Top tagalog movies 2016

Top tagalog movies 2016 DEFAULT

In the previous year, we saw a sudden wave of independently produced films have taken over not only the cinemas across the country, but also the hearts of many. There has been a couple of successful independent film festival sin the country that have produced some of the year's best films - from Unitel's CineFilipino to this year's Cinemalaya, up to Cinema One Originals' very own film festival. but the biggest and probably, most talked-about change in our movie scene last year was the recently concluded Metro Manila Film Festival. In this past year's MMFF, the committee has chosen to favor quality over the box-office appeal of the film. This is why none of the usual festival's usual entries from Vice Ganda and Vic Sotto's comedies to the annual shake, Rattle and roll anthology from Regal Films were included. Instead, seven out of the eight film of entries were all independently produced, and only one was released by a major film company. This caused a bit of hesitation from moviegoers at first, but later on, after the positive word-of-mouth from people who have watched the films, people start to flock theaters to see the movies for themselves.

Indeed, change has come not only in our government, but also in our cinema. And these changes are all producing positive results: we are getting more and more quality films for the Filipino audience. And I personally think that we should keep on pushing these changes more. We should stop dividing mainstream and indie films and instead, we should look at these movies as one. That is why in my own countdown of my Top Ten Best Filipino Films of 2016, you will notice that it's a mix of commercially released local films to independently produced ones. I wanted to show to everyone that there shouldn't be any line dividing the mainstream from indie films because they are both proudly produced by our very own Filipino filmmakers.

So if you're ready, here comes my Top Ten Filipino Films of 2016.

Directed by Lav Diaz, Starring Piolo Pascual, John Lloyd Cruz, Hazel Orencio, Alessandra de Rossi, Angel Aquino, Cherie Gil, Bernardo Bernardo.

Yes. I am very proud to say that I survived a Lav Diaz film. And it's not like just any of his previous works but his longest film to date. This is the first time that I've watched a film from Lav Diaz and it turns out to be one of my most unforgettable movie experiences. I never thought I could survive being holed up inside the cinema for a almost half a day while watching this film. Local mythology and folklore meets Philippine Literature in this unique blend of fantasy and history as Lav Diaz weaves the story of Jose Rizal's El Filibusterismo with the search of Gregoria De Jesus for the body of her husband, Andres Bonifacio after the latter was executed. Along the way, they encounter mischievous mythical creatures prolonging their journey (and the film's running time). Despite it's long running time, this 8-hour opus never had any dull or boring moments. It's stark black-and-white cinematography is a beauty itself. It's long, lingering shots pulls the audiences into the scene, adding an immersive experience to it. No wonder it won the Alfred Bauer Prize at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.

Although Lav Diaz released another epic masterpiece last year, the Charo Santos starrer Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left) which competed at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival where it won the Golden Lion award, this movie is still my pick. I don't know. I guess this film is just way too memorable for me. Plus, it's John Lloyd Cruz and Piolo Pascual. C'mon.

9. Apocalypse Child

Directed by Mario Cornejo, Written by Monster Jimenez, Starring Sid Lucero, Gwen Zamora, Annicka Dolonius, Ana Abad-Santos, Archie Alemania and RK Bagatsing

Although the film actually had it's premierre last 2015, the film just had it's commercial release last October 2016. The film follows Ford, a man in the surfing town of Baler, who is believed to be the son of famed Hollywood director Francis Ford Coppola. The director shot his film, Apocalypse Now, in the their town during the 1970's and was believed to have impregnated a young local. In the course of the film, Ford meets his estranged bestfriend, who keeps a grudge against him due an incident during their younger years together. Ford is forced to face this grudge from the past, alongside the secret of his identity.

The film is more of a character study. It focuses on Ford and how he affects the rest of the people around him. It takes time in building each of these characters, without losing the focus on Ford. These are characters are so beautifully written and brought to life by each actor that they feel so real and natural to me. Then, the film brings all these character together in a mind-blowing twist and turns of events during the third act, making everything go wild and crazy. It also features Annicka Dolonius and Sid Lucero in probably their best performance to date. Plus, it boasts some gorgeous surfing moments that will invite you to actually visit the Baler and take a dip in their waters. It's probably the best Pinoy summer movie, not released during the summer season.

8. Always be my Maybe

Directed by Dan Villegas, Starring Gerald Anderson and Arci Muñoz

One might find the story of this romantic comedy from Star Cinema a bit familiar and cliched. Jake, a carefree bachelor who have finally decided to settle down, proposes to his girlfriend. Unfortunately, she has already decided to dump him after years of dealing with him being with other girls. On the other hand, Tintin, a make-up artist, becomes viral on social media after she posts a make-up video tutorial wherein she ended up ranting about her ex-boyfriend whom she found out is already engaged to another woman. They came across one another and they end up spending one entire night drinking and talking about their personal lives until dawn. Before they part, they exchanged numbers and agreed to meet in Manila. I know the story sounds so common and recycled. Yet what makes this film different from the rest of the romcom genre is the way the story is told and portrayed.

I've been a fan of director Dan Villegas after I've seen his 2014 hit English Only Please. He has been one of my most favorite directors when it comes to the romance genre. I love all his films because they don't feel so corny and cheesy. He is able to bring these characters to life and make them look like they're really in love. And this movie is no exception. It's like the whole film is playing on every guy's fantasies, and Arci Munoz' character embodies that. That' probably why many calls it a romance movie made for boys.

