Wednesday, September 23, 2015

remember: never again

A few days ago marked the anniversary of one of the darkest chapters in Philippine history. On September 21, 1972, the Philippines was under Martial Law with Ferdinand Marcos’ Proclamation No. 1081. This further strengthened his authority as a dictator that eerily resembled Adolf Hitler’s rule. I was not born yet to witness and experience the horrors of these times, but this is no excuse to deny the truth that Marcos has never been the man many of his blind supporters think of. There are people out there who still believe that Ferdinand Marcos and his men were the best administration the Philippines ever had, as evidenced by the “prosperity” the nation had experienced during those years.

Yes, theaters and malls sprouted like mushrooms, celebrities and big-wig politicians from all over the world graced the country, but these were not signs of genuine prosperity. This was a false sense of development because underneath it all is a painful, dirty consequence that could outlive all of us in the present and the future. In order to achieve the kind of superficial beauty and short-sighted luxury for the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos borrowed US$10 billion (plus interest that continues to grow each year) from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, a debt or “utang” that we are all still paying to this very day. And you are asking why the Philippines has a tough time rising to its great potential?

The elections are fast approaching in the Philippines, and historical brainwashing has grown increasingly strong among the youths. Many millennials these days just shrug off what has happened on September 21, 1972 to party, to be apathetic, or worse, to be lured into believing false anecdotes of the past. Some kids would even proudly say on social media that Ferdinand Marcos was the best thing to ever happen in the Philippines. It is too painful to learn that a mind that young has already been tainted with lies.

Lastly, if you still believe in the revisionist tales you’ve been hearing lately, be ashamed, be very ashamed that you’d crumble to the floor and weep for the hundreds of lives who have not lived to tell their tragic stories. Always remember, these were the lives cut short by Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies to keep them in power for their own personal gain. We cannot let this happen again for we should never be fools to commit the same mistake twice. Love your nation. This is one way of truly loving yourself.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

our history is a lie

Jerrold Tarog’s “Heneral Luna” comes out of nowhere from a deluge of films about exes and mistresses. Going against the grain could be its asset or worse, if most filmgoers’ taste would still not change, it could be its failure. But I remain positive on this one. The story of “Heneral Luna” is culled directly from both history and imagination which translates to a work like nothing else that is shown on Philippine Cinema today. Rarely does a movie remind me of a rage that is solely dedicated to the ills of a guilt-ridden country like the Philippines. Fear of the radical, submission to blind faith, commitment over consequences—these are just a fraction of the many historical issues that rings true in the present. At times the film is burdened by its ambition and attempts at grandeur, its storytelling could’ve been tighter, but like its title character played with admirable dedication by John Arcilla, the movie trudges on to a solid, gut-wrenching third act that leaves you silenced until the end credits roll. It is bold, sometimes surprisingly funny, even risky, and is not ashamed of wearing its patriotic heart on its sleeve. Tarog’s visual mastery is on full display here, and that short flashback montage with Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata grabs me by the cuffs and tells me this movie is something really, really special. For anyone planning to visit the cinemas these days, I urge you to watch this one. It’s an eye-opener. It’s for your own good.

[ photo borrowed from this site ]