Thursday, August 09, 2007

100 Best Filipino Films

This is a late (very late) reply to AFI's 100 Greatest American Films of All Times (not to mention my way of defying the sense of loss felt from all the recent deaths); instead of coming up with a hundred American movies, though, I'd thought (for the sake of not repeating the work of dozens of perfectly good film blogs) of coming up with a hundred Filipino films.

My list, my biases, at least one of which I'll freely admit to right now: the deplorable lack of titles from earlier decades, especially pre-war. As I'd noted in an old article, the Philippines is suffering from a kind of cinematic Alzheimer's, with thousands of old prints already rotted into vinegar (or worse, turned into cheap plastic New Years' trumpets), and more well on the way.

The issue needs to be addressed, and I for one hope that the Philippine government--flush with cash, or so all the latest economic news tell us--will actually spend some of the taxes they've squeezed from Filipinos in general (and the Filipino film industry in particular) to at least try save some of those prints.

Without further ado and in alphabetical order (with links to articles, where available):

48 Oras (48 Hours, 1950) - Gerardo de Leon's great noir, about a man who has 48 hours to find the men who wronged him, before a bullet in his chest reaches his heart.

Abot Kamay ang Pangarap (Elena's Redemption, 1996) - Am I nuts? Possibly. But a list has got to have at least one out-there choice, and this is mine, and my reasons why I include in the post I linked to--basically, that no one has ever seen a film like this before, and hopefully never will again.

Agila (1980) - In my book Eddie Romero's best work, this is epic filmmaking at its subtlest and most intelligent, with quietly lyrical cinematography by Mike De Leon, and an unusually nuanced performance by Da King of Philippine Cinema, Fernando Poe, Jr

Ang Alamat ni Julian Makabayan (The Legend of Julian Makabayan, 1979) - Celso Ad. Castillo's film about villagers retelling the story of their hero and the revolt he waged in the countryside.

Aliw (Pleasure, 1979) - Ishmael Bernal's caustic drama about kept mistresses.

Aliwan Paradise (Pleasure Paradise, 1993) - Mike de Leon's satire on the future of the Philippines and on Filipino game shows. Part of the omnibus film Southern Winds.

Altar (2007) - Rico Ilarde's most moving, most memorable movie mutation (to steal a phrase from Jonathan Rosenbaum)--an unholy cross between John Ford's The Quiet Man and Robert Wise's Audrey Rose. Unwholesome fun.

Anak Dalita (The Ruins, 1956) - Lamberto Avellana's neorealist drama about a man forced to participate in a smuggling ring, set in the postwar ruins of Manila.

Asedillo (1971) - Celso Ad. Castillo's gracefully proportioned action drama about a schoolteacher turned rebel leader. Cemented Filipino action star Fernando Poe Jr.'s persona as a champion of the poor and oppressed.

Babae sa Breakwater (Woman of the Breakwater, 2004) - Mario O'Hara's occasionally pungent, occasionally picaresque tale of two brothers and a young woman clinging literally to the edge of the city of Manila.

Babae sa Bubungang Lata (Woman on a Tin Roof, 1998) - Mario O'Hara's loving elegy to the glory that was once Philippine cinema, and scathing condemnation of the business it has since become.

Bagong Bayani (Unsung Heroine 1995) - Tikoy Aguiluz's masterpiece, a great docudrama about Flor Contemplacion, the domestic helper executed (wrongfully, some say) by the Singaporean government for the murder of a fellow Filipina.

Bagong Hari (The New King, 1986) - Mario O'Hara's great noir epic, about an assassin hired then betrayed by his powerful political bosses.

Bakit Bughaw ang Langit? (Why is the Sky Blue? 1981) - Mario O'Hara's poignant drama about the friendship between a young woman and a retarded man.

Batang West Side (West Side Avenue, 2001) - Lav Diaz's masterpiece, a five-hour film about an investigation into a young man's murder that gradually expands to become an investigation into the Filipino-American community.

Batch '81 (1982) - Mike de Leon's film turns the fraternity into a metaphor for the fascist Marcos regime.

Bayan Ko (My Country, 1985) - Lino Brocka's drama about labor unrest.

Bayani (Hero, 1992) - Raymond Red's beautifully photographed film about the 1898 revolution.

Bayaning Third World (Third World Hero, 2000) - Mike de Leon's brilliant Rizal film about the impossibility of making a Rizal film.

Bilanggo sa Dilim (Prisoner in the Dark, 1987) - Mike de Leon's only video feature to date, a personalized adaptation of John Fowles' chilling The Collector.

Biyaya ng Lupa (Blessings of the Land, 1959) - One of the most perfect Filipino films ever made, Manuel Silos' masterpiece about the lives of farmers and the changing of seasons, and lanzones--bushel after bushel of the ripest, juiciest, sweetest-looking lanzones you ever did see, enough to make your mouth water three times over.

Boatman (1984) - Tikoy Aguiluz's intense documentarylike drama about live sex performers.

Bona (1980) - Lino Brocka's valentine to movie love, about a young woman who chooses to become housemaid to an aspiring actor.

Broken Marriage (1983) - Ishmael Bernal deftly refracts the failing marriage through the example of other relationships--a gay couple's bitter quarrel, a younger sister's budding engagement--and in this way achieves a view of Filipino society unsparing in observation and unparalleled in complexity.

Bulaklak ng City Jail (Flowers of the City Jail, 1985) - Mario O'Hara's noir melodrama about a pregnant woman in the Manila City Jail.

Burlesk Queen (Burlesque Queen, 1977) - Celso Ad. Castillo's lyrical masterpiece, ostensibly about the dying art of burlesque, but really about the beauty of all things worn-out and ravished.

 Condemned (1984) - One of the most perfect Filipino noir thrillers ever made, about a brother and sister struggling to survive on the streets of Manila.

Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino (Evolution of a Filipino Family, 2004)- Lav Diaz's 11 hour epic, about a pair of families living through the Philippines' tumultuous recent history.

Eskapo (Escape, 1995) - Chito Rono's thriller about the attempted escape of two political prisoners from the clutches of the Marcos regime.

Fe, Esperanza, Caridad (1975) - Omnibus film includes a wonderfully lighthearted Lamberto Avellana comedy about a young wife's domestic troubles, and a memorably lurid Gerardo de Leon melodrama about a nun seduced by Satan.

El Filibusterismo (The Filibuster, 1962) - Gerardo de Leon's masterpiece of an adaptation of Jose Rizal's gothic revenge novel.

Genghis Khan (1950) - Manuel Conde's surprisingly engaging biopic of the Mongolian warrior, the first Filipino film (thanks to the support of critic James Agee) to be screened at the Venice Film Festival.

Hesus Rebolusyunaryo (Jesus the Revolutionary, 2002) - Lav Diaz's dystopian noir set five years in the future, when a man named Hesus takes on the ruling military junta.

Himala (Miracle, 1982) - Ishmael Bernal's most hallucinatory film, about a prophetess (Nora Aunor in her most famous role) in a small town devastated by drought.

Hindi Nahahati ang Langit (The Heavens Indivisible, 1985) - Mike De Leon's most commercially successful film, a surprisingly subtle adaptation of a popular komiks series about a wealthy man and his adopted sister.

Hinugot sa Langit (Snatched from Heaven, 1985) - Bernal's thoughtful take on the issue of abortion.

Ibulong Mo sa Hangin (Whisper to the Wind, 1966) - Gerardo de Leon's pulp horror masterpiece, about a proud old family afflicted with the curse of vampirism.

Ikaw ay Akin (You are Mine, 1978) - Ishmael Bernal melodrama featuring a rare co-appearance of the Philippines' two most popular actresses: Nora Aunor as a married woman and Vilma Santos as the husband's mistress.

Ina Ka ng Anak Mo (You Are the Mother of Your Child, 1979) - Lino Brocka's masterful melodrama, about a husband who falls in love with his mother-in-law.