7. Pamilya Ordinaryo

Directed by Eduardo Roy, Jr, Starring Hasmine Kilip and Ronwaldo Martin

Some may call Eduardo Roy, Jr's tour de force just another of those poverty-porns, an independent film that focuses too much on the gritty side of life among the less-privileged citizens of this country and exploits the theme it to a pulp. Call it whatever you want, but it is undeniably one of the most harrowing and unforgettable movie experience from last year's Cinemalaya film Festival. It follows the lives of a pubescent couple, Jane and Aries, who lives in the streets of the city, stealing wallets and cellphones for a living. But one day, they came across a young innocent baby that they've decided to adopt for themselves. They treated the child as their own and decided to raise it as their real son. But fate turns back to them and they find themselves in a frantic search for their child.

The film may feel a bit too long, despite a short running time of one hour and forty seven minutes due to it's long and elaborate sequences. But despite that, the film will surprise you in many ways you haven't imagined. The couple's search for their stolen baby will take you to a nightmarish trip across the city, as they tries to do everything and go through all lengths so that they can to get their kid back. The above-average obstacles they had to pass to retrieve their kidnapped baby may be too much, but it's what makes the whole film one crazy and exhilarating ride.

6. How To Be Yours

Directed by Dan Villegas, Starring Bea Alonzo and Gerald Anderson

The second film from director Dan Villegas in my list, and probably my most favorite from all his work to date. This film is a realistic portrayal of a couple, Anj and Nino as they struggle to balance their life as a couple. The film starts with the day they first met, and continues as they fall in love with each other and starts a life together. Then, a change in career and shifting of priorities starts to put a strain to their relationship.

Just like what I have previously stated, Dan Villegas has this amazing gift of bringing his characters to life. In this film, he's able to bring out the surprising chemistry between the two leads, Bea Alonzo and Gerald Anderson, and squeeze them out to the film's advantages. It features a plot so real and familiar to each and everyone. It makes us feel as if we are watching the lives of someone we know or even our own lives coming to life on screen. The dialogues are so raw and natural. The characters are so lifelike. The story, so grounded in reality. Every moment is heartfelt, and at times, heartbreaking. This film is definitely one of the best Filipino romance films I've seen to date and one that I highly recommend to everyone.

5. Sunday Beauty Queen

Directed by Baby Ruth Villarama, Starring Hazel Perdido, Cherrie Mae Bretana, Mylyn Jacobo, Leo Selomenio, Rudelyn Acosta

I'm not really a big fan of documentaries. The only closest thing to this genre that I have seen and enjoyed watching was the mockumentary Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay by Antoinette Jadaone. I thought the genre was just way too serious for me. I usually find it hard to focus my attention for a long span of time when watching these types of films. I'm just not built for them. But the recent MMFF changed that with the first documentary to enter the festival,Sunday Beauty Queen.

Baby Ruth Villarama's documentary follows the lives of different overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong, as they go through their everyday routine, and their preparation for the annual beauty pageant for OFWs held in that country. It tells the true stories of these migrant workers, the loneliness they carry in their hearts, the longing to go back home to be with their families, the hardships they go through everyday and the joy and satisfaction that their annual event gives them. The film is surprisingly good. It's full of heart and will make you laugh, cry and smile at every point. I can't remember how many times I shed a tear or two all throughout the film. No wonder why it won the Best Picture award from the recent Metro Manila Film Festival. You can check out my full review of Sunday Beauty Queen here.

4. Mercury is Mine 

Directed by Jason Paul Laxamana, Starring Pokwang and Bret Jackson

The first entry from the crazy but clever mind of Jason Paul Laxamana in this list. In this dark comedy about an aging woman who lives alone and runs an eatery at the foot of Mt. Arayat. Her business is barely even making any profit, so she has already decided to close it down. But one, rainy night - the same night she has decided to close down her eatery - a lonely young American boy asks for her help. Adamant at first, she changes her mind and offers the teenage blonde some food a place to stay for the night. In exchange, she takes him as her assistant and she reopens her eatery which, surprisingly start to attract customers (all of which are curious about her new foreign assistant). Things started to go crazy when she becomes obsessed of this blonde boy and decides to be his very own mother.

Jason Paul Laxamana writes and helms this crazy dark comedy which tackles the Filipino's fascination with foreigners and our obsession with the Western culture. The film takes over themes of murder, sex, and loneliness in a loud and funny way. Pokwang excels as the obsessed Carmen and Bret Jackson will sweep you away with his performance as the innocent blonde Mercury. This is probably my most favorite Cinemalaya entry of all time.

3. Ma' Rosa

Directed by Brillante Mendoza, Starring Jaclyn Jose, Julio Diaz, Baron Geisler, Jomari Angeles, Neil Ryan Sese, Mercedes Cabral, Andi Eigenmann, Mark Anthony Fernandez, Felix Roco and Mon Confiado

A powerful drama about the harsh realities of life, this critically acclaimed film the one and only Brillante Mendoza plays themes of poverty, drugs, police brutality, corruption and injustice to maximum effect. In the film, Rosa, a mother of four, runs a sari-sari store in a squatter's area in Manila. Their income coming from the earnings of the small convenience store business isn't enough to meet the family's daily needs, so she decided to secretly sell illegal drugs particularly "ice" or crystal meth. One day police officers raid their store and arrest Rosa and her husband for "pushing" or selling drugs and ask them for "bail money" or a bribe for their release. Rosa's children, left on their own to deal with the struggles of daily life, tries to find a way to free their detained parents.

