Our colorful and tragic-laced historical past has been used quite often as a subject in the cinematic arts. Jerrold Tarog’s Heneral Luna and Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral, the late Marilou Diaz Abaya’s Jose Rizal, and Mario O’ Hara’s Ang Paglilitis Ni Andres Bonifacio are some of the significant samplings of cinema capturing the life and times of our beloved heroes.
In terms of fueling the creative juices, controversy, and the imagination, the Campanas de Balangiga or the bells of Balangiga, could rival the legend and iconic stature of the Notre Dame bells in France.
This bombastic chunk of Philippine history becomes the centerpiece of Balangiga 1901, a motion picture with a reported budget of P80 million from Jarrimine Fortuna Film Production written and directed by Danny G. Marquez.
Shooting starts this November after years of research and fine-tuning the script. The ambitious motion picture will show the full circle of events that led to the bells of Balangiga being brought to the US by American soldiers then to serve as “trophies” and a reminder of their “victory” in the blood bath that happened in Eastern Samar.
“We will recreate the town of Balangiga, Eastern Samar in a sound stage in Tarlac,” says director and writer Marquez.
“A lot of songs from Eastern Samar will be incorporated. As well as the Philippine martial arts arnis. The research for this film has been going on since my days as a Pinoy comics illustrator and author. My goal in this film is not to antagonize anyone. I am presenting history as it is,” he adds.
To give life to the major character of Valeriano Abanador a.k.a. Kapitan Bale is dramatic actor Ejay Falcon.
“I cannot contain my excitement, sobrang nakaka-proud, because what we will make is a part of our history,” Falcon says. “This is the chance, through this film, for all of us to witness that transpired in Eastern Samar during that unforgettable time.”
The actor does not mind being locked in for two weeks in the constructed Balangiga sound stage. He feels grateful for the trust that the film company and the director gave him. He is the first and only choice to be Kapitan Bale.
“Ang ipapakita namin dito ay tamang kuwento. Marami ang hindi nakakaalam pero marami talagang mahalagang pangyayari sa Balangiga 1901 na talagang lalong magpapaigting sa pagmamaha;l natin sa bansa natin at sa kalayaang meron tayo sa ngayon,” he ended.
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