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10 All-time Favorite Filipino Films

The top 10 all-time favorite Filipino films of 85 friends and acquaintances of mine.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked my friends to help me in my online poll project for a Research Methods class I am enrolled in. We were told to design an online poll of a topic that is of interest to us, analyze the process, and present in class.

Before I present the list, I just want to present some basic background info: Eight five people (52 females and 33 males) responded. The average age is 28. Fifty one are based in Luzon, 20 in Visayas, and 14 in Mindanao.

Taking a look at my friends’ overall choices, I can see that they love listening to “heart-y” Tagalog songs and they like to weep than to LOL at the movies. Watching TV in their own living rooms, though, they like doing both (not simultaneously, I hope). They enjoy watching Boyet, Papa Piolo and Ate Shawie act; Kris Aquino and Michael V keep them glued to their TV sets; and four lads who met in UP in the early 90’s are their music idols. Their favorite book is 122 years old, and they are proud to have been part of the F4 fever a couple years back.

I am posting the list by category, starting with their All-Time Favorite Pinoy Movies:

Summary: Five family dramas, two comedies, two classics, and a biography

No. of movies cited: 148

Quirkiest choice: Walang Matigas na Tinapay sa Mainit na Kape (1994)

  1. Himala (1982; Ishmael Bernal)

    I am particularly glad that some of them rated this film as one of their favourites because it is also one of mine. This film was a result of the collaboration of arguably the Philippines’ best director (Bernal), scriptwriter (Ricky Lee), and actress (Nora Aunor) all at their prime. It tells the story of Elsa (Aunor), a young lass in a remote village who claims that the Virgin Mary has spoken to her and starts healing people, attracting hordes of believers from all over to flock to the sleepy barrio.

    Even those who haven’t seen the film have probably heard of the immortal line spoken by Elsa at the film’s denouement: “Walang himala! Nasa puso lang natin ang himala!” Pretty dramatic stuff.

  2. Tanging Yaman (1999; Laurice Guillen)

    What makes Tanging Yaman a memorable film is it is very identifiable. Pinoys can relate to the story of family reunions, sibling rivalries, and coping with the ageing of parents. And it didn’t hurt that it is very well-crafted. Although there is an underlying religious theme to the movie, it doesn’t resort to didacticism. Also, everyone in the cast delivered top-notch performances, in particular, Gloria Romero as the family matriarch who succumbs to Alzheimer’s.

  3. Bagets (1984; Maryo De los Reyes)

    One good thing that came out of this survey is my discovery of this fun movie. I haven’t seen this so I was intrigued that some of you chose it as one of your favorites. I went to Youtube and watched the whole thing and I understood why my friends remembered this 24-year old film: it is a laugh-trip the whole time! It really makes you want to go back to high school once more and be young and carefree and silly again. *Sigh*

  4. AngTanging Ina (2003; Wenn Deramas)

    The only other comedy in the top 10, Star Cinema’s Ang Tanging Ina is about Ina (Ai Ai de las Alas), a single mother of 12 trying hard to make ends meet. The plot allows the film to spoof earlier Star Cinema family dramas, particularly the Vilma Santos starrers. I remember I enjoyed watching this with officemates, some of whom were middle-aged mothers themselves.

  5. Madrasta (1996; Olivia Lamasan)

    This is the only film on the list that I haven’t seen yet. I could only find clips from Youtube. But from what I know about it, it’s not hard to see why some of my friends liked this. It seems like a realistic portrayal of a stepmother (Sharon Cuneta) trying to find her place in her new family. Sharon got lots of awards for her performance in this film.

  6. Oro Plata Mata (1982; Peque Gallaga)

    Those who have seen this film and liked it placed this very high on their lists. I am not at all surprised. When you hear the phrase “Filipino epic,” this movie will come to mind because it fits that description to a T: it is historical, it tackles big themes, and it’s looong (about four hours). It’s about an aristocratic family in Negros who went into hiding in their hacienda during the Japanese occupation in World War II. The title (translated to Gold Silver Death) actually foretells the fate of the family as the members’ fortunes go downhill throughout the course of the film. The climactic scenes are one of the, if not the, most heart-pounding in Philippine cinema.