The film's documentary style cinematography adds grittiness and raw look and feel to the whole movie. The realistic acting of it's amazing cast mixed with the director's bravura direction makes this film a superb masterpiece. Jaclyn Jose stands out with her outstanding performance, earning her the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress for 2016.

2. Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2

Directed by Marlon Rivera, Written by Chris Martinez, Starring Eugene Domingo, Kean Cipriano, Cai Cortez, Khalil Ramos with Joel Torre and Jericho Rosales

The sequel to the 2011 box-office hit from Cinemalaya, this sequel follows Rainier (Kean Cipriano), a director, as he and Jocelyn (played by Cai Cortez), his production manager together with their newbie production assistant, Lennon (Khalil Ramos) as they try to convince Eugene Domingo (who plays an exaggerated version of herself) to star in their new project, a romance drama film. This film entitled "The Itinerary", written by Rainier himself, is about his personal struggle in his marriage. He has a vision already of how the film would look like, yet as Eugene Domingo comes on board with the project, she requests a lot of drastic changes to the final product, causing a rift between her and the director. 

While the first movie was a satire on Filipino indie filmmakers as they exploit the so-called poverty porn genre, this sequel is a satirical take on the mainstream film industry in the country and the cliches and stereotypes of the Pinoy romance genre. This clever meta-comedy film serves as Eugene Domingo's comeback vehicle after staying away from the movie scene for at least two years. Here, she gives out a one of a kind performance as an over-acting control freak actress. Check out my full review here.

1. 2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten

Directed by Petersen Vargas, written by Jason Paul Laxamana, Starring Khalil Ramos, Ethan Salvador and Jameson Blake

This dark coming-of-age tale is another brilliant product of Jason Paul Laxamana's demented mind (the second in this list), this time with Petersen Vargas helming the film in his outstanding full length feature debut.

2 Cool 2 Be 4Gotten follows Felix Salonga (in an unforgettable performance by Khalil Ramos) a friendless, overachieving top notcher in a typical public high school in the province of Pampanga during the late 1990s. The whole film is told from his point of view, and is usually narrated through passages from his daily journal (which was supposed to be a project for their English class). He looks over his classmates as inferior to him because he is intellectually inclined. He usually spends his time alone. Felix' life is then turned upside down after the Film-Am brothers Magnus (Ethan Salvador) and Maxim Snyder (in an award-winning performance by Jameson Blake) transfers to his his school. He became acquainted with the two brothers and soon develops a strong, unusual friendship with them, which ultimately leads him to be entangled in a dark path involving a plan for murder, his sexual awakening and his first heartbreak.

As I watched the film during it's initial theatrical run, I felt somewhat connected to the film's characters. At one point of the film, I suddenly realized that I've been seeing myself in Felix' shoes. It was like I was watching selected moments from my life being projected into the screen. Yes, I admit that there were a lot of moments in my life that was exactly the same with what's happening in the story. I guess that is one of the main reasons I got drawn into watching it over and over again. Gorgeously photographed and brilliantly acted, this film is definitely the most unforgettable Filipino film for me from 2016.

Did your choice get into the list? Share us your thoughts int he comments section below. Don't forget to share this post!


17 Best Filipino, Pinoy & Tagalog Movies Of All Time (2021)

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Updated on March 26, 2021 by Asher Fergusson

The Philippines is a unique country with a fascinating culture born from a mix of influences from invading countries throughout time. From Filipino film and language, to Filipino food and culture, the influence of Spanish, American, and Chinese cultures is impossible to miss. We’ve put together this list of the best Pinoy movies of all time so you can explore the depths of the Philippines’ fascinating culture for yourself!

Best Filipino Movies of All Time

1. Oro, Plata, Mata

Oro, Plata, MataThe dramatic war film Oro, Plata, Mata takes place in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation and stars Manny Ojeda, Liza Lorena, and Sandy Andolong. The film tells the story of two wealthy families who struggle to survive during the occupation. The story follows the families’ emotional trauma as the war progresses and they are touched with violence and loss.

IMDb 8.0 | 3h 14min | 1982 | Filipino; Tagalog; Spanish; English

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2. Himala

HimalaThe drama Himala takes place in a poor Filipino village and stars Nora Aunor, Veronica Palileo, and Spanky Manikan. The film tells the story of Elsa, a Filipina villager who claims she has been visited by the Virgin Mary. The visit changed her life as she now seems to have special healing powers. Her newfound talent begins to cause hysteria in her small village.

IMDb 7.9 | 2h 4min | 1982 | Filipino; Tagalog; English

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3. From What is Before

From What is BeforeSet in the Philippines in 1972, the drama From What is Before stars Perry Dizon, Roeder, and Hazel Orencio. The film tells the story of mysterious happenings in a remote village which result in Ferdinand E. Marcos implementing Proclamation No. 1081, which places all of the Philippines under Martial Law. The movie delves into the difficulties of the village people as they deal with this new proclamation.

IMDb 7.8 | 5h 38min | 2014 | Filipino; Tagalog; English

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4. Hello, Love, Goodbye

Hello, Love, GoodbyeThe romantic drama Hello, Love, Goodbye starring Kathryn Bernardo, Alden Richards, and Maymay Entrata tells the story of Joy and Ethan, two Filipino workers based in Hong Kong. Ethan has his heart set on pursuing Joy, despite her plans to move to Canada to provide for her family. As their budding romance continues to grow, it’s clear that the two will change each other’s lives forever.

