Altering History, Through Movies

Movies for sure are made to entertain and at the same time educate people, most specially, if the film has a significant historical value to a certain person or events. But, most inaccuracies in a film, are sometimes, unfortunately, were done intentionally altered for dramatic and commercial purposes, which is a sad case, if the movie has some historical background.

Take for example the hit movie, 300, which depicts the battle of Thermopylae lead by the great Leonidas, which was played by actor Gerard Butler. Yes, the battle itself happened, and Leonidas only used 300 (thus the title) to battle an entire Persian army, but in reality, he had more than 300, since other warriors of Sparta have joined him against the Persian ruler.

Also, Xerxes was depicted in the movie as a giant bisexual (seemed like it), but in reality he is a great warrior and leader but nowhere nearer the movie version of himself, and Leonidas as a six packed mid aged warrior, but in fact according to records, at that time, he was already in his 60s, but still kicked tons of Persian butts, not bad after-all for a 60 year old guy.

We also had that in our movies, take into consideration the film El Presidente, a bio epic film based on the life of our first president Emilio Aguinaldo. The film was great, do not get me wrong, scoring, the quality of the film, the actors, and so on and so forth, but what’s disturbing was the Bonifacio part (played by another great actor Cesar Montano).

Based on the film, the Bonifacio brothers, were brought to Mt. Tala in Maragundon Cavite by an execution party headed by Lazaro Makapagal (sometimes Macapagal), played by Hero Bautista. In he film, upon arriving on the scene, or seems like it, Andres Bonifacio who had his arm in sling because of a bullet wound, asked Makapagal to read the letter, and upon hearing the judgement, Procopio (played by Joko Diaz) tried to escape but was gunned down by the party.

Andres on his part ran to his dying brother and cradled him on his arms while Makapagal asked Bonifacio to ran away and escape, but Bonifacio refused and instead “unslinged” his injured arm, took Makapagal’s saber and tried to kill the execution party, but was immediately under heavy fire that caused him his life.

It was a very sad and moving scene, but unfortunately, that never happened.

In reality, Bonifacio’s death was bounded by controversy, there were not just one account of his death, but 4. And the saddest part of them all, no one can verify what really happened.

One version was of the leader of the execution party Gen. Lazaro Makapagal, of which he had two versions. His first version was three decades after the execution of Supremo and his brother, through an interview. Makapagal said that, after reading the execution orders, Procopio hugged his brother and said “Kuya, Paano na tayo?”. Andres Bonifacio, according to Makapagal, did not replied and just cried, while he turned his back as they shot the Supremo and his brother.

But, after a while, through a letter to a historian, Makapagal took back some of his accounts and said that after reading the sentence, Procopio jumped and said “Naku Kuyang!” while Andres went to his knees and acted to embrace him (Makapagal) and said “Kapatid, patawarin mo ako”, crying. They first shot Procopio, and after the younger Bonifacio slumped lifeless on the dirt, again, the Supremo begged for his life, on his knees and repeated what he said awhile ago, at this point, Makapagal replied “Wala akong magagawa” after which Bonifacio bolted up and tried to ran for his life, only to be caught up in a stream where he met his creator.

If were to take Makapagal’s account, it seemed that Andres Bonifacio had minor injuries contradictory to what was noted after his arrest in Limbon, Cavite because he had only not made Andres Bonifacio knelt but ran as well, despite a gunshot wound in his shoulder, and a stab wound in his neck, which were left untreated for days.

There were two other accounts, that although it came from separate and unrelated eyewitnesses, they seemed to sing the same tune.

The first eyewitness was a farmer which happened to pass by, and saw 5 men hacking a defenseless man lying in a hammock.  Artemio Ricarte was the second person to have claimed that Andres Bonifacio was hacked to death in a hammock, and not through a bullet. Although Ricarte was not in the scene, during Bonifacio’s execution, he said that his information was valid and true, as it came from a member of the execution party, headed by Makapagal.

