Bonifacio, Ang Unang Pangulo
"Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo" managed to win the most awards at the awarding night of the 40th (2014) Metro Manila Film Festival among the eight entries for the mainstream category of the film festival with nine awards including Best Picture.
"Bonifacio..." is a historical action epic that brings to light the powerful, true-to-life drama of Filipino revolutionary Andres Bonifacio (Robin Padilla) —one of our country’s national heroes— with his virtues and humanity, unfolding through the eyes of a young man (Daniel Padilla) in this day and age.
The film begins with the execution of GOMBURZA in 1872. The story then flashes forward to the present day where high school students Joaquin (Daniel Padilla), Andrea (Jasmine Curtis-Smith), and Gary (RJ Padilla) visit Museo ng Katipunan.
Flashback: On July 3, 1892, Dr. Jose Rizal (Jericho Rosales) brings together La Liga Filipina, a peaceful reform movement that aims to unite all Filipinos and give them one voice. One of its members is Andres Bonifacio (Robin Padilla), who is currently supporting his siblings, as both their parents died due to illness. Rizal is later arrested after the Spanish authorities uncover the organization. Bonifacio then decides to form the Katipunan to lead a revolution against the Spanish colonizers. With the help of his friend Teodoro Plata, he meets Gregoria de Jesús (Vina Morales), who is also known as Oriang. Their relationship develops, and they finally marry after Oriang’s parents give their approval. Recruiting additional katipuneros continues the following day; one of their recruits is a mayor named Emilio Aguinaldo.
In the present, the museum curator decides to guide the students towards the truth about Bonifacio, to enlighten them amidst the wrong historical information in their textbooks.
Back in the past, the Katipunan starts publishing the newspaper “Ang Kalayaan” through the printing press of the Diario de Manila. They distribute the paper to their fellow countrymen to further expand the organization. Spanish authorities then begin to grow wary of anti-government activities. Oriang gives birth to their first child who later dies early due to smallpox. Meanwhile, a katipunero named Teodoro Patiño reveals the Katipunan to his wife, who is a nun. His wife persuades him to tell the parish priest. The Spanish authorities learn of the Katipunan’s existence, and many Filipinos who are suspected to be members are executed. Realizing what happened, Bonifacio decides to call all the leaders and members of the Katipunan to go to Tandang Sora’s house, where they hold the Cry of Balintawak and establish him as the "True First President of the Philippines". On the evening of August 29, 1896, Bonifacio’s faction finally starts the Philippine Revolution but later suffer numerous defeats in contrast to Aguinaldo’s faction.
Aguinaldo’s comrades are concerned that the revolution might die under Bonifacio’s leadership. They advise Aguinaldo to urge Bonifacio to come to Cavite to reunify the factions of the Magdiwang and Magdalo and hold an election for it. Aguinaldo is elected president, while Bonifacio is only elected interior minister. A Magdalo member named Daniel Tirona objects to his election and insults him, angering Bonifacio who challenges Tirona to a duel. Feeling discriminated, Bonifacio then voids the convention as Supremo of the Katipunan. The newly formed, Aguinaldo-led revolutionary group is concerned about the unity of Katipunan after failing to persuade Bonifacio to join them. Aguinaldo orders the capture of Bonifacio, during which Bonifacio is stabbed at the neck and suffers a gun shot at his arm. His brother Ciriaco is shot dead, while his other brother Procopio is beaten, and his wife Oriang possibly raped by Col. Agapito Bonzón. Suffering from his untreated wounds, Bonifacio tells his wife Oriang of his dream of finally achieving his wish of the country’s independence against Spain. Andres Bonifacio and Procopio Bonifacio are sentenced to death.
Present day: The students finally learn the truth about Bonifacio. Joaquin then decides to share what he learned with his classmates: the “true” story of Bonifacio, the First President of the Philippines.
At the end of the film, Bonifacio is shown holding his personal flag aloft while leading his troops in a charge against Spanish forces. His personal flag then slowly turns into the present Philippine Flag. After the closing credits, Antonio Luna did a cameo appearance (This is an actual part as a preparation for the film Heneral Luna).
Directed by Enzo Williams. Subtitles: English, French, Indian, Catalan & Spanish.
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