The Reign of Historical Narratives in the Philippine TV and Film Industry

The Reign of Historical Narratives in the Philippine TV and Film Industry

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Filled with stories of notable characters from the pages of Philippine history, these on-screen works draw inspiration from our nation’s past

What is the most crucial element of a historical TV series or film? The first that probably comes to mind is its cast, but that’s a given. The second might be its location, and the third is it needs to have a good production team. However, these history-based stories break free from these limitations and provide a more authentic portrayal of the past. 

RELATED: GMA Champions the Modern Retelling of History in ‘Maria Clara at Ibarra’

It is often easy for writers to fall back on stereotypes or popular narratives that may not necessarily be accurate on the nation’s past. But the Philippine entertainment industry has been recently proving that they can offer historical realities through in-depth research and nuanced storytelling. 

Mga Lihim ni Urduja 

This female-led fantasy series connects the present culture of the Philippines to its precolonial past. During its first few weeks, the production team has been delivering a colorful and immersive presentation of Philippine culture. Beyond its palpable cinematography, the show also aims to showcase the innate strength of women, a theme that is presently celebrated by traditional media. The graphic storyline was dubbed as GMA’s mega series of 2023 as it is created using the advanced technology of the network. That’s why fans of fantasy and Philippine history alike are eagerly anticipating every episode of this new series.

Head writer and concept creator Jojo Nones also mentioned that the story’s purpose includes educating the youth. They want the current generation to understand that historical stories, Philippine culture, and socio-political histories are colorful like our neighboring countries. 


Dante Rivero as Padre Marian Gomez at GomBurZa
Enchong Dee as Padre Jacinto Zamora at GomBurZa
Cedric Juan as Padre Jose Burgos at GomBurZa

Jesuit Communications is set to produce a powerful and poignant recount of a dark moment in Philippine history through the film, GomBurZa. The story revolves around the execution of three Catholic priests, namely Padre Mariano Gomez, Padre José Burgos, and Padre Jacinto Zamora in 1872, on charges of subversion. The film features an all-star cast with Dante Rivero, Cedrick Juan, and Enchong Dee playing the lead roles of the priests, while Piolo Pascual takes on the role of Padre Pédro Pelaéz, the mentor of Padre José Burgos. 

Directed by Pepe Diokno, with a screenplay by Rody Vera, the film is set to be another breakthrough storyline that will remind the Gen Z demographic of the Philippines’ distant past and how it still affects our present lives. Through this cinematic recount of history, viewers will be transported back in time and given a glimpse of the courage and sacrifice of these three men who stood up for what they believed in, even in the face of persecution and injustice.

Mga Ibong Mandaragit 

Leading to the direction of a possible historical multiverse by GMA, fans of the recently concluded Maria Clara at Ibarra are excitedly anticipating a possible spinoff after the conclusion of the series. The collective signals of such theory were driven by the revealed identity of Mr. Torres, Klay’s professor and ​​a character shrouded in mystery throughout the series. In the conclusion of the show, the mention of Mga Ibong Mandaragit by Amado Hernandez suggests that other novels may also serve as a plot source. 

Meanwhile, head writer Suzzette Doctolero added to the speculation on social media, implying that this is not a complete farewell for the show. Actor David Licauco, who played Fidel, also teased his fans in his farewell caption that says, “signing off (for now).” This exciting pool of theories formed after the spike of support for Maria Clara at Ibarra would not only cater to the wishes of fans, but will also further cement GMA’s status as a pioneer in bringing historical series to the contemporary scene.

Photos from GOMBURZA (via Facebook)

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