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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.

Sep 3, 2018

Paulo Avelino Will Forever Treasure Doing The Title Role Of 'Goyo, Ang Batang Heneral', The Most Expensive Movie In Local Cinema's History

PAULO AVELINO says that years from now, he will continue to cherish being given the rare chance to play the title role of “Goyo, Ang Batang Heneral” that opens in theatres tomorrow. “I’ve had many projects but this is the most unforgettable one so far,” he adds. “This movie is very important for me hindi lang bilang artista, kundi bilang isa ring mamamayan ng Pilipinas, dahil importante sa akin na malaman sana ng lahat tao ang istorya niya at ng mga Pilipino. Importante kasing paulit-ulit ipaalaala sa atin ang ganitong kuwento ng mga bayani natin para makita natin ang mga pagkakamali sa nakaraan at maitama natin sa ngayon. We should all learn from the important lessons of history.”

He adds that the producers (and he’s one of them) have spent so much on the film’s production expenses to make sure that they will come up with a movie that is not only spectacular and entertaining but also significant in other aspects. “Maraming makaka-relate, not just the young people of today but all generations. Not just because of our history but because of knowing or remembering who you are is truly important. Sabi nga ng aming tagline, ‘Tandaan mo kung sino ka.’ Pagpapaalala sa iyo kung sino ka at kung ano ang ugat mo, ang pinanggagalingan mo.”

For the film’s co-writer, music composer, editor and director, Jerrold Tarog, the story of Gen. Gregorio del Pilar is something Filipinos today should emulate. Tarog also directed the surprise 2015 hit, “Heneral Luna”, and this is a sequel of sorts in his envisioned trilogy of historical epics that will end with the filmbio of Pres. Manuel Luis Quezon.

“We should all learn from history,” he says. “People should see the sacrifice that Goyo did. That’s one important thing. ‘Yung idea nang pagkilala mo sa sarili mo is not really a kind of egotism kundi it’s more of learning to let go of your own self for the greater good.”

For the movie, they built a whole town designed like one in the late 1800s in Tarlac, but there are other locations of multiple sets for authenticity, making it the most expensive local movie ever made (we heard it's over P200 million) with a cast of thousands as they believe that the Filipino audience deserves nothing but the best. It tells the story of the Philippine Revolution against the Americans after Gen. Antonio Luna was killed.

The film was made with a total of 60 shooting days in Ilocos, Batangas, Tarlac, Bataan and Rizal. The most demanding and most expensive scene to shoot was the much talked about Battle of Tirad Pass, where Filipino troops led by Gen. Del Pilar made their last stand. “It was difficult to shoot because it’s a mountainous area and the blocking can be so hard. I want to show that our soldiers are really suffering and it so happened we’re shooting during the rainy season, kaya naging mahirap also for the crew. When we look at it now, hindi kami makapaniwalang nagawa namin yung buong sequence na yun. There are shoots na one day kinunan, pero one minute lang ang exposure sa actual movie.”

He himself edited the film and wrote its musical score so this is really one big labor of love for him. He wants to deliver an important message to the viewers. “The movie is asking the audience to find their own heroism within so they’d stop to think just of themselves but how they can be of help to do something good for the country, just like Goyo. Kasi he’s quite privileged, but he goes through his own personal journey and finds the hero in himself. Our country needs people who are willing to change for the greater good and stop being selfish, like Goyo. I really hope ‘Goyo’ will make the audience reflect on what’s happening to the country and the contribution they can give to make life here so much better.”

The screenplay of “Goyo” is based on various sources, including Nick Joaquin’s “A Question of Heroes”, Gen. Jose Alejandrino’s “The Price of Freedom”, “The Collected Letters of Apolinario Mabini” and Teodoro Kalaw’s “An Acceptable Holocaust” to be sure that a truly balanced portrait of the young general will come out on screen.
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