The film Goyo has been all the buzz since it was shown. Just like its predecessor, Heneral Luna, social media was of great help to improve its popularity. I have been following the film’s hashtags, and several people on social media have been promoting it and giving their two cents. They can’t get over its story. Some people even watched it 5 times or more. I viewed it 2 times, but because of all the rounds it has been getting, I realized that a lot of people truly got its message. I thought twice about having a post-realization blog about it, but here it goes.
In my opinion, this film has been so popular because of its “critical” and blind followers theme. We all know that these days, the Philippine political scene has been so divisive, with most of the people (at least in my city and exposure) gearing towards the right (pro-administration). The left-wing or the opposition has been very critical about the current admin, and it seems like, in my opinion, most of the people who loved the film are from their side and might even think that the film is nerve hitting to the people who idolize the current Philippine president so much.
At first, I thought that it really does seem that way. For the past year, I’ve been so critical of the admin because of the Train law, Inflation, China ties, US ties, anti-poor, and anti-IP decisions, etc. However, despite it, I have no love for the other political parties either. Since we do not know the real truth, I guess each one of us is a blind follower of a particular side. Aside from the Dutertards, some people are willing to die for their Communist leader and people who are all praise for an elitist party. I’m no exception because it’s not at good to just leave out everyone. Neutrality helps the oppressor, according to Elie Wiesel.
Goyo is akin to Francis Coppola’s Apocalypse Now or any war history or war movie on US Imperialism and its ill effects on the soldiers. Each of the country’s soldiers is a blind follower. Maybe some are just forced into war because of one’s duty and requirement. This can lead to the destruction and insanity of the soldiers, whether or not they’re really adhering to their leaders’ “idealism” or they just wanna end it all and go home to their families.
*Spoiler Alert* In the film, one can see Goyo’s several hallucinations. On the outside, he is admired by everyone–considered a living hero, but inside, he was struggling with his ideals and sense of self, especially after having to encounter and order to kill one of Heneral Luna’s cronies, Manuel Bernal. It was his older brother Julian who would always remind him that he is an eagle soaring high and fighting for the country’s sake. Hence, Goyo was deeply attached to Julian and wouldn’t even let go when Julian was assigned in another battle.
Despite the negative associations with ex-Philippine President Emilio Aguinaldo, I understood him, not on the fact that he has time to kill people and his own evil motives and biases (as shown in Heneral Luna), but because at some point during his presidency, he actually fought for the Philippines. He was under pressure. I realize that I share some of his beliefs since I’m kinda’ socially-aware, but I’m lucky that I am not in his place. Imagine having your family kidnapped or killed because the conquerors (the Americans) want your country’s sovereignty to be over.
Apolinario Mabini was Aguinaldo’s trusted comrade, as the former was highly intelligent and philosophical. Mabini was also good at administrative activities in the government, so even though Aguinaldo was the leader, Mabini has a lot of say in it.
Mabini has a strong commitment to the Philippines’ sovereignty, so the Americans put him in exile to Guam. It was there that he wrote La Revolucion Filipina, in which he criticized Aguinaldo’s rule. He also explained why the 1898 Philippine Revolution was a failure.
Despite being firm about his beliefs, Mabini didn’t have a choice but to take an oath of loyalty to the United States because he wanted to die in his own country. It’s tough to combat a superpower such as the United States, but Mabini fought hard for the country. I salute him for that.
My Own Dilemma
I have the same dilemma. It’s easy to say that we are socially aware and we wanna fight against the oligarchs or some sordid nation that has been subtly taking our freedom for years, but we are mere humans. We love. We socialize. We have to survive. Ironically, I somehow lose myself every time I get triggered by my activist sensibilities. I get depressed. When I joined a group that was a bit on the Capitalistic side, I ironically became happier, not because of the capital, but because of my newfound friends.
Everything is still the same. We always have bad leaders. However, I decided to support whoever is on top, just like how I supported Noynoy Aquino when he was in position. Besides, this Harvard study said that all leaders lose their empathy after power is bestowed on them. It’s a natural (human) thing, apparently.
I’ve lost hope for the leaders, but I’m still clinging to the possibility that in this lifetime, I can see all Filipinos coming together as one to combat the evil forces lurking around us. It’s difficult, but in the meantime, we can help this country by choosing to buy local brands over international ones (especially those that are good or better alternatives).
I salute Jerrold Tarog and the rest of the people involved in making this film possible. Goyo is a form of revolution; a reflection of today’s society that has been shaped by its past and continually tormented by its present.
Art by Jim Morada