Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo

Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Enzo Williams
Produced by Rina Navarro[1]
E.A. Rocha[1]
Written by Enzo Williams[1]
Carlo Obispo[1]
Keiko Aquino[1]
Starring Robin Padilla
Vina Morales
Daniel Padilla
Music by Von de Guzman
Cinematography Carlo Mendoza
Philippians Productions
Release dates
25 December 2014 (Philippines)
Country Philippines
Language Filipino
Budget ₱90 million
Box office ₱10 million

Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo (lit. "Bonifacio: The First President") is a 2014 Philippine historical action drama film centering on the life of Katipunan revolutionary Andres Bonifacio.It is an official entry to the 40th Metro Manila Film Festival. The film is a box office bomb earning only ₱10 million against its ₱90 million budget.


The film begins with the execution of GOMBURZA in 1872. The story then flashes forward to the present day where high school students Joaquin (Daniel Padilla), Andrea (Jasmine Curtis-Smith), and Gary (RJ Padilla) visit Museo ng Katipunan.

Flashback: On July 3, 1892, Dr. Jose Rizal (Jericho Rosales) brings together La Liga Filipina, a peaceful reform movement that aims to unite all Filipinos and give them one voice. One of its members is Andres Bonifacio (Robin Padilla), who is currently supporting his siblings, as both their parents died due to illness. Rizal is later arrested after the Spanish authorities uncover the organization. Bonifacio then decides to form the Katipunan to lead a revolution against the Spanish colonizers. With the help of his friend Teodoro Plata, he meets Gregoria de Jesús (Vina Morales), who is also known as Oriang. Their relationship develops, and they finally marry after Oriang’s parents give their approval. Recruiting additional katipuneros continues the following day; one of their recruits is a mayor named Emilio Aguinaldo.

In the present, the museum curator decides to guide the students towards the truth about Bonifacio, to enlighten them amidst the wrong historical information in their textbooks.

Back in the past, the Katipunan starts publishing the newspaper “Ang Kalayaan” through the printing press of the Diario de Manila. They distribute the paper to their fellow countrymen to further expand the organization. Spanish authorities then begin to grow wary of anti-government activities. Oriang gives birth to their first child who later dies early due to smallpox. Meanwhile, a katipunero named Teodoro Patiño reveals the Katipunan to his wife, who is a nun. His wife persuades him to tell the parish priest. The Spanish authorities learn of the Katipunan’s existence, and many Filipinos who are suspected to be members are executed. Realizing what happened, Bonifacio decides to call all the leaders and members of the Katipunan to go to Tandang Sora’s house, where they hold the Cry of Balintawak and establish him as the "True First President of the Philippines". On the evening of August 29, 1896, Bonifacio’s faction finally starts the Philippine Revolution but later suffer numerous defeats in contrast to Aguinaldo’s faction.

Aguinaldo’s comrades are concerned that the revolution might die under Bonifacio’s leadership. They advise Aguinaldo to urge Bonifacio to come to Cavite to reunify the factions of the Magdiwang and Magdalo and hold an election for it. Aguinaldo is elected president, while Bonifacio is only elected interior minister. A Magdalo member named Daniel Tirona objects to his election and insults him, angering Bonifacio who challenges Tirona to a duel. Feeling discriminated, Bonifacio then voids the convention as Supremo of the Katipunan. The newly formed, Aguinaldo-led revolutionary group is concerned about the unity of Katipunan after failing to persuade Bonifacio to join them. Aguinaldo orders the capture of Bonifacio, during which Bonifacio is stabbed at the neck and suffers a gun shot at his arm. His brother Ciriaco is shot dead, while his other brother Procopio is beaten, and his wife Oriang possibly raped by Col. Agapito Bonzón. Suffering from his untreated wounds, Bonifacio tells his wife Oriang of his dream of finally achieving his wish of the country’s independence against Spain. Andres Bonifacio and Procopio Bonifacio are sentenced to death.

Present day: The students finally learn the truth about Bonifacio. Joaquin then decides to share what he learned with his classmates: the “true” story of Bonifacio, the First President of the Philippines.

At the end of the film, Bonifacio is shown holding his personal flag aloft while leading his troops in a charge against Spanish forces. His personal flag then slowly turns into the present Philippine Flag. In the post-credits scene, Antonio Luna did a cameo appearance (This is an actual part as a preparation for the film entitled Heneral Luna).


