Bayan o Sarili: Mamili Ka!

So this was a thing that happened last Sunday. 🙂

I was initially apprehensive about attending the Heneral Luna DVD Launch because 1) it had been raining non-stop the day before (and we know what happens to the already congested roads when it rains) and 2) the venue was in Eastwood City, a place I wouldn’t know how else to get to aside from riding a cab.

So imagine my excitement when the rain let up on Sunday, allowing me to do a bit of shopping early in the afternoon before heading to Libis. I was so scared of being late for the 7:00 PM event that I rode a cab to the venue at around 4:00 and arrived 20 minutes later. (LOL, what traffic? Where? It was a miracle!)

Heneral Luna DVDs were being sold at the venue entrance for P699 (roughly $15) and I think I was one of the first ones to buy that day. The staff were still setting up their wares when I approached and told them to

shut-up-and-take-my-money

Just kidding. I didn’t say that.

I did let them take my money though.

The program started at around 7:45, but I was already inside the venue two hours earlier. (Sino’ng excited? AKO?) Keri lang. Sanay na akong maghintay. (ABA.) I spent those two hours waiting for Anne to arrive and livetweeting things like

Archie Alemania (Capt. Eduardo Rusca) and Alex Medina (Capt. Jose Bernal) were first to be introduced on stage, and they played two rounds of Pinoy Henyo with some members of the audience. The theme was, of course, the movie Heneral Luna. Both boys were adorbs; they kept cracking people up, especially when Alex seemed so clueless about the word his teammate was supposed to guess: Cruz Roja. (Archie: “Pare, napanood mo ba yung pelikula?”)

Junjun Quintana (Dr. Jose Rizal), Mon Confiado (Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo), and Epy Quizon (Apolinario Mabini) were called to the stage next. It was so cute how Mabini’s chair was set up on stage and Epy wasn’t coming out of the holding tent just yet. I thought, well, of course he was supposed to be in character, but who’s going to bring him up there when Aguinaldo’s already standing on stage. It was Archie who gave Epy a piggyback ride and deposited him in his chair, but lingered on the chair for a little while to catch his breath. CUTE. <3

OMG Rusca carried Mabini to the stage because Mabini

A post shared by Mina V. Esguerra (@minavesguerra) on

They got more audience members to reenact some movie scenes, and it was so nice to experience the energy from everyone present. They were very enthusiastic, cheering and clapping and laughing, you’d think this was some kind of fans day for a mainstream local movie. But nope. You have to remember that Heneral Luna is an indie film, and a historical one at that. For the film to have such an enthusiastic fanbase like this is nothing short of amazing, and I hope everyone in the fandom realizes that.

John Arcilla (Heneral Antonio Luna) graced us with his presence last, and it was awesome how, when walked to center stage and raised his hand for a salute, everyone in the audience didn’t waste a moment to get up and salute him as well. Ang saya lang, walang party pooper, haha! John Arcilla’s aura is something else, really. You just feel how commanding his presence is, and yet you don’t see arrogance in the way he carries himself. It was such an honor to have met him, and I wish he returns to the stage for a theatre production because that’s something I’d really love to see him in. (Mina said she’d seen him a loooong way back for a production of Walang Sugat and I might’ve died a little inside.)

There was a brief Q&A session after the games, and the thing I could clearly remember about it is the fact that someone from the cast (was it Heneral?) mentioned Archie could be doing the Gregorio del Pilar film instead of Paulo Avelino. And Archie’s just like, “Yeah, I’m considering. If I have time.” Pfft. I love you, Arch, I do. I’m just concerned about how many more fangirls you’ll have if you do end up doing Goyo. Can you still handle it? 😛

@storiestotell @desanggria @twostepflight

A post shared by Mina V. Esguerra (@minavesguerra) on

The Meet & Greet was where I’d been able to snap those selfies you see on the photo above. I’m so upset that I couldn’t keep my hands from trembling too much while taking a selfie with Heneral, hence the blurred photos. I even took TWO PHOTOS and both were blurry! Gah.

Archie was at the far end of the table and he was the last I got to meet and greet, which was great because then I got to chat with him a bit after what–eleven years? (Quick backstory: I’d worked with Archie while he was still a tadjock for Studio 23’s Wazzup! Wazzup! way back in 2003. I was his segment researcher and I’d often tag along for backpack shoots. Really nice guy, my fave segment host EVER.) When I left the stage with my signed poster he said he’d chat with me after the event, but we couldn’t possibly have waited any longer (because HUNGER) so I bade him goodbye after a good ten minutes or so. . .

. . . and he left the stage. To hug me. I was gonna be happy with a wave or something but y’know, he defies the laws of celebrity ere like–WOW. First you recognize me among a sea of faces, and now you leave the stage to hug me goodbye? Awesome. Kinilig ako, haha. Thanks, Arch. It was so nice to see you again, and Merry Christmas to you too. <3

MORE SNIPPETS:

  1. Alex and Archie were SO generous with their hugs and kisses, much to the delight of their Pinoy Henyo teammates. I know of someone who would have died of envy had she been there, seeing Alex hugging and kissing girls’ cheeks. I’m looking at you, Zel, haha! :PEven when they were “loitering” beside the holding tent, I could see Alex interacting with the fans passing by. He took pictures with them from behind the barricaded area, and I thought that was very sweet of him. Please never change.
  2. At one point, John Arcilla was lent an umbrella so he could reenact the train scene wherein he yells, “MGA INUTIL! HINDI TAYO MAMAMASYAL!” He went down the stage and walked through the aisles for it too. Too adorbs.
  3. There were fangirls who brought flower crowns with them and gave each cast member present a crown. The cast members were so cute and very game, wearing the flower crowns and having their pictures taken as they wore it. I think it was only Alex who wore it all the way through to the end.
  4. There’d been a bit of confusion at the beginning of the Meet & Greet because people were so excited lining up for autographs and photos. Noticing this, John Arcilla went, “Paki-organize naman…” over the mic, and we (Anne, Tina and myself) were like: “Hala kayo ayusin niyo yan, lagot kayo kay Heneral!”
  5. The best looking (as in: not blurry) photo I took was that with Mon Confiado because he held on to the other end of my phone to steady my hand as I took the shot. Salamat po. ^_^
  6. It had been very hot that evening, and Archie began taking his costume pieces off one by one during the Meet & Greet. His hat, his coat. He even started unbuttoning his shirt and I’m pretty sure a lot of the girls noticed because I kept hearing squeals behind me.Me, mumbling: Arturo, tama na yan.
    Anne: Isang butones pa!
    Me: *CRIE*

Overall, it was such a fun experience to be there and I was glad to have been able to attend. I now have a signed poster of Heneral Luna and a DVD copy to boot. Guess you now know how I’m gonna be spending my last days of freedom before I dive into a new employment opportunity.

I wish that everyone behind the Heneral Luna movie creates more opportunities like this: films that encourage the younger generation to look at our history with a newfound interest and inspire creativity and lve for country among others. We desperately need it.

Kudos to everyone who made Heneral Luna’s success possible. Yes, that includes you, who saw the film and rallied for it to be shown in as many screens as possible. Congratulations. We made it. <3

Now excuse me while I plug my laptop to my TV and enjoy the movie again.

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *