Heneral Luna: The Hero that our Generation Needs

Heneral Luna, a movie launched in 2015, still resonates with us today, four years later. Let me share my review of this movie four years ago, a few days after it was initially shown in cinemas with only a dozen viewers. It is by word of mouth that this movie got popular and gained more attention with the help of independent film showings. Thank goodness for that!

But before the review, a little background…

The Inspiration: Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil’s Essay

This is a little-known fact, but something that everyone must know. The inspiration for the Heneral Luna movie is actually the essay written by Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil, entitled A Plot to Kill a General.

This essay is included in the book Heroes and Villainswhich is a great collection of essays by the famed historian and journalist. This essay was also published in Philippine Star in October 2008.

At the home of Mr. Ismaél G. Cruz and his wife, Mrs. Bessie Ocampo-Cruz.

A copy of this book is hard to find nowadays. We were lucky to receive the last copy from Mr. Ismaél G. Cruz, son of Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil, himself! Mr. Cruz is also the great-grandnephew of our national hero, Jose Rizal.

Kudos to director Jerrold Tarog, who co-wrote the movie with Henry Francia and E.A. Rocha. The movie was produced by Artikulo Uno Productions. (What exactly is Artikulo Uno? Watch the movie and find out!)

For those studying or using the movie as a teaching material, here is a downloadable Heneral Luna study guide created by Alvin D. Campomanes.

Heneral Luna is currently available for streaming at Netflix.


Heneral Luna: A Review

If you haven’t seen Heneral Luna, then you are definitely missing out on a lot. There is a reason why netizens clamoured to bring the film back to theaters nationwide (in 2015).

One can assume that the movie is all about glorifying a Philippine hero, like what has been done in previous period movies like Jose Rizal, Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo, El Presidente, and a lot more. But the movie Heneral Luna is more than that. Much, much more.

Cast and Characters: More than Just Temper

The actors were not chosen for their name recall (for which our showbiz industry is very much reliant on), but for their acting quality.

And yes, thank goodness for that! John Arcilla, Noni Buencamino, Leo Martinez, Joem Bascon, Mon Confiado, Archie Alemania, Epy Quizon and Ronnie Lazaro are but a few of the cast who have shown us what it is like to create a movie where actors have honed their acting craft to the fullest. No “pabebe” acting here, if I must say so. When they assumed their characters, they inhaled the air of the era more than a century ago and played the role as if it was their skin.

I no longer saw John Arcilla – I saw a general fit to run amok during war time and punish soldiers with no sense of discipline. He breathed life to a Filipino hero who was usually reduced to just a temperamental general with anger management issues and a stylish mustache. 

I thank the writer-director Jerrold Tarog for introducing me to General Antonio Luna, a three dimensional character who has hopes, dreams, aspirations, frustrations. There was a purpose behind his strict disciplinarian measures. He was quick to anger, but was always resolute and sometimes even funny. For him, there is no grey area between love for country and self-preservation, there is only black and white. He actually reminded me of my own grandfather.

Cinematography: Artfully Rendered

One of the things I look for in a film (apart from the story and storytelling) is its look. With hundreds, if not thousands, of films being released each year, we all look for a certain picture quality. The color, the blend, the framing, the texture, the camera movement and the angles are just some of the things that make for great cinematography. Cinematography sets the overall mood and assists visually in effecting storytelling.

Heneral Luna did not disappoint in this aspect. The movie was artfully rendered. If I really must compare, Heneral Luna somehow reminds me of Rurouni Kenshin Live Action movie. These movies are Hollywood commercial film material! It pains me to have to compare this film to those shown in Hollywood. I mean, does one really need to say these things just to promote it to his fellow Filipinos? Do we belong among those who, like Heneral Luna said, open their legs wide for Americans to enter? Para kang birhen na naniniwala sa pag-ibig ng isang puta! Ouch.

The beautiful cinematography of Heneral Luna is far better than many commercial films in the Philippines today. Period.

Reminiscent Storytelling

Unlike other historical films depicted in a straight line, the story of Heneral Luna was presented differently. The trend with Filipino life story films is to start when the character was young, then grew up, encountered a life-changing moment, faced the peak of his life, and then died. Heneral Luna started with the main character already at the peak of his life – the most brilliant general of a nation fighting to be reborn as a free country. It did not dwell on the mundane acts of childhood and growing up years (albeit this were shown for a bit), for that which I am thankful.

The movie showed mostly the time when the Filipinos were fighting the Americans during and right after Spain sold the Philippines to United States. It won’t be a wartime story without showing war itself, and it did. The exchange of gunshots and canon fire, cowardly soldiers running away, dismembered carcasses littering the field and exploding heads for all its blood and glory – these were not lacking.

Of course, Heneral Luna will not be complete without having to show Antonio Luna’s brother, Juan Luna, who is a famous artist and hero as well. 