Init sa Magdamag (Midnight Passion, 1983) - Filmmaker Laurice Guillen and writer Racquel Villavicencio's joint masterpiece, about a woman's sensual, self-destructive urges, is perhaps the most erotic Filipino film I know--and achieves this status without even a moment of nudity.

Insiang (1976) - Brocka's masterpiece, a noir drama about a daughter raped by her mother's lover.

Itim (The Rites of May, 1975) - Mike de Leon's first feature, an atmospheric tale of revenge from beyond the grave.

Jaguar (1979) - Excellent Brocka film noir, about a young man hired to be a rich man's bodyguard (or jaguar, reverse slang for the Spanish word "guardia").

Kakabakaba Ka Ba? (Will Your Heart Beat Faster? 1980) - Mike de Leon's wittily demented musical satire about Japanese yakuza, Chinese gangsters, bohemian hedonism, and the Catholic Church.

Kasal? (Marriage? 1980) - Laurice Guillen's debut film, about a young couple about to get married.

Kastilyong Buhangin (Sand Castle, 1980) - Mario O'Hara's melodrama about an aspiring singer and her ex-convict sweetheart, an exhilarating cross between George Cukor's A Star is Born and Ringo Lam's Prison on Fire.

Kisapmata (Blink of an Eye 1981) - Mike de Leon's masterpiece, a claustrophobic yet somehow comic tale of a man who marries into a dysfunctional family.

Kundiman ng Lahi (Song of a People, 1959) - Lamberto Avellana's drama about a young woman and her troubling sensuality.

Kung Mangarap Ka't Magising (Moments in a Stolen Dream, 1977) - Mike De Leon's introverted drama about a young man who falls in love with a married woman.

Laman (Flesh, 2002) - Maryo J. Delos Reyes' gritty noir, about the triangle that develops between a man, his wife, and his best friend.

Lihim ni Madonna (Secrets of Madonna, 1997) - Celso Ad. Castillo's surreal melodrama, about a deranged woman raising a child.

Lilet (1971) - Jawdropping late-period Gerardo de Leon psychodrama, about a woman's dysfunctional relationship with her family.

Magnifico (2003) - Maryo J. Delos Reyes and writer Michiko Yamamoto's gentle comedy about an idealistic young boy and his attempts to help both friend and family.

Ang Magpakailanman (Eternity, 1983) - Golden Palm winner Raymond Red's masterpiece, about the surreal and at times nightmarish adventures of a young man.

Maicling Pelicula Nang Ysang Indio Nacional (O Ang Mahabang Kalungkutan ng Katagalugan (A Short Film About the Indo Nacional (Or: the Prolonged Sorrow of the Filipinos), 2006) - Raya Martin's lyrically silent poem about the 1896 Philippine revolt.

Ang Maikling Buhay ng Apoy, Act 2, Scene 2: Suring at ang Kuk-ok (The Brief Life of Fire, Act 2, Scene 2: Suring and the Kuk-ok, 1997) - Auraeus Solito's magical animated short, about a young girl and her mythological friend

Manila by Night (1980) - Ishmael Bernal's masterpiece, an epic multi-narrative tale about the underbelly of Manila.

Manoro (The Teacher, 2006) - An early Brillante Mendoza feature, about a young Aeta girl who attempts to teach her friends and family to write their names on the electoral ballot, and easily his most evocative, effortlessly beautiful film.

May Nagmamahal sa Iyo (Madonna and Child, 1996) - moving Marilou Diaz-Abaya drama about a woman searching for the child she put up for adoption.

Maynila sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag (Manila in the Claws of Neon, 1975) - Brocka's best-known work, and one of the best visual portraits of Manila ever filmed
'Merika (America, 1984) - Gil Portes' drama about an immigrant (Nora Aunor), and her struggle to survive in the United States.

Minsan Lang Sila Bata (Children Only Once, 1996) - Ditsy Carolino and Nana Buxhani's great documentary about child labor.

Misteryo sa Tuwa (Joyful Mystery, 1984) - years before "A Simple Plan," Abbo de la Cruz's fable tells of three men who find a suitcase full of money.

The Moises Padilla Story (1961) - one of Gerardo de Leon's best films, about a man who dares to confront the established political order, is betrayed and destroyed.

Moral (1982) - Arguably Marilou Diaz Abaya and Ricky Lee's finest work, a comedy about the intertwining lives of four women.

Mortal (1975) - Mario O'Hara's surreal debut film, about a man recovering from mental illness.

Nena (1995) - Ike Jarlego Jr. and writer Lualhati Bautista's noir about a nightclub waitress raped while in prison.

Noli Me Tangere (1961) - Gerardo de Leon's great adaptation of Jose Rizal's groundbreaking novel.

Oliver (1983) - Nick Deocampo's masterpiece, a documentary about a gay nightclub performer with an especially lurid "Spider-man" act.

Orapronobis (Fight for Us, 1989) - Perhaps Lino Brocka's most intense political thriller, about the radicalization of a former priest.

Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros, 2005) - Auraeus Solito and writer Michiko Yamamoto's affectionate portrait of a gay boy in love with an idealistic policeman.

Pagdating sa Dulo (At the Top, 1971) - Ishmael Bernal's astonishingly assured film debut, a sophisticated satire on the film industry.

Pagputi ng Uwak, Pagitim ng Tagak (When The Crow Turns White, When the Heron Turns Black, 1978) - Celso Ad. Castillo's social-class drama about a romance between a poor boy and a rich girl, set against the Huk rebellion.

Pangarap ng Puso (Demons, 2000) - Mario O'Hara's genre-bending film about two lovers lost in a jungle of mythological, psychological, and political horrors.

Pila Balde (Fetch a Pail of Water, 1999) - Jeffrey Jeturian and writer Armando Lao's best work, a lightly humorous drama set in a squatter area.

Relasyon (The Affair, 1982) - Ishmael Bernal's kitchen-sink drama about a man and his mistress.

Sa North Diversion Road (On North Diversion Road, 2005) - Dennis Marasigan's adaptation of Tony Perez's classic play, about ten couples (nine of them married) driving up the North Diversion Highway, their widely divergent stories, their common humanity.

Salawahan (Capricious, 1979) - Ishmael Bernal's glittering sex comedy about a one-woman man and his playboy friend.

Salome (1981) - Laurice Guillen's drama about a young woman's murder of her rapist, and the contradictory stories behind the crime.

Sanda Wong (1955) - Gerardo de Leon's wonderful fantasy about the friendship between a young man and a notorious pirate.

Sawa sa Lumang Simboryo (Python in the Old Dome, 1952) - Great Gerardo de Leon fantasy, about a legendary bandit and his python-guarded treasure trove.

Scorpio Nights (1985) - Peque Gallaga's masterpiece is an expression of the nihilism and despair of Filipinos during the last years of the Marcos regime, and a great film.

Segurista (The Insurance Agent, 1996) - Tikoy Aguilzu's well-made noir thriller, about an insurance salesgirl by day, and a "guest relations officer" by night.

Serafin Geronimo: Kriminal ng Baryo Concepcion (Serafin Geronimo: Criminal of Baryo Concepcion, 1998) - Lav Diaz's ambitious film debut, about a Raskolnikov-like criminal struggling with his conscience.

Sisa (1951) - Gerardo de Leon's great revisionist film about one of Jose Rizal's most memorable characters, Sisa.

Sisa (Mario O'Hara, 1998) - Mario O'Hara's wildly imaginative remake of the Gerardo de Leon classic, where Rizal falls in love with his own literary creation.

Sister Stella L. (1984) - Mike De Leon's only overtly activist film, about the emerging political conscience of a nun.

Sugatang Puso (Wounded Heart, 2000) - Joey Reyes is known for his youth films, but I much prefer his dramas about the middle class--subtle, understated little chamber pieces of which this is I think one of the finest examples, with not a little flavor of Ozu in it.

Takaw Tukso (Temptation, 1986) - brilliant film from William Pascual and writer Armando Lao, about a quartet of lovers in an intensely Bergmanesque chamber drama.

