Philippine history is the stuff of drama. Television viewers will see it unfold starting October 19 when GMA-7 begins airing its first historical mini-series “Katipunan.”
The eight-part docudrama will follow the arc of the revolutionary movement, from its founding by Andres Bonifacio to its initial battlefield successes to the capture of Emilio Aguinaldo by the Americans. But nestled in the sweep of history are the personal dramas of the protagonists, like the love story of Bonifacio and his devoted wife Gregoria de Jesus.
Sid Lucero leads the cast as Bonifacio, while Glaiza de Castro plays the hero’s wife Gregoria. Also part of the ensemble are Benjamin Alves, Dominic Roco, and Mercedes Cabral, and veteran actors Roi Vinzon and Soliman Cruz.
Many of the scenes were recreated and shot in the historic town of Taal in Batangas, which serves as set for Tondo in the 1890s.
“Katipunan” recreates late 19th century Manila in the streets of Taal. This stretch of Calle Jose Diokno was transformed into a busy side street where the indios, ilustrados and the guardia civil gather. The ancestral houses in Taal, preserved and protected to this day, provided an ideal backdrop for the show.
Portrayal of the Spanish guards was made as close to real as possible, from the acting as demonstrated by Asst. Director Maita Lupac down to the Mauser rifle replicas and detailed costumes.
In this sequence, a group of guardia civil passes through the busy side street where people sell and exchange goods, including poultry and live animals.
Wardrobe designer Rex D was commissioned to create 500 costumes for “Katipunan.” He said history books gave him inspiration for creating the overall look for the show.
Actors portraying indios — a term used by the Spanish to describe Filipino natives. Wardrobe designer Rex D says the color palette they chose was earth colors to represent the historical tone and treatment of the show.
The ornate women’s costumes as viewed from the back. These actors were wearing at least three layers of clothing in the sweltering heat.
Part of “Katipunan’s” wardrobe are these panuelos, used in the colonial times as a scarf to go along with women’s camisa. The panuelo is also used with the baro’t saya, the national costume for women in the Philippines.
Sid Lucero plays Andres Bonifacio, founder of the Katipunan. In this scene, Bonifacio enjoys an afternoon meal in the karihan when he is smitten by the beautiful Gregoria de Jesus as she passes by.
Gregoria de Jesus, or Oriang, is portrayed by Glaiza de Castro (left), here with Jill Palencia (right) who plays Juanita, Oriang’s companion. Katipunan will tell the story of the Andres-Oriang romance, and how the revolution affected their relationship.
A member of the crew measures the camera angle from actor Benjamin Alves as Glaiza de Castro and Jill Palencia take their spots. A special set of HD cameras was used in the shoot.
Women of Taal become the women of “Katipunan.” Taal locals were cast to play extras in the docudrama.
Spanish-born actor Kuya Manzano rehearses his lines with director King Marc Baco and other members of the crew. Manzano, who plays a teniente, suggests that some of his lines be spoken in his native tongue Spanish — even doing the translation himself!
Katipunan’s executive director Jayson Bernard Santos (left) and program manager Nowell Cuanang (right) supervise the shoot. Santos and Cuanang are both also producers at “Reel Time,” GMA News TV’s Peabody Award-winning documentary program. — Irvin Cortez, with Pia Faustino/CM/HS, GMA News
“Katipunan” premiers on October 19, 2013, 10:15 PM on GMA-7. Visit the official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KatipunanGMA.