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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Phillip Salvador ...
Daniel Reyes
...
Celso Resurrecion
...
Feliza Reyes
Andrew Schimmer ...
Lt. Jose Mota
...
Commandante Teodorico Luna Novicio
Carlo Aquino ...
Gabriel Reyes
DJ Durano ...
Pablo
Rio Locsin ...
Azon Reyes
Nikki Bacolod ...
Luming
Mark Bautista ...
Lope
Ryan Eigenmann ...
...
Michael De Mesa ...
Fr. Candido Gomez Carreno
Leo Martinez ...
Col. Calixto Villacorte
Alvin Anson ...
Gregorio Catalan Valero
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Love Is Worth Fighting For

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Drama | Romance | War

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25 December 2008 (Philippines)  »

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$2,000,000 (estimated)
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Trivia

Manager Wenn V. Deramas pulled out his talent, DJ Durano, from the production for alleged unfair treatment. Deramas said Deejay was hired as supporting actor, but he was only used as extra. Wenn said they accepted the Baler project despite the minimal talent fee, believing that Deejay would have a good role. Also for 10 straight days, Deejay's call time was 7 a.m., yet the actor had to wait for 10 hours for his take, the manager/director claimed. Wenn said he had to sacrifice the filming of Ang tanging ina n'yong lahat (2008) due to Deejay's absence for the filming of Baler. See more »

Soundtracks

Ngayon, Bukas at Kailanman
Original Theme Song Music Louie Ocampo
Lyrics by Edith Gallardo
Sung by Sarah Geronimo
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User Reviews

 
Expensive yet inert lesson on history
27 December 2008 | by (Philippines) – See all my reviews

"Baler" is a lavishly produced Marilou Diaz-Abaya-ish historical romantic epic that wouldn't feel out of place with Hollywood's favorite WWII-setting, except here the political situation is set in the late 19th century during the cusp between the final days of Spanish reign and the dawn of American colonization.

Mark Meily's emotionally hollow saga tells the story of doe-eyed Feliza (Anne Curtis), a young Filipina from the capital of Aurora province who falls in love with Celso (Jericho Rosales), a Filipino-Spanish soldier fighting for Spain as the once mighty empire is now on a losing battle defending its overseas territories from the US. Feliza's dad (Phillip Salvador) is an adamant anti-Spanish government fighter which means their love is anything but permissible, and thus are struggling to keep their relationship secret. Outnumbered and out-gunned by the Indios they once governed and abused, the Spanish soldiers in Baler, including Celso and buddy Lope (Mark Bautista), are now forced to hole up in a church as they wait for non-existent military reinforcements to rescue them from the band of Filipinos who have now surrounded them and are waiting for their surrender.

Feliza and Celso are such hackneyed portrayal lovers who are unfortunately caught in the horrors of a military conflict; Roy Iglesias' script thankfully doesn't dwell on their relationship too much, and Meily understates it in favor of focusing on the lives of the Spanish soldiers trapped by their leaders' (Baron Geisler and Ryan Eigenmann) ignorance-induced patriotism. Meily, director of acclaimed comedies "Crying Ladies" and "La Visa Loca," seems an unlikely choice for a serious war drama, but his image of the events is more comfortably reticent than historical weepies of, say, Joel Lamangan. Such restraint, however, comes at a price, as the story lacks an emotional core, where battle scenes - which are in the first place few and far between - lack a sense of urgency, and romantic scenes dutifully go through the claptrap.

It's a beautiful film, though, at least in terms of aesthetics. Curtis plays her damsel-in-waiting with such innocence and beauty that it blends perfectly with Lee Meily's cinematography of a 19th-century rural Philippines, contrasted by the pensively gray monochrome Celso and his mates inhabit. It would have been a nice portrait were "Baler" simply all about the visuals; but Meily, despite his most noble intentions, fail to give the movie its requisite pathos, reducing "Baler" to a story with the emotional effect of a high-school history textbook.


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