  7. Jose Rizal (1998; Marilou Diaz-Abaya)

    Even if most of my friends watched this film as a class requirement, they can’t say that it wasn’t worth it because this was the first film about Rizal that is well- researched and well-made at the same time. For those who had little to no idea why Rizal was made the national hero in the first place, the film proves that he was both super-human by writing his famous novels in his early 20s and as human as the rest of us by falling in love and showing his vulnerabilities. In that scene where he was walking in the Bagumbayan field to be executed, I almost wished the movie will have a different ending because I didn’t want him to die. But, oh well.

  8. Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa? (1998; Chito Roño)

    Who knew that a film about a middle-class Pinay housewife will be better remembered than the more hyped Rizal film at #4? This is because Bata, Bata… is so well-written and well-acted that you can watch it over and over without getting tired of it. Lualhati Bautista adapted the script from her own novel about a modern Pinay and mother of two. There are several scenes and lines here (i.e., “Akala mo lang wala, pero meron, meron, meron!” Slap!) that people will remember, as did the Tanging Ina writers.

  9. Magnifico (2003; Maryo De los Reyes)

    There is something wrong with you if you watch this film without tearing up. I admit, I bawled like a baby. But that was because I caught this on TV while I was alone at home. Nobody told me the story yet so I watched it without any preconceived notions about it. So for the sake of those who haven’t seen this yet, I won’t give you even a synopsis of it. Just take my word and go watch it. Alone.

  10. Anak (2000; Rory Quintos)

    Although I think it’s a little schmaltzy for my taste, it can’t be denied that this story of a hard-working OFW coming back to reconnect with her family hits a nerve for most of Pinoys who personally know someone who went abroad to support their family. Aside from the socially relevant migration issue, though, it is basically a drama about families. We all have family issues and we all experienced teenage rebellion and we all feel guilty of things we do that hurt our parents. The movie’s theme song, Freddie Aguilar’s Anak, can by itself move anyone to tears. Partner it with this movie and it is guaranteed that your hankies will be soaked when the film ends.

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  1. jhun40
    Posted October 13, 2008 at 3:42 am

    i agree with your list, we have the same selection of favorites.

  2. jhun40
    Posted October 13, 2008 at 3:58 am

    just want to share my list of top ten best philippine movies of all time:
    1. oro, plata, mata
    2. kisapmata
    3. Dekada’70
    4. himala
    5. jose rizal
    6. anak
    7. magnifico
    8. sister stella l.
    9. bata,bata paano ka ginawa?

  3. dingdong1962
    Posted December 26, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    1.) Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (2005)
    2.) Biyaya ng Lupa (1959)
    3.) Sister Stella L. (1984)
    4.) Brutal (1980)
    5.) Ang Lihim ni Antonio (2008)
    6.) Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa? (1998)
    7.) Tubog sa Ginto (1970)
    8.) Insiang (1976)
    9.) Himala (1982)
    10.) Itim (1976)

  4. nnujlen
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 3:56 am

    I agree with some of the choices. Below are soome films that for me are the best Filipino films I have ever watched:

    1. Himala
    2. Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos
    3. Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang
    4. Maynila: Sa Kuko ng Liwanag
    5. Insiang
    6. Ina Ka Ng Anak Mo
    7. Sister Stella L.
    8. Merika
    9. Kisapmata
    10. Magnifico

    They have great storylines, great actors from lead to supporting cas, great cinematography and Pinoy na Pinoy!

