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Los Ultimos de Filipinas

4 February 2012

Los Ultimos de Filipinas” is a 1945 Spanish biographical war film directed by Antonio Román. “The Last Ones of the Philippines”, in English, this film tells the tale of the Spanish soldiers who fought in the Siege of Baler against the Katipuneros. This moment in history is referred to as “The Disaster of ’98” in Spain.  The Siege of Baler lasted from the 1st of July, 1898 until the 2nd of June, 1899. During these 11 months, the Spaniards were isolated in a church that became their fortified position. The Spanish troops were a small garrison of 50 soldiers under the charge of Lieutenant D. Juan Alonso Zayas. The Spanish soldiers fortified the church and resisted the constant attacks for 11 months without provisions.  They faced approximately 800 Katipuneros.

Note that the film takes many liberties — portraying the Katipuneros as inept soldiers, among them.  The reality: the Filipino generals were instructed by President Aguinaldo to use diplomacy to end the stand-off.   The officers of the besieged detachment turned away all emissaries — Filipino and Spanish.  The Americans also made an appearance, when Marines aboard the gunboat SS Yorktown attempted to relieve the Spanish soldiers.

Click the image above to watch the movie (which lasts 1:28) in its entirety.  While predominantly in Spanish, some lines for “Filipinos” were in Tagalog. Some, in bad Tagalog — “Itong babae sinunog ng bahay” (at 41:43).  [06 May 2013 Update:  The film can no longer be viewed and is now private.]

The incident was also the inspiration for a Filipino-produced movie, “Baler“, which was released in 2008.

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