Ang Tatay Kong Nanay (My Father the Mother, 1978) - Dolphy gives the performance of his career in Lino Brocka's film about a gay man raising a child.

Tatlo, Dalawa, Isa (Three, Two, One, 1975) - A Lino Brocka omnibus film that includes a man undergoing drug rehab, a slum girl who must choose between her American father and Filipina mother, and a lonely spinster and her sensual gardener.

Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos (Three Years Without God, 1976) - Mario O'Hara's epic tale of the love between a Filipina and a half-Japanese officer, arguably the greatest Filipino film ever made.

Temptation Island (1981) - great surreal camp romp by Joey Gosiengfiao, about beauty pageant contestants stranded on an island. Third-world Pedro Almodovar, only stranger and funnier.

Terror is a Man (1959) - Gerardo de Leon's small-scale yet intriguing take on H.G. Wells' classic The Island of Dr. Moreau.

Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (You Were Weighed and Found Wanting, 1974) - one of Lino Brocka's rare epics, a panoramic portrait of a small town.

Todo Todo Teros (2006) - John Torres moving confessional and paranoid spy drama, made completely out of snippets of poetry and found footage.

Tubog sa Ginto (Dipped in Gold, 1971) - Lino Brocka's adaptation of Mars Ravelo's "komiks" melodrama about a successful businessman trying to hide his homosexuality.

Turumba (1981) - Kidlat Tahimik's best work, about the exploitation of a small town by German investors.

Uhaw na Pag-ibig (Thirsty Love, 1983) - Vivid Mario O'Hara film noir, about a young woman turned prostitute.

Working Girls (1984) - Ishmael Bernal and writer Amado Lacuesta's biting comedy about shenanigans in a Makati City bank.



Oggs Cruz said...

Great list, Noel.

I agree, the government should start doing something about film prints (especially those selfishly kept from the public). Use the power of eminent domain perhaps, force these studios (or bickering families and personalities) to give up their precious film prints (and rights) and deposit them to CCP or any other government facility? But, that opens up the issue of reliability.

About the list, no Badjao, or Mutya ng Pasig?

Unknown said...

What a great resource for those of us utterly clueless about this national cinema (I've seen only one film on this list, myself).

Noel Vera said...

Like I said, oggs--heavily skewed list. I was thinking of including, oh, Anak ng Bulkan too, maybe Intramuros, or Anak Dalita. Had to draw the line somewhere.

Thanks, oggs, brian.


I love Aliwan Paradise. I don't know if its accurate to say it was ahead of its time pero one look at Wowowee and the subjects of most if not all of independent cinema: poverty as entertainment.

Noel Vera said...

Haven't seen Wowowee, but I'll take your word for it--not surprised Philippine TV went in this direction.

digitalburyong said...

Interesting list, sir. I guess I have seen one-third of it, except for those really hard to find ones (gerardo de leon's, o'hara's lesser-known films, et al).

i just wonder, you are not much of a fan of danny zialcita's films?


Michael E. Kerpan Jr. said...

I keep checking Kabayan Central, hoping to see more classic films available on DVD with subtitles -- but there never seems to be much (if anything) new.

Thanks for the list, though.

Noel Vera said...

Digital, Danny's films are pretty good, his variation on classic melodramas/comedies, maybe not great. It's space again, I suppose, and circumstances. If I made the list again I might put in a Zialcita; if I do a thousand films, I'd probably throw at least one in (early ones, probably, even if some of them are shot-by-shot copies). Same with Badjao, of course.

Michael, I'm still holding my breath for Insiang among others. I hope that comes out this year, at least.

guillerluna said...

i thought you're going to include all of mike de leon's works, but curiously, what you didn't include was itim, which is de leon best known work. what you had in your list, instead, was the melodrama hindi nahahati ang langit. i love kisapmata and kung mangarap ka't magising. hehehe. great list, though.

Noel Vera said...

I did include Itim. No I don't think it's his best known work; that would be Kisapmata and Batch '81, and, I suppose, Bayaning Third World being his most recent.

Of his films, I actually prefer Hindi Nahahati ang Langit over the better known and more highly regarded Sister Stella L--it's more recognizably him, the former, and he's actually admitted as much.

Quentin Tarantado said...

I would vote for including
Bagets: Maryo delos Reyes take on the youth circa 1984 (that's our generation!), their clothes, their interests (girls, what else?) their music (damn, they used THAT SONG for our graduation! I still puke when I think about it)
Tagos ng Dugo: Maryo delos Reyes' tribute to Brian de Palma, about a woman who kills when she has her period.
Lalakwe: Danny Zialcita's lurid story about a playboy who had his penis unwillingly re-sculpted into a vagina by a jealous husband. Rolando Valdez in his magnificent neutered role.
Pisay: Okay, I cheat. you can't have seen this because it's Aureaus' latest. It's Bagets for HIS generation (not that far from ours, but much, much better) about life at the prestigious Philippine Science High School, which is academically tough.

Noel Vera said...

I'll see your Bagets and raise you High School Circa '65, arguably the best thing hes ever doned.

But I'll stand by my choices.

Anonymous said...

asteg listahan mo...

gusto ko rin sanang makita sa listahan mo yung oro plata mata, saka brutal... astis din joey reyes may nagmamahal. all in all galeng ng listahan mo...

tagamasid said...

Hi mr. critic,

Just an really did not include Oro, Plata, Mata and Ina, Kapatid, Anak and Tuhog? I just hope you just forgotten them...they are very good Filipino films...was surprise they did not make your cut..


drei said...

I don't know if it's just me, pero bakit wala ang Hihintayin Kita sa Langit? :)

Noel Vera said...

Hi, annonymous, Florencio, drei.

Much prefer Scorpio Nights to Oro Plata; if Gallaga has any claim to greatness, it's with that film, I think. I've written about it here and there (never a whole article, unfortunately), my reasons for preferring one over the other.

As for Brutal, again, it's a matter of preference. I think Moral's her best work, with May Nagmamahal showing off her more mature skills. Brutal--rape's a classic theme in Philippine cinema, and I felt it was better dealt with elsewhere.

Joey Reyes, I might have gone for Sugatang Puso, which I thought had a lovely almost Ozulike quality (at least in one scene I'm thinking of), but didn't this time. If I did the list again, who knows...?

Tuhog--again, I thought Pila Balde better represented Jeturian and Lao at their best. Tuhog had many good things in it, not least of which is a wonderful performance by Irma Adlawan, but Pila as a whole is the more ambitious film, and more difficult to pull off well, I thought.

And Ina, Kapatid, Anak is a good choice, but there's so many Brockas to choose from (so many Bernals too, come to think of it). Circumstance of the draw, then.

No, I didn't like Hihintayin Kita sa Langit, but Siguion Reyna poses a thorny problem: should I pick what I think is his most unique film (the inimitable (hopefully, hopefully) Abot Kamay ang Pangarap or the more personal (in my opinion) "Ikaw pa lang ang minahal?" Decisions, decisions. They both ended up not being on the list, but again, who knows...?

Noel Vera said...

Hi, annonymous, Florencio, drei.

Much prefer Scorpio Nights to Oro Plata; if Gallaga has any claim to greatness, it's with that film, I think. I've written about it here and there (never a whole article, unfortunately), my reasons for preferring one over the other.

As for Brutal, again, it's a matter of preference. I think Moral's her best work, with May Nagmamahal showing off her more mature skills. Brutal--rape's a classic theme in Philippine cinema, and I felt it was better dealt with elsewhere.

Joey Reyes, I might have gone for Sugatang Puso, which I thought had a lovely almost Ozulike quality (at least in one scene I'm thinking of), but didn't this time. If I did the list again, who knows...?

Tuhog--again, I thought Pila Balde better represented Jeturian and Lao at their best. Tuhog had many good things in it, not least of which is a wonderful performance by Irma Adlawan, but Pila as a whole is the more ambitious film, and more difficult to pull off well, I thought.

And Ina, Kapatid, Anak is a good choice, but there's so many Brockas to choose from (so many Bernals too, come to think of it). Circumstance of the draw, then.

