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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 11, 2016

Director Gil Portes Says An Actor Is Born In 'Ang Hapis At Himagsik Ni Hermano Puli' With Aljur Abrenica In The Title Role

DIRECTOR GIL PORTES presented Aljur Abrenica, the title roler of his movie, “Ang Hapis at Himagsik ni Hermano Puli”, in a solo presscon at Limbaga 77 which is owned by their producer Rex Tiri of TRex Productions. “This film will mark a turning point in Aljur’s career,” Direk Gil declares without batting an eyelash. “An actor is born in this film.”

But who is Hermano Puli? He is a forgotten hero who deserves more recognition in our history books as he’s the first Indio who led a major revolt against Spanish rule to fight for religious freedom. His full name is Apolinario de la Cruz and he was born on July 22, 1814 in Barrio Pandac in Lucban. The late directors Abbo and Uro de la Cruz are his descendants.

He grew up in a religious family and dreams of being a priest but natives are then not allowed to be a member of the clergy, so he propagated his faith on his own and founded the Cofradia de San Jose in 1832, a Filipino confraternity or brotherhood that practices Christian values that quickly gained lots of followers as Puli was an effective preacher. The Spanish authorities got scared and tried to suppress it, leading to rebellion. The movie was produced on a budget of P20 million and was filmed on actual locations in Lucban, Pagbilao and Tayabas.

Aljur became so engrossed with playing the role of Hermano Puli accurately that he did his own research about Puli. “I was not satisfied with what I read about him so I went to Lucban myself and talked to the people there who know stories about him,” he says. “I lost a lot of weight while we’re filming kasi kung ano ang kinakain nila that time, yun din lang ang kinakain ko. I want to be truthful and authentic to my role. He remained a celibate until he was killed by the Spaniards when he was only 27 years old. The life of Hermano Puli is very inspiring kasi siya ang unang namulat sa exploitation sa atin ng mga Kastila. He fought for what he believed in na makakabuti hindi para sa sarili lang niya kundi para sa pangkalahatan ng ating mga kababayan. Also, my mother is a de la Cruz so naisip ko, baka descendant din niya ako.”

Written by Eric Ramos, “Ang Hapis at Himagsik ni Hermano Puli” also stars Louise de los Reyes as the girl who fervently loves Puli but was spurned as he wanted to remain chaste, Enzo Pineda, Markki Stroem, Kiko Matos, Menggie Cobarrubias, Estella Canete, Abel Estanislao, Alvin Fortuna, Archie Adamos, Sue Prado, Elora Espan, SImon Ibarra, and Aljur’s younger brothers, Vin and Allen Abrenica. This opens in theaters nationwide on September 21.