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EL Presidente - Reflection Paper

The El Presidente movie is all about the life of the first President of the Philippine Republic. The story focus on the life
of General Emilio Aguinaldo who was elected by the leaders of Katipunan that roled by Governor Jeorge "ER" Estregan'

The Story tells me about the life of Emilio Aguinaldo and the hardships he had encountered during his time to win the
battles against Spanish Colonization to the Philippines and how he joined and became a member of KATIPUNAN and
have a name of MAGDALO.

In this movie it shows the flashback of life of General Emilio Aguinaldo that in his childhood life he became a tax
collector together with his friend that on his childhood he met a fortune teller that tells him what he would be in
future, it tellls that he would become a king of his nation and he will leave a long life , but there is also a warning to
him that there would be many circumstances coming to his life as a President . Many of them will attempt to replace
his throne as a leader of his colony and being the President of the Philippines.

The movie also shows the battles of Emilio Aguinaldo to protect his members and his troops in his jurisdiction or on his
colony against the Spanish occupation for the freedom of the Philippines. The movie also shows the preparation of
Emilio Aguinaldo and his troop towards sultan. In this movie shows how Emilio Aguinaldo was elected as a President of
the Philippine Republic. It was started when the committee of Katipunan decided to have an election of who would be
their President and leaders under the gabinet of the President. Immediately the committee elected the following
persons, Andres Boniacio, Mariano Trias, and Emilio Aguinaldo. The founder of Pamahalaang Himagsikan is Andres
Bonifacio who also called their SUPREMO of KATIPUNAN became angry when he got a lower position in the gabinet.

After the election Emilio Aguinaldo was proclaimed officially the newly elected and the first President of the Philippine
Republic, because of that Andres Bonifacio became bitter against Emilio Aguinaldo and he decided to destroy
Aguinaldo's leadership.

After the juris proved that Bonifacio brothers are found guilty, Emilio Aguinaldo sentence them into their own death.

After the Americans trick Aguinaldo that they will help the Philippines to get their freedom against Spanish colony, but
instead the Americans used Emilio Aguinaldo name for their own agenda, but Aguinaldo do his best to fight and to get
our freedom.

After I watched this movie El Presidente I've realize that their were so many trials and circumstances they've trail,
many self were sacrificed their lives fighting for freedom against traitors and for those unreliable persons on that
event. that before we got our freedom there were super suffering they have experienced; blood shred and many died.

The movie El Presidente for me is very interesting movie, because it shows me a lots on how our Filipino heroes are
great to get back our freedom against all the colonies of Spanish, Americans, and Japanese.

A reflection on the brilliant ‘Heneral Luna’ film

Right before the Irish band U2 performed “Helter Skelter” during their live concert recording for their Rattle and
Hum album, lead singer Bono told the audience, “This is the song (murderer) Charles Manson stole from the Beatles.
Well, we’re stealing it back.”

I am glad that Jerrold Tarog’s film, Heneral Luna was made because it “steals" back something precious from the way
history is written by the victorious Americans.

You see, the Philippine-American War has always been viewed as an insurrection by the American government than a
genuine war. If we follow that train of thought then theirs too is an insurrection against British rule during their own war of
independence. They formed their own Continental Congress and declared themselves free and independent states in July
of 1776 (although the war ended in 1783). How different is the Philippines' Declaration of Independence made in Kawit,

From the jaws of victory, independence was cruelly snatched away from the Filipinos who fought so hard for
independence from Spain. And for $20 million, the country was sold by Spain to America. It wasn’t an insurrection. It was
a war of independence from two colonial masters and this film pays honor and respect to Antonio Luna, one of the men
who boldly stood against imperialism.

Tarog’s film has generated a firestorm of interest and admiration, and it not only puts Luna on the pedestal he deserves
but venerates him (and short of vilifies Emilio Aguinaldo who was indirectly or directly involved in the deaths of two strong-
willed military leaders of that era — Luna and Andres Bonifacio).

Having said that, “Heneral Luna" is a masterpiece and here is why.

First and foremost, it is a historical biopic done the right way. It is as accurate as it can be. There are embellishes here
and there but never to the point where it spins the story into something altogether different. The casting is spot on, the
production design a marvel to behold, and the cinematography, a pleasure to watch.

A wonderful script that flows

The script is clever and it flows. Scenes do not drag especially in the long exchange between Luna and Tomas Mascardo.

