of Asia Society of New York, Fukuoka, Tokyo, Pusan, Hawaii, and others
  • 2003 : “NOON AT NGAYON” (Then and Now),written by Ricky Lee, produced by Star Cinema; starring Dina Bonnevie, Laurice Guillen, Jericho Rosales, Cherrie Pie Picache, Eula Valdez, Jean Garcia ; rate A by the Cinema Evaluation Board; exhibited at the film festivals of Hawaii, Fukuoka,Tokyo, San Fransisco, and others.
  • 2005 : “MAGING AKIN MULI” (Become Mine Again) – feature telemovie, written and directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya, produced by Jesuit Communications Foundation; starring Marvin Agustin, Noel Trinidad, Sandy Andolong, Missy Maramara, Noni Buencamino, Ronnie Lazaro, and Jaime Fabregas.
  • 2006 : “ J C “, written (in-progress) and to be directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya.


  • “PUBLIC FORUM” 1986-1995, talk show hosted by Randy David
  • “SIC O’CLOCK NEWS” 1987-1992, news satire
  • Various documentaries including “SILSILAH DIALOGUE MOVEMENT FOR GOD’S PEACE”
  • “MEN OF LIGHT” weekly talk show on the scriptures based in San Fernando, Pampanga, hosted by Fr. Pablo David, Fr. Raul de los Santos, Fr. Deo Galang

On the set of the film “Jose Rizal” (1998)

at the Berlinale (1999)

Jose Rizal at the Berlinale (1999)


  • URIAN Dekada 80 awards for “MORAL” and “KARNAL”
  • URIAN Dekada 90 awards for “MILAGROS” and “JOSE RIZAL”
  • FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Award for “SA PUSOD NG DAGAT” (1998)
  • NETPAC (Network of Pan Asian Cinema) Award “SA PUSOD NG DAGAT” (1998)




and FUKUOKA (2001)