*SPOILER ALERT (if you still haven’t seen this after four years!)* If you have a keen eye, you will notice a couple of Juan Luna’s works depicted in the movie, not as paintings but as tableau. Look for The Parisian Life during Antonio Luna’s life story flashback (care of his mother) and Spolarium after Heneral Luna and his aide were killed. The Spoliarium’s tableau is hard to miss.

We Are Joven

I absolutely love Heneral Luna. And I will watch it again when shown in theaters near me. If and when it is officially released in DVD, I will definitely buy an original copy. I feel like it is my responsibility to show a film like this to my family and future kids.

Amidst the war, the General was shown as being interviewed by a certain joven – which literally translates to youth or the young generation. 

But this joven is merely a depiction of us – the Filipinos of today. Antonio Luna was speaking to us, telling us of the nation that we need to build, the values we need to take to heart, the principles we need to keep in mind and the challenges we will have to face head-on.

Heneral Luna embodies our soul as Filipinos. It slapped us with the truth that we are a nation whose freedom is not absolute; whose sense of nationalism is hollow and naught but ash; whose sense of self-worth is defined by connections and money. It hurts but it is the truth. The moment that we realize this, the minute we accept it, that is when we can truly start embracing our country as it needs to be loved.

Heneral Luna is a film that shakes the very core of our perceived nationalism and forces us to face our deepest, darkest enemy — ourselves.

Reicin’s Kitchen: A Little Slice of Heaven

Ever since we moved to San Pablo City, we’ve been constantly looking for great places to dine. We like cooking (when we have the ingredients, which lately we don’t), but we also like trying out new things.

One of the places we’ve been eyeing for the past few months is Reicin’s Kitchen. This small burger joint is located along Balagtas Boulevard in San Pablo City. It’s always closed whenever we pass by, so we were only able to try it tonight, when one of our go-to restaurants was closed. And oh boy, am I glad we did!

The Ambiance 🏡

One look and you know that it’s a family business. Why, the restaurant is simply a converted garage. Tables lined the space, with string lights brightening the place up. It’s a no-expectations restaurant. You can come here in your shorts and slippers and you wouldn’t be ashamed to eat. It somehow looks like it can be a bar, but since the dining areas are just outside the family homes, it’s likely that they decided not to offer alcoholic drinks to avoid scuffles so close to home.


Towards the back of the garage-slash-dining-area, it smelled a bit like dogs, which is why I opted to move to a table closer to the gate. This is the only downside for me. I don’t have any qualms with eating at a converted garage as long as it’s clean.

The Food 🍔 & The Price 💰

Not only was I surprised to find out that they serve more than burgers, I was more than shocked about how good the food was! We ordered Pork Ribs, Chicken Fingers and Bacon Mushroom Melt Burger.

I’m a burger person. Whenever I’m feeling down, my husband knows that one thing that would make me feel better is a great burger. Now my standard for Bacon & Mushroom Melt is the one from Wendy’s. Imagine my surprise when I tasted Reicin’s version. It tasted really great! The burger patty was flame-grilled and really juicy. I must admit that Wendy’s is still my top choice, but this very much runs second.

For a really good burger at the price of ₱130, it’s a steal! 
CHICKEN FINGERS MEAL FOR ₱100
BACON MUSHROOM BURGER ₱130
BBQ PORK RIBS FOR ₱250
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The Pork Ribs was very satisfying as well. We got what looked like a little less than half a slab for ₱250. They also offered bigger portions for ₱300 and ₱350, but we opted for the smallest one because we don’t know how it would taste. It was awesome! The meat was tender, juicy and flavorful. It somehow reminded me of Perissos Ribs (also in San Pablo City, who offers a whole slab of pork ribs for ₱600). Maybe because I didn’t expect much, when I took a bite, I almost cried of happiness. It was that good.

Finally, the Chicken Fingers were also good. Not the very best I’ve ever tasted, but it passes my standards. There were several big pieces so for the price of ₱100 (including rice and side vegetables), it’s very affordable.

The Service 🙏

Whenever we dine out, we always expect our food to be served within 30 to 45 minutes. That’s how long it takes for good food to be served. If the place is full, you can also expect a busy kitchen so the service can be slower. It’s a good thing that we came at a good time. The place was around 40% capacity when we arrived (which quickly increased while we waited for our food). But by the number of people coming and going, it’s really a popular place. By now, I am no longer surprised!

So our food was served around 20 minutes, and it was a fine waiting time. The service was nothing out of the ordinary. They added a ₱20 service charge to our bill, but I would have tipped more. Remember guys, waiters and the kitchen crew don’t always earn enough, so make sure to leave tips if there’s no service charge.

Himig said, “Tatay, picture!”

Reicin’s Kitchen Rating: 4.5 Stars 🌟

I would have rated it 5 stars if they can eliminate the doggy smell towards the back, and if they have a place to wash hands! You’re a burger place, and people usually eat their burgers using their hands. If you have this, then you’re awesome in my eyes!

EDIT: They have a washroom, yey! I didn’t see it at first because it was hidden among the birds (LOL), but I’m happy they at least have a place to wash hands. AND they now provide food-grade plastic gloves. Nice.