Here’s where Tarog hits it out of the park — the humor in the dialogue, although used sparingly like a well-laid ambush,
isn’t contrived and is priceless. Its usage is so totally unexpected like how it was so the Guardians of the Galaxy film that
makes it more memorable or even quotable.

And it brings something so Filipino to the film — finding humor in the bleakest of situations. For example, the train station
scene was absolutely hilarious! But it never gets out of hand, never trivializes the incident or the story and it quickly veers
back on course. They were in the middle of a war after all.

And John Arcilla, in the titular role of Antonio Luna, delivers his lines with aplomb and never in that overacting manner that
seems to come with Filipino films.

The manner of how Luna dissects the problems of the nascent republic resonate and touch a chord because they hold
true even to this day. Remember that famous quote by Spanish philosopher George Santayana — “Those who cannot
remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” A lot of the problems that plagued those early patriots still face us today.
Whether it is a message or a sermon, it doesn’t come across as preaching. In fact, it is an incredible comparison that
should leave you thinking that we have learned nothing.

Now we all know what befell Luna. And throughout, there are subtle reminders. However, the impending doom as
imparted by his mother, Laureana (and not his brother, Joaquin, in real life) makes it even more tragic. What parent wants
to bury their child? And it was made all the more poignant as Luna’s family life is briefly told in a beautifully executed

A deadshot of a cast

Remember the scene where Luna asks for a volunteer and a certain “Garcia” stands up and makes his way close to the
American lines where he takes some shots just to send a message that they aren’t as safe as they’d like to think? Well,
that Lieutenant Garcia in real life commanded Luna’s Black Guard and like the deadshot that he was so is the cast of
Heneral Luna.

It’s a large cast and most everyone is given proper time to flesh out their personalities.

Based on all the historical reports about Luna, John Arcilla captures the fiery officer’s personality perfectly. When he
shifts from that gruff exterior to a gentler person when around the ladies, he does it so well.

As a child who keenly devoured anything and everything related to our Revolutionary War of Independence, I have strong
feelings against Aguinaldo. Yet I like how Tarog doesn’t exactly make out Mon Confiado’s Aguinaldo to be the power
hungry leader many believe him to be following the deaths of Bonifacio and Luna at the hands of his men. He leaves that
to the audience to decide.

I thought that Epi Quizon was magnificent as Apolinario Mabini. Like Confiado’s Aguinaldo, he is pensive but he is quick
to make his thoughts known. In spite of Mabini being rendered immobile due to the ravages of polio, Quizon brought a
regal bearing and sage-like aura to the Prime Minister.

Although not much is known about Luna’s two aides, Colonel Paco Roman and Captain Eduardo Rusca, I love how Tarog
depicted them like the ying and yang of Luna’s personality.

Joem Bascon’s Roman was the more serious and pensive one while Archie Alemania’s Rusca brought a light-
heartedness to an otherwise grim situation. Sort of reminds me of Ron Livingston’s portrayal of the fun-loving alcoholic
Captain Lewis Nixon in "Band of Brothers" as an opposite to Damian Lewis’ serious Captain Richard Winters.

Mylene Dizon, who brought in a fictional love interest for Luna, showed that Isabel was strong in her few minutes of
screen time.

Oh those delicious homages

I love how Tarog borrows from scenes from “Saving Private Ryan” where Luna is momentarily shellshocked before he
regains his wits and wades right back into battle. There’s that “Braveheart” scene where Luna sits atop the mountain lost
in his thoughts with Celtic-like music playing.

When I saw the part where the bodies of Luna and Roman are dragged in the Churchyard, I thought it was a great geek
moment, “Hey, that’s a neat way of paying homage to Juan Luna’s 'Spoliarium.’”

An excellent bookend framing sequence

The fictional biographer/journalist of Joven (as played by Arron Villaflor) provides an excellent framing sequence as does
the Revolutionary Flag that seems to grow darker and dirtier as time passes. I figure it also signifies the assassination as
a dark time in our nation’s history. And Luna was proven correct all throughout his short life — from the duplicity of the
Americans, to the need to conduct guerrilla warfare and to build that fortress up in the north.

