I do not regret whom I voted for: my letter to Mar Roxas

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Edit: Comments are screened. I don’t need inappropriate or irrelevant remarks on my post. If you don’t like it, then leave.

Now that the election is over I can share my sentiments.

I wasn’t pleased with the results, but it is what it is. My preferred candidate, Mar Roxas, didn’t win and I had a feeling that was the case during May 9. Shall I say why I voted for him? It’s because I understood the efforts and results the LP, no matter how flawed an lacking political party it is, had put forth towards making this country a little better again. There is always a caveat for mistakes and room for improvement, but to say that they have done jack shit is an insult to everyone morally upright who helped improve this country.

I digress. Last May 10 I watched him concede, second to the winning candidate with a margin of over 6 million votes. It was a punch to the gut, that’s for sure. I vaguely remember how it was: a very precise blade slicing through me and disemboweling me. An emotional kind of gutting. I still grimly remember how it feels–now it’s just a numb memory but the scars remain. A lot like betrayal, I suppose.

A day after he conceded, I wrote a letter to his campaign office email. There are parts that are personal so I will omit that, but the rest should be here.

Subject: A letter to Mr Roxas – from a casual observer.

Hello, Mr. Roxas.

I was on the fence sending you this email because I’m certain you’ll receive a lot of emails like mine–thankful, in general, and praising you for your demeanor as you accepted the results of the election. But I figured there might be something that you can find useful, or something that can lift your spirits even just a bit.

First I wanted to say that I tried not to cry while I was observing the election results, because the results weren’t what I hoped it would be. Late into the night I felt like being gutted–somewhat similar to how a samurai would commit seppuku–the blade slowly cutting across the abdomen. Except this time, it’s an emotional kind of gutting. I was mad, and still am. But I digress.

When I watched your presser yesterday I expected you’d do it, but I didn’t expect that *I* hoped you didn’t. But that’s you. Like many people who watched it, they were impressed with your graciousness in defeat, and how you encouraged others to fight for the country and support the obvious winner.

Well, that alcohol I drank in the morning certainly didn’t help to drown my sorrows, because I literally sobbed inside the office. Kinda embarrassing to tell this to the person who technically made me cry–but I didn’t cry because I wanted you to win. I cried because you embodied the ideals I wanted to win, but didn’t.

But more so: I know the media depicts you as calm and at peace afterwards. I’m not sure if you share the same emotions as I did, or even magnified, but I would be devastated even after graciously acknowledging reality.

Just a bit of personal story: [omitted]

Well, after seeing photos of you visiting Sweet Ecstacy [sic] in Katipunan I realised that it’s undoubtedly more painful for you than for anyone else. I can’t say I know how you think, or how you feel, but if it feels what I felt at that stage, I know it’s one of the saddest, most numbing, most gutting feelings in the world. That doing what’s best in an honourable manner doesn’t cut it.

I’m sorry because I feel like I’ve failed someone who’s earnest to help others. You know, I never felt any particular connection to the country as a nation. I always thought that this country is divided because of its regionalism (I’m sure you’ve read James Fallows’ The Atlantic article A Damaged Culture: A New Philippines). But I appreciate civil servants who work tirelessly to uphold the rights of its people, like you.

Of course I may be presuming that your suffering is painful when in fact you are content with the results. I apologise. In any case, exercise helps lift the mood or emotions, and I’m certain people are there to help you now that this is over. Pets are greatly comforting buddies too.

Thanks for all you’ve done, and if you ever find yourself again attempting to… do the same thing that’s rejected you several times, I hope you find yourself to keep trying while grounded in a morally upright ideology. I’m not the best person to say uplifting and encouraging words, but I tried because I know you’re going to help others a lot.

If you’ve read up to this point, then thanks for reading. I hope you don’t get depressed all over it, but if you do–please try to fight it. I hope you remember that you’ve inspired people, and they are ready to help you, too.

I genuinely wish you the best,

Patricia.

I hoped he’d get to read it, as I’ve seen someone mention that he does reply to letters–and he replies in person. Although I tried to minimise my expectations, there is always that glimmer of hope that he would.