IMDb 7.5 | 1h 58min | 2019 | Chinese; Tagalog; Filipino

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5. The Hows of Us

The Hows of UsThe romantic drama The Hows of Us stars Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla, and Darren Espanto. The movie tells the story of the romance between the young couple, Primo and George, who dream of building a life together and are already devising their future. However, their plans are put to the test when they are confronted with obstacles that put their relationship at risk.

IMDb 7.4 | 1h 57min | 2018 | Filipino; Tagalog; English

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Best Filipino Romantic Movies

1. Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon? (This Is How We Were Before, How Are You Doing Now?)

Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo NgayonThe romantic musical drama Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon? stars Christopher De Leon, Gloria Diaz, and Eddie Garcia and is set during the Filipino revolution against the Spaniards and later against the American colonists. The film tells the story of an idealistic peasant and his journey to discover the Pinoy identity and become part of a community which he imagines to embody it.

IMDb 7.7 | 2h 16min | 1976 | Tagalog; Spanish; English

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2. The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros

The Blossoming of Maximo OliverosThe drama The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros is set in Manila, Philippines, and stars Nathan Lopez, Soliman Cruz, and J.R. Valentin. The film recounts the story of young Maxi, the 12-year-old gay son of petty criminals. Maxi takes care of the household chores for his father and brothers as they go about their life of crime. When a kind policeman investigates Maxi’s family, the boy finds himself falling in love and feels his loyalties shifting.

IMDb 7.0 | 1h 40min | 2005 | Filipino; Tagalog

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3. Cuddle Weather

Cuddle WeatherThe romantic drama Cuddle Weather stars Sue Ramirez and RK Bagatsing. The story follows Adela and Ram, two sex workers who become friends and form a mentor-mentee relationship, as Adela is an experienced prostitute and Ram is new to being a call boy. When they realize that prostitutes miss out on the true intimacy that comes with sex, they decide to become “cuddle partners,” until they end up wanting more.

IMDb 6.2 | 1h 35min | 2019 | Tagalog; Filipino

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4. One More Chance

One More ChanceThe romantic drama One More Chancestars John Lloyd Cruz, Bea Alonzo, and Derek Ramsay. The film tells the story of Basha and Popoy, a young couple deeply in love who spend all of their time together. But when clashing ambitions and tensions come into play and the couple splits up, they are both feeling devastated and heartbroken. The pair is constantly reminded of the love they once shared.

IMDb 7.5 | 1h 55min | 2007 | Filipino; Tagalog

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Best Filipino Comedy Movies

1. Four Sisters and a Wedding

Four Sisters and a WeddingThe dramatic comedy Four Sisters and a Wedding stars Brenna Garcia, Bea Alonzo, and Bea Basa and is set in Manila, Philippines. The film recounts the story of a Filipino family consisting of four sisters and a brother. When the brother, the youngest of the siblings, announces that he plans to get married, the sisters devise a plan to talk him out of it, revealing the deep-seated animosity they have for each other.

IMDb 7.3 | 2h 5min | 2013 | Filipino; Tagalog

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2. She’s Dating the Gangster

She’s Dating the GangsterThe dramatic romantic comedy She’s Dating the Gangster stars Daniel Padilla, Kathryn Bernardo, and Richard Gomez. The story begins when a high school student, Athena, decides to play a trick on Kenji, the school’s gangster and heartthrob. Though initially she pretends to be his girlfriend in order to make his ex jealous, she ends up falling for him in the process.

IMDb 7.2 | 1h 45min | 2014 | Filipino; English; Tagalog

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3. In My Life

In My LifeIn My Life stars Vilma Santos, John Lloyd Cruz, and Luis Manzano. This dramatic comedy tells the story of a stern Filipina school librarian, Shirley Templo. When her daughters try to convince her to move out of her ex-husband’s compound so that it can be sold for a profit, she angrily leaves to live with her gay son in New York City. While there, she must learn to accept him and his new boyfriend.

IMDb 6.3 | 2h | 2009 | Filipino; Tagalog; English

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Best Filipino Action Movies

1. Metro Manila

Metro ManilaThe dramatic action crime film Metro Manila, set in Manila, Philippines stars Jake Macapagal, John Arcilla, and Althea Vega. The film follows the story of Oscar Ramirez and his family who flee a life of poverty in a small village in northern Philippines to the bustling center of Manila. The fast paced lifestyle and hardened locals quickly overwhelm the family, and Oscar must do what he needs to to survive in the big city.

IMDb 7.6 | 1h 55min | 2013 | Tagalog

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2. Graceland

GracelandGraceland is set in the Philippines and stars Arnold Reyes, Menggie Cobarrubias, and Dido de la Paz. This crime thriller tells the story of Marlon Villar, the personal driver for a corrupt politician. One day as Marlon is driving both his daughter and the politician’s daughter home from school, the car gets attacked and kidnappers accidentally take Marlon’s daughter for ransom instead. Marlon must find a way to get his daughter back.

IMDb 6.6 | 1h 24min | 2012 | Tagalog

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3. Dukot

DukotDukot is a dramatic action crime film set in the Philippines starring Enrique Gil, Christopher De Leon, and Shaina Magdayao. The movie tells the story of a middle-class government official whose estranged son gets kidnapped. When the kidnappers demand a high sum for ransom, he must come up with the money before it’s too late.

