El Presidente: The Story of Emilio Aguinaldo and the First Philippine Republic

An Assignment in Social Science: CRITIQUE PAPER
Submitted By: Diane Danica Dy, BMLS 2-C

Heroes. A term of bravery and selflessness. These patriots of love have proven to be loyal to their motherland. We look up to them and see them as the hope that gave the past generations a reason to continue fighting. Our memories emphasize how they have sacrificed their lives for freedom, but eventually we forget the fact that they, too, need heroes of their own… Last March 02, 2013, I have watched the story of Emilio Aguinaldo, and his struggle for independence. The movie, “El Presidente: The story of Emilio Aguinaldo and the First Philippine Republic”, have achieved its goal of reminding the Filipinos to always look back. The movie’s re-enactment of the past events was quite one-sided. Though the target audience was the Filipinos, but in my opinion, the movie could have gone in deeper depths if it were also to present the side of the Americans. Next, the plot flow came too stiff. It was somehow based on a list of events, which eventually resulted to the repetitious battle scenes and table dialogues, rather than having to show it in a smooth flow highlighting the most important events. Moreover, the editing of the scenes needed more accuracy. Like for when a Katipunero got shot but he died a little too late from when the shot was fired. Lastly, the movie had too many endings which turned out to be quite funny. Like when Emilio Aguinaldo was struggling for his breath and the audience seemed to be almost teary-eyed, then suddenly the next scene was that he was reading a book, followed by another where he is lying down on his bed crying out to “Inang Bayan”. Despite the negative sides and inconsistencies from the real thing, the movie never failed to be an eye-opener. It stayed true to the fact that the Filipinos are, indeed, worth dying for. We are all driven by passion for a certain goal to be reached. In this case, Aguinaldo’s goal was to give the Pearl of the Orient Seas their rightful independence. As shown in the movie, he too was human and not just a mere “superhero” as most perceived him to be. He made the toughest decisions, showed the hardest sacrifices, fell in love with two women, and made mistakes. El Presidente was an inspiration to the youth of today. It reminded us to cherish and protect what is ours. This battleground in which we are all living will always have a conflicting side that will try to possess our treasures. It is up to us to stand our ground and defend our own. After the movie, I learned that the hero that Emilio Aguinaldo was holding on to for strength, was not only one but countless. The heroes were us, the Filipinos of the past, the present, and the future. We were his own inspiration as he was ours. He welcomed death as his doorstep the moment he vowed to give us what we deserve. The time has come for us to stop saying, start acting, and relive the memory of sacrificing. Nothing is without a price, we are our own heroes.

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