SINNER OR SAINT? – Is Hermano Puli (Apolinario de la Cruz), who founded Cofradia de San Jose in 1831 one or the other? Sinner or saint?
The question surfaced at the presscon of the historical biopic “And Hapis at Himagsik ni Hermano Puli.” Well, in the eyes of Spanish authorities, priest included, Hermano Puli is a sinner, a fake religious leader. But to his thousands of follower, especially in the province of Tayabas (now Quezon), Hermano Puli is a saint, one who taught them to adore God and love their fellowmen.
To date, centuries after his brutal death in the hands of Spaniards, there are followers and admirers of Hermano Puli. Some of them say he ought to be declared a saint as he remained faithful to the Catholic faith. He also remained celibate until his death at 27 even if he was refused admission to the priesthood.
ALJUR CELIBATE? – To which Aljur Abrenica, who plays Hermano Puli in the filmbio with much credibility, says he really lived the role, “Ako rin celibate.” That was during the shoot of the film.
Now, down with those eyebrows guys and gals of entertainment media. “Oo, pero ilang linggo…o araw or oras?”
“Bakit ayaw kayong maniwala?” asks Aljur, known to be a ladies’ man.
To which some media colleagues “threaten” to name names of actresses linked to Aljur.
No matter, historical researchers who helped director Gil Portes and scriptwriter Eric Ramos say that in all probability Hermano Puli really was throughout his short life. But one of his followers, played well by Louise de los Reyes, loved and adored him.
MODERN TOUCH – The theme song “Alamat” lends a modern touch to the video of “Hermano Puli.” Surely, it appeals to young people, one of the target audiences of the film about the forgotten hero. It was the brilliant idea of producer Rex A. Tiri.
But of course the music in the film itself is authentic chanting of the Tagalog pasyon.
The esteemed Sylvia Mayuga was impressed by Aljur’s acting. “The casting of young Aljur Abrenica as Manong Puli was felicitous. His perfectly controlled portrayal of Puli’s divine calling honors the price paid for an exalted mission.”
Now, sinner or saint, the question is debatable. But definitely, Hermano Puli is authentic hero.