Heneral Luna, the historical biopic about one of our toughest national heroes, General Antonio Luna, premieres on September 9, in theaters nationwide.
Directed by Jerrold Tarog, the film puts veteran actor John Arcilla in the boots of the brilliant but hot-tempered general. The film aims to cast the infamous general in a different light, hoping to enlighten the audience more about his goals and principles in life.
Video via Jerrold Tarog's YouTube page
Undeniably, General Luna was one of the most admired heroes in Philippine history. His valor and ingenuity in the art of war have been etched in history books. He played a key role in liberating our nation too, and was the founding father of the military structure in use today. Also, his tragic death in the hands of Aguinaldo's men in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, will always be remembered.
But before you go and grab a tub of popcorn and watch the movie, we're giving you a quick history lesson on our moustache-sporting protagonist, and why he is revered as the most badass general in Philippine history.
Image via Wikicommons
1) HE WAS A DECORATED SCIENTIST
Before dedicating his life to the revolution, Luna was a man of science. After studying in Ateneo, he went to the University of Santo Tomas to study literature and chemistry. He won first prize for his chemistry paper titled "Two Fundamental Bodies Of Chemistry."
He also studied pharmacy, and had a doctorate degree in chemistry at the Universidad Central de Madrid. In 1893, he published a scientific treatise on malaria, which was well-received by the scientific community. A year after, he went back to the Philippines, and won the position as the chief chemist of the Municipal Laboratory of Manila.
2) HE ALMOST HAD A DUEL WITH JOSE RIZAL
Thankfully, both went the diplomatic route and we didn't end up prematurely losing either of our great heroes. So what happened? It turned out that Luna and Rizal were caught in a love triangle with Nellie Boustead. While in a party, Antonio had one drink too many, and was quite bitter about Pepe nabbing the girl. He spewed some unfriendly remarks toward Nelly, which instantly angered our national hero. He confronted Luna and even challenged him to a duel. In the end, Luna sobered up and apologized for his drunken actions.
3) HE'S COULD'VE BEEN AN FHM COLUMNIST
While in Spain, Antonio, together with a handful of expatriates such as Rizal and Graciano Lopez-Jaena, founded a Filipino propaganda movement that were responsible for the La Solidaridad, in which Luna penned his works under the name "Taga-Ilog".
Image via Wikicommons
4) HE WAS A MASTER MASON
Back in the 1800s, the world was big on secret societies like the Free Masonry. During his stay overseas, Luna joined the Masonry in which he rose to the rank of a master mason.
5) HE WAS A REAL ACTION HERO
If there would be a super group a la Stalllone's The Expendables during their time, there's no doubt that General Luna would be in it. He was a superb fencer (he opened the fencing club Salas de Armas with his brother, Juan), learned the art of arnis, and was a renowned sharpshooter.
6) HE WAS THE REAL FOUNDER OF THE PHILIPPINE MILITARY ACADEMY
After Emilio Aguinaldo appointed Luna as the Chief of War Operations and Supreme Chief of the Republican Army in 1898, Luna established a military school in Malolos known as the Academia Militar—the precursor to the present Philippine Military Academy.
Image via Wikicommons
7) HE HAD TWO ELITE UNITS
You know you're badass when you have an elite set of people serving you. Imagine General Luna as Attack On Titan's brazen leader, Commander Erwin Smith, with a dozen of elite Levi Ackerman-caliber operatives under his command, and you'll get a pretty good idea of his squad back then.
Back in the day, Luna had the "Luna Sharpshooters," who were famed for their fierce fighting style, and spearheaded almost every major battle in the Philippine-American war.
Luna also formed another special unit, "The Black Guard," which was a 25-man guerrilla squad composed of Luna's favorite soldiers.
8) HE BUILT "THE LUNA LINE"
During the war against the Americans, Luna devised a three-layered defense line located in a number of points between Caloocan and Angeles, Pampanga. Its purpose was to delay the Americans from advancing forward. They called it the "Luna Line." It was composed of numerous bamboo trenches stretching from town to town, filled with booby traps and poisonous snakes.
9) HE ONCE TOOK A BULLET TO THE STOMACH AND SURVIVED
General Luna plunged himself into so many dangerous battles and survived, but that doesn't mean that he came out unscathed. During the fiery "Battle of Santo Tomas" in Pampanga, Luna's horse got hit by a bullet in a crossfire. Both of them immediately fell down. When he was about to stand up, he realized that he had also been shot in the stomach.
Seeing the Americans drawing near, Luna cocked his pistol, committed to blowing his brains rather than being captured by the enemy. That was when his comrade-in-arms, Alejandro Avecilla, hurriedly rode to save the fallen general. When they reached a safe zone, Luna quickly examined his wound, only to find out that the bullet didn't fully penetrate his body thanks to a silk belt full of gold coins that absorbed the projectile's impact. Lucky!
10) HE WAS A BADASS EVEN DURING DEATH
Your history teachers might have told you about Luna's untimely death. The great general was allegedly set up by Aguinaldo, and was murdered in cold blood by his loyal men—struck with a bolo to the head, shot with tons of bullets, and stabbed over 3o times that it made his intestines pop out of his body. The mythology has it that those didn't immediately kill him. Drawing on his last breath, Luna managed to fire his pistol at them, even calling them "cowards" before collapsing to the floor.
Rumor has it that when his body hit the floor, his lifeless body turned to his right side via reflex, surprising his assailants. The guy just won't die without putting up a big fight.