Ganito Kami Noon…Paano Kayo Ngayon?


Eto ang tandaan ninyo, mga Pilipino din kayo – Nicholas Ocampo, Ganito Kami Noon..Paano Kayo Ngayon?


The story is about a simple but kind-hearted farmer named Kulas who was orphaned early in the beginning of the film by the death of his mother, his only known relative. Because of an errand for a priest, Kulas is swept on the tumultuous history of Philippine revolution as well as the struggle of the society to define itself after being freed from its colonial master.

The Gist: At first glance, the film seemed to be a simple love story between a simple young man and his beautiful yet ambitious love interest, but the movie subtly picks up important lessons along the way. What struck me in particular is how Kulas, at the beginning, has no idea of what a Filipino is, nor he doesn’t know any reason why he’s called as one. You see, in the old days, natives are called by the regions they live, or the islands they are from, and since the Philippines is an archipelago, a fragmented kind of nation surfaces, with each minority defining themselves through their narrowed viewpoint and not calling themselves Filipinos as a whole.

The Filipinos then have no sense of nationality, as a result of a long colonization of Spain. The film perfectly depicts that the Spaniards are not the only ones who abused the Filipinos, but fellow Filipinos as well, which makes it a lot sadder. Kulas had seen it all, the violence of the history, the cruelty and unequal treatment, as if his heartbreaks over Diding isn’t enough already. In the beginning, he was called Tagalog, and he used to call himself that way until the middle where he slowly grasped the problem with his society.

I guess what’s heartwarming with the story is in the end, Kulas was able to define and call himself as a Filipino. This is born out of a painful choice, but one he decided for himself and stood by until the end. The viewers will reach the same conclusion as Kulas did at the end of the film: Being Filipinos doesn’t only mean the physical ties we have with the land, or with tradition, or even with our family.

It means recognizing ourselves as the protector of this land, and protector of our fellow men. It is being able to fight a grander cause, fight for what is good for our country, and preserve the dignity and freedom our ancestors have fought for.

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