Fifteen years ago, two girls went missing and set off a series of events that led to what would later be called “Cebu’s trial of the century.”
While waiting for their father to pick them up, sisters Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong disappeared at a mall in Cebu. Accused of their rape and murder was Paco Larrañaga, a culinary arts student whose whereabouts that day had been confirmed by dozens of witnesses and photographic evidence. He was in Manila, 300 miles away from Cebu, and couldn’t have been anywhere near the victims.
There was a deafening clamor for immediate justice, not just in Cebu but throughout the country. So in a dramatic turn of events, the judge favored the plea of the Chiong sisters’ family and convicted Paco and six others for life imprisonment, a verdict which was eventually raised to death penalty due to pressure from the public and widespread media attention.
The trial became a game of chess where many players were involved and people kept moving their pieces. In the end, Paco was checkmated—he was imprisoned in Bilibid for years, his fate celebrated by many as it was seen as a triumph. He was not given a chance to speak or defend himself.
More than a decade since, filmmakers Marty Syjuco and Michael Collins give him a voice. They revisit old wounds and step into the many thorns of the Philippine justice system in their critically acclaimed documentary, Give Up Tomorrow. In addition to building a strong case for Paco’s innocence, the film exposes the messy scheme of events that surrounded the trial, revealing the interconnected complexities that permeate Philippine politics and culture.
Disclosing a collection of interviews with forensic experts, political analysts, and major players in Paco’s case, not to mention controversial pieces of evidence that were left uncovered for a long time, Give Up Tomorrow brings to light the lack of due process and the elaborate frame-up done through a shameless display of political favors.
The documentary begs the terrifying question: What if the so-called Cebu’s trial of the century was actually a mistrial?
Due to the film’s controversial subject, Syjuco and Collins had some trouble finding local venues for a commercial screening. In fact, no cineplex dared to screen it in Cebu, even for a premiere night. So the filmmakers, together with a small group of undaunted people, worked hard to bring it to Cebu, where it all started. Finally, after touring the world’s film festivals and reaping laurels left and right, Give Up Tomorrow came home to Cebu and had its very first screening there on September 26, 2012 , at the Marcelo B. Fernan Press Center.
In Metro Manila, some theater managers fortunately realized how important it is for many Filipinos to see this eye-opening documentary. Give Up Tomorrow will be screened exclusively at Robinsons Galleria and Robinsons Ermita and SM Cebu from October 3 to 9, and at Trinoma, Greenbelt 3, and Alabang Town Center from October 5 to 7.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebration at Marco Polo Plaza
Marco Polo Plaza will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Festival with the rest of the Irish community! It’s not only a feast of greens and four-leaf clovers but of good food too! From March 17 to 19, dig in and enjoy traditional Irish dishes and delights such as Irish Stew, Potato Nachos, Cheesy Reuben Loaf, Guinness Beef Stew Pot Pie, Beer Mac N’ Cheese and many more. These on top of the international lunch and dinner buffet at Cafe Marco. Complete the experience in true Irish fashion with an ice-cold mug of Irish Beer, also available at Cafe Marco.
Gastronomic adventures await at Café Marco! For inquiries and reservations, you can call (032) 253-1111. For real time updates, like the Facebook page at facebook.com/marcopolocebu or follow on Twitter at @5StarInCebu. Visit the website at www.marcopolohotels.com.
For inquiries and reservations, call 253-1111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
La Liga Henerales: Shaping History Awareness Back Again in Cebu
La Liga Henerales is a community of young talents passionately promotes historical awareness through periodic costumes carefully researched for its authenticity and accuracy and promoted as well in events and schools.
Only few individuals before were into pursuit in this historical awareness project until the age of communication where internet is convenient in the palm of our hands through our gadgets. New information travel fast and data is retrievable, yet also possess a disadvantage with the plethora of different social media platforms carried by various makers as well. In a daily basis, historical backgrounds are unearthed making its trend until now as new discoveries are released, but the idea of these information being shown and shared is as close as not valuing or commemorating to its sources leaving this information just a trend.
There is a certain community of Cebuanos that are taking a quest to rewrite and restructure what was in the past, filling the gaps in facts with further research of variable sources that are made debatable but sticks to it true cause, to unveil the truths of our heritage and our origins, as Cebuanos and as Filipinos as well.
La Liga Henerales is a Cebu-based, non-profit organization composed of a group of talented, committed and respectable individuals from different walks of life, schools and profession whose primary aim is to promote both, Cebuano and filipino culture and heritage that was depicted before in pre-colonial and colonial eras via re-enactment with costumes vested in proper research and investigation to achieve authenticity. They also push their cause on schools and other social gatherings promoting and spreading awareness about our local, and national heroes that we look up to. With these said, they also portray a closer look of the lifestyle of the past to where they perform stories, perform forgotten dances and rituals and portray their individual roles, vital in the fight of our country’s future during those challenging times, and in honor to spread awareness of the lost practices we had in those times.
Louis Kenneth Villaflor, an entrepreneur and an avid history enthusiast and costumer, founded the group on the purpose of re-educating the youth about real local and national history, he saw the opportunity to combine his favourite hobbies which is costuming and story role-playing and the process to instill the historical awareness and value among the youth and in schools, along with a group of fellow enthusiasts who shares his passion about research and history, they took it among themselves to be purposeful in the advocacy in spreading historical awareness in schools or events by wearing periodically correct costumes and sharing the stories and its value to the youth.
Behind the Garments
Meet Rodney “Pee-Wee” Senining, who has been in the fashion industry since the late 90’s, strives in concepts of avant-garde, innovation and cutting edge-fashion forward design. And also a teacher of Architecture, Fine Arts and Design of University of San Carlos, he had grown into research of books like the holy grail in the Library Resource Center and is always fascinated of the periodical times and how to preserve it; Hence, his interest had grown for the affinity of Periodical Costumes and Sustainable Fashion.
Being part of the group La Liga Henerales, he was tasked to instantly be their mentor for the young talents and as the organization is still new and developing with limited funds, resourcefulness and research were done to come up with a good output of photo shoot and was quite proud of it and still promise on the next editions of pieces to be more historically accurate. Even as teacher for Fashion Design in SAFAD, his expertise comes hand in hand with the members as he helps them do research as well. His passion and interest somehow led him with enough knowledge to key the insights of the significant periods and historical backgrounds of it.
Historical Awareness in Cebu
The strength and progress of a country is anchored on how well they know and honor its history. The means of historical awareness in Cebu is almost non-existent among the Cebuanos, although we push forward in tourism and promote beauty through sceneries and other aspects of culture yet never commemorate deeply on historical icons such as our other local heroes, and ancient cultures as well that is almost been forgotten in an urban Cebu. Nevertheless, as long as communities’ like La Liga Henerales are now evolving in a learning state by real discovery by multiple resources, this will always reflect of how we appreciate love, patriotism and honor to our country and would look forward to progress.