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๐๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ฌ ๐š๐ฌ ๐ฆ๐š๐ซ๐ญ๐ฒ๐ซ๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐š ๐ค๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ž๐ซ ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Œ๐Œ๐…๐… ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‘

Kuwentong Peyups by Atty. Dennis Gorecho

Priests as martyrs and a killer during the Spanish era took the centerstage in two film entries, Mallari and GOMBURZA, during the 2023 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

MALLARI is a mixture of history, folklore and science fiction where Piolo Pascual played three distinct characters belonging to the Mallari bloodline from three different centuries (Fr. Severino in the 19th century, Johnrey in the 1940s, and the present Dr. Jonathan).

It deals with the horrific story of Fr. Juan Severino Mallari, a 19th century Filipino Catholic priest during the Spanish occupation and his descent into madness.

As the first documented serial killer from the Philippines, it recounts Fr. Severino’s life where he reportedly murdered 57 people to aid his ailing mother Doรฑa Facunda (Gloria Diaz) while serving as a parish priest in Magalang, Pampanga. In 1840, he was hanged for his crimes.

Dr. Jonathan returned to their ancestral home in search of his familyโ€™s supernatural cure for his dying girlfriend. He discovered the family secret through the footages made in 1948 by his documentarist grand uncle Johnrey.

Johnrey was documenting the alleged aswang phenomenon during WW2, not just as a folkloric monster but also as a creation for fear-mongering that simulates its character โ€” disguised and clandestine in food hunting prioritizing the powerless at the bottom of the food chain.

Aswangs are the most famous carnivorous monsters, boogeyman-like predatory figures in local folklore who prey on humans. Aswang is an umbrella term for an entire family of vampiric and malevolent spirits that suck blood, eat human flesh and also shape-shift as feral dogs, wild pigs, bats or crow-like birds when hunting.

As Johnrey time travelled through his dreams, he discovered that Fr. Severino was forced to kill to feed his mother who became an aswang and who needs to eat human flesh to survive.

Jonathan soon learns that in order to heal his girlfriend, he will have to kill, too, just as his ancestor Fr. Severino did.

GOMBURZA stands for the surnames of the three priests who were implicated in the Cavite mutiny and later executed via the gruesome garrote on February 17, 1872 — Fr. Mariano Gomez (Dante Rivero), Jose Burgos (Cedric Juan) and Jacinto Zamora (Enchong Dee).

The film focuses on the rise of the secularization movement led by Roman Catholic priest Pedro Pelaez (Piolo Pascual) in the Spanish Philippines as well as the struggles and execution of GomBurZa.

In the opening scene, Pelรกez argued against parishes being taken from โ€œsecularsโ€ (priests who were not members of a religious or friar order) and turned over to Spanish friars who discriminated against native priests and even โ€œFilipinosโ€ (Insular Spaniards who were born in the Philippines rather than Peninsular Spaniards born in Spain).

The executions inspired many key figures of the revolution, including Jose Rizal and the revolutionary group Katipunan.

It was considered the first spark of patriotism that forged the โ€œFilipinoโ€ identity that eventually united inhabitants of these islands into one nation in the last quarter of the 19th century.

It depicts the martyrdom of GomBurZa from the perspective of a young witness โ€” Jose Rizal y Mercado, who was mentored by his brother Paciano, who in turn was mentored by Padre Jose Burgos, and who, in turn, was also mentored by Padre Pedro Pelaez.

The story of GomBurZa was shared to Jose Rizal by his older brother Paciano, who was also one of the students of Padre Burgos.

The adult Rizal would later dedicate his novel El Filibusterismo to the memory of these priests: โ€œLet these pages serve as a tardy wreath of dried leaves over your unknown tombs, and let it be understood that everyone who without clear proofs attacks your memory stains his hands in your blood!โ€

โ€œGomBurZa is the story of a little fire thatโ€™s spread in times of darkness. Itโ€™s a story not of individual heroism, but all the collective. Itโ€™s a story not only of battle but of sacrifice,โ€ says its director Pepe Diokno.

I earlier watched Pascual as Crisostomo Ibarra of the award-winning play โ€œIbarraโ€ (original title Kanser) written by Jomar Fleras as a musical adaptation of Jose Rizalโ€™s Noli Me Tangere. It had its run last June at the GSIS Theatre.

The story follows Crisostomo Ibarra, who went back home after his European studies. He rekindled his romance with childhood sweetheart Maria Clara, but triggered an old rift with the town friar, Padre Damaso. As the story progressed, Ibarra realized that the malady of oppression and colonial brutality has been killing not only his town, but his motherland as well.

Pascual won an Aliw Award for Best Lead Actor in a Musical for his stage debut in “Ibarra.”

The ideas behind the novels of Rizal evolves through the years but the message remains solid: Filipinos must not be silenced in the midst of ills and injustices in society.

The other festival entries include Family of Two, Kampon, Penduko, Rewind, Becky and Badette, Broken Heart’s Trip, Firefly and When I Met You in Tokyo.

(๐‘ƒ๐‘’๐‘ฆ๐‘ข๐‘๐‘  ๐‘–๐‘  ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘š๐‘œ๐‘›๐‘–๐‘˜๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐‘œ๐‘“ ๐‘ˆ๐‘›๐‘–๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘ ๐‘–๐‘ก๐‘ฆ ๐‘œ๐‘“ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘ƒโ„Ž๐‘–๐‘™๐‘–๐‘๐‘๐‘–๐‘›๐‘’๐‘ . ๐ด๐‘ก๐‘ก๐‘ฆ. ๐ท๐‘’๐‘›๐‘›๐‘–๐‘  ๐‘…. ๐บ๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘โ„Ž๐‘œ โ„Ž๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘‘๐‘  ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘ ๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘“๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘ โ€™ ๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘ฃ๐‘–๐‘ ๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘› ๐‘œ๐‘“ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘†๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘™๐‘œ ๐‘‰๐‘’๐‘™๐‘’๐‘ง ๐ต๐‘ข๐‘›๐‘‘๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘” ๐ต๐‘ข๐‘™๐‘–๐‘™๐‘Ž๐‘› ๐‘™๐‘Ž๐‘ค ๐‘œ๐‘“๐‘“๐‘–๐‘๐‘’๐‘ . ๐น๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ ๐‘๐‘œ๐‘š๐‘š๐‘’๐‘›๐‘ก๐‘ , ๐‘’-๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘–๐‘™ ๐‘–๐‘›๐‘“๐‘œ@๐‘ ๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘™๐‘œ๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘™๐‘’๐‘ง.๐‘๐‘œ๐‘š, ๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘™๐‘™ 0917-5025808 ๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ 0908-8665786.)

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