Tarog freely admits during the film’s introduction that he took some liberties to heighten the story. I am fine with that. One
of these incidents was Luna’s famous charge atop his horse. In the film, that takes place early in the war against the
Americans. In reality, it happened three months after his first battles with the Americans in La Loma.
However, I wish though that Tarog gave more screen time to the death of Jose Torres Bugallon who dies in that battle in
the trench. Bugallon led a charge on the American lines and though fatally shot, continued to advance. Luna rescued
Bugallon and before he passed away, promoted him to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

I wish that they had placed a date to the assassination that would have showed that there was indeed a conspiracy to
murder the general. For on the very day of the assassination, Felipe Buencamino, the Secretary of Development in
Aguinaldo’s cabinet and a Luna foe, says that the President had left Cabanatuan for Tarlac. Yet around the same time
Luna is murdered, Aguinaldo shows up at Angeles to disarm General Venacio Concepcion and his troops who were loyal
to the former. Luna’s other aides, the Bernal brothers are also brutally murdered.

The scene between Aguinaldo and his mother and the subsequent slaying where Trinidad, the President’s mother, asks
from the window if Luna is still moving has me thinking, “Oh, there’s a Cersei Lannister and Joffrey Baratheon!"

They say that history is written by the victors. But if my recollection is correct, those Philippine history books weren’t
exactly written by Americans. The murder of Bonifacio and then Luna leaves everyone hanging as if it refuses to bring
down a so-called venerated hero of the revolution. As a kid (and I still feel the same way now), I felt that these historians
did someone a great disservice.

he Battle of Mactan
by The FHL Research Team
Date: 3/31/2006

More than four centuries ago, a hero by the name of Lapu-Lapu successfully defended the country from domination for
the very first time.

It's been exactly 485 years since the Battle of Mactan—more popularly known as the battle between Lapu-Lapu
and Ferdinand Magellan. It was the first demonstration of the Filipino natives’ resistance to foreign conquest.

On April 5, 1521, the Spanish conquistadors led by Ferdinand Magellan, arrived in Cebu (popularly known by natives then
as Zubu). Magellan succeeded in converting the chief of Cebu, Datu Humabon and his wife into Christianity. With the
Spaniards’ display of power, the natives were both amazed and afraid of such superiority that they were made to submit
to the Spaniards’ demands easily. All other chiefs except Lapu-Lapu were also converted to Christianity and were easily
made to swear allegiance to Spain.

Lapu-Lapu (Caliph Pulaka) was the chief of Bulaia, the biggest village in Mactan Island. As a leader, his constituents very
well respected him. He was known as a courageous leader and a skilled warrior, who considered no one as his lord and

Unlike the other chiefs, Lapu-Lapu did not embrace the ideas presented by the Spaniards. He was disturbed when he
heard of the activities of Magellan and how the Spaniards easily succeeded in converting the natives to Christianity and
were made to swear allegiance to Spain. What bothered him most were the abuses committed by the Spaniards against
the women. Upon knowing that Lapu-Lapu’s resistance would be a hindrance to their goals, Magellan decided that there
was indeed a need to use force against Lapu-Lapu.

On the dawn of April 27, 1521, Magellan’s expedition reached the island of Mactan. Upon arrival, Magellan sent an
ultimatum to Lapu-Lapu through an emissary: “…if they would obey the king of Spagnia, recognize the Christian king as
their sovereign and pay tribute, he would be their friend but if they wished otherwise, they should wait to see how their
lances wounded…” In response, Lapu-Lapu said that “…we too have lances of bamboo and stakes hardened with fire and
that we are ready to fight to the end…”

Lapu-Lapu was well prepared for the war. He positioned his men of about 1,500 against Magellan’s 49 soldiers. They
were armed with bows and arrows, and spears with points hardened by fire or tipped with metal. In the beginning,
Magellan thought of his coming fight with Lapu-Lapu as a sort of an exhibition to show the natives of the Spaniards’
fighting skills. He underestimated the capabilities of the natives for he had undergone so many battles in other places.
Magellan, who was hit on the leg with a poisoned arrow, never thought that it would be the last battle of his life.
In honor of Lapu-Lapu, the town of Opon on Mactan Island in Cebu province was renamed to Lapu-Lapu City. An early
Church of Lapu-Lapu can be seen near the shoreline facing Mandaue City. At present, the heroism of Lapu-Lapu is
commemorated through the celebration of the “Lapu-Lapu Day” in the province of Cebu on the 27th of April of each year.
May the name Lapu-Lapu remind us more of the gallantry of our heroic ancestor, instead of the similarly named fish that
we eat today.