The year is 1900. The setting is a sleepy, small village in the Philippines. A group of American soldiers arrive to secure the area and rid of it any rogue elements. It’s nothing new to the villagers of San Isidro.
They’ve been under the Spanish rule, until recently. It’s the same white people in different clothes (nice blue wool shirts and cream colored khaki pants, I might add). The man in charge of this barrio is Rafael (one of the biggest name in Filipino cinema, Joel Torre).
He has a difficult task of pleasing both the occupying force and the rebels, in which his brother, Simon (Ronnie Razaro) and his young son are part of. Freed by the American soldiers, a Spanish priest (Yul Vazquez) becomes somewhat unreliable liaison for the occupying force. Lt. Compton (Garret Dillahunt) is an idealistic greenhorn who has to grapple with the band of unruly, uneducated, racist soldiers while trying to win hearts and minds of the villagers.
Did I lose any of you so far?
Raise your hand if you ever heard of the Philippine- American War.
Raise your hand if you knew that a million Filipinos were killed in that conflict.
Okay, I didn’t either, and I was pretty good at World History in school back in the day.