Celso Ressurecion – half-indio and half-spanish youth from Pampanga Feliza Reyes – daughter of a Filipino insurgent general Nanding Reyes – Feliza’s father and head of the nationalist rebel group in Baler
Azon Reyes – Feliza’s mother
Gabriel Reyes – Feliza’s younger brother 2nd Lt. Saturnino Martin Cerezo
Capt. Enrique Fossi de las Morenas – replace Lt. Mota as the head of the Spanish in Baler
Col. Calixto Villacorte
Commandante Teodorico Luna Novicio
Fr. Candido Gomez Carreno – parish priest Lt. Jose Mota – head of the Spanish army in Baler Lope – friend of Celso
Luming – friend of Feliza
The story happened during the siege of Baler. A battle between the Filipino forces and Spanish battalion in 1898.
A young Filipina, named Feliza who fell inlove with a half Spanish and a half Filipino young man, named Celso who prefer to be a Spanish soldier rather than to be a Filipino katipunero. Feliza and Celso’s love has to be kept as a secret because Feliza is the daughter of Nanding, a rebel leader who has the burning desire to completely annihilate Spanish soldiers in town of Baler.
Filipino troops including the father of Feliza started to attack Spanish soldiers. The Spanish battalion inhabited the church as their barracks to protect them from attacks of up armed Filipinos bounding the church.
As the siege prolongs, little by little the Spaniards’ supply of foods diminish and many soldiers got sick because of no more supplies of food to eat. Commander Las Morenas and other subsequent commanders got wounded and sick because of being isolated for a number of months. There were some soldiers surrendered because they could no longer bear their sufferings. Even Celso who knew that Feliza got pregnant planned to escape together with his colleagues. That night of their escape Celso was trapped due to his friends’ own fear. He was betrayed by his own friend. Feliza who was patiently waiting for Celso, knew nothing about the execution happened to her love inside the church.
Filipino troops have many times tried to convince the Spaniards to surrender because Spanish fleet in manila was already defeated and the war was actually ended. But still they refused to leave. “ Viva España! “ their principle. The last commander who discovered that the news was true. After the confirmation of the news, at last he and his follower peacefully surrendered.
The sad thing was that poor Feliza, who longed for her love, who could instead be the happiest woman in the world that time because finally she and her love could be together, did not find Celso in the flock of freed soldiers rather found him inside the church with no more life.
In 1898, a band of Spanish soldiers heroically defended Baler (which would later be the capital municipality of Aurora in 1951) against Filipino forces for 337 long and grueling days. Dubbed as the Siege of Baler, the Spanish troops holed up inside the church of San Luis Obispo.
This is the setting of the movie Baler, a love story between a young Filipina barrio lass Feliza (Anne Curtis) and Filipino-Spanish soldier Celso (Jericho Rosales) are caught in a forbidden love, torn apart by the societies they came from. Feliza’s father Nanding (Philip Salvador) is an anti-Spanish government fighter, which puts pressure on the young couple to keep their relationship a secret. Outnumbered and out-gunned by the Indios they once governed and abused, the Spanish soldiers in Baler, including Celso and buddy Lope (Mark Bautista), are now forced to hole up in a church as they wait for non-existent military reinforcements to rescue them from the band of Filipinos who have now surrounded them and are waiting for their surrender.
Baler wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t good either. It was a very simple story – a love affair between Jericho Rosales’ half-blood Spanish soldier and Anne Curtis (Feliza) native maiden (whose father – Philip Salvador – happened to be a particularly bitter freedom-fighter). This romance was set against the last days of Spanish power in the Philippines when the garrison at Baler – including Jerico Rosales (Celso) character – was forced to hole-up in the local church for almost a year, surrounded by the well-armed local militia. Under these trying circumstances, the two leads keep the faith as best they can, against all odds. And that was pretty much it.
Despite its pretensions at being a period historical romance, the entire movie came off almost as blandly as though it were journalistic, rather than dramatic.
The crux of the movie should have been the aching of the two lovers; more specifically, Anne Curtis (Feliza) defiance of her father and Jerico Rosales (Celso) ultimate decision to defy his Commander – and by extension his own dreams of eventually seeing his father – in order to finally be with his love.
The story of doe-eyed Feliza (Anne Curtis), a young Filipina from the capital of Aurora province who falls in love with Celso (Jericho Rosales), a Filipino-Spanish soldier fighting for Spain as the once mighty empire is now on a losing battle defending its overseas territories from the US. Feliza’s dad (Phillip Salvador) an anti-Spanish government fighter which means their love is anything but permissible, and thus are struggling to keep their relationship secret. Outnumbered and out-gunned by the Indios they once governed and abused, the Spanish soldiers in Baler, including Celso and buddy Lope (Mark Bautista), are now forced to hole up in a church as they wait for non-existent military reinforcements to rescue them from the band of Filipinos who have now surrounded them and are waiting for their surrender.
D. Moral Lesson:
Love is worth fighting for!
Love is not easy in a time of uneasiness. But above all, Filipinos were really a freedom fighter. As Spaniards did not surrender, much more the Filipinos.
Baler is primarily a love story between Feliza, the daughter of a rebel commander (Anne Curtis), and Celso, a half-Spanish soldier (Jericho Rosales), set at the twilight years of the Spanish regime in the Philippines. The young couple struggle to keep their forbidden love alive
despite familial and political tensions culminating in an almost yearlong blockade known as the Siege of Baler.