With these two accounts it did not only made Makapagal a lier, but fortified the claim that Andres Bonifacio was near death and in no way can kneel and beg for his life, and most likely to run and try to escape. That being said, you would come to the question, what drove Makapagal to “lie” about Bonifacio’s bravery, is it his true action, or where instructed by the then aspiring to be president again, Don Emilio Aguinaldo?

Look at it this way, how come a revolutionary leader who knew that half of his life is in the grave when he established The Katipunan, but did it anyway, begged for his life crying and making matters worst, ran for it, when he learned of his execution. Looks like a black propaganda to me, for a Supreme Leader, who claimed the highest seat in the Katipunan, Openly, in Aguinaldo’s turf, when he learned that Miong and his cohorts were actually planning something against him.

The scene was perfect and how the actors played their part will really take you back and feel how brave Bonifacio was, that is if you didn’t know what really happened. Sadly, I knew, and I was taken aback by it, no matter how brilliant Cesar Montano was in that scene.

Political Mudslinging, A Very Old But Effective Tactic?

Three weeks from now, we will once again try our luck to sit a President, and leaders, we think we deserve, since the 1986 EDSA revolution. I think everyone will agree that we have been in pursuit of the “messiah”who will save us from the mess that we are into, with just a flick of a finger (which will not, and will never, happen).

When Gloria Macapal-Arroyo ended her 9 year reign, we thought it was Aquino, but sad to say the only plan he had in mind is to run after GMA, who had not been his enemy when he was a senator. Well, except for the trimmed down (but not eradicated)  corruption, he had no other accomplishments, like his…. never mind.

Anyway, not to dwell on that sad situation, with the candidates we had for now, it seems that we have a candidate whom we had been looking for. A strong, Steel willed, and charismatic leader, the Iron hands of Davao City, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

With the election time looming, the momentum shifted to his side, overtaking the long time leader, Senator Grace Poe, who is mind you, denounce his Filipino Citizenship a years back for a green card. However, the momentum had taken a pit stop these past few days because of his remarks on a crisis in his city in 1989, which includes a raped and murdered Australian missionary.

And like what the dirty tactic suggests, all of his opponents saw this as an opening and has been throwing truck loads of mud at him, for the obvious reasons of course, of which is expected of them, since the Mayor is way ahead of the race, but will they succeed? they might, who knows?

Off note, aside from the foul mouthed gentlemen from Davao and the Senator Traitor, we also have the very honest and anti corruption VP Jojo Binay, Former Many Sec. and very desperate Mar Roxas, and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago (I will not say anything against her with the fear of the obvious reasons and the fact that as a person and a writer the author is but a dust to her, delikadesa).

Going back, mudslinging is not new in the arena and in fact, Former President Manuel Quezon used the tactic to outrun the then overly popular Gen Emilio Aguinaldo, during the Commonwealth era.

Manual Quezon threw the “Bonifacio Bones” to the former General and President of the First Republic, which eventually led to his downfall. Aguinaldo had no other bullet in his arsenal against the Bones of the Supremo, which has made the voting public shift sides heavily, that led into Quezon’s landslide victory over Don Emilio.

Will it work this time against the Fearsome leader of the Davaoenos or will it just add fuel to the growing fire on public interest in him?

Well, we would not know until May 9th, and at this point, the best thing to do is just sit back and enjoy the scene. who in this world is not entertained after all?

Commission on Appointment, Irrelevant Then and Now?

Did you ever wondered why the late Jessie Robredo has been functioning as President Aquino’s DILG secretary but was never confirmed by the Commission on Appointment until his demise a couple of years back? Well, sad as it may be, the late Secretary is only one of the thousand government officials who are functioning as one but on papers are not, and the saddest part of it was it has been happening since the time of Emilio Aguinaldo.

For the benefit of the few, the Commission on Appointment is composed of Senators and Representatives, well not all of them but some of them. The commission is being headed by a Senator (more frequently by the Senate President) which is most likely an ally of the President. Officials go goes through the process are Cabinet Secretaries, Heads of other Government branches, AFP and PNP officials, etc. etc.

