Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo Movie Review

Jan 3, 2015

I'm no movie critic but I just would like to share my opinion about the movie that won the best picture for the MMFF 2014: 

Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo

"The revolution is not yet finished."
the Story

The story, of course, is about Andres Bonifacio, the Father of the Philippine Revolution. Nothing really new from the other facts we know about him from our history lessons and books but I guess, this movie just shows or justifies how he became or why he was called the first president of the Philippines.

But for foreign readers, let me tell you a little more about the story...
The movie is about Bonifacio's life and how he organized and led the Philippine Revolution against the Spaniards.

He was one of the founding members of Rizal's La Liga Filipina, an organization which called for political reforms in Spain's colonial government of the Philippines. But after Jose Rizal was arrested, Bonifacio, together with the others, revived La Liga Filipina which was lead by Andres himself.

He was able to gather men and lead them to fight against the Spaniards even though they lack weapons. And that is the main point why most historians consider him as the first Philippine president and that Katipunan is the first Philippine government.

The story revolves how badly Andres Bonifacio wants independence; so bad that he risked his life and lost his family just to finally end the cruelty of the Spanish colony. 

the Characters

Honestly, seeing Daniel Padilla on the posters and trailer made me think of watching the film. I feared that it would be more about him and Jasmine Curtis than of Bonifacio. I WAS WRONG. And I'm glad I was wrong!

Though there were other known artists in the movie like Eddie Garcia, Daniel Padilla, Jasmine Curtis, Ping Medina, Jerico Rosales and many others, their roles did not surpass the main character of the film, Andres Bonifacio.

I have high respect for Robin Padilla and I admit he's really a good actor but I personally believe they could have chosen someone else for the role. Robin Padilla is known as an action star and during the film, as he deliver the lines in his usual husky voice, it seemed like it's just one of his action/comedy films especially during the scene with his sister and Teodoro Plata.

Getting Daniel Padilla as an actor for this film is (for me) a great strategy to get the interest of younger audience since he's one of the heartthrobs now. And again, I'm glad that his appearances throughout the film and role was just minimal/short.

Vina Morales' acting was two thumbs up. Though she just cried at the last part of the movie and didn't really have many lines, I was able to feel all the pain her character went through. That's how great her acting skills were for this movie.

the Cinematography

This movie won the Best Picture because it really felt like I was watching an old history movie. They really put effort in their costumes and locations to make it look like it was filmed from the past.

Just watch it and see for yourself.


I liked this movie. It didn't exceed my expectation but I wasn't disappointed either. I was expecting to know new facts about him but this is still a good watch because at the end, it will make us rethink: "For so long, why did we have to label Andres Bonifacio a traitor when all he wanted and all he did was to fight for our country?"

Side Comment

I heard rumors that the reason why Bonifacio was not shown in Cavite is because there's a direct attack to Emilio Aguinaldo's reputation as the General and as the recognized first Philippine president.

And the reason why I mentioned this is because I was supposed to watch this movie in SM Bacoor Cinema, I was actually about to book my tickets through SM Cinema website when my friend confirmed that though it appears in the SM Cinema website, it's not showing in the said SM branch. That's why we went asking others about it. I hope it's just rumors (that they'll show it by the 2nd week of January) and no hidden political reasons.

my Two Cents

Though I'm from Cavite, based on the history I've read before and based from this movie too, I also believe that Andres Bonifacio is the first president of the Philippines. It may not be formal and officially recognized but he was able to organize a reform group during a very crucial state.

As argued in the movie, without Andres Bonifacio and his Katipuneros (team), the Philippines wouldn't have moven forward. Bonifacio stood up and led his people. He inspired other provinces and the Filipino people to revolt against the injustice of the Spaniards.

Though a lot of Filipinos died through Himagsikan (revolution), who are we to say that it wasn't the best way to fight the Spaniards? We weren't there to say what's best and if Bonifacio didn't do what he did, could you think of someone who would stand up and fight for our freedom?

1 comment

  1. many people said this is a good movie. will watch this soon.