IMDb 6.1 | 1h 35min | 2016 | Filipino; Tagalog

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Best Filipino Drama Movies

1. Norte, the End of History

Norte, the End of HistoryThe dramatic crime film Norte, the End of History is set in the Philippines and stars Sid Lucero, Angeli Bayani, and Archie Alemania. A law student violently murders two people and pins it on an innocent man who is ordered into a long prison sentence. His wife is left trying to pick up the pieces and provide for her two children. The true perpetrator of the crime remains free, suffering from insanity and guilt.

IMDb 7.6 | 4h 10min | 2013 | Filipino; Tagalog; English

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2. Caregiver

CaregiverThe drama Caregiver stars Sharon Cuneta, John Estrada, and Rica Peralejo and takes place in the United Kingdom. The story follows English teacher Sarah Gonzales who is working overseas as a caregiver to make money to help her husband support their family back home in the Philippines. The film tells the empowering story of Filipino OFWs through Sarah’s journey to self discovery.

IMDb 6.3 | 2h 10min | 2008 | Filipino; Tagalog; English

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The unique blend of cultures that make up the Philippines has found its way into Filipino film across all genres. From the Best Filipino Horror Movies to the Best Filipino Romance Movies, you’re sure to fall in love with these amazing films and the country they’ve been inspired by. We hope this list of the Best Filipino Movies of All Time will help you to experience all that Pinoy cinema has to offer!

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10 Filipino Movies You Didn’t Know Were Already on Netflix

Watch these Pinoy blockbusters!

While we're all staying home as much as we can, why not indulge in a Netflix marathon? If you've finished every K-drama available, or even dipped your foot in some pandemic-themed films, why not check out these Filipinos films as well? Keep reading to find out what Filipino movies you can check out on Netflix today!

1. Seven Sundays (2017)

When the Bonifacio siblings find out their father has cancer, they reunite and hash out their differences. This comedy drama is directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina, starring prominent actors like Aga Muhlach, Cristine Reyes, and Dingdong Dantes.

2. Heneral Luna (2015)

Set during the Philippine-American war, this film depicts General Antonio Luna’s life as he fights for the freedom of Filipino people and faces betrayal from his own countrymen. If you’ve been wanting to learn more about Philippine history and witness action through combat and warfare, include this on your must-binge movie list!

3. Everything About Her (2016)

A caregiver named Jaica is hired by Vivian, a successful businesswoman who recently discovered she was ill. Little does Vivian know, Jaica plays a significantly bigger role in her life— one that reconnects her to her distant son. This movie is about acceptance, love, and forgiveness. 

4. Starting Over Again (2014)

A one-of-a-kind love story begins when an architecture student falls for her history professor and ends with plenty of unresolved issues. Years later, the pair meet again on a project. Do they finally get closure to close the book? Or did the two finally find their happy ending? 

5. Caregiver (2008)

With the hopes of supporting her family, Sarah finds a job as a caregiver in United Kingdom. Here, she is able to navigate her way through self-discovery from being a submissive wife to someone who is empowered, and proud of who she is and what she does. The movie Caregiver portrays the plight of many Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) as Sarah Gonzales joins 150,000 OFWs working in the UK.

6. Dead Kids (2019)

Dead Kids is the first Netflix Original film from the Philippines. It’s a thriller that centers on a socially awkward teen who suddenly gets close to a group of troublemakers with kidnapping plans that go way too far. 

7. Birdshot (2017)

Newly taught on how to shoot a gun, young farm girl Maya accidentally shoots an endangered Philippine Eagle. When the police investigate the poacher responsible for the protected bird’s life, they uncover something even more frightening. 

Birdshot was the first Filipino film to hit Netflix, and won the ‘Asian Future Best Film Award’ at the 2016 Tokyo International Film Festival. 

8. Sukob (2006)

There’s a common superstition in the Philippines that states that marriage should not take place within a year of the death of an immediate relative. A Filipino couple disregards this and pushes through with their wedding. Cursed by the sukob, ill-fated events happen to the two and their families. 

9. That Thing Called Tadhana (2014)

This film follows Mace and Anthony who meet unexpectedly at an airport in Rome. Once they reach the Philippines, they decide to venture out to places together and form a friendship that brings them closer to one another.

10. Crazy Beautiful You (2015)

Starring Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo, Crazy Beautiful You tells the story of a spoiled teenager taken on a medical mission. Here, she meets a boy who changes her life for the better.

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The best Filipino films of 2016

Written by Richard Bolisay

Updated Jan 3, 2017 12:51:00 AM

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An unofficial webpage lists a total of 108 local films for the year (this is not accurate but the figure is more or less close to the actual). This is equivalent to at least two movies shown every week, which is admittedly plenty. A huge chunk of it came from festivals such as Cinemalaya, QCinema, and Cinema One Originals.

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Year-end assessments exist for emphasis: With the many events in the year, surely, there are a few that stand out and deserve to be mentioned. The mere act of highlighting specific points gives them importance, and the habit of looking back on the past 12 months can be related to the sentimentality often ascribed to birthdays, Christmases, reunions, and similar occasions, to special moments that require time and thought to be put into words. The deed is childish, but the motivation is mature: Gathering in one place personal favorites and seeing them neatly presented and argued is a display of both daring and pettiness, one whose strength and weakness is its nature to assume authority.

