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Dream movie: Bells of Balangiga

DREAM MOVIE – A dream movie of the late director Gil Portes was the Balangiga massacre which took place in 1901 in the small town of Balangiga, Eastern Samar. American soldiers burned the entire town and killed hundreds of its inhabitants in retaliation for the assault on their garrison, which left 40 or so of their comrades dead.

Gil titled his dream movie “Bells of Balangiga.” They were taken away by US soldiers as war trophies.

3bong copy copy

Those bells – two in the US and one in Korea – became big news when President Duterte, at his recent SONA, wanted those bells returned to the Philippines. “They belong to the Philippines. They are part of our national heritage.”

Sadly, that dream project didn’t materialize for lack of funding.

ACTORS CONSIDERED – Well, Gil was initially given P1 million as seed money by a US-based Filipino businessman, with the pledge to raise P100 million for the project.

He commissioned a writer (was it Butch Dalisay?) to do the first draft of the script and started considering actors for the lead role (the town mayor). He talked to Bong Revilla, Cesar Montano, and Richard Gomez, who were all interested. Gil wanted to enter the film in the Metro Manila Film Festival.

The title? “The Bells of Balangiga.”

Sadly, the promised P100 million never came, forcing Gil, much to his regret, to abandon the dream movie.

ROÑO, TOO – If I’m not mistaken, director Chito Roño also wanted to do the Balangiga project, with Robin Padilla in the lead part.

Understandable as Chito is from Samar.

But then, the ambitious project didn’t push through.

Perhaps, another director or producer would do it. Any takers?

In the meantime, the bells of Balangiga remain in American hands….not at all ringing.

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