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Magical, mystical ‘Hermano Puli’

Hermano Puli

ALL OF THE ABOVE – There’s something magical, mystical in “Ang Hapis at Himagsik ni Hermano Puli.” Is it because of the forgotten hero Hermano Puli, portrayed by Aljur Abrenica? Or the place, the scenic and fabled towns in Quezon and Laguna? Or the haunting music which captures the life and times of Puli? Or the story itself written by Eric Ramos and directed by Gil Portes.

Guess it’s all of the above, leaving the handful of writers and guests who viewed the film stunned, enchanted, some close to tears as Puli is executed after a bloody battle.

Indeed, the story of Hermano Puli must be told, the Filipino hero who stands alone in leading a revolt agains Spanish authorities in the name of religious freedom. To date, the cult he founded, Cofradia de San Jose, has a number of followers, especially in the town of Lucban where he was born.

Only Lucena City and Tayabas City in Quezon have simple monuments in honor of Hermano Puli or Apolinario de la Cruz.

But hopefully, the film will open the eyes – and hearts and minds – of people on the heroism of Puli, his agony and fury.

Kudos to the staff and cast of “Hermano Puli,” most especially to producer Rex A. Tiri, who dared to bankroll such a worthy project, where others fear to tread.

ENSEMBLE ACTING – Aljur does justice to the role, giving it the perfect balance, neither over nor under acting. But the actor studied the part really well, to the point of “reliving” the places where Puli lived and ruled.

Must also give high credit to Louise de los Reyes as the devoted Cofradia follower, in love with Puli, who did not succumb to the temptation of the flesh.

Also to Markki Stroem as the Spanish officer who ordered the execution of Puli; Menggie Cobarrubias as the Spanish friar; Enzo Pineda and Vin Abrenica as Cofradia leaders; Rosa Pesigan as Puli’s brother.

It’s really ensemble acting as all players, whether big or small, performed well. Allen Abrenica, Abel Estanilao, Stella Cañete, Jun Nayra, Simon Ibarra, Kiko Matos, Bani Baldisseri, Archie Adamos, Diva Montelaba, Elora Espano, Johann Villanueva, Natiliegh Sitoy, Alvin Fortuna, Sue Prado, Bon Vibar, Kuya Manzano.

COMMENTS – Highspeed borrows the comments of educators who previewed “Hermano Puli.”

Anna Romana of Sucesos Filipinas — A film like this is welcome breath of fresh air for educators such as myself. It provides an excellent opportunity for students to discover lesser recognized heroes.

Dr. Federico Macaranas, Asian Institute of Management – Hermano Puli should be seen by our youth. Powerful message of faith vs. cult, youthful passion vs. single mindedness and less thought out mission, and tragic vs. heroic destiny.

Ann Gabuat, Mirriam College – The strength of the movie lies in the characterization of Hermano Puli, the inspiring yet unsung hero of Southern Tagalog. The film succeeds not only in defining heroism and religious freedom but more importantly in moving its audience to celebrate the bold and steadfast faith of the Filipino.