No, I didn't like Hihintayin Kita sa Langit, but Siguion Reyna poses a thorny problem: should I pick what I think is his most unique film (the inimitable (hopefully, hopefully) Abot Kamay ang Pangarap or the more personal (in my opinion) "Ikaw pa lang ang minahal?" Decisions, decisions. They both ended up not being on the list, but again, who knows...?

bimbo said...

hello sir, great reviews, really very informative. saw your book at datelines and been meaning to purchase it, only the price is too steep at nagkakataon na walang pera pag napapadaan, haha. just want to know, is there someplace where i can buy local films, especially the old ones? i'm only chancing at the occasional stock at video city, but their titles are oftentimes contemporary ones. salamat1

Anonymous said...

there are some movies that are listed in here that I haven't even heard of..

Noel Vera said...

bimbo: your best bet is to forget looking for dvds and get on the UP film institute or cinemanila egroups, keep your eye out there and in the newspapers for screenings of old films.

And get Skycable. Cinema One is showing maybe 80% of the films I'm talking about. For those in the USA, it should be available in TFC, the Filipino Channel.

Noel Vera said...

And plank fish: interesting, which ones?



I'm honored that Sa North Diversion Road has merited inclusion in your list. More power!


Noel Vera said...

Liked it a lot, Dennis. Looking forward to seeing your latest.

Unknown said...

I am not surprised that two De Leons, Brocka,and Bernal litter your list. However, I am surprised that a lot of O'haras work are in your list of the greatest 100. I was looking for Pare Ko by Joey Reyes, Misis Mo Misis Ko by Siguion Reyna, and Panday by Ronwaldo reyes. You're right about High School Circa '65 as being Maryo J's best. I wonder also about Gabun; forgot who did it though.

JdelaCruz said...

Hey Noel,

Great list. Heartening to be reminded what Philippine Cinema has always been capable of.

Did Mike de Leon score a grand slam here? All his works as director accounted for? Even cinematographer, I think.

Whatever became of that planned DVD release of "Ang Tatay Kong Nanay" and "Insiang" (and 3 other Brockas) by Cinefilipino? I thought I read that in a news article somewhere a few months ago.

Linking you to my little blog, you mind? (Since I'm here all the time anyway I figure.) Cheers!

Noel Vera said...


I'm not a big fan of Pare Ko--as I've mentioned before, I think Sugatang Puso represents his best work, and if I did my list again, that would probably be my first choice (I think he's much better at middle-class angst than at youth films). Misis Ko, Misis Mo is decent and well made, but with Siguion Reyna--well, I mentioned the The Heiress adaptation and Abot Kamay ang Pangarap; one is personal and may have a good chance at being considered at least an interesting personal statement, the other is, uh, inimitable is how I've put it before.

I don't see why O'Hara should be a surprise. I think he's collaborated with Brocka on his best works--script of Insiang (Brocak's masterpiece, in my opine), and Tinimbang (script AND a great performance). I think he's the equal of De Leon (Gerardo) and Celso Ad. Castillo in terms of visual filmmaking (Bagong Hari, Tatlong Taong, Bilanggong Birhen, Fatima Buen, Pangarap ng Puso among many others) and that he's an auteur in terms of scriptwriting (even scripts he doesn't write--Bulaklak ng City Jail--have his distinct voice), directing, consistency of theme, sound mixing and even editing. You can recognize an O'Hara film by the way it cuts. Really.

Noel Vera said...

I don't know about that Insiang release, I'll try follow it up.

Did Mike score a grand slam. Lemme put it this way: he's consistent, and his output is of high quality. But the film of his that really rocks my world is Kisapmata.

Link my blog to yours? My pleasure! I'll try return the favor...

Unknown said...

When I said I was surprised that O'hara's films figured well in your list I meant it as a pleasant surprise. Much like how Fonacier played for the Blue Eagles before. Tira lang ng tira before you know it naka 20 pts na pala. And what even makes O'hara fantastic is that he does make his films at a tenth of the budget of mainstream features.
Reason I brought Pare Ko up is I personally love the film and this is not to take away your appreciation of Sugatang Puso,which I think was Joey's initial venture into a much darker picture of middle class angst.
Too bad Live Show was not as well written because I think that was his most visual film.

Noel Vera said...

It could be argued that Bayarang Puso dealt with middle age angst--anyway, the angst of a lonely middleaged woman. And that Makati Ave.--but that's more of a comedy, isn't it?

Agreed about Live Show. Actually, I think a lot of Live Show's look is borrowed from Boatman and Maynila sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag. But it's his most striking visually.

tagamasid said...

Hi Mr. Critic,

Thanks for your reading my entries...however, I cannot get your point on the exclusion of Oro, Plata, Mata and Tuhog...reading your reasons and your other seems that you tend to choose the best of a director's work...this is ok...but your list is entitled the 100 Best Filipino does this mean that we only consider the bests of every director...If this is the case (which seems to be following your responses) then why not only choose the director's best work...or retitled the list as the Best Films of Filipino Directors? Please enlighten me...

Oh yes...I just thought of Cain at Abel (I think it was a fast pace above average action movie) and Gumising Ka Maruja...

will wait for your reply....

Noel Vera said...

Hi, Mr. Florencio;

I've written about or mentioned Oro Plata in othe venues; have not devoted an entire article on the movie. Beyond actually writing one I don't think I can fairly or sufficiently outline my reasons for not thinking more highly of the picture.

Tuhog--I like it okay; in fact, I've written about the picture..

As for "best of a director" against "best films," basically I think they're one and the same.


Please lang wag i-compare ang Bagets with Pisay. Utang na loob.

Unknown said...

I wonder if you come out with a list of the year's best? I cannot seem to follow any group's list. Anyway I don't really believe in awards but it would be good to know how other minds operate and find out what their ideas on good films and film work are. Anyway you can identify style and taste from the lists that they come up with anyway; politics and commerce factored in.

Are you aware of any blog or website that does this? I mean keep a tab on the year's or previous years best?

Noel Vera said...

No, unfortunately, I'm not up on the latest films there--I have to scratch and struggle for what I can see.

My blog roll lists a few people who keeep up--check out Oggs Movie Thoughts, Piling Piling Pelikula and Concentrated Nonsense. I don't know if they have lists, though.

angblanc said...

Great list, I think I saw at least 75% on your list, Im just so disappointed that some of my favorites are not inlcuded in your list:

1. Pare ko - Joey Reyes, I saw this film maybe hundred times and it never failed to impress me with how JOey Reyes captured teenage angst.

2. Tuhog - jeffrey Jeturian , Pila Balde is my favorite but I personally find this better than half of your list

3. Oro Plata Mata
4. Big Time - Mario Cornejo, dynamic, witty and original.

5. Ikaw pa lang ang Minahal - with Maricel Soriano in her performance of a lifetime

btw, Im so happy you did not include a film by Joel lamangan, I think he is sooo over rated!!

Alexis A. Tioseco said...

the more i think about it noel, the more i think this list should be a book with arguments and longer considerations of the films.

Noel Vera said...

I guess we disagree, re: Joey Reyes. I really think he's much better doing subtle middle-class drama than teenage angst. Or maybe I'm just not a fan of teenage angst (but then there's Bresson's films...).

Tuhog is okay, Pila much better in my opine. If you ask Frank Rivera--who played a writer in the movie, he'll tell you what he thought of it.

Bing Lao (who wrote Tuhog) is very underrated, and like Pete Lacaba, his voice shines through different directors. Takaw Tukso and La Vida Rosa are some of his best works.

I think I mentioned elsewhere I much prefer Big Time to Peque Gallaga's Pinoy Blonde.

Oro, Plata--no, sorry. It's a triumph of production design, I'll give it that much.

Ikaw Pa Lang is the Carlitos, right? I was tempted to include that. It was either that or Abot Kamay ang Pangarap, and for two very different reasons.

I may not have included a film with Joel Lamangan as director, but I'm very proud to include at least two I remember that feature him as an actor. He's an incredible actor, on screen and on stage.

