Jesuit Communications’ (JesCom) upcoming historical film, “GomBurZa”, has gained a new major supporter in the family of one of its chief protagonists.
Last October 27, Ms. Felicitas Silayan, a proud descendant of Fr. Jose Apolonio Burgos by way of the Xerez-Burgos line, visited the JesCom offices to voice her family’s full support for the latest entry to the 49th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). Receiving Ms. Silayan was JesCom Executive Director and GomBurZa Executive Producer Fr. Nono Alfonso, SJ, as well as Producers, Ms. Ernestine Tamana (JesCom Production Manager) and Ms. Pauline Mangilog-Saltarin (JesCom Creative Director), who were all very much delighted with the news of the family’s backing, as well as with anecdotes about their esteemed ancestor Dr. Manuel Xerez-Burgos. Also accompanying Ms. Silayan on her visit was Ms. Nena Divino, a longtime JesCom benefactor who was one of the pilgrims in its Lenten TV Special “Via Lucis: Sa Mga Yapak ni Hesus.”
Affectionately called “Hijo Mio”, Dr. Manuel Xerez-Burgos was the son of Antonia Burgos, the elder sister of hero-priest Fr. Jose Apolonio Burgos, and Manuel Xerez y Malo Molina, an officer in the Spanish Army. Manuel received his early education at the Colegio San Juan de Letran and later earned his medical degree from the University of Santo Tomas.
A notable quality of Manuel even at an early age, was said to be “his ability to influence people, garnering both respect and attention,” as author and descendant Ricky Xerez-Burgos writes in his biography. This innate ability paid dividends in early 1872, when Manuel successfully interceded between the Spanish Jesuits and the then 11-year-old Jose Rizal, to have the future national hero admitted to the Ateneo. Rizal’s older brother Paciano, was a student and good friend of Manuel’s beloved uncle, Fr. Jose Burgos, who actor Cedrick Juan plays in the film.
The 1872 execution upon charges of subversion of Fr. Mariano Gomes and Fr. Jacinto Zamora, alongside his uncle, would have a profound effect on Manuel and many of his well-educated peers. “That it was also a personal loss, may have served as a catalyst for his eventual participation in the liberal and reformist causes of his day,” describes Ricky Xerez-Burgos in the same biography.
Overwhelmingly grateful for the support and assistance of Ms. Silayan and the rest of the Xerez-Burgos family, JesCom is now more inspired than ever to do justice to the memory of Fr. Mariano Gomes, Fr. Jose Burgos, and Fr. Jacinto Zamora by telling their story accurately and with the respect it deserves on the silver screen. Directed by the award-winning Pepe Diokno, “GomBurZa” promises to shed light on the heroism of these priests and their significant role in Philippine history, uniting and inspiring the Filipino people in the ongoing fight for freedom and justice.
In appreciation for the Xerez-Burgos’ family’s utmost belief in JesCom’s second major motion picture, the media arm of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus has invited Ms. Silayan and her relatives to a special screening reserved for friends and benefactors.
“GomBurZa” hits cinemas on Christmas Day, December 25th.
For more news and updates on “GomBurZa”, follow the film’s official Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/GomBurZaFilm
Learn more about how you can be part of the story and be part of history, by supporting “GomBurZa”. Visit the film’s official webpage:https://jescom.ph/gomburzafilm/