There is undeniably strong politics at work in making these lists, especially if the reputation of the writer is taken into account. But despite the often unnecessary lionizing and self-referencing — how every item is chosen based on, and defended by, personal preference — one must acknowledge the limitations of a judgment made by only one person. No list, whoever makes it, is definitive, even if it is by someone who has seen, in this case, all of the local films released commercially in Metro Manila theaters in 2016. This needs to be pointed out, for Philippine cinema, it goes without saying, is not just Manila cinema, and sadly there are films shown in provinces that have not been accessible to be considered. These year-end lists, after all, are defined by their shortcomings — by the confidence in their biases — and it is hoped they are received with neither extreme seriousness nor utter disregard but as something with lasting interest, enough to encourage more people to watch and discuss local movies.

An unofficial webpage lists a total of 108 local films for the year (this is not accurate, seeing a few obvious omissions, but the figure is more or less close to the actual). This is equivalent to at least two movies shown every week, which, considering the perennial concerns with quantity, is admittedly plenty. A huge chunk of it came from festivals, and 2016 witnessed a number of them in succession, to the point of tiring even the most ardent of moviegoers: Singkuwento in February, CineFilipino in March, Sinag Maynila in April, World Premieres in June, ToFarm in July, Cinemalaya in August, Binisaya in September, QCinema in October, Cinema One Originals and SalaMindanaw in November, and Cinema Rehiyon and the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) in December. Already, more than 80 new features, in competition or exhibition, premiered in these festivals.

Except for ToFarm, these festivals are simply carrying on. Cinemalaya has regained its steam, and QCinema and Cinema One have continued offering a selection of foreign-language movies to complement their own productions. The MMFF is the oldest of the lot, and is also facing one of its toughest challenges since its inception: a well-intentioned, quality-oriented reform that will not only determine its direction but also set a precedent for large-scale efforts to make changes in the industry. The controversy arising from the rejection of entries by Star Cinema, Vic Sotto, and Mother Lily — the “Big 3” that have long dominated and infested this annual fare — exhumes the age-old, dead-end argument about mainstream and indie as well as art and entertainment. With these numerous venues for local films, the question remains: Do we really need more festivals, or just a few but efficiently organized ones? Does having more festivals indicate how much the audience has grown, or does this merely illustrate how it’s easier to divide people than unite them? Is there a way to improve the practices of grant-giving festivals, or have they always been the better option? There are no easy answers, but the right ones have often been overlooked.

Also worth noting is the dependability of alternative screening venues, namely, Cinema ‘76, run by TBA (Tuko, Buchi Boy, and Artikulo Uno), and Cinematheque, managed by the Film Development Council of the Philippines, in Manila, Baguio, Davao, Iloilo, and Zamboanga. This improvement is valuable in light of the constant problem with distribution and accessibility. As far as championing of independent cinema is concerned, Cinema ‘76 has been more visible and consistent. Since the release of “Heneral Luna” over a year ago, TBA has produced movies that are not as successful, but despite the apparent struggle, it must be credited for establishing Cinema ‘76 and financing several projects (“1-2-3,” “Smaller and Smaller Circles”) and helping distribute some of them commercially (“Patintero: Ang Alamat ni Meng Patalo,” “Ang Kuwento Nating Dalawa,” “Tandem”).

One of the most remarkable recent developments in local cinema is ABS-CBN's Film Restoration Project, whose laudable continuation seems to compensate for Star Cinema's many instances of terribly problematic films and female roles this year. For someone easily bitten by nostalgia, seeing “Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising,” “Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara,” “Cain at Abel,” “Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos,” “Nagalit ang Buwan sa Haba ng Gabi,” “Haplos,” and “Magic Temple” on the big screen, imperfect as they are but fully alive in their retouched colors and cleaner sound, can be emotional. With a week-long commercial screening as well as DVD and online distribution, the project is significant at a time when a recognizable portion of the society is vocal about forgetting the past and forgiving its atrocities, and some of these restored classics (and the forthcoming ones) are reminders of responsibility: How art, apart from being a powerful weapon against oppression, is also a document of time and truth.

Winning awards overseas has always been a source of pride, and learning about the victories of Jaclyn Jose as the best actress awardee at the Cannes Film Festival (for “Ma’ Rosa”) and Lav Diaz as the recipient of the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer prize at the Berlin Film Festival (for "Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis") and the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival (for "Ang Babaeng Humayo") makes a huge impression. In a way this inevitable seeking of foreign validation is nudged by mad support for our own: The commercial success of the films of the three biggest love teams today — AlDub with “Imagine You and Me,” JaDine with “This Time,” and KathNiel with “Barcelona: A Love Untold” — proves audiences will flock to theaters voluntarily when they want to, especially when it’s for the on-screen couples who make them go wild with romantic excitement.

Jose’s acting prize at Cannes has received more local buzz than Brillante Mendoza’s best director award years ago at the same festival — or all of Diaz’s prizes in Locarno, Berlin, and Venice combined — simply because we are a culture with high regard for actors. And 2016 is a banner year for notable performances that deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Jose in “Ma’ Rosa”: Sandino Martin in “Ringgo: The Dog Shooter,” Chai Fonacier and Jess Mendoza in “Pauwi Na,” Barbie Forteza in “Tuos,” Ronwaldo Martin and Hasmine Killip in “Pamilya Ordinaryo,” Tommy Abuel in “Dagsin,” Bela Padilla in “I America” and “Camp Sawi,” Charo Santos in “Ang Babaeng Humayo,” Daniel Padilla in “Barcelona: A Love Untold,” Kristoffer King in “Purgatoryo,” JC de Vera in “Best. Partee. Ever.,” Khalil Ramos and Ana Capri in “2Cool 2Be 4gotten,” Rocky Salumbides in “Lily,” Paolo Ballesteros and Christian Bables in “Die Beautiful,” Joshua Garcia in “Vince and Kath and James,” and Irma Adlawan and Sue Prado in “Oro.”