Surprisingly, he did reply on a day that I almost forgot I sent my letter.

reply

Dear Patricia,

You didn’t fail me. I didn’t fail either. I take comfort in the fact that you support me not because it’s me, but because we have a common cause in our ideals. I consider it a victory that there are people like you who realized your love for your country as we went through this struggle. It is painful to lose, that I concede. But it would have been even more painful not to make a difference.

Thank you for writing to me. The wounds are raw, yes. But I didn’t give up. And neither should you. Failures are a part of life. Each failure may chip away at what you have and who you are, but each failure also leaves lessons. And victory cannot be sweet without the bitterness of defeat. Every warrior wears his scars proudly, because they are the story of what he strove for, regardless of the cost, regardless of the result.

That is why this humble warrior can take the sting of the fresh wounds. I know they will heal and scar over later. I will wear my battle scars with pride, knowing I got them with you by my side.

God bless,

Mar

I am of the belief that it is easy to preach what should be done to improve the life of its people: it can easily be substantiated by studies made by experts. Honasan’s answers to the VP debates show this. Anyone can wave a research and say, “this is what we’ll do”.

It is different, however, to explain how it should be done, and the moral upbringing required to implement policies. Does it mean anyone who can parrot these ethical philosophies signify a morally upstanding character? Not necessarily. But it takes a certain kind of understanding at the core of your being to use this knowledge into steering yourself in what is morally correct. And that is what I understood better in him. Those words are not easily communicated and I am certain the rest of the candidates will find it difficult to express their ethical philosophy in this way.

Sometimes, when I remember May 9, I find it harder to swallow and my breath hitches.

It vaguely feels like heartbreak.

Izumi Curry at The Podium, Ortigas

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My first encounter with Izumi Curry was by chance. The Podium was a small, cozy mall that I usually endeavored to tour the place whenever I dropped by. It was then just a newly-opened restaurant at an odd–rather, unfortunate–location at the highest floor. After taking the escalator, turn around and instead of the entrance you’ll see a circular pillar instead–and Izumi Curry is right behind it.

When my palate evolved to particular tastes, Japanese food was something I found myself attached to. Without a second guess I was certain this restaurant serves the delicious Japanese curry I adored. I wasn’t exactly picky about the quality of the curry back then. But after departing that restaurant for the first time, I knew there was a hierarchy of good Japanese curry and quality Japanese curry–and Izumi definitely falls into the latter category.

Fast forward to two years I’ve returned and I’m still amazed with the quality Izumi Curry churns out consistently.

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For my recent dinner we had the Megabeefsteak curry: a deliciously thick hamburg patty covered in their signature curry sauce and cheese. Yes, cheese. It’s their best seller and rightly so. The patty is juicy, the cheese salty, and the curry yummy. (๑♡⌓♡๑)

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We also ordered the pork katsu curry–you can choose to order chicken katsu, but katsu goes better as pork than chicken in my opinion. With pork katsu curry, you’ll find several katsu restaurants serving the same–but make no mistake, Izumi Curry’s version is far superior in their sauce. Their katsu is also not oily and has a good crunch. ♡〜٩( ˃́▿˂̀ )۶〜♡

Izumi Curry offers an egg as toppings/add-on but they automatically make it scrambled. If you prefer sunny side up, make sure to tell the waitstaff.

But more importantly–the restaurant serves their usual meals in large portions. I usually cannot eat a lot, but I can guarantee that a full serving is very filling if you try to finish all of it. (I did, and I felt like I’ve eaten at a considerably-sized buffet.)

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They offer lunch sets as is wont with Japanese restaurants. For a lower fee, you can get the pork katsu curry and other versions of the curry–barring the megabeefsteak version–in a smaller amount plus miso soup and iced tea (the taste is a bit peculiar though). And if you have a small appetite like me you’ll be satisfied with that amount.

Izumi Curry has kept their stellar quality of curry and I’m concerned that they might not be receiving enough customers for their business–which is why if you’re in the area and hankering for good food, you might find Izumi Curry up to your liking. (❁´▽`❁)*✲゚*

PS I haven’t been paid for this–I really want them to succeed even though they’re placed in an unfortunate location at the Podium. Go check them out. °˖✧(ノ*゜▽゜*)✧˖°

Gourmet Finds cookies

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I’m picky about my cookies. I love soft, gooey cookies with lots of chocolate chips or–

Okay, rewind.

