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MANILA, Philippines – Remember MaJoHa?
That’s how teenage contestants of Pinoy Big Brother once labeled Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora, three martyred Filipino priests more popularly known as GomBurZa. It was a mistake that went viral in April 2022, exposing gaps in the Philippine education system which is now one of the world’s laggards.
The martyrdom of GomBurZa on February 17, 1872, was a turning point in the history of the Philippines, which at that time had been a Spanish colony for three centuries. Their execution awakened national hero Jose Rizal and inspired the revolutionary group Katipunan, a point lost on many Filipinos who know little about the country’s past.
It’s this historical amnesia that the film GomBurZa, produced by Jesuit Communications and the Pangilinan-owned MQuest Ventures, seeks to fight using a potent language of the 21st century: movies.
The film’s producers unveiled its one-minute trailer on Thursday, October 12. Watch it here:
GomBurZa features Dante Rivero as Padre Mariano Gomez, Cedrick Juan as Padre Jose Burgos, and Enchong Dee as Padre Jacinto Zamora. Matinee idol Piolo Pascual plays the role of Padre Pedro Pelaez, who is Burgos’ mentor.
The film is directed by Pepe Diokno, an award-winning director whose debut film, Engkwentro, tackled vigilante killings in the Philippines and won at the 2009 Venice Festival. He is the son of human rights lawyer Chel Diokno and the grandson of the freedom fighter and Marcos critic Jose “Ka Pepe” Diokno.
In the trailer, the martyred priests are seen in critical parts of their lives, including their trial and execution. “Ang nagsindi ng alab sa puso ng mga Pilipino (They who ignited the hearts of the Filipino)” is how the video describes GomBurZa. “Buhay pa ba ang alab sa puso mo?” (Is the fire in your heart still burning?)
The trailer ends with faint notes from the Catholic song Pananagutan, composed by the late great Jesuit composer Father Eduardo Hontiveros, a nod to the religious provenance of the film produced by the religious order running Ateneo.
“Walang sinuman ang nabubuhay / para sa sarili lamang…” goes the song Pananagutan – a message meant to touch the hearts of Generation MaJoHa. – Rappler.com