Maruja is Mars Ravelo's immortal love story about two people whose love for each other transcended a century. Written by Mars Ravelo and illustrated by Rico Rival, it was a story that dealt with reincarnation, beginning with the ill-fated love story of Maruja and Gabriel during the Spanish era and ending with their reunion one hundred years later. It was originally published in Pilipino Komiks in 1966 and is considered as one of Ravelo's successful realist masterpieces, along with "Roberta", which were both translated into films. Maruja was also chosen as one of the Top 100 Pinoy Komiks Serials in Filipiniana.net.
Maruja and Gabriel were madly in love with each other but Maruja's mother disapproved of the relationship. Maruja was forced to marry another man, but she took her own life right after the marriage, with a promise to Gabriel that they would be reunited someday. One hundred years later, Maruja was reincarnated as Cristy and was finally reunited with an aged and dying Gabriel.
Maruja was first adapted into film in 1967 by Lea Productions, under the direction of Armando de Guzman. The film closely followed the plot of the komiks and it featured Susan Roces and Romeo Vasquez as Maruja and Gabriel. Susan Roces was nominated for her performance as Maruja in the 1967 FAMAS Awards and many believed she would win the award. Unfortunately, she lost to the talented drama icon and multi-awarded actress Marlene Dauden for the movie Kapag Puso’y Sinugatan.
Gumising Ka... Maruja (1978)
In 1978, another Maruja film was produced by FPJ Productions under the direction of the great Lino Brocka. The movie was quite different from the original story, taking a more horrific take on the theme of reincarnation. Susan Roces reprised the role of Maruja, and her reincarnation, Nina Concepcion, who was a movie producer. Nina bought the mansion where Maruja died in 1890 and wanted to adapt Maruja's life into film. However, during one producer's meeting, a mysterious lady in black joined the guests, and it was eventually revealed that the mansion was home to lost souls that haunted the place. One of those lost souls was Cristy, who warned Nina and the others to leave the house immediately. The movie also starred Laurice Guillen, Phillip Salvador and Mario O'Hara. In the 1979 FAMAS Awards, Susan Roces won a Best Actress trophy for her role as Maruja / Nina Concepcion.
In 1996, Viva Films produced a remake of the Maruja films that starred the popular love team of Carmina Villaroel and Rustom Padilla. This time, Maruja and Gabriel were both reincarnated in 1996 where they were reunited, but like the circumstances back in the Spanish era, Maruja was engaged to marry another man. A twist was added to the story, in which the souls of Maruja and Gabriel were doomed to suffer another one hundred years if they would not be reunited in time. The movie also starred Eric Quizon, Jaclyn Jose and Albert Martinez.
- Maruja (1967). Internet Movie Database. Accessed on May 26, 2008.
- Gumising Ka... Maruja (1978). Internet Movie Database. Accessed on May 26, 2008.
- Jojo Devera. Sa Muling Paggising ni Maruja. Sari-saring Sineng Pinoy, November 13, 2006. Accessed on May 26, 2008.
- Maruja (1996). Internet Movie Database. Accessed on May 26, 2008.
- Maruja synopsis in Tagalog-Suspense Movies. book-of-dreams.com. Accessed on August 20, 2007.