History and Culture

5 Historical Filipino Movies that are Perfect to Watch on Independence Day

Meyn Stay
Meyn Stay | Jun 10, 2015

As part of the celebration of Independence Day, we ranked the best historical films that depicted the struggles of Filipinos through love, war and freedom. Check them out.

5. Baler , 2008

The film is about a forbidden love between a Spanish soldier [Jericho Rosales] and a Filipina [Anne Curtis] during the fight between the Spanish and the Filipino in the Siege of Baler. Though the actual film is good it just leaves you wanting more from all aspect--a better music, cinematography and little more from the actors. Curtis is a bit too pretty to portray this role. It would have been more believable if Curtis was the Spanish one and Rosales was the Filipino. Also while the two met and after each scene it didn't feel like the scandal of their 'forbidden' love felt scandalous. There's a lot of things that could have gone better but the experience of watching a good film was there.




4. El Presidente, 2012 

The plot unfolds stories of the Spanish Revolution with Emilio Aguinaldo [Jeorge "E.R." Ejercito Estregan] at the center. It started out ten years before the uprising of the Katipunan and continues through Aguinaldo being elected as the president in the Tejeros Convention. The story continues on through the independence from Spain, to the occupation of Americans up until the declaration of independence of Pres. Diosdado Macapagal. The film focused on Aguinaldo's life as a whole highlighting milestones and leaving not much room for actual details. If you're looking for a film that summarizes Aguinaldo's whole life, from rise to president to retired husband this is that film since it is termed as a 'biopic'. But if you're looking for learning a particular event in our history or exploring the intricacies of the life back then with war, politics and suffering or maybe learning true details of what really made Aguinaldo deserve praise with full details--this may not be the right choice.


el presidente



3. Jose Rizal, 1998

The movie takes place at the prison where Jose Rizal [Caesar Montano] is about to be executed in a couple of days' time. He tells his story back when he was a young boy, studying and writing in opposition against the Spanish regime up until the consequences that had led him to be killed. This movie is a great way of learning the history of Jose Rizal. It does leave some of the details out. But like most historical films, it tried to encompass the whole life of Rizal in one film instead of taking an event and having characters flesh out details of their story. This is a good film to watch and learn from.





2. Bonifacio Ang Unang Pangulo, 2014

Coming from the different takes of historical films, Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo [Robin Padilla] comes along like a breath of fresh air. No longer does the film center on biographical scene after scene layering each of the acts as a defining moment of the heroe's last demise or ultimate moment in history through which he was known for. Bonifacio's creation and rise of the Katipunan and the complications of his position with fellow Filipinos, Spaniards and his family. That's it. There's only two major conflicts in there and the story arcs on these major issues to create minor ones to push the story forward. The actors were good and the story unfolded nicely though the only thing that might be a little sour to the taste is the action scene as they lack diversity and may tend to drag a bit. But other than that it is a great film.





1. Aishite Imasu, 2004

This film is based off on the Japanese Occupation back in 1940. The characters itself did not reflect any actual people who were alive at that time. Characters were crafted from the great minds of the creative team of the movie. It explores two major characters Inya [Judy Ann Santos] and Edilberto [Raymart Santiago] as they fight to survive and live in an era where Japanese arrive to conquer the Philippines. 
It is a film filled with drama, war, love, devotion and gender sensitivity. It might not actually be true to a lot of things that happened during that period but the story came close to what would really have happened if these characters were indeed alive at that time. 

mahal kita


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