Noel Vera said...

Hi Alexis. One impossible project at a time, please.

I need to get going on my long proposed Heremias article. Is Criticine still active?

Alexis A. Tioseco said...

possible project, noel, not impossible! i should clarify that by longer considerations, i don't mean monster essays, but maybe 500 or so word pieces.

criticine is certainly still alive. i may sound like a broken record, but i hope to prepare the next update within two weeks time. personal trials and obligations are the (invalid) reason for the hiatus. your heremias piece would certainly be welcomed.

btw- i posted something on my blog about memorable pieces of philippine film criticism (, and i was especially curious if you had anything in mind to nominate.

Noel Vera said...

Hi, Alex, not sure what qualifies as memorable, but I remember Wilfredo Nolledo did some terrific stuff way back when--don't know if it's Mr. & Ms. magazine, plus Butch Dalisay when he finds the time to write about films, plus Tejeros--maybe one of his best pieces championed Pangarap ng Puso. And your article on Batang West Side, of course.

Anonymous said...

I chanced into this blog while Googling 'Oro, Plata, Mata'. I think it's a good idea to create a list like the AFI's. Pero mas OK siguro kung isang grupo ng critics ang mag-judge para ma-minimize yung personal biases.

I understand that your list was based on your personal judgment which is fine. No problem there.

RE 'Oro' the reason I was Googling it was because I wanted to see if it's available anywhere because I wanted to see it again. I may have a different judgment of it once I get to see it again as opposed to when I saw it the first time. But the thing I remember was the haunting quality of the film; the atmosphere and subleties that lie underneath the surface.

Good luck and Gob bless.

Noel Vera said...

A group of critics I have no problem with; the problem is with trying to combine their votes via some kind of statistical method.

As Samuel Clemens once said "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." Essentially with statistics you're combining the distinct flavors of so many different minds into one undifferentiated mass. Or mess. In other words, yuck.

So sure, I'm in favor of a group of critics making their lists, as long as their lists are kept separate. To dredge up another quote, this time from Chairman Mao "let a hundred flowers bloom."

Film critic Gino Dormiendo pretty much summed up the experience of watching Oro for the umpteenth time for me: every time I see it again, I think less of it. But that's a small minority's opine; definitely there's a vast enthusiastic following for the picture, and I bow in recognition to it, fellow blooming flower so to speak. I'm cool with that.

Anonymous said...

what about a more contemporary list...those released 2000 onwards...100 Best Filipino Films...thanks :)

Noel Vera said...

But I count at least nine films made after 2000.

Unless you mean a hundred good films made after 2000. I don't know if such a list is possible, actually. If someone came up with one, I will probably agree with some of his choices, might or might not agree with all his choices.

TBR said...

my question is not about which films you included in your list, but with WHAT WORDS you chose to describe them. especially telling since you only had a few.

generally, you describe a film by naming the director and the genre, and sometimes the theme. but...

1. when do you decide to namedrop the writer? michiko yamamoto and armando lao, but hardly anyone else. why the bias?

2. or when do you decide not to name the director? such as in condemned.

3. why mention nora aunor (in parenthesis) in merika, but not in bona?

Noel Vera said...

1) When I feel like it. Not fair, I suppose, but I tend towards the auteurist view. In the case of Michiko, Bing Lao, and actually Pete Lacaba and Ricky Lee, often they are the auteurists...but that's the subject of another article.

Noel Vera said...

2) As for Condemned--well, I forgot. We all know it's Mario O'Hara, right?

3) Bona--ditto.

Anonymous said...

I think Eddie Romero's "Aguila" (1980) starring Fernando Poe Jr. and Christopher De Leon is one of the best Filipino films I have ever seen. I'd appreciate a heads up at if the DVD comes out. Salamat.

Noel Vera said...

If I can manage to swing it. You'd do good checking this site out too, once in a while.

Aguila I need to see again. I remember loving the script, thinking the filmmaking wasn't as clunky as in Ganito, thanks in no small part to Mike de Leon and Rody Lacap.

Anonymous said...

I thought Biyaya ng Lupa is Directed by Manuel Silos and Not Manuel conde, pls clarify

Noel Vera said...

Did I write Conde? My bad.

Anonymous said...

hi mr. vera! would you know how many of these films are accessible in the market today? we're having a hard time finding titles. thanks :)

Noel Vera said...

Pls. check sidebar, "Filipino films on DVD."

Anonymous said...

Can you possibly pinpoint which among these great movies can be called nonlinear films (like Rashomon, Blind Chance, Groundhog Day, Pulp Fiction, Being John Malkovich)?

I can only think of two Tagalog movies whose narrative can be called nonlinear: Jologs and the recent A Love Story.

I'd appreciate it very much if you could help me out here. Thank you.

Noel Vera said...

Nonlinear? Off the top of my head: Mortal, Brutal, Salome, Karnal. As I've mentioned before, anything with a flashback is arguably also nonlinear, so they'd be more common than one might assume.

Anonymous said...

fortunately, "bakit bughaw ang langit?" and other philippine movie classics like "kastilyong buhangin" will be released in record stores nationwide in a month or so.

Noel Vera said...

Ows! Is that so? Who's releasing it?

Anonymous said...

i'll just inform you when they're out already. one of the minor labels in the industry.

Anonymous said...

This list is thorough...might differ in some taste concerns but all in all it's as good as it can get. Can't wait to get an updated 2008 version and hopefully get my work counted in. Thanks! Mabuhay and Peliukulang Pilipino.

Anonymous said...

WTF? No TUHOG? Thats a travesty!

Noel Vera said...

That's lists. I do like the film, I just don't think it's Jeturian's best work.

Anonymous said...

I'm no film critic but come on; TUHOG is one of the most important Filipino film of the past 10 years. Ive seen many great Filipino films and Tuhog ranks up there. And for you not to include it in a lists of 100? Thats just insane. I just read the other comments after i posted my 1st and i'm happy im not alone in this inquiry. And your reason? just because its not Jeturians best is just pointless.

You need to update your list, your taste and your reasoning.

Noel Vera said...

Um, yeah, right. And you need a new set of manners, sir.

Anonymous said...

Great List, I got your explanation about non inclusion of Ikaw Pa Lang ang Minahal. One of the best performances ever of a Filipina Actress!

How about Inang Yaya? What is your take about the movie? I find this simply amazing. It moves me even after viewing it. Kumbaga, pasok na pasok ang emosyon nito at iba ang hagod ng movie sa akin.

Does it deserve to be in the list let us say, kung may bago kang list ng Top 200? Gawa ka na lang kasi ng 200 Best Filipino Films.

Noel Vera said...

Maybe; it's well made. But I got to be cautious--might find myself including more digital experimental films, or every film by Lav Diaz or some such trend. Nothing wrong with that per se; what will be will be (I already have practically every Mike de Leon film in my list), but I'd like to proceed with caution.

Anonymous said...

Great list...I notice only a few movies from the 2000s were included...

Noel Vera said...

In my opinon, most of them need the test of time to confirm that they're really good. Maybe in twenty years, we'll see.

Anonymous said...

It's your list so I would understand your bias on Mario O'Hara but the inclusion of Halimaw sa Banga over other classics is a bit odd.

I loved how you recognize "so bad they're good movies" (e.g. Temptation Island).

And if you will include a Siguion-Reyna movie, choose the more superior Ikaw Pa Lang ang Minahal.

I barely remember Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos. I'm wondering if this will be released on DVD. I already have a copy of my pick of (arguably) the best Filipino Film...Insiang.

Noel Vera said...

I think Halimaw's great, one of these days I ought to write more on why I think so. Basically Lotlot's suffering from an Elektra complex.

I was thinking of including Ikaw, but that's a reasonably good film (with maybe a hint of something personal behind it) vs. an outrageous home run. I'm more inclined to include the home run.

