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"BALER'- A MOVIE FOR NEO-COLONIALISM

by Arturo P. Garcia Tuesday, Jan. 06, 2009 at 9:57 AM
albeyours2000@yahoo.com 213-241-0995 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

“Baler,” winner for best picture in the present Metro Manila Film Festival, is the first feature film made of the siege of Baler- the last Spanish outpost to surrender to revolutionary forces during the revolutionary war of 1896. The Siege of Baler was based on the diary Spanish Lt. Col. Martin Cerezo, commander of a garrison of Spanish soldiers in Baler, Tayabas( now called the Quezon province), during the Spanish occupation of the Philippines. By December 10, 1898, the Spanish-American War had already ended; Spanish forces in the Philippines, Cuba and elsewhere had already surrendered but the Spanish garrison in Baler didn’t know it. Their headquarters in Iloilo (the last capital of Spain in the Philippines to surrender), forgot to tell them. Katipuneros attacked the 57-man garrison and the Spaniards took shelter in the town church. Instead of rushing the church, the Filipino colonel decided to surround the church with his more superior forces and wait for the Spaniards to run out of food and is forced to surrender. He did not expect the tenacity and fighting spirit of the Spaniards. The siege lasted almost a year, exactly 338 days. Col. Martin Cerezo recounted in his diary the suffering of his soldiers inside the besieged church.

"BALER'- A MOVI...
img_1082.jpg, image/jpeg, 2816x2112

Culture

“BALER” A MOVIE FOR NEO-COLONIALISM

By Arturo P. Garcia

Los Angeles-- “Baler,” winner for best picture in the present Metro Manila Film Festival, is the first feature film made of the siege of Baler- the last Spanish outpost to surrender to revolutionary forces during the revolutionary war of 1896.

The Siege of Baler was based on the diary Spanish Lt. Col. Martin Cerezo, commander of a garrison of Spanish soldiers in Baler, Tayabas( now called the Quezon province), during the Spanish occupation of the Philippines.

By December 10, 1898, the Spanish-American War had already ended; Spanish forces in the Philippines, Cuba and elsewhere had already surrendered but the Spanish garrison in Baler didn’t know it. Their headquarters in Iloilo (the last capital of Spain in the Philippines to surrender), forgot to tell them.

Katipuneros attacked the 57-man garrison and the Spaniards took shelter in the town church. Instead of rushing the church, the Filipino colonel decided to surround the church with his more superior forces and wait for the Spaniards to run out of food and is forced to surrender. He did not expect the tenacity and fighting spirit of the Spaniards. The siege lasted almost a year, exactly 338 days. Col. Martin Cerezo recounted in his diary the suffering of his soldiers inside the besieged church.

“Old Movie” to the” New Movie”

Then somebody in the 1960’s made a short movie of the Baler siege with a Spanish title, “La Campana de Baler.” And so - “Baler” – the movie as they say it is “based on a true epic story.” That is correct as far as the siege is concerned.

The makers of the movie to give it a love angle, however, added the love story between Celso and Felisa. “Baler” deserves, to some movie critic- the best picture award it won; the others are miles behind it.

The hot and steaming romance between Jericho Rosales and Anne Curtis, as Filipino barrio lass, got the sympathy of the audience as the star-crossed lovers, another Romeo and Juliet torn apart by the societies they came from.

What I am terribly angry about is that again, the Philippine Revolution was again made as a background. Instead of paying tribute to our heroes it is a self-flagellation itself because it paid tribute to the Spanish colonizers who were under siege.

Instead, a Filipino mercenary (Jericho) was made a hero and his improbable love story was made a toast of the town. How terrible are we in our moment of victory in a revolution! Where does the heroism of Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio and other revolutionaries go?

That is how our scriptwriters and directors and some people in the movie industry is affected by the cash-economy of the present capitalist system.

In this moment when the President of the Philippines is trying to woo Spain and reestablish the neo-colonial relations between Spain and the Philippines , the film-“Baler” will surely click. VIVA ESPANA!

*******

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