WATCH: Heneral Luna gives ‘Goyo’ a perfect 10

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — John Arcilla, who played the titular role in the 2015 blockbuster “Heneral Luna,” gave the movie’s sequel, “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral,” a “10 out of 10” rating.

According to the  actor, who went on to win Best Actor at the 10th Asian Film Awards, 34th Film Academy of the Philippines Awards and 2016 Platinum Stallion Media Awards for “Heneral Luna,” “Goyo” teaches many timeless lessons, such as how being organized helped the Americans defeat the then “very divided” Filipinos.

Being divided, said John, remains to be the “biggest enemy” of Filipinos even today.

“Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral” is a coming-of-age story of one of the most revered Filipino heroes of the late 19th century.

Set during the Filipino-American war, the film tells the story of the revolution as it marches on against the Americans after the death of Gen. Antonio Luna.  The conflicted philosophies behind the heroic struggle continue and become personified in the colorful character of Gen. Gregorio "Goyo" del Pilar, one of the youngest generals of the Philippine Revolution.

TBA Studios’ executive producers Fernando Ortigas and E.A. Rocha confirm "Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral" is a much bigger movie compared to "Heneral Luna,” not only in terms of scope and production, but also in emotion.

"We expect people to get a terrific ebb and flow of emotional reactions that will deal in an indelible memory or experience," Rocha said. "The Filipino audience can expect a world-standard, a world-class cinema I hope they appreciate and realize that we put out the necessary budget and effort to give the Filipino moviegoers the best film that we think they deserve."

"We had to give Jerrold his vision. We knew from the beginning that ‘Goyo’ had to be much bigger than ‘Luna’. It is an epic story," Ortigas said. “As the producers, whatever Jerrold needed for the set, it was there.”

To put to life director Tarog’s vision for Goyo’s story to the big screen, production employed talents and a cast of over 2,000 and built an entire movie set to recreate a late-1800s town in Tarlac. Overall, “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral” was shot in 60 days in multiple locations like Tarlac, Bataan, Rizal, Batangas, and Ilocos, among others, in a span of eight months, with an extra year spent in pre-production. 

When asked why the story of Gregorio del Pilar is important to be told in today’s time, the director said: “In many ways, 'yung kwento ni Goyo, para siyang a call to critical thinking. Kinukwestiyon niya yung sarili niya, kinukwestiyon niya kung bakit ginagawa ito. And in a way, 'yun din 'yung magiging tanong ng audience kapag lumabas sila ng sinehan,” Jerrold said. “Ano ba talaga yung pinaglaban ni Goyo? Pag-ibig ba? Si Aguinaldo ba? O yung bayan? I think magandang pag-isipan yun nung audience, especially ng kabataan.”

This film also marks TBA Studios’ first movie co-production with Globe Studios. Quark Henares, head of Globe Studios shared, “It’s an honor for Globe Studios to be part of a Jerrold Tarog film. I’m a big fan of ‘Heneral Luna’ and Jerrold Tarog. Everyone knew there was going to be a follow-up to ‘Heneral Luna’ so to be part of that is such a blessing.”

Apart from Paulo, “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral” boasts of a stellar, all-star cast which includes Gwen Zamora as Remedios Nable Jose, Empress Schuck as Felicidad Aguinaldo, Carlo Aquino as Col. Vicente Enriquez, and Rafa Siguion-Reyna as Col. Julian del Pilar.

Reprising their roles from “Heneral Luna” are Mon Confiado as Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo, Epy Quizon as Apolinario Mabini, Arron Villaflor as Joven Hernando, Alvin Anson as Gen. Jose Alejandrino, Art Acuña as Manuel Bernal, Ronnie Lazaro as Lt. Pantaleon Garcia, Perla Bautista as Doña Trinidad Aguinaldo, and Benjamin Alves as Lt. Manuel Quezon.

Jojit Lorenzo, Tomas Santos, Carlo Cruz, Perla Bautista, Che Ramos, Matt Evans, RK Bagatsing, Karl Medina, Stephanie Sol, Miguel Faustmann, Jason Dewey, Bret Jackson, Ethan Salvador, and Robert Seña round up the ensemble cast.

"Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral" is supported by several government agencies from across the country, including the National Council for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), Department of Education (DepEd), and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).

On August 30th, the film's slated gala premiere (with FDCP head Liza Diño-Seguerra chairing its Invitational Committee) became the kickoff to the celebration of 100 Years of Philippine Cinema.  

“Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral," that rare Filipino film that takes place more than a hundred years ago, is an ode to our country's rich history and a celebration of excellence in Filipino filmmaking. The film features award-winning and respected names in the film industry, including production designer Roy Lachica, costume designer Steve Salvador, and cinematographer Pong Ignacio, among many others.

"Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral" opens in theaters on September 5 and is produced by TBA Studios, Artikilo Uno Productions, and Globe Studios. — Video by Kat Leandicho

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