Anonymous said...

some films missing:

joey reyes has lots to offer should this list be altered...we have pare ko, sugatang puso, makate avenue and bayarang puso, i love the conflict and the sufferings of lorna's character.

then few films worth mentioning that should be in the list: ikaw pa lang ang minahal: maricel, eddie and richard gave a performance of a lifetime in this movie...then there is wating (carmina villaroel), sarah jane salazar (gellie de belen) and FATIME BUEN (kris aquino)..., i just love this movies for personal reasons...for newer ones ataul for rent and bridal shower were good films...anak (star cinema) with vilma santos and claudine baretto is also an eye-opener...

Noel Vera said...

Sorry, not a big fan of Pare Ko, Makati Avenue or Bayarang Puso. Sugatang Puso tho I thought is very fine (I like him when dealing with the middle class than when dealing with the youth); thinking about including that, maybe one of these days...

I like Ikaw too--it's the one and only performance of Richard Gomez that I really believe in.

Wating--not a fan of; same with Sarah Jane. Fatima Buen I'm tempted; wish it was anyone but Kris. Anak--I don't know, late Vilma Santos just doesn't have that, uh 'libog' that I'm looking for to consider it a great performance. She needs to get poor, get hungry, get to trying to prove herself again. She's been too complacent for too long.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't understand what Bayaning Third World really tries to aspire to. But people say that's exactly the point. To not understand. But isn't that pretentious?

-Spock!Mesa Boogie Yourself, ESP Man!

Noel Vera said...

It's in my article: it's a Rizal film that tries to prove the impossibility of making a Rizal film.

fredsicio said...

hi great choices, kaya lang lumalabas ung pagka bias mo, no doubt mario o haras films are great pero bakit kasama ung mga infamous and neverheard films nya sa list mo over those who are written and acclaimed best works of our filipino directors,so much about why oro plata s not included, ive read ur explanaton bout this,though i think its one of the best film, how anout the works of danny zialcita, his films are witty, fast facing, kahit may reputation cya na most of his story are copied from hollywood classics, still hes good at it, take for example his ikaw at ang gabi, 1979 urian best picture or was it after its shown, so with tbird at ako, the lines are witty and funny and malinis ang pagkakagawa, also dont you like marilou dias abayas milagros, brutal and karnal?, eddie garcias atsay, ecp produced soltero starring jay ilagan, this film ismeant for intelligent viewer kasi boring pero ang ganda ng message and the actors are all good and at their best.hindi ko lang talaga maintindihan why you prefer all those neverheard and infamous films, and dami talagang pagpipiliian over brocka and bernal films, pero sana pinili mo na ung talagang best, bernals nunal sa tubig i think should be included kahit p sabihing overrated. but all in all i must say i agree to your choices, keep it up kailangan ka naming mga filipino movie fanatic, sana bumalik yung golden era of filipino films, but how, sino ang bubuhay,talagang patay na..... by the way for those who wants to have a copy of old filipino films, visit video 48 liwayway st, west ave quezon city, andami don pwede kayong magpakopya.....

Noel Vera said...

Well, like I've said before, we all have biases. One of these days, I'll try make room for Zialcita--maybe one of the films he didn't copy frame-by-frame...

And no, not a big fan of Oro Plata Mata, or Karnal, Milagros, Brutal, or Atsay (Eddie's a great actor, but not a big fan of his directing), or Bernal's Nunal sa Tubig (I like him best when he's sarcastic, not tripping).

Anonymous said...

Can't say I have seen many Filipino movies but I did see one recently that, to me, is one of the best films from our country, and that is Bagong Buwan. Cesar Montano and Caridad Sanchez are good in that film, as well as most of the supporting cast. The story is gripping, taking this viewer in its roller coaster ride of emotions, not to mention showing life from the point of view of the Muslims in the Philippines and the lesson of being tolerant of each other. It comes as a 2-in-1 CD with Eskapo, which appears on your list. Why not Bagong Buwan?

Noel Vera said...

Not a big fan of Bagong Buwan, I'm afraid.

fredsicio said...

Thanks for the reply, by the way, i been looking for your book in several national book store branches, unfortunately not available, i hope you can publish some of your full reviews of these best film like you did in segurista. More power,

Noel Vera said...

No, apparently National Book Store was not interested in my book. Their loss.

fredsicio said...

so how can i get a copy of your book?I did several film reviews wayback my college days which was published thru our school organ, lino brocka, ismael bernal, mario o hara, eddie romero, mike de leon, marilou diaz abaya, laurice guillen, mario j de los reyes, except eddie romero, ive seen their very first film and made a review on these, they are the gems of our industry, among the new ones after these directors, are the works of jeffrey jeturian, raymond red, lav diaz who showed intelligence in making films, pila balde, sakay, hesus rebolusyonaryo and ang huling kriminal ng barrio concepcion are among the outstanding film of the last decade.
Many of our filipino directors made their own masterpiece, one or two of their films made a remark among these are, Peque Gallagas Oro plata mata, Loel lamangans The Flor contemplacion story, sidhi and Bakit may kahapon pa, Elwood Perez Bilangin ang bituin sa langit, Pio de castros Soltero, Tikoy Aguilos Segurista, Carlitos Sigiuon reynas Hihintayin kita sa langit and Ikaw pa lang ang minahal, Joey Reyes may minamahal, bakit labis kitang mahal and Sugatan and Bayarang puso, Chito ronos escapo, bata bata pano ka ginawa and dekada 70,Danny Zialcitas Ikaw at ang gabi, T bird at ako and the malakas and mahinhin series,
joey Gosengfiaos Temptation Island, Manuel Cincos huwag, Robert Arevalos Sinong pipigil sa Pagpatak ng Ulan and Hubad na Bayani,, Augusto Buenaventuras Bakya mo neneng, Romy Suzaras, Mga uod at rosas and Apoy sa MagdaMAG,Lupita Concio Kashiwaras Minsay Isang Gamugamo,some of Pablo Santiagos action movie with Fernando Poe Jr, and Fernando Poe Jr itself who uses the name Ronwaldo Reyes is great in Ang Pagbabalik ng Panday,his ang Maestro is a comercial film done artistically.
And who can ever forget the Messiah of philippine movies, The great Celso ad Castillo, Tag araw sa Tag ulan, Pag itim ng tagak pagputi ng uwak, burlesk queen, nympha, uhaw na dagat, bakit may pag ibig pa the tenement episode, virgin people among the few, what ever happened to äng lalaking nangarap maging nora Aunor.?
Ive heard so much of the films of our two great directors, read the reviews but was not able to watch any of their film, Lamberto Avellana and Gerry de Leon,so i cannot actually tell something about them, ive seen anak dalita in tv and banaue, and i wanted to have copy of those, read so much of badjao, noli and el fili, the moises padilla story.

Noel Vera said...

If you check the upper left hand link on my blog, it leads to the book's website, where you can order it online.

It is available in the CCP bookstore, Fully Booked in Power Plant mall bookstores, Datelines in Cubao, and Booktopia in LIbis.

At least I hope they still have copies, or have not closed down yet.

fredsicio said...

thanks mr. vera, will surely go to ccp for your book, by the way please make a review on the entries of the on going cinemalaya indie filmfest, all the entries are currently showiung in ccp. Thanks and hope to read more from you. God bless!

Noel Vera said...

I hope to do that eventually but it'll take some time since I'm not in the Philippines.

Unknown said...

Kind of off-topic Noel, but I bet you're the one to ask: I'm a US citizen (no Filipino blood) interested in auditioning for some film roles here in the Philippines (I live in Bacolod presently). I've seen billions of US and European films, but I've unfortunately never seen a Filipino film, so obviously, before I start trying to break into the biz, I should at least know a little bit about it and what makes it 'it' - what makes it special. I was hoping perhaps you could boil this list down to, say, the top 10 movies one should watch to be inaugurated into Philippine cinema. This doesn't necessarily mean the 10 best, but perhaps - 10 Filipino movies Everyone should see or something like that. Top 10 Truly Filipino Movies. You know - The Princess Bride, Ferris Beuhler, Godfather, Citizen Kane, Breakfast Club flix from the Pearl of the Orient. Could you help a guy out?