I was thinking of how to introduce the best gooey, chewy, soft cookie I’ve ever tasted in Manila but I can’t find the right words. I’ve been stuffing my face with cookie bits since receiving them this morning and I’m still daydreaming while the box is literally beside me, on my desk. 

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These cookies were a recommendation from a foodie blog that I follow and respect. I don’t usually give that much attention to cookies except for gooey, delicious ones (a rare sight locally  to be honest), and chocolate crinkles. But after reading the blog post on Levain bakery’s cookies and then on GF’s, I figured I had to try this one.

And I am glad to say it didn’t disappoint.

wpid-wp-1445488914860.jpegYES I NIBBLED ON THE SIDE, YOU CAUGHT ME.

Yep, it’s a palm-sized cookie that I should be able to scarf down without any difficulty. Gourmet Finds’ cookies have two versions: Valrhona Chocolate Chip Walnut and Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip. I tried both, naturally. (Although I hope they could do a dark chocolate chocolate chip cookie, please please please.)

This is the Valrhona chocolate chip walnut:

wpid-wp-1445488903790.jpeg*HEAVY BREATHING*

And this is the Chocolate peanut butter chip:

wpid-wp-1445488909199.jpegAWWWWWW YIIIISSSSSSSSS

And they’re delicious, gooey, chewy, and yummy with every bite. I took a nibble and started working on a report and I can’t help but think of taking another. Soooooo delicious.

Pop them briefly into the microwave and soon the waft of buttery, chocolatey, peanuty melty goodness will come over you. (❁´▽`❁)*✲゚*

Cross section of the cookies :

wpid-wp-1445559816326.jpegYUM
wpid-wp-1445559825131.jpegHUEHUEHUE.

I’m a happy camper ♪(๑ᴖ◡ᴖ๑)♪

Price per box of 4 is PHP 760. You have two options for the cookies: 4 chocolate chip or 2 of peanut butter chip and 2 chocolate chip. Your choice. I suggest go for both unless you dislike peanut butter.

Go order these. And give me some!!! ❀.(*´◡`*)❀.

Facebook: Gourmet Finds (check out the discount!)
Phone: 0921 762 2240
Delivery: Yes. Some areas are free of charge.

Quick review: Mendokoro Ramenba

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MENDOKORO RAMENBA
Ground Floor, V Corporate Center, 125 L. P. Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City
Facebook  |  Google Maps

Doing a quick review on things I’m not overly excited about, but maybe worth considering in the future. May or may not post photos, depending on my preference.

Food

  • Gyoza (P 170/5pc) – absolutely delicious. Steamed and then fried on one side, the wrapper has a nice crunch as you take a bite. Could do with just a few drops of the dipping sauce. It’s that good. I would go back for this and order just this one in a ramen restaurant.
  • Tantanmen (P 440) – it was okay. Be careful not to choke while sipping the soup or you’ll get a nasty sting in the throat. Ramen is served with ground pork instead of chashu slice.
  • Shoyu (P 390) – Also ‘just okay’. Soup tasted like grilled pork from the chashu, but don’t expect it to be similar to Butao. I still prefer Ramen Nagi (although their pork belly has degraded from the initial quality during store opening) and their silky broth. Chashu has a good bite, wonderfully tender and has a smoky taste from the grill.

Service

  • Waitstaff were accommodating, helpful, and receptive to your needs. The horseshoe-designed bar table improved the service efficiency.

Overall thoughts

  • Go back for the gyoza. 5/5 will order again.
  • I should’ve ordered shio–it had an appetizing creamy soup base. Might check it out in the future.
  • You will smell like smoke after leaving the restaurant from the grilled chashu.

No-churn ice cream. I’m in love (potion).

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I wanted to share my latest personal discovery.

