2008 Metro Manila Film Fest Grand Winner: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, and Best Production Design.
Baler is a tale of the overwhelming love of a young Filipina named Feliza Reyes (Anne Curtis) and a Spanish-Filipino soldier, Celso Resurrecion (Jericho Rosales).
This movie is set during the Siege of Baler, the battle that took place in 1898 between the Filipino forces and the 57-man rifle battalion of the Spanish military.
Feliza is the beautiful daughter of Nanding (Philip Salvador), the leader of the rebel movement whose goal is to completely wipe out the Spanish soldiers stationed in the town of Baler.
This is precisely why she and Celso have to keep their love a secret.
Nanding can never accept Celso, a half-Indio, half-Spanish soldier who chooses to serve the enemy rather than the movement that’s fighting for independence and freedom.
Feliza is in love with the man her father despises.
Who and what could stop the two young people who are madly in love with each other?
As the war continues, Celso and Feliza struggle for the autonomy of their love even if both of them are torn between their strong feelings for each other and their loyalty to their chosen path.
Celso’s allegiance is still with the Spanish army while Feliza has to respect her father’s ongoing fight with the Spanish soldiers.
Eventually, Celso’s love for Feliza rises above anything else because his loyalty belongs to where his love is.
He decides to desert the Spanish troops and reunite with Feliza, even as he knows that it means his own death.
While we are drawn to this endearing story of love that knows no time, place and race, we are also taken back to the past to take a peek into what transpired behind the walls of the church of Baler.
This is where the last Spanish contingent (who were not aware that the war had actually ended) heroically defended Baler against the Filipino forces for 337 grueling days.
Baler is a story of conflict, betrayal, suffering, self-preservation, obstinacy and self-interest.
It is also about heroism, courage, love of freedom, patriotism, endurance, chivalry, humanity— and, above all, about love in a time of war, the story of Feliza and Celso.
Directed by Mark Meily.
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