There's a lot more to say: the small steps forward and the flashes of hope in an otherwise hopeless situation, not to mention the cruelty that persists in micro- and macroscale, and the bad films that will always be part of every meaningful discussion related to national cinema. But there's the rub — not everything can be said in one go, regardless of effort. The ethics of writing understands that omission does not necessarily mean neglect, while its politics is known to be preferential, and at times confessional.

The following 10 films, ranked accordingly, are my idea of "best" — a one-man deliberation entailing difficult elimination, a struggle for fairness that although insufferable is not completely impossible, until what's left is a selection I am comfortable with personally, politically, mentally, emotionally, holistically. It is all done in the spirit of responsible judgment, aware of each film's shortcomings.

This lengthy introduction is necessary not only for context — to see that Philippine cinema is so vast and complex a silly year-end assessment must not be the door to enter it — but also for alleviating guilt. Well-intentioned as this list may be, it is representative only of one person’s head and heart.


1. “Women of the Weeping River” (Sheron Dayoc)

Perhaps no single film can illuminate the austere intricacy and contradictions of the decades-long conflict in Mindanao, but one can share the sheer dread and the terrible consequences of inheriting a war, with lives spent on uncertainty and the vicissitudes of grief. Sheron Dayoc is no stranger in this land, and in “Women of the Weeping River” he presents two families in blood feud, with their members dying one by one, making any form of reconciliation impossible. There is narrative drama, but the film wisely avoids fixating on it because of its penchant for perspective, zooming out on the subject and showing the scale of the situation and the deep history attached to the present, its current issues (particularly the Bangsamoro Basic Law) all rooted in struggle. By focusing on the women burdened by fate and tradition, Dayoc creates a prose poem so moving, so painfully clear in its message of peace, and so heartbreaking in its depiction of helplessness that its urgency becomes larger than life.


2. “Forbidden Memory” (Gutierrez Mangansakan II)

In a terrible year when Marcos apologists have grown not only in number but also in shamelessness, “Forbidden Memory” offers factual history through the recollections of the survivors of the 1974 Malisbong massacre in Sultan Kudarat, called “the greatest Marcos horror story never told.” With martial law enforced, government soldiers rounded up around 1,000 men and 3,000 women and detained them, eventually raping girls and mothers, burning houses, and killing around 1,500 people, some of them murdered inside a mosque. All of this happened during the feast of Ramadan. It is only understandable for the film — with the introductions of the subjects and their descriptions of what happened before the carnage — to fumble at the beginning, the way memories are hard to extract if they have been too painful, if they have been thought to stay forgotten for ever. But midway through, the weeping begins. “Remembering,” one of them mentions, “is such a sorrowful act,” and this is felt throughout the documentary: visually, through the anguished faces, the wrinkled arms and hands, the dirtied walls of the mosque; aurally, through the varying tones of the subjects telling their stories, all of them meeting at the same point of grief; and personally, through Mangansakan, trying to piece them together, going through the harrowing process of remembering with them. With the footage of the recent burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani added near the end, “Forbidden Memory” makes an even stronger, angrier case against historical revisionism, a timely protest weapon burning with rage.


3. “Pamilya Ordinaryo” (Eduardo Roy, Jr.)

Bing Lao's highly influential “found story” design is not always effective. What his students often forget is the needed skill to direct, not just to follow their scripts faithfully but to tell them with cinematic force and flow, not entirely dependent on grit and rigor. Eduardo Roy, one of Lao’s protégés, knows that to stand out means going beyond writing. Even in his 2011 debut, “Bahay Bata,” he has already shown cunning as a director, turning long walks into a compelling dramatic device, and in “Quick Change” he has become more conscious of staging his actions. His third Cinemalaya film, “Pamilya Ordinaryo,” sticks to the same design. It also revels in repetition, but it raises the stakes every time, at every plot turn, with every challenge it gives to its lead characters. Roy, in a devious way, has perfected it without compromising his subject: a young couple wandering the streets of Manila, desperate to find their abducted child. It is poverty all over again, but poverty always needs to be told, especially if it’s as effectively worrying as this.


4. “Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis” (Lav Diaz)

The usual accusation thrown at independent filmmakers is they make films specifically for foreign festivals: to draw the attention of programmers, to cater to their tastes, and to win awards. Lav Diaz, often the accused, doesn’t care. He makes an eight-hour black-and-white drama; pulls characters from local myths and folklore, José Rizal’s famous novels, and historical events; and puts them together in an ambitious, intertwined grand narrative tackling patriotism, nationalism, colonization, art, revolution, religion, truth, and freedom — with everything moving in inconspicuous time as though in an escapeless reverie — all its sentiments addressed to every Filipino. The result is nothing like Diaz has done in the past. “Hele” competed at the Berlinale, won a Silver Bear prize, and, with the help of Star Cinema, eventually became his most commercially successful movie.