Can you just imaging, AFP and PNP officials being appointed by a Commission oblivious of their capabilities and not by merits, this alone gives you a glimpse of how ineffective and irrelevant the Commission is, but like what has been said before, this has been happening since our forefathers and like now, it has the same effect, Irrelevant and biased.

When this concept was penned, during President Aguinaldo’s reign, most members of the his government were his allies and most of them are illustrados and persons from the higher echelons of the society both in names and riches. These people are responsible for Apolinario Mabini’s axing in Aguinaldo’s cabinet, and to make it worst, they did it by tainting his image as a paralytic (and to even make it worst (yes its just a tip of the iceberg) they started a rumor saying that he got paralyzed because of Syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease).

A couple of hundred years after, nothing has changed, everything remained the same, why?

Why? You’re guess is as good as mine.

Are We Discrediting EDSA? (Looks Like It)

Aree we forgetting what happened during the Martial Law to think that it’ just been roughly 40 years since it happened, to make matters worst, we had EDSA. EDSA should have or is helping us to remind what really happened during that era and the action we took to overcome that. But how in the world we are forgetting what our parents, titos and titas, ate and kuyas done in the most famous avenue in the country?

It is out in the open what transpired at that time, the corruption, the cruelty, the killings, the missing persons, name it, but how come the younger generations (including my era) are easily forgetting these unfortunate events?

I am not sure if destiny is making fun of us but take a look at this irony, during the Martial Law, we have a Marcos as a President and an Aquino as a Senator and viola, as of press time, we have an Aquino President and a Marcos Senator, which is most likely to be a Vice President (which will eventually, if he wins the seat, eye for the highest position in 2022).

Are the Marcoses returning to power after all the things they have done in our country? Are we going to just throw those things away and let bygones be bygones? How about the families who had lost their lolos, lolas, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, uncles, aunties, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. etc. etc. etc.? In vernacular, “ganun na lang ba yun?“.

Since we are a nation that is fond of pointing fingers, when something went amiss, let us do it with this discussion, for argument sake, or to make this entry longer, which ever is more appropriate.

The Past Presidents. The former dictator was exiled (with his immediate family) in 1986 and died shortly afterwards due to lupus, a kidney disorder. The remains of Marcos was first interred in Hawaii but was given clearance to be brought home just 7 years after the People Power Revolution (where every Filipino wanted him dead), by the then President Fidel Ramos (who had been a high ranking military official during his regime and was one of the first Marcos loyalist to turn the table against his boss). There were also talks for the former Ilocano President to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, during the Estrada and Arroyo administrations. Although when President Aquino won the 2010 election, the talk died, but the front runner of the presidential race is openly talking, if and when he will win the presidency, he will have the remains of Marcos laid in the famous resting place.

Technology. Before, we only had the TV, Radio, and Prints as a source of information (if you count your neighborhood “chismosa” as a source of valid information then so be it), those mediums can (and were) easily controlled at that time, reason why the nation had a limited information to sensitive facts such as classified data and insights from political experts. Fast forward, thanks to social media, everyone is now a historian, an expert, a guru, and so on and so forth. To make matters worst, a Marcos Loyalist, who had no voice or medium back then, can now easily create a fan page in various platforms to project the Marcoses as heroes of the past and the Aquinos as the real traitors and enemies.

The Aquinos. The Cory administration went after their ill gotten wealth, and in fact, commissioned two agencies the PCGG and CHR with the purpose of running after the Marcoses (which has been, and still are, the most ineffective and inefficient government agency since its conception). Unfortunately, after 2 Aquino Presidents, majority of the alleged ill gotten wealth still sits with them (Marcoses), and the true killer and mastermind of their patriarch’s (Ninoy Aquino) assassination is still at large (or probably dead but was never tried in any court), not to mention that they are returning to power.