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It’s no churn ice cream, the cheapo Filipino variation. So surprisingly easy and good omg ;__;

This is obviously not a contender for anything fancy gelato-like smoothness–this version isn’t as cold as the usual fare. Or maybe because it’s been in the freezer in less than 24 hours and I’ve already consumed 1/4 of it. It apparently gets harder the longer you leave it in the freezer, but I got no time for that.

wpid-p_20151002_113428.jpgI’M GONNA WEEP, FRIENDS.

While most recipes call for whipping cream, a small box costs over P100, and that doesn’t sound like value for money. So we’re using the more common all-purpose cream instead. Don’t panic–it actually works. Although if you’re an ice cream purist you will find the flavors less appealing than if you used whipping cream? Well, I’m not complaining.

Special thanks to the leftover Malagos baking chocolates and frozen raspberries for this concoction. (In case you were wondering, half of the raspberries went to the raspberry coulis for my Cheesecake Factory original cheesecake.)

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The recipe follows Eugenie Kitchen‘s no-churn ice cream base. But I didn’t want to end with a simple flavor and decided to upgrade it, Ben and Jerry’s style. Actually it’s Baskin Robbins’ bestest ice cream, Love Potion #31. A ripoff, because I love Love Potion #31. It’s the best!

So this is my tribute. Or a fanmade recipe, because I can’t afford it all the time. It doesn’t exactly follow the actual content of Love Potion #31 because 1) I might get sued and 2) I’m too lazy to fill chocolate shells with raspberry coulis.

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If you’re feeling descriptive, call this:

Vanilla ice cream with raspberry swirls and dark chocolate chunks aka Baskin Robbins’ Love Potion #31 inspired ice cream (I still love you BR :*) Recipe

Ingredients:

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons condensed milk
1 pack of 250mL all-purpose cream, chilled for at least 2 hours
raspberry sauce (recipe below this one)
3-4 tsp vanilla flavouring (another cheapo ingredient, you’re welcome)
dark/milk chocolate, chopped, mini bites dipped into raspberry sauce

Procedure:

  1. Whip the all-purpose cream until stiff (peaks). Make sure the bowl is chilled before you whip the cream, for DOUBLE EFFICIENCY. (Actually I have no idea, but apparently science. Worked for me.)
  2. Add sweetened condensed milk, about 3-4 teaspoons of vanilla flavoring, raspberry sauce and chocolate pieces.
  3. Delicately fold until combined. Be careful not to deflate the whipped cream.
  4. Transfer the mixture into a container. The local Selecta ice cream tub (750mL) works just fine for this recipe. Optional: drizzle more raspberry sauce on top.
  5. Cover with cling-wrap and freeze overnight. The longer the better, unless your freezer is like the Antarctic.
  6. Enjoy. Preferably with chocolate sauce and sprinkles.

My raspberry sauce recipe is sort of winging it, but this is my second try so just follow your taste preference. I like mine sweet–the last one I made was too tart. This version is the sweeter one.

Raspberry sauce recipe

Ingredients:

Frozen raspberries, 1 1/2 cup
Icing sugar, 10 tsp or more
Orange juice (literally from the fruit), 1 tbsp
Water, 1/2 – 1 cup approx

  1. Thaw and wash raspberries in running water. Heat pan to medium and put raspberries, half cup of water and 1 tbsp orange juice. Add 5 tsp sugar, then the remaining gradually until you reach the preferred level of sweetness.
  2. Stir occasionally in low-medium heat for 10-15 mins until sauce thickens (make sure it’s not too thick that it doesn’t pass through the sieve). Taste–if the sauce is still too tart, add icing sugar. If too sweet, add more water. I put in a total of 1/8 cup sugar because I wanted a sweet raspberry sauce.
  3. Once the mixture is thick, remove from heat and strain to remove the seeds. Let it cool and then store in the fridge before using.

Note: If you’re using dark chocolates, make sure you chop it small enough–I didn’t and had some bitter bites from the large chunks of chocolate. I added chocolate syrup to temper the bitterness.

Still, no ragrets. Not even a letter.

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Because great things like this need to be documented.

But the raspberry sauce is divine. I am in love.

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Good-bye, friends. I am gone.

