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OPINION: 12 Best Filipino Films of the Decade

OPINION: 12 Best Filipino Films of the Decade

The 2010s became the transformative era for Philippine Cinema. We witnessed small budget movies move from being shot with consumer digital cameras to high-end equipment in the industry, providing some of the most compelling visuals on screen. This era also sees the dissolution of the “mainstream-indie” dichotomy as viewers point out that those labels on Filipino films don’t matter. Aside from technological shifts and removal of labels, we commemorate this decade as we look back to the 12 best Filipino films that defined this era. The movies in this list can either be critically acclaimed, has a mass following, and/or made a cultural impact.


The 12 Best Filipino Films of the Decade

Four Sisters and a Wedding

This Filipino film was hardly an icon when it came out in 2013. However, it achieved meme-lord status thanks to the hugot culture. A pivotal scene in this movie acted as a substitute for this generation’s frustrations and feelings of failure.

Photo from Star Cinema | ABS-CBN Films


This Filipino film feels like a time capsule, capturing a scene in the past that showcases the nature of life in poverty. If the two main characters would have been accused of selling drugs, they wouldn’t just be captured. They would be slaughtered, thanks to the brutal unfairness of the current administration.

Photo from Solar Pictures | 2016 Cannes

Heneral Luna and Goyo

Filipino films share the lives of the titular characters. Seeking to empower the nationalism, it sees how they grapple with their own “heroism” in different circumstances. Not only did this earned the irk of some politicians we won’t bother naming, but these blockbusters also came from a small and unknown studio that earned commercial success.

Photo from Quantum Films | Abramorama

Manang Biring

This Filipino film may be the most unique out of all the movies on this list. It used rotoscope animation and still properly conveyed the feeling that the director wanted us to perceive. Probably the most affecting kind of on-screen love people resonate with the most, the titular character tries to live as long as she can even beyond the grave.

Photo from Black Maria Pictures

Billie and Emma

This Filipino film sees two queer people sharing a life-changing moment with such precocity. They shared a moment, depicting the struggle of gay life as necessary to ground us in reality. This movie makes a case for a gay life that is lived and that these urges that we feel aren’t transgressive as the world would want to make us believe.

Photo from QCinema | T-Rex Produtions

That Thing Called Tadhana

Aside from Four Sisters and a Wedding, this Filipino film also has the most profound and lasting effect. It has an undeniable impact through a good script and a pair of actors with electrically charged chemistry. Of course, this movie made viewers hope for a sequel.

Photo from Star Cinema | Lionsgate

On The Job

This Filipino film starts of with an assassination in broad daylight. This shows off the comments on the sprawling, dense, and systematic corruption that represents the country. Aside from that, it also carries on the institutional commentary and targeting the hypocrisy of organized religion.

Photo from Star Cinema | Well Go USA Entertainment

Oda Sa Wala

This Filipino film has a synergy of many finely-tuned parts. It shows off the black comedy through urban fairy tales and magical realism with impeccable use of cinematic language. Aside from that, this movie remains remarkable as it highlights the extent of melancholia through rendering death, an emotional extreme for many.

Photo from QCinema | Black Sheep | Epic Media | Quiapo

Ang Babaeng Humayo

This Filipino film has a clear-cut and concrete story line about social injustice, the initial premise of which was inspired from Leo Tolstoy’s God Sees The Truth But Waits. It essentially shows the story of the titular virtuous woman becoming tainted with cruel maneuverings of fate in a world where God and salvation do not exist.

Photo from Cinema One Originals | Star Cinema

Pamilya Ordinaryo

This Filipino film remains a masterpiece of cinema where two foolishly callow kids trying to survive on the tough streets. It makes us feel like we are there with them, inhaling the same grime, strength, and even rugby with them. With realistic performances, it shows off the reality to survive on the streets.

Photo from Cinemalaya | Found Films | Outpost

Changing Partners

This Filipino film used a uniquely ingenious storytelling style in both spoken dialogue and song lyrics. They impeccably have chosen to convey their intended messages in the most heartbreaking ways possible. Of course, this translated into an intricate web of human relationships.

Photo from Cinema One Originals | ABS-CBN Films | Star Cinema


This Filipino film remains a rare beast. The director shows off his advocacy against the extrajudicial killings, revolving the story around an elite squad attempting to escape from a slum after a botched operation. It has visceral representations of death and destruction as the protagonist battle with crazed and zombie-like mobs trying to navigate her way to her survival.

Photo from Reality Entertainment | VIVA Films

Which of these Filipino films do you think stands as the best one this decade? Let us know in the comments section below.

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