Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir

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Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir (Journey of a Young Saint)
Pedro Calungsod film official poster.jpg
Directed by Francis O. Villacorta
Written by Francis O. Villacorta
Starring Rocco Nacino
Christian Vazquez
Jestoni Alarcon
Ryan Eigenmann
Robert Correa
Victor Basa
Mercedes Cabral
Music by Noel Diño Espenida
  • Dexter Dela Peña
  • Steven Flor
  • Randy Cura
Edited by Tara Illenberger
Wings Entertainment
Distributed by HPI Synergy Group
Release dates
  • December 25, 2013 (2013-12-25)
Running time
107 minutes
Country Philippines
  • Filipino
  • Spanish
  • Cebuano
  • Latin
  • English
Box office Php 3.5 million[1](as of Dec. 29,2013)

Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir, also known as Journey of a Young Saint is a 2013 Philippine biographical film depicting the life and martyrdom of Saint Pedro Calungsod. Written and directed by Francis O. Villacorta and produced by HPI Synergy Group and Wings Entertainment, is an official entry to the 2013 Metro Manila Film Festival, and was released on December 25, 2013. Rocco Nacino stars as Calungsod, who is only the second Filipino canonised by the Catholic Church after Saint Lorenzo Ruíz de Manila.

This film serves as a movie adaptation of the docu-drama TV special aired on GMA News TV on October 21, 2012 as the canonization of the said saint where Rocco Nacino reprises his role to the film.

Background and development[edit]


The idea for the movie came to Villacorta three years ago when he came across two lengthy articles on Calungsod by John Schumacher, a Jesuit priest.[2] According to him, "Early 2011, I began digging deeper into the story of the young martyr by researching the story of his superior, Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores, and the San Diego Mission to the Marianas (now Guam)..."[2] The research of the film took two years while the pre-production spent almost a year.[3][4][5] According to the writer and director, Francis Villacorta, "Young people today can learn a lot from the heroic life of San Pedro Calungsod. Ordinary as he was, being a young catechist and mission assistant, the dedication to his work and his devotion to God is all too inspiring[...]this is a fascinating study of a young life all too willingly given up for the love of our Savior. Honestly, I believe our life on earth is all but a preparation for our reunion with Him, our Creator in the end..."[5] When asked how would they draw the attention of Filipinos to watch the movie, he stressed that the audience will appreciate the adventure, fears and tensions in the film.[6] He stated, "Just like him[San Pedro Calungsod], it was a short life but a meaningful one[...]There should be a celebration of Christianity which is our aim and hope of this film...".[6]

On June 2013, the script was submitted for the official selection of the 2013 Metro Manila Film Festival along with 12 other movies from various producers.[7] On June 18, 2013, Metro Manila Development Authority chairman, Francis Tolentino announced the movie as one of the 8 official entries of the said festival.[8]JM De Guzman was originally chosen to play the character of Calungsod, but withdrew due to health reasons.[9] According to his team, De Guzman is attending to some health concerns, it might take time for him to concentrate and focus on his work ahead.[9] On August 11, 2013, teen actor Rocco Nacino was announced as the official actor who will play Calungsod on the film.[10][11][12]


Main article: Pedro Calungsod
A statue of Calungsod featured in an earlier model.

Calungsod (spelled Calonsor in Spanish records) was born ca. 1654. Historical records never mentioned his exact place of origin and merely identified him as "Pedro Calonsor, El Visayo". Historical research identifies Ginatilan in Cebu, Hinunangan and Hinundayan in Southern Leyte, and Molo district in Iloilo[13] as probable places of origin. Loboc in Bohol also makes a claim.[14] These locations were parts of the "Diocese of Cebu" during the time of Calungsod's martyrdom.

Calungsod, then around 14, was amongst the exemplary young catechists chosen to accompany the Jesuits in their mission to the Ladrones Islands (Islas de los Ladrones or “Isles of Thieves”). In 1668, Calungsod travelled with Spanish Jesuit missionaries to these islands, renamed the Mariana Islands (Las Islas de Mariana) the year before in honour of both the Virgin Mary and of the Queen Regent of Spain, María Ana of Austria, who funded their voyage. Calungsod and San Vitores went to Guam to catechise the native Chamorros.[15][16][17][18]

In 1980, then-Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal asked permission from the Vatican to initiate the beatification and canonisation cause of Pedro Calungsod.[19] Wanting to include young Asian laypersons in his first beatification for the Jubilee Year 2000, John Paul II paid particular attention to the cause of Calungsod. In January 2000, he approved the decree super martyrio (concerning the martyrdom) of Calungsod, setting his beatification for 5 March 2000 at Saint Peter's Square in Rome.