5. "Ma’ Rosa" (Brillante Mendoza)

There is no question about the terrifying power of "Ma’ Rosa." It moves forward without hesitation, it holds the viewer's neck tightly in peak moments, and it ends on an emotional high note. In the pre-Duterte era, the subject of a couple peddling drugs to support their family makes for a sad story. But it's a sad story with hope, with a life ready to rebuild. But in the time of Duterte and his horrific war on drugs, “Ma’ Rosa” suddenly feels like an inspiring folktale with Rosa given a chance to live, walking around the neighborhood without the fear of getting shot.


6. “Lily” (Keith Deligero)

“Lily” is defined by its restlessness. The Cebuano filmmaker Keith Deligero enlists Lawrence Ang, arguably the most talented editor working today, and they mess up a stale narrative and turn it into an adventurous ride between Cebu and Manila, jumping from one timeline to another, flying from dark alleys to strange forests, and wrestling with urban legends, mysterious cats, lost loves, and broken promises. Deligero knows that the thin storyline can work only if he shatters it, and it is in the shattering where the film finds its core. “Lily” brims with energy and confidence, allowing the viewers to lose their way in its clutter of sequences, giving them no time to resist. It is utterly exhilarating, the way horror rides should be.


7. “Always Be My Maybe” (Dan Villegas)

The elements of the Star Cinema feel-good romantic-comedy are all too familiar: an attractive couple, intrusive friends, returning exes, career problems, ugly fights, sweeping gestures, rekindled love, happy ending. It’s a scam, but real-life romance, sometimes, can be a scam anyway. “Always Be My Maybe” is no different, except it has less baggage — no sickness and death, no arranged marriage, no shady circumstances to break the love. It’s about two heartbroken people meeting at an unexpected place and time, talking, drinking till the morning, liking each other, dating, having sex, and in due course realizing their connection is, of all things, romantic. The film is just about that — falling in love — but some of its moments hit too hard: the fake date, the make-up tutorial videos, the simple hanging out, the flirtations, all the small things. Gerald Anderson and Arci Muñoz have absolute chemistry, and seeing them together on the same level of comic capacity is too intoxicating for words.


8. “Oro” (Alvin Yapan)

It is far from the seemingly idyllic rural life of Ishmael Bernal’s “Nunal sa Tubig,” whose visuals speak volumes of the sad plight of the fisher folk in Laguna Lake, but “Oro” is comparable in how the town and its people become one in the face of misfortune. “Oro” has a smaller canvas and is more focused, enabling Alvin Yapan to create a compelling account of the death of four gold miners in Caramoan, Camarines Sur, in a small village whose livelihood is disturbed violently by a government-affiliated environmental group wanting to take charge of it. Yapan is not subtle — and even his attempts at subtlety become too obvious — but what carries it through, apart from its strong ensemble of actors, is the unflinching resolve to expose the crime, loudly and clearly, and the searing hope that justice will soon be served.

Photo courtesy of KAJ PALANCA

9. “Contestant #4” (Jared Joven, Kaj Palanca)

Short films, like documentaries and animated movies, are always put at a disadvantage by virtue of their very nature. They are thought to be inferior, not good enough to be part of best-of lists. But “Contestant #4” by the then 16-year-old high-school students Jared Joven and Kaj Palanca leaves a complete feeling, and in less than 20 minutes it is able to share the lonely life of an unmarried man with heart-rending warmth, a bachelor looking back on his past and talking to a visiting neighbor who may or may not be his younger self. The beauty of it is it works either way: as a dialogue with oneself while coming to terms with one's sexual identity or as a story of friendship, about a middle-aged man being friends with a nosy boy, brought together by urban isolation. Its saddest moment is not when they part ways, but when they share happiness for a few seconds of a video clip, smiling, laughing, being deceived by time.


10. “Vince and Kath and James” (Theodore Boborol)

When a formula is mixed right, when the actors are too charming to ignore, and when the material understands and takes pride in the currency of its juvenile ideas, it’s a shame, even unethical, not to admit it in public. “Vince and Kath and James” has a standard narrative kept steady by three precisely written characters with well-defined family issues, and it unfolds gently, aware that pacing is crucial to any good rom-com. The reference to “Got 2 Believe” is worth every second, particularly when Julia Barretto mouths the words of her real-life aunt, Claudine, or when Joshua Garcia, in several moments, becomes the most lovable boy in the world, or when Dominic Ochoa becomes Ronnie Alonte — the kinship of these two films hits perfectly home. In this berserk internet age, the youth offered by “Vince and Kath and James” is very much welcome, the unexpected joy in its unexpected familiarity feeling like an unsolicited but not unneeded embrace.


Movies top 2016 tagalog

We went to her. She had a separate room, a bed, a table, two chairs, a latrine (I can't even call THESE places a toilet), and in general she lived. Well. She took out the same chain with a pin and slipped my soap over it. Here you go.

‘Barcelona: A Love Untold’ FULL MOVIE - Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla

Slowly writhing to the music, shocking the audience with frank lyrics, the girls staged a real erotic show, for which they were said goodbye to both a simple repertoire and. Average vocal abilities and countless gossip about their personal lives. Performing both in Russia and abroad, the group has gained enough notoriety to expect today to complete the first day of the opening.

However, at the last moment it was revealed that the headliner will be a young hip-hop singer from New York. Black star Amalia Hanks.

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Turning around from the door, I was stunned: Vika was finishing unbuttoning the last button on her blouse and opening it began to take off. Grab my jacket from the closet and cover me so that they would not see me from the corridor. I immediately pulled. Off a dark gray jacket from my hangers and stood in front of the table, blocking Vika with my wide back.

I did not even think about decency at all and that I could turn my back on her.

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