Noel Vera said...


Got a list here of twelve essential Filipino films. Actually the link is on the front page of my website.

Some of them--Insiang in particular--is available on DVD. The rest are mostly viewable (albeit with cuts and commercials) on Cinema One. Call this a plug for the channel and Skycable, but Cinema One is essential viewing; every first of the month I buy a TV guide and check out what they have, and mark what I want to see.

Good luck, happy viewing!

thebaker said...

Minsay isang gamu gamu, is arguably the greatest filipino film ever made, surprisingly it didnt made to your list.
I also believe temptation island of joey and sigurista of tikoy is not worth mentioning in the top 100.

Noel Vera said...

I love the message of Minsa'y Isang Gamu-Gamo, I'm just not a big fan of the didactism.

Segurista's the best Filipino fiction film yet to even begin to deal with the impact of Pinatubo, however indirectly. Plus it's based on a true story. Plus I think it's superb erotic noir.

On Temptation Island--we need serious silliness, with teeth.

Anonymous said...

Where's Kidlat Tahimik's PERFUMED NIGHTMARE. This movie won 3rd Best Picture at the Berlin Film Festival. I'm not kung 1960 or 1961.

Noel Vera said...

I just think Turumba is better.

paul said...

You had at least 10 nora aunor films in your 100 best. Do you think a nationa artist award is long overdue for her?

Noel Vera said...

They can always strip Carlos J. Caparas of his award and give it to her instead.

Anonymous said...

can you please singled out your best film and performer. I need it in my thesis. I need 10 distinguished critic and their preferences. Thanks

Noel Vera said...

Best film and performance ever, in my opine.

Epoy Deyto said...

Hey there, Noel! Just finished watching Ebolusyon And I have some questions in my mind:

1. The characters of Joel Torre and Pen Medina is plotting an assassination against Lino Brocka, right?

2. Who is TagaTimog?


Noel Vera said...

1) Yes.

2) It's been years, I don't remember. Lav, maybe?

Noel Vera said...

Okay, you mean that quote by Taga Timog. I think that's Lav--he's from Mindanao.

Epoy Deyto said...

oh, thanks noel!

Just confused with all these lav diaz' Pseudonyms. He's also Bahaghari, right?

Noel Vera said...

Well, Taga Timog is the director of the documentary on Brocka that you see inside Ebolusyon. I'm assuming that's Diaz because he directs the picture; he simply used Taga Timog's name in a quote, like I don't know, Dashiell Hammett taking a quote from Sam Spade.

Baghari is Richard Guzman, a cameraman. He's worked with Diaz in Ebolusyon.

Epoy Deyto said...

Yeah, he's taga-timog, i see it now. the reason why I thought he's bahag hari is because he used the pseudonym Bahaghari Timog on writing is palanca-award winning short story "PULA, PUTI AT SAKA BLU AT MARAMI PANG KOROL"

anyways, thanks to the info noel.

Anonymous said...

nice flicks. ang galing talaga ng pilipino. pero, in reality 9 out of ten is: "kabadingan." it seems that almost everyone is gay. most likely the blog author is not an exception.

Noel Vera said...

Thank you, very kind, but nine out of ten of your words reek of homophobia. Get thee buggered, stat.

Edwin Sallan said...

Not sure if this earlier comment came through. Like I said, not a big fan of Marilou Diaz-Abaya but I thought her Brutal was better than Moral. Great performances by Gina Alajar and the underrated Amy Austria.

Oh, and nothing by FPJ?

Noel Vera said...

Several reasons why I think Moral is better:

1) It's subtler. It's one of Lee's best work. I think he excels in portraying middle class foibles and vulnerability. And it's funnier. I think he's an excellent comic writer. I think this is definitely a Ricky Lee film.

2) Brutal's rape has no heat in it. I think Marilou has problems portraying the sadism and cruelty of rape. Not to mention sensuality (check out, oh, Peckinpah's Straw Dogs, for example).

3) I don't think the taint of both Amy and Jay's characters are successfully portrayed. Kulang sa pawis, laway, ihi, tamod. This is Brocka territory, Insiang territory, and Marilou treads it upon her peril. On the other hand, Charo's character is a wonderful success, and so is Gina.

Oh, as for FPJ--I included Agila and Asedillo. Check em out, esp. the links.

Quentin Tarantado said...

Personally, I enjoyed the one Panday movie I watched and I wish I caught all the others. I prefer FPJ's practical special effects compared to Bong Revilla's sophisticated digital effects in his new Panday. Plus, FPJ's storytelling is plain better.

Quentin Tarantado said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Noel Vera said...

As a rule, on-camera effects are more fascinating than digital. Digital you know it's all done on software; with on-camera effects you wonder--'how was it done? There were no computers...'

Anonymous said...

hmmm, i personally think that pangarap ng puso is the best o'hara film and by being so, arguably the best film in philippine cinema. but the nora's performance in tatlong taon is the best caught on screen.

Noel Vera said...

Pangarp the best Filipino film? Ah seducer!

Anonymous said...

On 100 outstanding films, here's those that belong to Ms. Aunor:
(1) Bakit Bughaw ang Langit?, (2) Bona, (3) Bulaklak sa City Jail, (4) Condemned, (5) Fe, Esperanza, Caridad, (6) Himala, (7) Ikaw ay Akin, (8) Ina Ka ng Anak Mo, (9) Kastilyong Buhangin, (10) Merika, and (11) Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos.

Here's those that belong to Ms. Vilma Santos: (1) Broken Marriage, (2) Burlesk Queen, (3) Ikaw ay Akin, (4) Pagputi ng Uwak, pag-itim ng Tagak, (5) Relasyon, and (6) Sister Stella L.

And the next National Artist for film is ... Ms. Nora Aunor. Dapat lang, hindi ba? She dominates it all.

Noel Vera said...

Let me stress though, Vilma Santos is not nothing. She's done excellent work, perhaps more for Celso than anyone else, but there is that going for her. I don't even want to speculate why Nora excites more interesting filmmakers, overall.

Amigo said...

Have you seen Pepe Diokno's Engkwentro? That is currently at the top of our list to see. We've been filming AMIGO (formerly Baryo) in Bohol for the past year and have become completely entranced by many Filipino filmmakers. We look forward to checking out more of the films on your list. If you'd be interested, we'd love to connect with you about our film in production starring Joel Torre, Rio Locsin, and Bembol Roco and directed by John Sayles, if you're interested in doing a piece on your blog. Our email is or you can find us on twitter @amigothemovie or on facebook:

elcondematador said...


Any idea where I can buy old tagalog movies in DVD -- love stories, mostly like Leopoldo Salcedo's and Mila del Sols, Rogelio de la Rosa? Maybe Sampaguita studio releases them in DVD?


Dennis Ortega
TA Alumni

Noel Vera said...

If you look at the right side of this blog, there are links--first one is Pinoy films on DVD, check out the link to kabayancentral, they have a list of Sampaguita and LVN classics.

Noel Vera said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Noel Vera said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Noel Vera said...

Then there's Cine Filipino ( check Google, or check again that Pinoy films on DVD link, upper right) with excellent selection and quality DVDs, most which I managed to collect...

Anonymous said...

abakada ina starring lorna tolentino and Christopher de leon is also worth mentioning, as well as Ganito kami noon... Paano Kayo Ngayon?; another boyet de leon film.

Noel Vera said...

Romero's script for Ganito is very good.

Rodel Pedragosa said...

San makakabili ng mga Filipino all time classic films?

Sana nainclude din sa list yung mga best Filipino Action Films tulad nung Padilla brothers na nasa war setting sa Mindanao, maganda din yun.

Noel Vera said...

Here's your best bet for classic Filipino films

You mean Robin Padilla's Mistah? Have not seen that, sorry. Sa dami ng mga pelikula natin, di ko makikita ang lahat na available. Maybe someday...

Eric said...