Regarding Calungsod's charitable works and virtuous deeds, Pope John Paul II declared:


On 21 October 2012, Pope Benedict XVI canonized Calungsod in Saint Peter's Square.[21] After Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, Calungsod is the second Filipino to be declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.[22]


Filming of the movie takes place from September to November 2013.[2] A small community is set up in Lobo, Batangas to simulate the Marianas.[23] Location includes nipa huts and palm trees. The male population of the natives wear g-strings while the women use their hair to cover their breasts. Another huge structure is being built to serve as a chapel. Production even created a temple that is adorned with a huge Buddha and Chinese furnishing.[23] Some scenes also took place at Honey Beach Resort in Batangas,[23] Sapatos Island in Zambales,[24] Morong, Rizal and few locations in Cebu.[25]


Pedro Calungsod, a young Filipino man, leaves his Visayan native roots to join the Spanish Jesuit priest Fr. Diego de San Vitores in his mission to the Marianas Islands (Guam) in 1668.

The San Diego Mission arrives in the Marianas where the young Pedro, a trained catechist and mission assistant, begins working for Fr. Diego de San Vitores in baptizing the Chamorro natives, preaching the holy gospel and spreading the good news of salvation through the Christian faith amidst paganism, doubt and disbelief. Despite the longing for his father and the threats to their lives, even at the peril of death, Pedro and Fr. Diego continued their missionary work. They roamed the dangerous islands and baptized many more natives and continued to enlighten them about Christianity.

Guam is now a devoutly Catholic state and this is the story of how the young Filipino saint, between wars and persecutions, played his part in this divine mission.

Cast and characters[edit]

The second Filipino saint of the Roman Catholic church, who was killed in Guam while spreading Christianity. Nacino replaced JM De Guzman for the title role.[26][27] According to Villacorta, Nacino was chosen to play lead because of his depth. He also added, "I always look at the eyes of actors. If his eyes are saying something deep[...] that is where I find the emotional connection and his eyes speak volumes. That, for me, is very important[...]And I know how serious he is with his craft."[5] According to Nacino, "It's a huge leap in my career[...]Right now, I'm doing so many characters, which are emotionally and mentally taxing on my part. I am not complaining though. The role of Pedro will take a lot of research and training. I need to learn Spanish, Latin and Visayan. That aspect alone is daunting, but I know kaya ko(I can make it). One of these days, I am attending a Latin mass so that I (will) know how it feels. I want to experience it so that aurally. I will be used to it"[5][28] Marc Justine Alvarez was cast as the young Calungsod. Some of the shortlisted actors for the role includes Paulo Avelino, Alden Richards and Coco Martin.[26]

Padre Diego de San Vitores is a Spanish priest and father figure of Pedro Calungsod, the man instrumental to the young man's passionate belief in Jesus Christ. According to Vazquez, "...playing a true-to-life character, as an actor, it poses quite a challenge because you must really flesh him out. You don't only make him authentic for the sake of authenticity; you also give him a lot of heart and honest to goodness emotions." He also studied Spanish and Latin at the University of the Philippines under Dr. Daisy Lopez.[5]

Choco is a Chinese from Manila who was exiled in Marianas Island (present-day Guam), who, because of being envious of the prestige that the Missionaries were gaining among the Chamorros, started to spread nasty rumors against them.

  • Robert Correa as Maga'lahi Hurao. Chamorro chieftain who was the patriot of the Marianas

Hirao is the chief of the Chamorro warriors who killed the young Visayan catechist, Calungsod.

Padre Francisco Solano is a Spanish priest.[29] This will be Basa's second time to act as priest, the first on an ABS-CBN show.[29] He had his training with a language specialist to make sure his accent is correct. Since Spanish people may watch the film, the actor said he wants to give justice to speaking their language.[29] According to him, the role of a priest is something close to his heart, and something that is close to his real character.[29]