Supporting cast

Additional cast


Philippians Productions is the studio responsible for the conception of Bonifacio. Enzo Williams, a Los Angeles City College graduate was the director for the film. Williams was aided by cinematographer Carlo Mendoza, production designer Roy Lachica, musical scorer Von de Guzman, and stunt director Sonny Sison who has worked for Hollywood. Poducers are Rina Navarro and Eduardo Rocha[2]

According to Williams, he did six months of research before working on the film.[3] The film was entirely shot using an Arri Alexa camera with anamorphic lenses and a complete Arri Raw post-production workflow, and was edited using processes which are also used in major Hollywood movies such as Gravity and Iron Man 3. Bonifacio is the first film in the Philippines to device the technology.[2][4]

Robin Padilla, who usually does his own fight choreography entrusted himself to the production staff's hired choreographer.[4]

A part of the film was shot at the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan.

Williams supervised the work of the location managers to locate a suitable location for a scene during the shooting of the film. The production staff resorts to a building sets if a suitable location for a certain scene satisfying Williams' standards can not be found. The fort of El Polvorin, the Aguinaldo Shrine and the house of the La Liga Filipina meetings were among those recreated as sets.[4] Part of the film was shot in Pagsanjan where the production staff erected a big battleground set for a scene.[5] Shootings also took place at the heritage resort of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan.[6] The production expenses of the film exceeded the original budget.[5] The production budget for the film is ₱90 million excluding expenses for the promotion of the film.[7]

Regarding on the casting of the Gregoria de Jesus, Bonifacio's wife also known as Oriang, in the film, Williams asked star actor Robin Padilla, who portrayed Bonifacio for his opinion and suggest Vina Morales to portray Oriang. Iza Calzado was originally the one to portray the role of Oriang, but did not due to scheduling conflicts.[5]

The film was initially planned to be released under the title Bonifacio, Gusto Mo Ba Siyang Makilala? (English: Bonifacio, Do you Want to Know Him?).[8]


The film opened on December 25, 2014, but the film did not do well at the box office. Robin Padilla said that the movie only earned ₱10 million against its 90 million budget. The film ended its theatrical run at the 7th place.[9]


Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo managed to win the most awards at the awarding night of the 40th Metro Manila Film Festival among the eight entries for the mainstream category of the film festival with nine awards including Best Picture. The awarding ceremony was held at the PICC Plenary Hall on December 27, 2014.[10][11]

Year Award-Giving Body Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result
2014 Metro Manila Film Festival Awards[10][11] Best Picture Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo Won
Best ActorRobin PadillaNominated
Best ActressVina MoralesNominated
Best DirectorEnzo WilliamsNominated
Best CinematographerCarlo MendozaWon
Best Sound EngineerWild SoundWon
Best Musical ScoreVon de GuzmanWon
Best Theme SongVon de GuzmanWon
Gat Puno Antonio Villegas Cultural AwardBonifacio: Ang Unang PanguloWon
FPJ Memorial Award for ExcellenceBonifacio: Ang Unang PanguloWon
Best Float AwardBonifacio: Ang Unang PanguloWon
Youth Choice AwardBonifacio: Ang Unang PanguloWon


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 simply amazing. "BONIFACIO: ANG UNANG PANGULO". Pinoy TV Magazine. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  2. 1 2 Red, Isah (22 December 2014). "Robin Padilla's serious take on Philippine history". Manila Standard Today. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  3. Policarpio, Allan (23 December 2014). "MMFF 2014: Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 Salvador, Bubbles (1 December 2014). "Robin Padilla reveals P90 million budget for Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo" (in English and Filipino). Philippine Entertainment Portal. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  5. 1 2 3 Bautista, Jude (15 September 2014). "Vina and Robin reunite for 'Bonifacio'". Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  6. Guerrero, Amadís (12 September 2014). "Bataan: On the set of Bonifacio". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  7. "Robin Padilla Reveals Production Budget For "Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo"". Philippine News. 2014-12-01. Retrieved 2015-11-21.
  8. Cabacungan, Gil (26 December 2014). "Robin Padilla film sparks fresh debate on who was 1st president". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  9. "Repeating Bonifacio's tragedy". Manila Times. 2015-01-05. Retrieved 2015-11-20.
  10. 1 2 "'Bonifacio,' 'English Only' win big at 40th MMFF". ABS-CBN News. December 28, 2014. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  11. 1 2 "MMFF 2014 winners revealed; Jennylyn Mercado and Derek Ramsay win top acting awards". Philippine Entertainment Portal. December 28, 2014. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
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