10 Filipino Hero Movies to Watch on Heroes’ Day
National Heroes’ Day is a great time to be nostalgic. It’s when we find a reason to look back at our past to appreciate the present.
Don’t let the day end without paying tribute to the heroes whose sense of nationalism is admirable. You can do this by simply going back to the lessons from their journey. We have a bunch of films to help you!
Here’s a list of hero movies PawnHero picked for you to include in your films to watch.
- Heneral Luna (2015)
The movie is set in 18th century, during the Philippine-American war. Actor John Arcilla brings to life the epic battle of Heneral Luna, a short-tempered Filipino general determined to free the country from American rule.
After years of captivity under the Spanish colony, Heneral Luna refuses to let another foreign heritage take over. Together with his most trusted men, they embark on a journey to fight for the country he so dearly loves. He fights for the Filipinos and yet, betrayed by his own countrymen in the end.
Reason to watch: It shows a different side of history. The movie is unlike what you have learned in Araling Panlipunan. Throughout the movie, you’ll see how divisive politicians and businessmen have become. They eagerly advance strategies for individual gain including President Emilio Aguinaldo (Mon Confiado). Heneral Luna sets an example for every Filipino. He puts on hold personal desires for the betterment of the country.
- El Presidente (2012)
The historical film was among the 2012 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entries. El Presidente portrays the life and heroic acts of Emilio Aguinaldo (E.R Ejercito).
The story begins with Aguinaldo imprisoned by the Kapampangan and U.S forces in 1901. Years later, he joins Andres Bonifacio (Cesar Montano) in the Katipunan and fights to establish the First Philippine Republic, independent from Spain.
Reason to watch: In the movie Heneral Luna, you’ll see a lack of conviction from Aguinaldo to free the Philippines from shackles of the American rule. El Presidente depicts another side of Aguinaldo. His guts, spirit, and love for the country.
- Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo (2014)
Unlike Jose Rizal who studied overseas or Emilio Aguinaldo who held such powerful position, Andres Bonifacio fought for the country from humble beginnings. The film brings you back to when he establishes the Katipunan to instigate a revolt against the Spaniards.
Emilio Aguinaldo joins the Katipuneros, and the story goes on to the Cry of Balintawak when Bonifacio is declared the “True First President of the Philippines.” The country is left divided between Bonifacio’s faction and Aguinaldo. Bonifacio dies not in the mercy of the enemy, but in the hands of his own countrymen.
Reason to watch: You’ll see how no one is too small to fight for justice and righteousness. While Andres Bonifacio may not have been a scholar, his love for the Filipinos fueled his desire to save his countrymen from the painful dictatorship of the Spaniards. Even until death, he wished nothing more than freedom for his brothers and sisters.
- The Last Journey of Ninoy (2009)
We may never be certain about who ordered the assassination of Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino in 1983. But the movie The Last Journey of Ninoy gives you a rare glimpse of the senator’s final days.
Showing interviews and commentaries from Aquino’s wife herself, the late President Corazon Aquino. She narrates the last 11 days of the senator before his death at the Manila International Airport (MIA).
Reason to watch: You see Ninoy through Cory’s eyes. The documentary is unlike any other Ninoy Aquino films because of the way Cory shares their story. You get to know Ninoy as her husband, father of her children, senator, and hero. It is a first-hand narrative of the path Ninoy had to take for justice.
- Jose Rizal: The First Hero (2012)
December 30th is Rizal Day, a holiday commemorating the works of Jose Rizal. But other than his novels, Noli Me Tangere or El Filibusterismo, do you know how much Rizal has done for the country?
Maestro Film Foundation released a documentary that chronicles the human life of Rizal and his heroism. You’ll see Rizal for the genius that he was—arrogant, peacemaker, ruthless, and most of all, human.
Reasons to watch: Rizal fought differently from Bonifacio, Aguinaldo, or Luna. His greatest weapon was his pen. Get to know Rizal in a way you have not learned about him in books—the genuine Rizal.
- Baler (2008)
This movie is set in 1898 when a group of Spanish soldiers defended the city of Baler for over three hundred days from Filipino revolutionists. The movie is a Filipino tale of Romeo and Juliet, a forbidden love that blossomed between a mestizo soldier (Jericho Rosales) and a beautiful Filipina (Anne Curtis).
Reason to watch: If you want to add a bit of kilig factor to your day, this one is for you. Heroes do not always protect countries. Sometimes they are ordinary people fighting for the love of their life.
- Supremo (2012)
Supremo is an epic drama film that pays tribute to the life of Andres Bonifacio as a soldier, a hero, a husband, and a brother. The plea for freedom from the tyrant Spaniards became difficult to ignore.
Andres Bonifacio took matters into his own hands and spearheaded a revolutionary movement called the Katipunan. Andres leads his men to a battle that tests courage and love that only true Pinoys have.
Reason to watch: It gives you one of the most valuable lessons in life: You are not born a hero, but you can die as one. The movie is a modern rendition of the hero’s life.
The 1993 historical drama film is based on the life of Macario Sakay, a barber from Tondo who joined the Katipunan. Upon the capture of Emilio Aguinaldo and the fall of the First Philippine Republic, Sakay retreated to the mountains to revive what Bonifacio and his men have started.
Reason to watch: Macario Sakay deserves to be known for his contributions. You have studied about Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan, Jose Rizal and his novels, Emilio Aguinaldo as the President who declared Independence Day, but not many know about Sakay who continued when Bonifacio and the rest could no longer.
- Jose Rizal (1998)
Jose Rizal is a 1998 biographical film that depicts the life of Jose Rizal. The story begins in Fort Santiago where Rizal was kept captive by the Spaniards. The movie narrates the journey of Rizal as a prisoner of the Spaniards, along with the struggles he had to endure to open the eyes of the Filipinos.
Reason to watch: You see Rizal sacrifice himself, his family, and his future so Filipinos could have the courage to fight against the oppressor. It makes you think how people patronized western culture when so many people had to die for the country to be free from their influence.
- Women of Malolos (2014)
The Women of Malolos is a musical documentary film narrated by Basilia Tantoco. The movie dramatized historical events from 1888 to 1906 when women needed to fight for liberation.
The story is about the young women from Malolos who desired to learn Spanish. Despite objections from the friars, they opened a school. This inspired Jose Rizal to write the letter “To the Young Women of Malolos.”
The young women went on to serve the first Red Cross in Malolos and recruited members to the first women’s organization in the country, the Asociacion Feminista Filipina.
Reason to watch: Girl power! It gives you a whole new appreciation for women and how they play a key role in combats. Nothing a man can do cannot be done by a woman.
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. The Philippines has a hero whose pen was sharper than a sword, a hero whose bravery was bigger than a lion, and heroes who wanted to heal wounds than create bloodshed.
Different heroes, one heritage. As we celebrate National Heroes’ Day, remember to commemorate the brave people who have fought for you, but most of all, remember the heroes in your life. The people who save you, inspires you, and loves you.