May i know your thoughts on "Soltero"? I really like this film. And about Joey Reyes, I am also not a fan of his youth-films. However, for an odd reason, I do find his "Radio Romance" very good...

Anonymous said...

99 films lang po 'to... hehe

Noel Vera said...

Soltero is fine; I just find it a bit, I don't know, atypical of common Filipino life. That said, can see Lav Diaz doing a similar film (has been, in a way).

Not a fan of any of Reyes' youth films. I do think he's very good at middle class adult films.

Noel Vera said...

Oh and that IS 100 films. Count em again.

Anonymous said...

Great list! Mainstream pinoy films are not as powerful today. Why is that?
By the way where can I buy these on Dvd format?

Noel Vera said...

Have not been able to update this:

Filipino films on DVD

"Mainstream pinoy films are not as powerful today."

No they're not. Digital indies are where it's at today...

Anonymous said...

My all time favorite tagalog films:

- Kahit butas ng karayom papasukin ko
- Iyo ang cavite kanya ang tondo
- Ako ang huhusga
- Valentin zapanta alyas ninong
- Andres manambit
- Kumander dante
- Manila boy
- Mistah
- Eskapo
- Gumapang ka sa lusak
- Bagong buwan

Jay from Tarlac

Noel Vera said...

De gustibus non est disputandum

hitokirihoshi said...

ayan ngayon may pagbabasehan na ako ng magandang panooring muli na pelikulang Filipino. Ang alam ko lang kasi yung popular na classic.


wordylilchacha said...

thank for your list of best Filipino Films.I learn other movies that i can watch or collect.

what i know are the few films top billed by Nora, Vilma, Sharon, Maricel, Lorna, and Charito Solis.

Noel Vera said...

Sure thing

Anonymous said...

i totally agree with the list. i think Maynila Sa Mga Kuko Ng Liwanag is the best Filipino film ever. i just hope these films are accessible to all. it is very hard for me to look for these great films. it took me two before i was able to get hold of Live Show. and now i'm still finding it hard to look for many of these great Filipino films.

Unknown said...

thank you noel, finally the late Mario O Hara is given the respect he really deserves for doing outstanding films. He is a genius in the league of bernal, brocka and de leon. He is the man behind many indie films.

Mario's works are exemplary, engaging and liberates the Filipino film audience from mediocrity. We hope to see many of his outstanding works-- Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos, Kastilyong Buhangin, Condemned, Bakit Bughaw ang Langit?, Babae sa Breakwater, Sisa and a lot more

Unknown said...

we hope to see Mario O Hara films in a special film event---Tatlong Taong Walamg Diyos, Bakit Bughaw ang Langit?, Condemned, Bagong Hari, Babae sa Bubungang Lata, Babae sa Breakwater, Sisa etc. It is time to honor him too as national artist, he is in the league of brocka, bernal, de leon and romero

Noel Vera said...

From your lips to God's ear

Unknown said...

I want to request the 1980 four hour epic film Aguila starring Fernando Poe Jr Elizabeth Oropesa Eddie Garcia & Hilda Koronel classic Filipino film for Youtube on 4-13-2015 soon. Thanks!

Unknown said...

I love Filipino movies is my favorite in film & television. Thanks! From:Wayne

Jugs said...

None by Carlitos Siguion-Reyna?

Noel Vera said...

Elena's Redemption, 1996

Ren Castro said...

in my opinion, aguila is overrated. it is long and boring.

Noel Vera said...

Fair nuff

Kayle Antonio said...

10 September 2019

Mr. Noel Vera

Dear Sir,


Vibal Foundation, Inc., the philanthropic arm of the Vibal Group of Companies dedicated in preserving and promoting Philippine heritage and culture, is pleased to inform you that we are publishing the book Philippine Cinema 1919–2019, under the imprint Arte Filipino. A lavishly illustrated art book not only provides a dazzling retrospective of one hundred years of Philippine cinema, it also simultaneously traces its continuous but checkered history, and examines its artistic genres, narratives, tropes, and lore while subjecting its rich filmography to critique and film theory. This book is set to publish this year, 2019, thus we are currently consolidating materials for inclusion.

In line with this, we would like to request permission to reproduce materials such as photos, movie posters, movie stills, and/or documentaries on one hundred years of Philippine cinema that are in your collection (please see attached lists). It would be grateful if we can use high-resolution files (at least 400 dpi), if available, of the said photo/s.

Please be assured that the materials which will be used in our book (this edition and its succeeding editions, if any) will be properly attributed.

If you require any additional information, please do not hesitate to email the undersigned at and/or our Managing Editor, Ms. Kate Villaflor at

Thank you and we look forward for your consent to our request.

Ms. Kayle Antonio
Production Editor

Around 100 Notable Films for the Centennial

48 Oras
Aishite Imasu 1941
Aliwan Paradise
Anak Dalita
Babae sa Breakwater
Babae sa Bubungang Lata
Ang Babae sa Septic Tank
Bagong Buwan
Bata, Bata... Paano Ka Ginawa?
Batang West Side
Batas Militar
Batch ‘81
Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim
Bayaning Third World
Bontoc Eulogy
Bulaklak ng Maynila
Burlesk Queen
Crying Ladies
Damong Ligaw
Dawn of Freedom
Early American Newsreels about the Philippines
Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino
Flor Contemplacion Story, The
Foster Child
Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon?
Genghis Khan
Giliw Ko
High School Circa
Hinugot sa Langit
Imahe Nasyon
Jack and Jill
Jose Rizal
Juan Tamad Goes to Congress
Kakabakaba Ka Ba?
Macho Dancer
Maicling Pelicula Nang Ysang Indio Nacional
Manila by Night/City After Dark
Mano Po
Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag
Memories of a Forgotten War
Memories of Old Manila
Minsan Lang Sila Bata
Minsa'y Isang Gamu-Gamo
Munting Tinig, Mga
Muro Ami
Nunal sa Tubig
Oro, Plata, Mata
Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, Ang
Panaghoy sa Suba
Perfumed Nightmare / Mababangong Bangungot
Pepot Artista
Perlas ng Silangan
Pila Balde
Portrait of the Artist as Filipino, A
Punyal na Ginto
Red Saga
RPG Metanoia
Sa Kandungan ng Langit
Sa Kuko ng Agila Sa Maynila
Sakay 1939
Sakay 1993
Sawa sa Lumang Simboryo
Scorpio Nights
Shake, Rattle & Roll
Siete Infantes de Lara
Sibak: Midnight Dancers
Sister Stella L.
T-bird at Ako, Ang
Tanging Yaman
Tatay Kong Nanay, Ang
Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos
Temptation Island
Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang
Tubog sa Ginto
True Blue American
Virgin Forest

Noel Vera said...

Sure, you have email? A facebook account? How do I contact you?

Kayle Antonio said...

Hi Sir, may email add is Can I also have your email? Thanks so much, Sir.

Unknown said...

BRILLIANT - DELICIOUS-READING MOVIE BLOG! Shows us what an incredible cultural wealth we have in our Filipino films and Pinoy Pop culture. This - despite the loss of so many pre-war movies. A subject worthy of scholarly and critical study. Thank you, Mr Vera - your passion for Filipino films is virus-contagious! More, more of your blogs! BRAVO! - Cid Reyes, Art Critic

Noel Vera said...

Thanks, Cid

matt said...

Hi Sir Noel,

I've read this article several times already, probably at least 10 times. Most of my favorite Pinoy movies are included (Bayaning Third World, Abot Kamay ang Pangarap, Pila Balde, Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros to name a few). Hope you can have an updated list to include a handful of recent good movies. Or probably next 100 best Pinoy movies. Hehehe.

Much admiration and respect.


Noel Vera said...

Hi matt, sorry for the late reply, and thanks for the kind words.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, nothing from Sampaguita Films?

Noel Vera said...

Sampaguita did distribute one film on the list, Mike de Leon's Batch 81.

But as it happens, no. Have not gone over this list for over a year, I feel I should at least include Olive la Torre's Dalagang Ilokana. I'm open to any more suggestions.