The Filipinos are naturally into easy to follow, light-hearted comedies and heart-wrenching romantic dramas. Besides this, it is notable that only two of these films are entries for the local film festival, which is usually held in December- the peak season for families and moviegoers.
Should you be wondering which Filipino film to watch, you can never go wrong with the films listed here. Without further ado, here are the top 5 highest-grossing Filipino films of all time:
5. Gandarrapiddo: The Revenger Squad (2017)
An entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival in 2017, Gandarrapiddo: The Revenger Squad grossed P571 million worldwide, proving that Vice Ganda has figured out the perfect formula to appeal to the Filipino masses. It revolves around Gandarra (Vice Ganda), a cosmetic salesperson and guardian to Chino (Daniel Padilla), her brother, turning 21. Unaware of her past as a superhero due to temporary amnesia, she was forced to recall this to protect her brother from danger and help him realize his true power.
In addition to this, Pia Wurtzbach, the crowned 2015 Miss Universe, starred in this film as Kweenie, Gandarra’s long lost sister. The costume design alluding to Sailor Moon and other notable references, the special effects, and the easy-to-follow storyline made this film suited to young viewers. The film also puts emphasis on family values and the importance of teamwork. This is, overall, a light film perfect for families.
As cliché as this film can be, it can’t be denied how patronized mind-numbing light comedy is to the Filipino audience. People hope to see Vice Ganda and Pia Wurtzbach together for a sequel, but no fixed plans have been set for this.
Another MMFF entry in the list, Fantastica, is starred by Vice Ganda dubbed as unkabogable (unbeatable) with other industry blockbuster stars. The film revolves around a struggling carnival owned by Fantastica (Vice Ganda), who was tasked by a knight (Richard Gutierrez) to find the lost princesses and bring them back to the knight’s land. This can only be done by bringing life to the carnival to lure the princesses. Doing this will not be easy as Dong Nam (Dingdong Dantes), the knight’s rival, pressures Fantastica to give up the carnival.
Commending the film’s special effects, there is truly an improvement compared to previous Filipino fantasy films. The fantasy premise is perfect for family viewers, accompanied by the rough references to Disney princesses and parodies of other iconic scenes in films. However, the usual sarcastic remark of Vice Ganda and lack of censorship for innuendos made people uncomfortable with the PG rating it has been given. Despite this, the film proved to be a success and grossed P596 million worldwide. It was also noted that Fantastica is the highest-grossing MMFF film of all time.
3. The Super Parental Guardians (2016)
When Arci’s (Vice Ganda) best friend accidentally dies early in the film, she takes custody of the two children, Megan (Awra Briguela) and Ernie (Onyok Pineda). The children’s uncle, Paco (Coco Martin), finds himself trying to live and get along with Arci. Like playing house, they eventually found taking care of the children to be more meaningful to each of them.
The second film to be starred in together by Vice Ganda and Coco Martin, The Super Parental Guardians is widely patronized by the masses. Though the plot is cliché and the film failed to delve deeper into the values it intends to transcend, we can still see more than the surface of the comical reflection of life in the film. Thus, it's not surprising that it grossed P598 million worldwide.
May be perceived as a shallow film by some, one can still realize the pain and struggle to be orphaned through the film. Taking this lighter, the film intends to talk about topics society has stigmas with. It helps us to be more compassionate and understanding of each others’ struggles. To help us appreciate life the way it is with the values subtly implied to the viewers.
2. The Hows of Us (2018)
This film has been a major leap for Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, previously dubbed as the Teen King and Queen of the Philippines. Taking the usual love story deeper, The Hows of Us showed us the truth behind long term relationships- its ups and downs along with the reality of life. George (Kathryn Bernardo), with her dreams to become a doctor, and Primo (Daniel Padilla), who was eventually humbled by how his life turned out, we can surely see fragments of ourselves in them.
Proving that time is the best teacher in life, the characters’ journey in forgiveness and self-realization can help us reevaluate our own lives. To live happier is to appreciate what we have and realize that the grass is always greener on the other side. A reminder that no couple is perfect as each is composed of two flawed human beings struggling to grow individually.
Its realism sure helped the film’s reception flourish. It’s actually the first Filipino movie to exceed not only the P600 million but the P800 million mark by grossing P810 million worldwide. This is the second film starring Bernardo and Padilla to reach the USD2 million mark abroad, the first one being their 2015 hit film, Crazy Beautiful You. It was also screened not only in North America but in several other countries as well (Australia, UAE, United Kingdom, and other SouthEast Asian countries).
1. Hello, Love, Goodbye (2019)
After the success of Bernardo’s previous film a year earlier, this film grossed P880.6 million worldwide. Taking the whole world by storm, it was also recognized as the highest-grossing Filipino film in several countries (Australia, Middle East, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom).
Hello, Love, Goodbye revolves around Joy (Kathryn Bernardo), who works as a domestic helper in Hong Kong. She plans to leave soon, intending to pursue her dream to be a nurse and help her family in the Philippines. When things start to go south, and she’s forced to find another job, she meets Ethan (Alden Richards). A Filipino bartender with plans to reside in Hong Kong and dreams of starting his own bar.
The two later developed a friendship and eventually fell in love with each other. Having to choose between love and career, the two must decide which sacrifices they’re willing to live by in hopes of finding themselves at the same time. Seemingly a love story, the film is actually a story about life.
Giving light to overseas Filipino workers' lives and struggles, especially those in Hong Kong, this film is definitely an eye-opener. Despite others hoping for a sequel, the film ended best the way it did. It painted real-life perfectly, making us root for both the characters but, at the same time, understanding the choices they made. Not all love stories are meant to be more. Sometimes, it lasts a chapter but leaves a huge impression in our lives, preparing us for something bigger in life.
All these films are available on Netflix, as announced last October 2020. Let us know what's your favorite Filipino film. We'd love to hear from you.