BIOFILMS OF OUR NATIONAL HEROES (from pre-war to post-war years)

Fabwebsite trivia writer-researcher Tante de Ramos came up with 26 films that deal on the lives of Filipino heroes, as well as adaptations of literary masterpieces penned by our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Rizal alone was featured in ten of these cinematic masterpieces. They are as follows:

La Vida de Dr. Jose Rizal – The greatest Filipino hero wielded the pen instead of the sword in rousing his countrymen to revolt against the Spaniard colonizers. This silent film (circ a 1910) starred Honorio Lopez in the title role. Titay Molina played the role of Josephine Bracken, Rizal’s wife.

Noli Me Tangere – This version of the first novel written by Dr. Rizal in Spanish was made in the 1930’s. It starred Chito Calvo, a sportman, who portrayed the role of Crisostomo Ibarra, the novel’s hero. Actress Celia Marcai disappeared as Maria Clara, the novel’s heroine. It was directed by Jose Nepomuceno under Malayan Productions.

Sakay – Macario Sakay was a long-haired rebel leader who led an insurrection agains the Spanish authorities who tagged him a bandit. The great profile, actor Leopoldo Salcedo, portrayed and tackled the role of this Tagalog rebel leader.

Tandang Sora – One of the rare Filipino heroines, Tandang Sora was responsble for feeding and taking care of hungry and wounded the Katipuneros in her halfway house in Balintawak. The actress who played tandang Sora was Rosa del Rosario. The movie was directed by Lamberto Avellana.

Heneral Gregorio del Pilar – The youngest general in the history of the Philippine revolution. Gen. Goyong was portrayed by Jose Padilla Jr. in the title role. The cast included Tessie Quintana as Sakay’s romantic interest in the movie.

Padre Burgos – Father Burgos was one of the three martyrs priest who were executed by garrote when they took part in the revolution against Spain. The role was played by Jaime de la Rosa. It was produced by Narcisa Leon, Carmen Villongco and Eleuterio Navoa, Jr. of LVN Productions, Inc.

Diego Silang – An Ilocano rebel leader, Diego Silang’s fight was eventually cxcontinued by his wife Gabriela. Jose Padilla Jr. portrayed the role of Diego Silang.

Dagohoy – He was reponsible for waging the longest Filipino revolt against the Spanish colonizers. His area of operation was the province of Bohol. Actor Mario Montenegro starred and tackled the role of the Visayan hero. Actress Tessie Quintana portrayed the role of his love interest in the movie. It was produced by LVN Productions with Doña Narcisa vda de Leon, Carmen Villongco, and Eleuterio Navoa, Jr. as associates.

Alyas Sakay – A remake on the life of Sakay, this movie starred Mario Montenegro. The first Sakay role was played by Leopoldo Salcedo. To see the woversions will afford us the chance to pick the better actor who portrayed the hero.

Lapu – Lapu – Another Filipino hero whose life has been continuously remade into film. The defender of Mactan Island was again tackled by Mario Montenegro. Delia Razon starred as his leading lady with Priscilla Cellona appearing in a supporting role. Produced by LVN Pictures, it was also directed by The National Artist for Film Lamberto Avellana.

Heneral Paua – This Filipino-Sino general also took up arms against the Spanish oppresors. The role was played by Danilo Montes. It was produced by the Santiago clan of Premiere Productions, Inc.

Buhay at Pag-ibig ni Dr. Jose Rizal – Another Rizal bioflick, this time the great malayan was portrayed by Eddie del Mar. Aida Serna appeared as Josephine Bracken.

Noli Me Tangere – Another film version of the great Rizal novel, this film starred Miss Philippines Editha Vital as Maria Clara. This was directed by Gerardo de Leon for Arriva Bayanihan Films.

Andres Bonifacio – The Filipino hero who, according to many, should be named the national hero was the founder of the Katipunan (Kagalang–galangang Kataas-taasang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan or K.K.K.). Though he had also played Rizal earlier, it was actor Eddie del Mar who portrayed Bonifacio. Lolita Rodriguez played the role of Gregoria de Jesus, Bonifacio’s wife. It was produced by Premiere Productions, Inc.

Gomburza – The composite filmbio on Fr. Burgos and his companions Fathers Gomez and Zamora, the three martyr priests who joined the revolt against the Spaniards, starred Robert Arevalo, Tommy Abuel and Vic Silayan as the priests.

Unang Alay – A television film, this version also starred Mario Montenegro who won a Patas award for his portrayal of the founder of the Katipunan. It was directed by Lino Brocka.

Huwag Mong Salingin ang Sugat Ko – Another rendering of Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere. this version was directed by Lino Brocka Christopher de Leon as Crisostomo Ibarra.

Bayani – The story of our national heroes in a collective manner. The cast included Julio Diaz.

Sakay – The third remake of the Sakay bioflick starred Julio Diaz.

Buhay ng Isang Bayani – Another Rizal film, this remake starred Pen Medina as Dr. Rizal.

Tirad Pass – Another remake of the story of the youngest Filipino general during the revolution against Spain, this starred Romnick Sarmenta as Goyong. The defender of Tirad Pass in Bulacan was instrumental in giving enough time for Gen. Aguinaldo and his party to flee to safer grounds. Even the American officers and soldiers who fought with Goyong gave tribute to the bravery and heroism of the young general.

Rizal sa Dapitan – The national hero in exile is what this film is all about. Directed by Tikoy Aguiluz, this Rizal film starred Albert Martinez as the recluse in exile in an island. Amanda Page portrayed Josephine Bracken in this version.

Jose Rizal – Probably the latest Rizal bioflick, this film was an entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival which was directed by Marilou Diaz Abaya. Rizal was portrayed by Cesar Montano who won several best actor awards for his performance. Actress Chin-Chin Gutierrez played Josephine Bracken in the film. It was produced by GMA Films.

Sisa – A character out of El Filibusterismo, the second Rizal novel. Sisa’s story is a tragic recounting of a mother’s sufferings during the years of Filipino rebellion. Gardo Versoza played the role of Elias, the ame Crisostom Ibarra character who transfromed from being a pacifist to a rebel.

Bayaning Third World – Another version of the Rizal bioflick, this was directed by Mike de Leon which starred actor Joel Torre as Rizal. Lara Fabregas, the daughter of actor and musical scorer Jaime Fabregas, portrayed the role of Josephine Bracken.

Lapu – Lapu – A film version of the Mactan hero chieftain in the 21st century, actor and now senator Lito Lapid played the role of Magellan’s nemesis. It was directed by William Mayo under his Seeds of Zion Productions. This was also an entry in a Metro Manila Film Festival.

tante ramos/fapweb

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