“Are these Philippine historic figures worth to be called heroes?
The cinematography stood out in the movie Goyo — Ang Batang Heneral, unlike any other Filipino movie made. The hills were truly alive in this film, particularly in the climactic Battle on Tirad Pass, the place where we all know the good General met his destiny. The colors were vivid and the wide shots were awe-inspiring. There was always a beautiful blending in the lighting and the picturesque positioning of actors in their impressive costumes. At times, the cast seemed to be in the hundreds and moved in an orchestrated fashion. Kudos to the director of photography, Pong Ignacio, who happens to be a high school classmate of this writer.
The movie makes one want to visit the countryside. There were memorable scenes in Pangasinan, Bulacan and Ilocos Sur that are very travel blog (or Instagram) worthy.
Provincial life seemed quite fun in the 1890s. There was a scene where Gen. Gregorio del Pilar watched a play about himself, reminiscent of shows like Game of Thrones, in which royalty are presented with dramatizations of their own lives. There was a dinner scene where VIP guests danced in unison, similar to Disney films and the lead actors engaged in an intimate conversation while strutting. There are several familiar elements infused in this period film that leave audience smiling and amazed that these are all locally made. Truly, Philippine cinema has made leaps and bounds throughout the years and this film is proof.
Yet, the storyline left this writer conflicted — we are unsure whether we like General Del Pilar or not. We are even more unsure whether we like President Emilio Aguinaldo. Are these Philippine historic figures worth to be called heroes? These are the very same heroes after which our elementary sections and historic places are named, whose faces are etched on our Philippine coins and currencies. Did our historians make a mistake somewhere?
The earlier movie, Heneral Luna, was more straightforward. Gen. Antonio Luna was a leader oozing with machismo and the audience immediately knew what he was all about, with all his cursing. We knew that for General Luna, it was “bayan bago ang sarili,” or country before oneself. General Del Pilar, on the other hand, was a matinee idol, portrayed by telenovela actor, Paulo Avelino, who gave priority to his womanizing, at times neglecting the impending battle ahead.
At the start of Goyo, there is a scene that’s quite striking, which this writer remembers well since it was reposted on the film’s Facebook Page. Manuel Bernal, one of the followers of General Luna, was captured, beaten and interrogated by General Del Pilar and his men.
General Del Pilar told Bernal that they were fighting for the same cause, but Bernal remained loyal to a deceased General Luna while he (General Del Pilar) was loyal to the sitting President Aguinaldo. Bernal replied that their difference is that he remains loyal to a principle, not to the President.
“These are accomplishments, although unpopular with others, that prove that the House is indeed working.
We see this in politics today, minus the gore and torture. This writer remembers when Rep.
Geraldine Roman, the first transgender House member, was questioned during a forum at Ateneo Law School on her vote in favor of the death penalty bill, she replied that politics is compromise. Indeed, politics is a balancing act and loyalty is the key word. But utmost loyalty must be afforded to whom? Is it loyalty to a President? Is it loyalty to the political party? Is it loyalty to the constituents? The easy answer always is loyalty to flag and country, but what is the measurement of this?
In the House of Representatives, where there are 292 House members, politics is more complex with all these elected officials under one roof. Yet the best barometer of loyalty would be the approval of bills and hearing of resolutions, done on a daily basis.
For instance, the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Package 2, or House Bill 8083, now marketed as the TRABAHO Bill, which stands for Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-quality Opportunities, was approved on third reading last Monday, 10 September 2018. The passage of this bill was not a walk in the park, with all the issues surrounding inflation and increase of the rice prices, House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Dakila Cua, had to withstand endless questioning from the opposition. Also, the House Committee on Justice, led by Chairman Rep. Doy Leachon, on Tuesday, 11 September 2018, dispensed, with expediency, the impeachment complaint filed against several sitting Supreme Court justices, by its dismissal due to insufficiency in substance. These are accomplishments, although unpopular with others, that prove that the House is indeed working.
As for the Senate, they are quite busy with their own predicament, as they are now a temporary boarding house of Sen. Antonio Trillanes — who is portraying himself as being politically persecuted, similar to Sen. Leila de Lima. The storied Senator Trillanes has been attracting supporters to the Senate grounds, albeit their practiced chants recorded on video, and everyone is anticipating the court hearings to be held in two Regional Trial Court-Makati Branches this Thursday and Friday, both on the issuance of his arrest warrant.
It was reported that the next movie to be made will be on Manuel L. Quezon, who, according to renowned historian Ambeth Ocampo, is a more complex character. Yet with all the perceived “Goyos” of today, the filmmakers may need not look too far in the past for their next subject.