“Love is difficult in times of war,” says a Filipino soldier named Lope (Mark Bautista) who is also serving the Spanish army just like Celso. His statement perfectly encapsulates the movie’s theme. Complementing the primary conflict of Anne and Jericho’s relationship is a backdrop of clashes between father and son, mother and daughter, duty to family and country, and loyalty and self-preservation. Throughout the movie, Baler explores the question of whether love-be it romantic, familial, or patriotic-can survive the most brutal of human endeavors: war.
Baler is a history-inspired Filipino movie mainly on a prohibited love between Filipino maiden Feliza Reyes acted by Anne Curtis and Filipino-Spanish Soldier Celso Resurreccion acted by Jericho Rosales. The couples’ love is difficult because of different culture they came from. Feliza is a daughter of an insurgent leader Nanding portrayed by Philip Salvador and Celso is a soldier serving Spanish regime. Their relationship is kept alive even with hindrances such as the famous historical event Siege of Baler where Spanish Army including Celso assigned at Baler, Quezon is trapped in a church surrounded by Filipino Army anticipating for their concede as Philippine-Spanish war is ending. The siege lasted almost a year where it defied the love of the young couple.
The film begins on a scene depicting how admirable Baler until the characters and scenes introduced consequences of their fate that becomes a strong emotional medium in actualizing the plot. The way that Lieutenant Mota killed himself instead of surrendering to Filipino troops surrounding him while Celso is watching is genuinely revealing that sacrificing blood and life is evident throughout the story. Indeed it did not fail because the film illustrated first about the love of a young couple and ended tragically with bloodshed.
Characterization of Baler was a credit of the movie. Characters complimented each persona portrayed. Anne Curtis as Feliza is quite ironic to be a full blooded Filipina because of her looks but managed to defer it by her acting which made viewers imagine a real beautiful and in loved young Filipina. She portrayed it with grace as though viewers see it as an actual scene from the past. Also, we can acknowledge Philip Salvador as Nanding who symbolized oppressed Filipinos whom are eager to fight Spanish government. This portrayal is effective because it lets the viewers feel how gruesome the treatment of Spaniards.
Other than that, Jericho Rosales as Celso acted smoothly throughout the film though some criticize him not fit for the role half Filipino and half Spanish since his beauty was truly for a Filipino Man. Despite that, he portrayed the role that viewers had suspension of disbelief. Seeing him as a true Filipino but was just lucky enough to have a job and to have been born in Spain. He also acted fair enough that he represented both sides of what he loves and what he ought to do.
Basically, the setting of the movie, Baler, is also an important symbolism of the movie. It connotes that the place is significant for the young couple who fought for their love and life through wars. It implies their persistent love which was only ended by death. Also, as the movie also denotes, another meaning would be perceive from Baler is that it represented how firm the belief of Spaniards. They managed a year-long battle unknowingly to win or not but was urged because of their pride. Symbolisms are not evident throughout the film but Baler is the leit-motif which was the main point why the movie progressed.
The style of the director is highly commendable that even young ones can capture the emotions of the movie. All throughout it depicted scenes and shots that emphasize worthy subjects that contributed to the maturity of the film. The film touched aspects differing from familial, personal life until political feuds. Hence, this film is a must for a person who seeks a touch of history and romance.
“Love is difficult in times of war!”
B.POINT OF VIEW
The Baler screenplay tries to present the Filipino point of view on the issue of the siege, and the international significance of the event for the fledgling Philippine Republic.
The movie portrayed three (3) significant happening in which we may perceive that created conflict or harmony.
First, the reality of Filipinos relationship with the Spaniards was illustrated thoroughly. In the movie, it was established how inviolable the love of the young couple and also how inviolable matters concerning priests or Spanish government rulers. Here they have communicated implicitly that it is unlawful for them to be in these affairs. In present time, this reality is apparent. A good example maybe perhaps our Filipino culture of girls should be conservative. Some continue to obey the belief while the others who don’t are labeled flirt. We cannot escape the fact that some if not majority dwell with this kind of perspective. However, as technology advance, so is our mental openness. Some embrace this kind of philosophy forgetting the old habit which was known worldwide that is “Mara Clara” style.
Second, a reality portrayed was that a person is loyal to its own country no matter what. Established in the movie was how the Spaniards and Filipinos were firm with their own beliefs. The Spaniards remained loyal to their country despite the evidence that were shown to them telling that Spanish era is long gone. On the other hand, Filipinos remained fierce with their battle giving grace to the Spaniards. In these days, we can also relate the loyalty of these people with their respective country in our
daily lives. A great example would be a broken family who despite of intense quarrel mange to unite if other clan while oppose to one of their family. This family will join together defending their own ill-treated family member. In this case, we can say that our loyalty remains fully firm from where we came from.
Lastly, a reality shown was Love conquers all even if death comes. Tragically, the movie ended revealing that Celso was executed due to accused treachery. In this case, we can see that no matter how big or small circumstances, the love of couple is still present though they are eternally apart.
While Baler is a story of conflict, betrayal, suffering, self-preservation, selfishness, obstinacy, and self-interest, it is also a story of heroism, courage, love of freedom, patriotism, endurance, chivalry, humanity and above all, it also tells about a noble story of love in time of war— the story of Feliza and Celso.
Feliza is the beautiful daughter of Nanding (Phillip Salvador), who’s a member of the rebel movement. This is the very reason why she and Celso have to keep their love a secret. Nanding, whose primary goal is to completely wipe out the Spanish soldiers stationed in the town of Baler, can never accept Celso, a half- Indio, half Spanish soldier who chooses to serve the enemies more than the Filipino insurgents who are struggling and fighting for their independence, their freedom.
Feliza is in love with the man her father despises but who and what could stop the two young people who are madly in love with each other?