Nevertheless, you have found a loyal customer in us.

For more information on this restaurant, visit Reicin’s Kitchen’s Facebook Page.

(Featured image from Reicin’s Kitchen’s FB page)

If you’re looking for a good place for staycation,why don’t you try Crosswinds Resort Suites?

Hello, Philippines!

Hi everyone!

Before anything else, let me first introduce myself. My name is Jairene Cruz-Eusebio. I am a wife to a loving husband named Ferdie, and a mother to a lovable kid named Himig.

I love the Philippines! Before I got married, we have traveled to many places in the country. Not only did we discover the picturesque parts of the country, but we were also able to glimpse a little of the culture and history of the places we visited.

You may have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of Philippine travel blogs. This is not going to be one of those. This is going to be a website about discovering our culture, learning more about our history, and digging deeper into what being a Filipino actually means.

I am by no means an expert in culture, history and language. I learn as I go, and I will share with you those learnings as I see fit. If you think there are some information that needs to be corrected, I am always open to listen. But please back it up with proof so we can have a fruitful conversation.

Why am I writing this blog in English? I once heard a writer say, “write in the language you are most comfortable with”. So that’s what I’ll be doing. And also, so that people from other countries who are interested in learning more about the Philippines would be able to understand it as well. This is why my guide to writing in Baybayin is also written in English.

If you are looking for something written in Filipino, we have our sister-website SulatKamay.com, which features fictional work written in the vernacular. For fictional work written in English, we also have ACosmicEncounter.com. But those websites are for fiction. Here in PerlasNgSilangan, we will focus more on the facts.

I consider this a journey for self-discover. We believe that in order for us to find our identity, it is necessary to look back on our history, culture and heritage. These three molded us into who we are today.

So without further ado,

Welcome to Perlas ng Silangan!

*Featured Philippine flag on thumb mark image by Kurious.

Museo ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas: The Money Museum

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

Museums are great venues to understand more about the history and culture of a certain place. If you want to understand the Philippines’ monetary system and trade structures way before our Spanish colonizers arrived in the country up until today, what better place to visit than the Money Museum of the Central Bank of the Philippines (Museo ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas)?

The Money Museum Location and Open Hours


The museum is comfortably located inside the compound of the country’s primary monetary authority, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. The compound is located at the corner of A. Mabini and P. Ocampo Streets, in Malate, Manila. The Museo ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is different from the museum located right next to the BSP compound, named Metropolitan Museum of the Philippines (we'll visit this one on a different day!).

The Money Museum is open from Mondays to Fridays, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, with a one hour lunch break from 12 noon to 1:00 pm. Anyone can come in and visit the museum, free of charge. However, the security is strict (what do you expect, it’s the Central Bank after all). You would need to bring a valid government ID before you are allowed inside. Proper attire must also be observed. No sleeveless and short skirts for women. No sleeveless or sando and shorts for men. You must be wearing closed shoes.

At the front gate, you will be required to present your ID, write your name and other pertinent details in a piece of paper, and you must state the purpose of your visit. You can just tell them you are there to visit the museum inside. You will be given an access pass that you can only use for the museum doors. You will not be allowed to visit other areas of the compound, so don’t even try.




Museo ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Tour


Once inside the museum, you will be asked to watch a video presentation of what the museum is all about. Here is a description of the museum based on their brochure:

As repository and custodian of the country’s numismatic heritage, the Museo collects, studies and preserves coins, paper notes, medals, artifacts and other monetary items to show the nation’s rich legacy.
The Museo is designed to walk the visitor through the different periods of the country’s history. Each gallery is dedicated to a specific period and the evolution of the Philippine currency is traced alongside the development of the economy.

Exciting Finds


Money Museum Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (7)The museum has an extensive collection of monetary units used during the pre-colonial times, during the Spanish, American and Japanese periods, up until today. Before the arrival of the Portuguese Magellan, early Filipinos trade and barter using various products as currency. Rice, precious metals and even tea were used as currency. In fact, the word salapi, which currently means money or paper tender, is actually a word used to refer to bundles of freshly harvested rice.

As for precious metals being used for trade, these metals were formed not only into jewelry, but also into animals and other items! There were crocodile money, rooster money, knife money and cannon money. I was hoping to see jewelries or precious items inscribed with the ancient script, but there were none.

Through the museum, I found out that there even was some rebel-created money, called the Resistance Currency, circulated during the Japanese occupation. It was one of the ways of the rebels and of the locals to defy the Japanese government. There was a different resistance currency for every province that opposed the Japanese government.

Money Museum Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (16)We were also astonished to find the biggest paper bill produced in the country: the ₱100,00 note. The size is 8.5 x 14 inches, the biggest legal tender note produced by our very own Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Only 1,000 pieces were produced.

The museum also houses various Philipine medals that commemorate important events in the country, mainly the anniversary of independence. Other medals during the Spanish and American occupation are also on display.


If you ever visit the Money Museum, let us know what you think!

In the mean time, check our photos below for a preview of the Money Museum.

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