Love triangle intertwined in the time of Aguinaldo's capture
The story of Chayong, Alfonsito and Alipio, imprisoned during the Fil-Am war in Quezon and how their lives changed during the revolution. Sarsi Emmanuel who played Chayong was hot in those days in the 80's, so when this movie was being promoted, it centered on the threesome of the three leads, something titillating during those peri EDSA times.
However, Peque Gallaga was able to masterfully weave the love triangle and the events that transpired during the capture of Emilio Aguinaldo, the youngest president of the Philippines. The backdrop showcased life in the early years of 1900, when Spaniards were still around, three years after "independence day".
Even that early, there was conflict even among Filipinos. The group that captured Aguinaldo, for example, were mostly Filipinos. The political situation in the small town in Quezon could very well be the situation in almost the rest of the country. Leo Martinez could very well be the typical two-face, immediately siding with the revolutionists when he saw the need for it. In other words, the time has changed, but the people are still the same -- trying to survive.
It's hard not to compare this with Gallaga's superior Ora Plata Mata. I don't think this movie was made just to show Emmanuel's skin (plenty of breast exposures), he took pain in details of costumes, production design and location. It's a good vehicle to show the Fil-Am times in the early 1900, a glimpse of our history. But the impact of say, Oro or Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos (O Hara), which also tackled life during the war (WW2) will be greater. Nevertheless , Virgin Forest is a treat to watch.
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