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Here Comes El Presidente!!

August 7, 2011

This morning I had a talk with Angelo Aguinaldo, great grandson of Emilio Aguinaldo, and curator of Aguinaldo Shrine. He called me up and we talked about the coming shoot of El Presidente [starring Jeorge Estregan, Jr, as Emilio Aguinaldo and Nora Aunor as Maria Agoncillo] to be directed by Tikoy Aguiluz. I met him last year but I know better Ate Linda [Aguinaldo], his auntie who used to be the shrine curator. With my brother Isagani R. Medina, noted Cavite historian, we used to have lunch prepared by Ate Linda and Gina Ayran. Aguinaldo Shrine is like home to us. We were always welcome there – and even after my brother passed away, they welcome me as much as when my brother was still alive. Sometimes, I share with them the delicious bibingka available from a nearby store located near the bridge. I remember that we spent my brother’s birthday once at the shrine when he was already wheelchair-bound. The Aguinaldos respect my brother a lot, probably because of his contributions to the historiography of Cavite Province and his researches on Lolo Miong. I have worked and helped my brother on all the books that he published about Cavite. In fact, I was the one who prodded him to publish Cavite Before the Revolution, his doctoral dissertation. I volunteered to encode his voluminous notes, researched and did field works on his behalf when stroke disabled him from his activities. We are full-blooded Cavitenos since both our parents hailed from the province [my father was born in Corregidor; my mother in Naic]. I still remember attending fiestas to our families living in Cavite City, Kawit and Ternate, and my father talking in Chabacano with them.

Ilang Talata nang Paghihimagsik…was the last book annotated, edited and published by my brother with the help of Cavite Historical Society led by EPM Cesar Virata. The book is centered on the exploits of Aguinaldo and the Magdalos. It was written by Carlos Ronquillo, then Secretary-General of President Emilio Aguinaldo. It was when I worked on that book that I better understood what we only used to memorize like parrots — the Magdiwang – Magdalo faction; what happened to Bonifacio from the time he lost the battle in Pinaglabanan, and some other details about that critical period in our history.

Anyhow, Gov. Jeorge Estregan Jr’s obsession to do the role as El Presidente will be instrumental in making the epic film possible. In God’s time, it will be realized. I met him and observed that it is his passion and obsession that will turn his dream to reality. I do not doubt his sincerity though I only met him then for the first time in his ancestral house in Pagsanjan because of Asiong Salonga film. I told Angelo about it and I came to know that Ate Linda is Gov’s kumare. Small world!

I also assured him that Tikoy will be doing his very best to make the film really good. That though creative treatment will be employed, historical accuracy will be uppermost. My brother’s book will be one of the main research sources along with the Memoirs of Ka Miong, and other books on him.  It is high time for the Filipinos to know Emilio Aguinaldo, the man, the nationalist, the Father of Philippine Flag and the National Anthem! The film is something overdue. Ka Miong deserves the right and proper recognition of his contribution to Nationhood. It was him who propelled our destiny to become the first independent country in Asia with its own Constitution.

As I’ve always said, truth and the right information will lead people to understand better any subject in focus — be it in a documentary or narrative film format.

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