Education. During my student days, I had never read a book (history) where it says that the reason why we had EDSA is because of Marcos’ cruelty, it focuses on the Peaceful Revolution and not on the Martial Law, it was targeted on the outcome rather than the problem and the solution itself. The Marcos Regime (on my own opinion) can be classified as one of our darkest eras, similar to the Spanish and Japanese regime where cruelty and ruthless killings were stated in our history book, which made us aware of how horrifying those days are, but it was different during Marcos’ time. To make matters worst, a Grade Five History Book in our schools says that the reason why Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972 was because of frequent flooding and typhoons, very sad, they have killed history, and an Aquino (PNoy) let it happen, what a shame.

Now, where am I getting at? I don’t know and I have no clue, or maybe there is actually no argument with this piece but just a simple essay on my feelings about the impact of the EDSA revolution in our current and upcoming generation (if the essence of it is still alive).

One more thing, aside from maybe letting the true value and soul of EDSA live a very short life, is that we had done it again a couple of years back hoping that better things will come the morning after, and yet knowing that it will never come/happen.

Crucify Me!

For 300 years we’ve been in the shadows of the Spanish which is predominantly a Catholic country, thus giving us not just some of their ways but also their beliefs and traditions, religion wise. It is also a fact that, the then Catholic Friars and leaders were into flagellation, more overly on the sinners and unbelievers, like what Jesus went through during his passion, which leads to this article.

In our country, Pampanga is so well known to for its colorful Holy Week rights, from “Pabasa” (reading of the Passion of the Christ) to self flagellation and ultimately to Crucifixion, which is the highlight of the pilgrim.

That being said, if Hollywood have Leonardo De Caprio, Pampanga has Ruben Enaje, who had been crucified during these event 29 times, the most (or one of the most) in the country.

A construction worker/laborer by profession, Ruben Enaje had been doing the crucifixion since 1985, after surviving a terrifying fall while working on a site that. Enaje gained massive popularity when TV shows started to cover such events that eventually led international news correspondence and tourists to his act.

Although the country’s health department is against the flagellation and crucifixion, there were no instances of holding off a crucifixion since it’s conception (no recorded event) to its rising popularity in the early 70s.

The Holy Week in the Philippines is being kicked off (officially) by Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday, but the climax and highlight of the “Semana Santa” is the Black Friday, where crucifixion rites (or at least a simulated one), is being held simultaneously around the country.

In addition, Holy Week in the Philippines also signifies vacation, beaches, and long weekends as well as heavy lock downs on roads, sea and air ports.

Gil Perez The Filipino Time Traveler

Stephen Hawking had debunked teleportation and said that it is not only mathematically possible but a two dimensional (or whatever you call that one) travel will tear any particle apart, in common tongue, it will shred you into pieces.

However, there was the legend of Gil Perez, who had been accounted to have time traveled from Philippines to Mexico in the 16th century. Although there were no proof that he indeed traveled in space and time, the accounts about his alleged time travel is hard to trash, or so it seemed.

Gil Perez was a guardia civil in the Philippines manning the mansion of the Gobernador General in Manila. Perez’s life is not interesting and rich compared to that of General Luna or Bonifacio, instead, in a modern time, he can be compared to a regular sentry. He guards the gate all day long and retires to his shack at night.

However, everything changed on the night of October 24, 1593. While on his post, he decided to take a short nap, but was surprised to wake up on a very unfamiliar place. Nonetheless, despite of being confused and flabbergasted, he moved on to do his job as if nothing is changed, until someone approached him because he looked foreign and alien.

The person who approached him said that it was impossible for him to be a Filipino because he is now guarding the Plaza Mayor of Mexico City, thousands leagues away from the Philippines.

When interrogated, Gil Perez gave the tale of his teleportation and the assassination of the Philippines’ Gobernador General. The death was obscure to those in Mexico City, but Gil Perez was wearing the uniform of the guardia civil in Manila. He was set in prison since it was deemed that he may be a weakling or a fiend.

Two months after, a galleon landed from the Philippines, bringing news of the Officer’s passing. They said that they knew Gil Perez, however they didn’t know he was in Mexico City. The last time they had seen him was on October 23 at the royal residence.

The legend said that the Mexican authorities sent Perez back to the Philippines but during the course back to home, he was nowhere to be found and had been suspected to traveled in space in time again.