P*tangina, ang ganda ng Heneral Luna.

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(Para sa inyong kaalaman: Okay, mas mahirap magsulat sa Filipino at hindi ako nangangakong magaling ako.)

Maari itong maglaman ng kaunting spoilers sa pelikula.

SAWANG-SAWA KA NA BA sa panonood ng pelikulang Pilipino na palagi na lang tungkol sa:

  1. love stories na alam mo na kung anong mangyayari dahil sobrang predictable ng formula;
  2. mga comedy movies (minsan baduy, minsan benta) na kadalasang nasa MMFF;
  3. horror movies na minsan sablay ang special effects, minsan ok na rin;
  4. at ang WAGAS na kwento ng mga mag-asawa at ang kanilang mga kabit?

Nais mo bang makakita ng pelikula na bago sa iyong panlasa?
Kung oo, manood ka ng Heneral Luna.


‘HENERAL LUNA’ TRAILER. Kuha mula sa Youtube ni Jerrold Tarog.

Kung naalala mo pa ang itinuro sa HeKaSi (Heograpiya, Kasaysayan, at Sibika), si Heneral Antonio Luna ay ang pinuno ng Panghimagsikang Hukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas, o Philippine Revolutionary Army. Kasama sya sa gabinete ni Emilio Aguinaldo, ang presidente ng Pilipinas. (Makikita mo rin si Apolinario Mabini at si Heneral Gregorio del Pilar sa pelikula, atbp.)

Ang pelikula ay umiikot sa problema ng pagdating ng mga sundalong Amerikano (USA) sa Pilipinas. Tanong ng gabinete ni Aguinaldo: mapagkakatiwalaan ba ang mga ito, o magiging traydor sila sa mga Pilipino?

Business or freedom? County or family?PUMILI KAYO. KUHA MULA SA YOUTUBE NI JERROLD TAROG.

Ngunit hindi lamang ang kapakanan ng Pilipinas bilang isang malayang bansa ang layunin ng mga iba’t ibang karakter sa pelikula. Dahil ang ibang miyembro ng gabinete ay binubuo ng mga mangangalakal at mga may-ari ng kumpanya, sila ay nag-aalala sa kahahantungan ng kanilang mga negosyo kapag pinili nilang kalabanin ang mga Amerikano. Ang iba, nais makipagkasunduan sa mga Amerikano para mailigtas ang kanilang mga negosyo. Dahil dito, galit na galit si Heneral Luna at sinabing balimbing ang mga ito: noong una, kampi sila sa Kastila; tapos sa Pilipinas; tapos baka lumipat sila sa mga Amerikano.

No one is above the law. Not even the President.ansabe ni aguinaldo? abangan. KUHA MULA SA YOUTUBE NI JERROLD TAROG.

Kahit na siya ay matalino at magaling bilang heneral, ang kanyang paraan ay hindi kaaya-aya sa ibang tao, lalo na sa mga makapangyarihan. Palagi niyang ipinapaalala na ang kanyang katapatan ay para lamang sa Pilipinas na kanyang ipinaglalaban, at hindi nabibilang sa isang pamilya, isang rehiyon, o sa sarili.  Inaway niya na ang lahat: ang gabinete, ang mga sundalong Pilipino na tatamad-tamad at duwag sa digmaan, at pati na rin si Aguinaldo. Ito rin ang magdadala sa kanyang malagim na hantungan.

Economic benefits?mARAMI PA RING GANITO. KUHA MULA SA YOUTUBE NI JERROLD TAROG.

Ang pelikula ay hindi pumepreno sa pagpapaalala na ang mga realidad na hinarap ni Luna ay nananatili pa ring totoo. Ang pangunguna ng sariling interes, ang pagpapahalaga sa mga kapwa pamilya kaysa bansa, ang pagkampi sa mga ka-rehiyon kahit na hindi naman ito tama: lahat nang iyan ay makikita mo pa rin sa Pilipinas hanggang ngayon. Tumingin ka lang sa mga balita at makikita mo na ito ay totoo.

Hindi ba nakakahiya na ganito pa rin ang problema ng Pilipinas hanggang ngayon, pagkatapos ng lampas sa isang daang taon?

