Lessons we can learn from the movie, GOYO.
It was indeed shocking to watch the sequel of Heneral Luna, Goyo: Ang BatangHeneral. Heneral Luna who was known for being an unfiltered, blatant and authoritative General before who made a big difference in the history. He had shown bravery and depict what ‘patriotism’ is really mean. Everyone, including me, expected a person the same as the previous general who had the same principles and character like Luna.
Turned out our expectations were vain and too good to be true because Gregorio H. Del Pilar, also known as Goyo, was completely opposite of Heneral Luna. Not exactly the opposite because they were both brave and fought the Spaniards in exchange for freedom. What really made them different from each other was they exercised different ways to depict their love for the country. It was not that difficult to distinguish their differences when you both watched Heneral Luna and Goyo: Ang BatangHeneral.
Unlike Luna, Goyo had a colorful reputation and was able to enjoy his youth during the war against the Spaniards. At the young age twelve-year-old to be specific, he was trained by Barrio Maysantol an arnis de mano. He soon had a combat with his uncle Marcelo H. Del Pilar. Some even complimented his skill. His family background in fighting against the Spaniards for freedom made a huge impact in this young Goyo.
It was not surprising at all that Goyo would make a huge impact in the history. Hagiographies always told us his heroism and highlighted how he has agonizingly killed at the battle of Tirad Pass, shrugging off his personal issues. The books were all praise for him and pictured him as someone too good to be true. These books taught us that all heroes knew what they were doing and never had personal conflicts which in fact they went through a lot of thinking and questioning also.
Goyo, being subject to a lot of praises and attention grew up to be an adventurous person. He was the president’s favorite and admired by numerous women. He eventually became an overconfident boy and maybe because he was raised in a family who had a great contribution in the revolution and were fearlessly faced death, he knew he was going face the same fate as them. We could say that the young General was also a human, he felt overwhelmed but covered it with his ego.
One thing that the hagiographies would not teach us is the capacity of a hero to commit mistakes and sins, that they are not always right, logical and mature. Even though Goyo died at the battle of Tirad Pass and literature about his bravery and heroism leaked like a water from a broken drum. It could not cover the hole he created. But the goal of the film is not to develop hatred towards Goyo or to the other characters, instead to let the audience, especially the youth to observe and learn from their mistakes and imitate the good deeds.
The film should make an impact on youth, of course, it should be in a positive way. What they had done before, including their decisions, actions and beliefs should be observed by the audience. And once they reevaluate their thoughts and principles, their decisions in the future would make a huge difference. A good difference.
Goyo reached the time where he must face the death with only his duty as a soldier was something he could hold on to. Imagine a colorful life of Goyo was about to turn black and he reached the point where he fully embraced his fate, unsure if he could survive the battle. He soon accepted the burden and the greatness of his responsibility as a general. It was clear when he wrote his last entry to his diary, “The general has given me a platoon of available men and has ordered me to defend this pass. I am aware what a difficult task has given to me. Nevertheless, I feel that this is the most glorious moment of my life. I am doing everything for my beloved country. There is no greater sacrifice.”
His last entry to his journal was powerful, it was proof how becoming aware of how deep the responsibility and how uncertain of what the tomorrow will bring could change a person. A young, immature and indecisive general was able to transform into a real young general, a real soldier. It took a lot of time for him to become aware of his duty but when he finally did, he gave all as if every second matter.
There are witnesses of Goyo’s death and all of them were still uncertain because they testified dissimilarly. However, in the film, during the battle at Tirad Pass, someone warned him not to stand in the upper part of the ground because the Spaniards could see him. But, Goyo, bothered that there were Americans hiding near them, immediately shot without a word. His death was more than just a tragic, but it is more of a lesson. His death depicts us that despite his weaknesses, mistakes and internal struggles, his determination and love for his country prevailed. No one could beat him at that, even the death.
The goal of the film is loud and clear: to make everyone to evolve and improve, reevaluate their thoughts, actions, and principles and to produce fruitful youth. The people behind the camera thoroughly researched, interviewed historians and organize the film from small to the big details. They invested a lot for this film. The cast and crew were roasted under the sun, experienced frustration and despair, and struggled when they climbed the mountain. They went through these hardships to bring back the past that we keep forgetting.
I want to share the quotation from the producers of the movie Fernando Ortigas and E.A Rocha, “In order for us to understand what is currently happening to us, we need to look into our history.”
The author’s resources for this article were the film itself and the book, “GOYO: the history of the movie.” The latter is available at National’s Bookstore.
By: Nephi Tangalin