  • Carlo Gonzales as Padre Tomas de Cadeñoso
  • Andrew Schimmer as Sgt. Maj. Don Juan de Santiago
  • Arthur Solinap as Padre Luis de Medina
  • Mico Palanca as Padre Pedro de Casanova
  • Geoff Taylor as Sgt. Lorenzo Castellanos
  • Alvin Aragon as Ignacio
  • Juancho Trivino as Manuel Rangel
  • Johann Santos as Juan de los Reyes
  • Jao Mapa as Tatang
  • Isadora Villasquez as Ma'urritao
  • Mercedes Cabral as Ahnha the Adulteress
  • Kimo Paez as Maga'lahi Quipuha
  • Junar Labrador as Lorenzo de Morales
  • Johnron Tañada as Maga'lahi Quipuha II
  • BJ Forbes as Francisco
  • Charlton Laurence Villanueva as Maga'lahi Mata'pang
  • Marc Justine Alvarez II as young Pedro Calungsod
  • Jhaymarie "Jm" Villacorta as Esmeralda Jimenez
  • Don Gordon Bell as Pedro Jimenez
  • Migui Moreno as Padre Lopez

Marketing and promotions[edit]

On October 6 and 7, the cast of the movie had a series of mall shows in Cebu, home of Calungsod.[30][31] On its press conference, the first trailer was released publicly being the first of the 8 MMFF entries to release a teaser.[31] The official teaser was finally released on November 26, 2013 through video-sharing site, YouTube.[32]

Prestigious Nominations[edit]

  • Best Sound
  • Best Music Score
  • Best Theme Song (Awit ni Pedro)
  • Best production Design
  • Best Supporting Actor (Christian Vasquez)
  • Best Actor (Rocco Nacino)


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b c Pedro Calungsod movie to start shooting next month InterAksyon.
  3. ^ Ramos, NR (4 December 2013). "Villacorta believes ‘Calungsod’ movie ‘meant to be made’". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Life of Pedro Calungsod now in film Philippine Star
  5. ^ a b c d e The David that is Pedro Calungsod Alvin Ignacio, Tribune
  6. ^ a b "San Pedro Calungsod movie starts filming". Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  7. ^ Cayabyab, Nes. "8 official entries sa 39th MMFF" Bombo Radyo Philippines. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  8. ^ Dimaculangan, Jocelyn. "39th Metro Manila Film Fest entries revealed". Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  9. ^ a b Navarro, Mell (12 July 2013). "JM de Guzman, hindi na matutuloy sa ‘Pedro Calungsod’". Balita. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  10. ^ Smith, Chuck (12 August 2013). "Rocco has ‘beautiful outlook in life’ thanks to movie role". Philippine Star. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  11. ^ Jarloc, Glaiza. "Rocco Nacino to play San Pedro Calungsod". SunStar. 
  12. ^ "'Batang Martir' to re-introduce Calungsod to moviegoers". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  13. ^ [2] Ilongo Weebly
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Pietro Calungsod, catechista, che per odio verso la fede cristiana furono uccisi e gettati in mare da alcuni apostati e seguaci locali di superstizioni pagane. Translation: Peter Calungsod, catechist, that hatred of the Christian faith were killed and thrown overboard by some apostates and followers of local pagan superstitions.
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Beatification of 44 Servants of God, Homily of Pope John Paul II, No. 5. Vatican, March 5, 2000. Link retrieved on March 23, 2010.
  21. ^ Canonization of Pedro Calungsod 206Tours
  22. ^ 2 Aprile, BB. Diego Luigi de San Vitores e Pietro Calungsod.
  23. ^ a b c ON THE SET: Pedro Calungsod Batang Martir Joyce Dimaculangan,
  24. ^ Rocco Nacino shoots death scene for MMFF entry, Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir Ruben Marasigan, Retrieved 11-2-2013
  25. ^ "Meet the cast of MMFF entry ‘Pedro Calungsod' at SM City Cebu". Philippine Star. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  26. ^ a b Bismark, Maridol. "Only on OMG - Rocco to replace JM in Calungsod film". Yahoo! Philippines. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  27. ^ "'Calungsod' at MMFF: JM out, Rocco in". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  28. ^ Marasigan, Ruben. "Rocco Nacino, kapalit ni JM de Guzman sa ‘San Pedro Calungsod’". Pinoy Parazzi. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  29. ^ a b c d "Victor Basa Plays A Priest In "San Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir"". Pinoy Stop. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  30. ^ Martin, AC (7 October 2013). "Martin: Pedro Calungsod nag-shooting karon sa Dalaguete". SunStar Cebu. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  31. ^ a b "Pedro Calungsod Batang Martir cast in Cebu". Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  32. ^ Official teaser of Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir on YouTube

External links[edit]