What do we do with him?ANSABE NI AGUINALDO?! KUHA MULA SA YOUTUBE NI JERROLD TAROG.

Bukod sa sampal sa mukha na dala ng Heneral Luna, aaminin kong hindi naman talaga para sa lahat ang pelikula (kahit na dapat ay para sa lahat ng Pilipino ito). Sanay na sanay na ang Pilipinong manonood sa mga masayahin at puno ng pag-asang pelikula, o kaya ang mala-action fight scenes na makikita sa mga nag-aaway sa kwentong kabit atbp. Samantala, ang Heneral Luna ay sinasabihang ‘corny’ at ‘boring’ kasi ang iniisip nila, para ka lang nag-aaral sa klase mo sa Kasaysayan o HeKaSi. (Sasabihin ko na rin na may MTRCB sekswal at madudugong eksena. Hindi sila magkasama sa isang pangyayari. Whew.)

Sa aking pananaw, napag-iisipang ‘corny’ ang pelikulang ito dahil hinihingi ng Heneral Luna na mag-isip ang kanyang manonood. Hindi ito barilan lamang. Hindi rin ito kasaysayan lamang. Ito ay pinaghalong aksyon, komedya, kasaysayan, at higit sa lahat–diskurso sa estado ng kultura at lipunan.

heneral luna_compromiseKUHA MULA SA YOUTUBE NI JERROLD TAROG.

Kung sawang-sawa ka na sa nakasanayan, manood ka ng Heneral Luna. Hindi ko sinasabing wala itong mali. Ngunit ang pagsuporta sa pelikula ay nag-aanyaya sa ibang mga gumagawa ng pelikula na pwede silang lumikha ng kakaiba. Na hindi lamang love stories, minsan-ok-minsan-hindi horror at comedy films, at parang awa nyo na, hindi puro kabit atbp. Hindi sa ayaw namin nito: pero sana, may ibang pwedeng pagpilian.

Yung iba, sasabihin na baka pang-matalino lang ang pelikula. Sa totoo lang, hindi. Kahit sino pwede manood nito at maiintindihan nila ang kataksilang mangyayari sa palabas. (Lahat tayo may utak, kaya ang hinihinging pag-iisip ng pelikula ay hindi naman sobra sa kakayanan ng tao.) May mga jokes din na makaka-relate ang iba, tulad ng pagtipid ng bala sa baril kasi kulang sa pera. Sa daming Pilipinong nagtitipid, hindi ka ba makaka-relate? Maliban pa roon, diba nagtitipid din ang PNP ngayon sa baril dahil kulang ang kanilang budget? BOOM. Naka-relate ka pa sa balita at sa current affairs.

Sabi sayo hindi ‘to pang-matalino e; pang-Pilipino ito.

§

Para sa karagdagang impormasyon tungkol sa pelikula: Heneral Luna Facebook. Panoorin na habang pwede pa. Sulit ang pera mo.

(Maaring mabago ang laman ng post na ito dahil alam kong hindi ako magaling magsalin sa Filipino. Maari ring may nakalimutan akong idagdag, o may paglilinaw sa aking isinulat.)

This is part 3 of Heneral Luna blog post series. See:
Part 1: TBC [Author’s note: Heneral Luna]
Part 2: Dissatisfied with Filipino film variety? Watch Heneral Luna. (English review)
Part 4: TBC

Dissatisfied with Filipino film variety? Watch Heneral Luna.

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This post is predominantly spoiler-free.

Are you tired of watching Filipino trailers with almost the same darn plot? The tried and tested stories: typical cliched love stories, slapstick comedy, the occasional predictable horror plot, and more recently, the influx of infidelity narrative (honestly–how can there be so many)? As you relax on your chair to watch a show or film, do you yearn for something that promises a story more diverse–hopefully with something more cerebral?

If you do, then watch Heneral Luna.