  5. Gypsy Baldovino
    Posted April 12, 2009 at 10:18 am

    2. Himala
    3. Maynila, sa kuko ng liwanag
    4. Tinimbang ka ngunit kulang
    5. Pagputi ng uwak, pag-itim ng tagak
    6. Ang pagdadalaga ni maximo oliveros
    7. Insiang
    8. Oro, plata, mata
    9. Kung mangarap ka’t magising
    10.Bayaning third world

  6. Sanriel
    Posted April 20, 2009 at 8:40 am

    I saw all the films from the list except Bagets, and would have to agree with:
    - Himala
    - Oro Plata Mata
    - Bata, Bata, Paano ka Ginawa?

    Some films you missed that i loooved:
    - Biyaya ng Lupa
    - Tuhog
    - Batang Westside
    - Kakabakaba Ka Ba?
    - Insiang
    - Burlesk Queen
    - Scorpio Nights
    - Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak
    - Babae sa Bubungang Lata
    - Broken Marriage
    - Bayaning Third World
    - Maynila, sa Kuko ng Liwanag

    And for recent picks:
    - Babae sa Breakwater
    - Foster Child
    - Kubrador
    - Crying Ladies
    - Endo
    - Laman

  7. Eric Vibal
    Posted January 19, 2010 at 3:40 am

    Ten All-Time Greatest Filipino Films

    Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanang
    Batch 81
    Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos
    Pagdating sa Dulo
    Ganito Kami Noon Paano Kayo Ngayon

  8. Pacifico
    Posted April 22, 2010 at 10:57 am

    In a Youth’s Eye view:

    1. Muro-Ami
    2. Bagong Buwan
    3. Tanging Yaman
    4. Magnifico
    5. Ploning

    Over the past decades, Philippine cinema produced such fantastic films. And to name some few of them, I choose an eclectic cast from a youth in review.

  9. madison
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Gumapang ka Sa Lusak

  10. Elijah Uy
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 12:55 am

    Here are my 10 best filipino films of all time:

    1. Sister Stella L. (1984)
    2. Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag (1975)
    3. Biyaya ng Lupa (1959)
    4. Manila By Night (1980)
    5. Oro, Plata, Mata (1982)
    6. Kubrador (2006)
    7. Himala (1982)
    8. Burlesk Queen (1977)
    9. Moral (1982)
    10. Dekada ‘70 (2002)

  11. Posted September 13, 2010 at 5:04 am


    1.Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang
    2.Sister Stella L.
    5.Babae sa Breakwater
    7.Pagputi ng Uwak
    8.Jose Rizal
    10.Abakada Ina

  12. Phil Lomboy
    Posted October 31, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    1. Sister Stella L
    2. Batch 81
    3. Anak
    4. Oro Plata Mata
    5. Jose Rizal
    6. Muro Ami
    7. Dekada 70
    8. Relasyon
    9. bata, bata paano ka ginawa
    10. Ipagpatawad mo

  13. chupeta
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 5:12 am

    ako heto paborito kong pelikula:
    1. Si Pedro at Si Juan (1823)
    2. Ang Aswang sa Ilog ng Pasig at ang Bobong Bumasa (2011)
    3. Naruto vs. Goku (2009)
    4. Ang Salpukan ng Dalawang Magkamukha (2010)
    5. Tatlong Kambal, Nag Treesome (1993)
    6. Baklang Tikbalang (2003)
    7. Nag-iinasong Kambal (1997)
    8. Taong Mukhang Daga (2001)
    9. Nagdedeliryong Usa sa Pinas (1998)
    10. Bobong Bumasa (2011)

  14. Posted April 29, 2011 at 5:13 am

    ako heto paborito kong pelikula:
    1. Si Pedro at Si Juan (1823)
    2. Ang Aswang sa Ilog ng Pasig at ang Bobong Bumasa (2011)
    3. Naruto vs. Goku (2009)
    4. Ang Salpukan ng Dalawang Magkamukha (2010)
    5. Tatlong Kambal, Nag Treesome (1993)
    6. Baklang Tikbalang (2003)
    7. Nag-iinasong Kambal (1997)
    8. Taong Mukhang Daga (2001)
    9. Nagdedeliryong Usa sa Pinas (1998)
    10. Bobong Bumasa (2011)

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