The Masterpiece that is Heneral Luna + Thoughts on Being a Filipino to this Day

I entered the cinema knowing what to expect. I left feeling like an idiot, totally devastated. I never knew General Luna’s sacrifices to this extent. I never knew his death was THAT horrible. I cried like a little child feeling guilty for not knowing about it, feeling stupid for looking up to that one person whom I thought genuinely cared for our motherland, and feeling angry that such things had to happen in the name of politics, business and this so-called male ego.

Towards the end of the film, I was controlling my emotions. I wanted to shout “Patay na, pinapatay niyo pa!! Mga walang awa!!” but I can’t because it’s not ethical to do so in the cinema. But seriously, I never thought General Luna died that way. I never thought that such Filipinos will have the balls to do it to their very own general.

Pinatay na nga, tinaga-taga pa na parang baboy tapos pinagnakawan pa. Yes, these very people robbed a dead man! What makes me angrier is the fact that his death and that of his comrade was left untapped, no arrests were made and not even a formal investigation was initiated. That’s the most cruel part right there – knowing a Filipino General was murdered in his very own land where justice should be for everyone, but in his case, this justice was never served.

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On a lighter note, I was very grateful to be able to witness this film. I was also very happy to be able to watch it in the big screen with a huge audience (I didn’t expect the audience turnout would be this big, particularly in SM Marilao. It was such a great sight!). It’s indeed a one of a kind film that deserves our all-out support. This is the kind of film that we should be seeing more, that we should be investing our money and time on. We all need to see more films like Heneral Luna to ignite our nationalism, to wake us all up in the reality that those atrocious things can happen to innocent people, to the real Makabayans if we will continue on being blinded and being swayed by the promises of ‘con artists’.

I’ve learned a lot from watching this film. As I have mentioned earlier, I knew nothing about Heneral Luna’s sacrifices and horrible death. It wasn’t taught in school (as far as I can remember) and I never had a teacher who really went that far in sharing the life of General Luna. I can only remember about a professor in college going the extra mile in sharing everything he knows about Andres Bonifacio, whom I believe is one of the greatest heroes the Philippines ever had. But as for General Antonio Luna, yeah, this film served as an educational material for me. I’m 26 and I’m still definitely learning. This movie made me more interested in Philippine History. It made me want to know more about our country, our culture, our heroes and our forgotten and even dark past.

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As what other people have said, this movie is brutally honest. Indeed, it is BRUTALLY HONEST. When I went out of the cinema, I was bombarded with a lot of thoughts- positive and negative ones. I thought to myself, it’s a big risk to release such film to the public, to make it open for critics, to make it a subject of everyone’s opinions. As we can see, the film showed the dark history of the Philippines, of the Filipinos. It’s not a good thing to show that side to the world. But then again I realized that even though the truth hurts, the truth sucks, the truth will always set us free. Such a cliché, yes, but I’m happy that the mind behind this masterpiece had the guts to write and share this compelling story, based of course on facts. Director Jerrold Tarog definitely did an amazing job in this film. I’m happy and yet again very grateful.

The actors are worth mentioning as well. John Arcilla did justice to his role as General Antonio Luna. Same goes for Mon Confiado as President Emilio Aguinaldo, Epi Quizon as Prime Minister Apolinario Mabini,  Joem Bascon as Col. Paco Roman, Archie Alemania as Captain Eduardo Rusca, Art Acuña as Col. Manuel Bernal, Alex Medina as Capt. José Bernal and the rest of the casts. They all fit well into their roles. I’m sure that some of them had second thoughts in accepting the project, that’s why I would also like to sincerely thank them for bringing these people into life through the film Heneral Luna.

Otto von Bismarck, a German Chancellor, once said, ‘A fool learns from his mistakes, but a truly wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”

We Filipinos have to be wise. Although it’s hard, I’m sure we can go against the history-repeats-itself mantra. With awareness comes realization of responsibilities that we have to carry out. It should be a collective effort though. We have to know what is right and stand our ground, just like what General Luna did ‘til his very last breath.

What can we do as citizens of the country then? The national elections is less than a year away. A lot of politicians are now courting us Filipinos for our precious votes. We have to be wise in choosing who to vote for. Let’s all remember, no one can serve two masters at the same time. Which politician wants to serve only the Filipino people? Which politician is hiding under this cloak of being a Filipino just so he can win the votes of the majority? Which politician will have the balls to fight for the sake of our country, even if it means disagreeing to the most powerful person/ nation in the world? Which politician will truly be the leader of the Philippines? (This is one of my dilemmas at the moment, I’m really having a hard time deciding who to vote for. I only have one vote, we only have one vote, so let’s not waste it.)

The youth of today can’t do what General Luna did but we can still follow his examples in our own little ways. Let’s stand for the truth. Let’s fight for our country. Let’s be the best citizens for our Motherland. I’m sure we’re all capable of doing that. 🙂

Long live the Philippines! Can’t wait to watch more films like Heneral Luna!

(Photos used are not mine, credits to Heneral Luna Official Facebook Page- https://www.facebook.com/Heneral.Luna?fref=ts )

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