Heneral Luna trailer from director Jerrold Tarog’s Youtube

The film explores on the eponymous historical figure, General Antonio Luna’s life in the time when Spain ended its colonial rule over the country by selling it to the United States of America (not America, that’s different). As commander of the Philippine Army at the time, he was part of the cabinet of then-president Emilio Aguinaldo. (Apolinario Mabini is a present figure throughout the story as Aguinaldo’s counsel, and we get Gen. Gregorio del Pilar in the latter half of the film, among others.)

With the imminent release of Spain’s control over the Philippines to be turned over to the United States via the Treaty of Paris, Aguinaldo’s cabinet is confused on how to address the US troops: will they be beneficial or detrimental to the cause? The ’cause’ being the operative word here, as there are several causes in play–not just the national independence that Gen. Luna fights for.

‘Luna’ for ‘lunatic. From Jerrold Tarog’s Youtube.

Gen. Luna’s character is hardly likeable to several significant characters, and this complicates his future and basically, his life. (A/N: I suppose you know how his life ends right?) How others react to his disposition and attitude pave way serious and dire consequences for him and for the country.

Beyond the film’s narrative is a truth that drives a spear to the audience’s minds and hearts. The film does not only uncover harsh realities from the past, but also makes a dig at the current political and social situation of the country.

Business or freedom? County or family?ASKING THE HARD QUESTIONS. FROM JERROLD TAROG’S YOUTUBE.

Bayan o sarili? is the film’s tagline. Aside from personal interests, the film highlights and slaps you in the face with diverse, clashing loyalties that factored to the Philippine revolution era’s demise. Several characters were self-serving and driven by personal, family, and regional loyalties which ultimately affected the outcome of Philippine history–and these are issues that remain true to this day. It’s a definite slap in the face.

Not everyone can appreciate Heneral Luna. Ultimately a historical film, it can get too cumbersome and cerebral for some audiences who are used to the usual Filipino film fare. There are several violent, visceral scenes which are more realistic than the usual–generous amounts which can be uncomfortable to watch, and should have made the media regulation board squirm and write an R-13 across the rating sheet. A couple of sexual scenes were also in place, but cleverly done that it was not just faffing around. Cover your eyes if you’re conservative.

Still relevant to this day. From Jerrold Tarog’s Youtube.

The film has its fair share of creative license and throws in darkly humoured lines (my kind of comedy!) which is a casual reminder that these were actual people with actual lives, and not embodiment of ideas crafted as idols. I find it similar to Filipino slice-of-life; humorous and sarcastic even in the darkness of times. (Whether it is a good or a bad thing depends on the situation, and how you perceive it.)

Usually historical films are only present in Filipino theaters during Christmas time, an additional selection for Metro Manila Film Festival. That’s why Heneral Luna is a wager: there is no guarantee people will be interested due to the abundance of foreign and local films in the market and its niche genre.

What do we do with him?Emilio Aguinaldo. FROM JERROLD TAROG’S YOUTUBE.

Niche as it may appear to be, Heneral Luna is a pretty impressive film that it delivers a refreshing option to the usual fare. It is a historical narrative thrown in a mix of action, dark humour brimming with sarcasm, and gore. This recipe should not be unique to the film–you’ll find this in international films–but it is definitely rare for Filipinos.

If you wish to see better films in this country, support the film. It encourages producers to craft diverse stories from the usual, some of which will be intellectual. These kinds of cerebral, critical-thinking films doesn’t hurt the industry–it enriches the culture, the audience, and the whole experience all together.

Do you find the plot too intellectual? If your raison d’être doesn’t believe that films shouldn’t be serious, at least give others the option. Still support it because it will remind you of the realities that the country is facing today. Remind yourself of that history class that tells you Aguinaldo was a good guy (and how he ended up in the five-peso coin), and shatter that perception into smithereens. Perhaps you’ll actually like it.

Perhaps it will inspire you to incite change, as it did to me. I can only hope that this leads the change for a better and more diverse films we see in theaters. It’s high time we do so.

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(This post may be updated depending on corrections/additional comments. The post reflects my own views on the movie, which is: pretty darn good.)

This is part 2 of Heneral Luna blog post series. See:
Part 1: TBC [Author’s note: Heneral Luna]
Part 3: P*tangina, ang ganda ng Heneral Luna. (Filipino review)
Part 4: TBC