All films have the possibility of falling into a pit hole of either having a badly written storyline or actors who don’t fit the role, or worse still, both. But putting aside such pitholes, you would be glad to find that Philippines actually has quite a good lineup of films. After all, our country has been blessed with so much talent it would be a waste to ignore.

The ones in this list have been personally handpicked by yours truly. But before you lounge and watch, get yourself  ready with:

  • A box of tissues. Or maybe even two or three.

  • A nice soft pillow to hug.

  • Snacks and drinks to last you throughout the movie.

7 Must-Watch Filipino Movies

1. Tanging Yaman

Tanging Yaman, meaning A Change Of Heart (the film’s English title), is revered as gold in the Philippines movie industry. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a mother, a father,or a son or daughter, this Laurice Guillen masterpiece will move you, make you bawl like a toddler, and maybe even change you. The film won many awards in the 2000 Metro Manila Film Festival, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress.

Or, I might just be biased as this was a favorite by my late grandmother. Either way, I say you get some tissues ready.

Synopsis: Three estranged siblings are reunited at their family home to resolve a property dispute after their father has passed away. The sudden close contact with each other reignites old arguments and resentment, and when coupled with their mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, only worsens the situation. But the matriach still reigns and has the ability to unite her family as one again.

2. One More Chance

Lines from this movie have been quoted over and over again in conversations, jokes, and memes. If you’re Filipino, it’s hard not to bring this movie up when someone has just ended a relationship with another, or is heartbroken, lost, or torn because of love.

One More Chance is a Pinoy film that will break your heart and trust. And then, rebuild your faith to in both love and friendship once more.

Synopsis: Two people, Popoy and Basha, who have been in a long-term relationship begin to break apart as one begins to realize personal endeavors. They move on with their lives separately but at the constant reminder of their epic love story. Fate, or common ties, brings them to meet again when the time is right.

3. Dahil Mahal Na Mahal Kita

This Pinoy movie starred two of the most iconic personas of the 90’s: Rico Yan and Claudine Barretto. If you’re blessed enough to have lived in this era, you’d know that they brought so much kilig to Filipino households.

The plot may seem cliche in modern times but the acting and storytelling in this film is A+. Plus, Roselle Nava’s take on the OST is simply heartbreaking yet comforting.

Synopsis: Bad girl meets good boy. Or maybe, the other way around. And they fall in love. However, the course of starting anew isn’t always as easy as it seemed. Their reputations and personal struggles take a toll on them as they strive to make their relationship work.

4. Heneral Luna

Heneral Luna is a critically acclaimed film by Jerrold Tarog and Artikulo Uno Productions. It also did well in the box office, and became the highest grossing Filipino historical movie of all time. Watching this will make you raise a glass to this Filipino masterpiece as you begin to question the “historical facts” you have learnt in school.


Set during the Philippine-American war, Heneral Luna follows the life of General Antonio Luna, one of Philippine’s most brilliant soldiers in history. He attempts to lead his countrymen against the new and old colonial masters and to fulfull promises of the Revolution beyond their own disputes.

5. Got 2 Believe

Here’s another Claudine-Rico film, cause why not? This was their last one together, though.

Filipinos tend to crave for a decent rom-com every now and then – or once in a blue moon. And, Got 2 Believe is THAT rom-com. The emotions felt while watching will continue to linger even after the movie ends.

Synopsis: A young wedding photographer who doesn’t believe in happy endings gets entangled with a “forever bridesmaid” wedding coordinator due to a project. They make the deal work with a promise by Lorenz to Toni that he will introduce her to his bachelor friend who could possibly be her Mr. Right. But as Lorenz starts to fall for Toni, its up to Toni to decide who will be her Mr Right.

6. Magnifico

Magnifico is a product of the combined geniuses of Maryo J. Delos Reyes and Michiko Yamamoto. It is an internationally acclaimed and multi-awarded Pinoy movie. It tells the story of a compassionate young boy and how he affects the lives of the less-unfortunate people around him.

If I may say, it’s a film like no other as this truly hits home.

Synopsis: Magnifico, a boy from an impoverished family, sets out to bring comfort, love, and joy to his family and neighborhood. He goes around to find a solution to each of their problems. But on an unfortunate day, tragedy hits and the people surrounding Magnifico end up crying on the coffin he crafted for his dying grandmother.

7. Anak

We end this list with another award-winning family-drama film. Anak presents an ordinary Filipino family faced with the high demands of society. But despite being ordinary human beings, the characters are portrayed with realistic intensity. They will move your soul, make you rethink your actions and behaviour towards your family, and change your perspectives on the Philippine society.

Synopsis: A struggling Filipina mother of three decides to work as a nanny in Hong Kong for a few years. She returns home one day with gifts and savings but to her dismay, her family don’t welcome her with open arms. Her eldest daughter turns rebellious and starts dating boys her mother doesn’t approve of and begins to abuse drugs.

What are your favorite Pinoy movies? Let’s exchange lists in the comments below!