What it took for Raymond, John to play heroes

/ 12:05 AM June 11, 2019
What it took for Raymond, John to play heroes

John Arcilla

In commemoration of Independence Day tomorrow, I am featuring two brilliant actors, John Arcilla and Raymond Bagatsing. They portrayed Filipino greats who made a difference in the history of our nation: General Antonio Luna (John) and President Manuel Quezon (Raymond).

I asked them what they learned from playing the title roles in “Heneral Luna” and “Quezon’s Game.” John and Raymond also shared how those monumental movies changed them.


Maligayang araw ng kalayaan, Pilipinas. No to being chained, yes to change.



I am familiar and indeed proud of the patriotic heart of Filipinos, even to the extent of martyrdom, laying one’s life for the needs of the majority. It has been told through countless stories of our heroes in the likes of Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio and many more. Yet, to go beyond one’s comfort zone, risking personal ambition and grandeur is the most profound lesson I have learned while portraying President Quezon.

I’m honored to be part of a culture, a people who have proven to the world that they are willing to love and help those who are in need, regardless of race or color. That inclusiveness is what constitutes the heart of a Filipino.

What it took for Raymond, John to play heroes

Raymond Bagatsing

I will forever be grateful for the privilege of being a part of a movie that reminds us that we’re all important in the eyes of God. It was a daunting challenge to undertake.

My mantra then was, “Sana hindi kami mapahiya. Ako si Quezon … ako si Quezon. It has changed me in ways that make me feel more confident in taking on more “out-of-the-box” roles and roles that can either make or break.


That passion and being aggressive can be mistaken for arrogance in the absence of diplomacy. Our dear Antonio Luna may have had the sincerest intention to save our country from colonizers, but his demeanor and temper led to his demise.

My portrayal of his character made me love my country more. It taught me the importance of restraint and moderation… that sincerity is different from truth and intention. These are lessons that I need to learn in order to practice the things that I surmised he unintentionally neglected to consider.


I still admire his dreams and aspirations, though there are things in his actions that, maybe, he could have avoided. I believe that the pressure bestowed on his shoulder to lead the fight against the country’s most powerful colonizer is not that easy to handle, considering that other influential Filipinos had to play politics for their own personal interests.

But there are other tactics he could have tried aside from indulgence to his rage and fury. He wasn’t perfect, and neither am I. That’s why introspection is vital in our daily existence.

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TAGS: Independence Day, John Arcilla, Raymond Bagatsing
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