ByNestie Bryal, writer at Creators.co
"Sino ang tunay na kalaban?" (Who's the real enemy?
"Sino ang tunay na kalaban?" (Who's the real enemy?

Heneral Luna is a 2015 Filipino historical biopic film set during the Philippine-American war depicting General Antonio Luna’s leadership of the Philippine Revolutionary Army, as he tries to lead his countrymen against colonial masters.

Because of his strong desire for liberty and love for country he faces an enemy more frightening than the American soldiers, which are his own selfish countrymen.

Luna suspected that the Americans were not there as liberators, but as substitutes for the Spanish. He assumed that the only way to win against the Americans was to execute an attack on their troops before more could land in Manila.

Heneral Antonio Luna with his ranks
Heneral Antonio Luna with his ranks

And Luna was right since Americans didn’t recognize the independence of the Philippines. And as the only one knowledgeable of military science and capable of leading the Philippine Army, he was appointed by President Aguinaldo as the Commanding General. Under his leadership, he wanted the armed forces to be disciplined and professional enough so that they can kick out the American soldiers and stop the annexation of the Philippines.

Heneral Luna pointing a gun to Capt. Janolino
Heneral Luna pointing a gun to Capt. Janolino

Luna had an explosive temper and sharp tongue. For instance, Luna asks for reinforcements from the Kawit Battalion but its commander, Captain Pedro Janolino, refuses to comply because the order did not come from the President himself. Luna angrily rides to Janolino's camp, humiliates him in front his men, and dismisses the battalion for insubordination. As a strict disciplinarian, many officers and men in the ranks hated him.

Heneral Luna meeting with the Cabinet members
Heneral Luna meeting with the Cabinet members

He strongly advocated a fight to the finish for independence unlike the other members of the government who wanted to negotiate with the Americans. He said that “To compromise with the enemy is to have a new era of slavery and suffering”. Luna arrested some of the members of the Cabinet that considered Traitor. But as soon as Luna left, these Cabinet members were freed and then cautioned Aguinaldo that Luna was planning a coup d’ etat.

General Antonio Luna became a threat not just to Americans but also to treacherous Filipinos. He foresaw a war with the United States but didn’t see the real threat within his rank. He was mobbed, stabbed with daggers and shot. And an American general, Robert Hughes said, “They (Filipinos) had only one general, and they killed him (General Luna).”

Just like Julius Caesar and Ninoy Aquino, General Luna had the potential to be a catalyst for change. Yeah, these men were killed because they raised their voice but the thing is they don’t just die. Their legacies will live on not just because they were assassinated, but because of their strong beliefs and principles that caused their assassinations. They are just unstoppable and people around them found it threatening which eventually led to their death.They are a wake-up call for change - to remind us not to settle for less and not to remain silent and weak-willed.

People keep complaining that our world is going nowhere. That’s because we are not brave enough to raise our voice and at the same time people are too busy to hear something. And sometimes they just want to hear what they want. But if we are strong enough and keep raising our voice time will come. Especially, we are now in a digital world and already knew the significance and power of social media. We just need to get involved, to be more engage in discussing different issues to promote awareness and reform. You have no right to complain if you’re not involved in the process, so step up and let your voice be heard.

The Rave of Netizens!

Movie poster
Movie poster

Heneral Luna was released in the Philippines last September 9, 2015. After initially opening in about 100 theaters, it was pulled out in many theaters because it wasn’t drawing big enough crowds and to make way for the Hollywood and mainstream films that were scheduled to open. Down to around 40 cinemas, fans of the film raged on social media and appealed to theater owners to provide more venues for the film.

Definitely, this movie was rescued by netizens and due to positive word of mouth, ticket sales increased on Heneral Luna’s second release week. Its popularity was boosted through social media and people became aware and eventually packed the movie theaters. See this is just an example of what we can do.

This movie has been officially selected as the Philippines’ entry to the 88th Academy Awards.

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