March 17, 2016

Expats’ Guide: List of Films and Books about the Philippine History

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  • Expats’ Guide: List of Films and Books about the Philippine History
  • Want to learn about The Philippines, its people, history, and culture in more enjoyable ways?

    Here are lists of highly recommended books, movies, and documentaries that you may want to check out if you want to know more about the Philippines’ history. 


    rizal without the overcoat

    • Rizal Without the Overcoat by Ambeth R. Ocampo is adapted from the author’s column in the Philippine Daily Globe  entitled “Looking Back.” There have been attempts to “translate” the NEW Rizal from new books and new theories.


    History of the Filipino People

    • History of the Filipino People by Teodoro A. Agoncillo is a textbook that is mainly used in schools, but it is also a fun book to read when you want to learn about the Philippine History.


    101 Stories on the Philippine Revolution

    • 101 Stories on the Philippine Revolution by Ambeth R. Ocampo is a collection of stories about the Philippine Revolution in the 1890s, involving the Declaration of Independence in June 1898.


    A Question of Heroes

    • A Question of Heroes by Nick Joaquin is a book about his personal and fresh opinions about the Philippine heroes and their role in the Philippine Revolution.



     • Supremo, 2012 – the film depicted the story of Andres Bonifacio as husband, brother, soldier and hero. The movie was set in Manila year 1986.


    Image grabbed from nasyonalistikpinoy

    Alab ng Lahi – This film is about Filipino soldiers who fought against abusive civilian guards after World War II. The story is set in 1946 after the Japanese Imperial Army surrenders to American forces. It is an official entry at the Manila Film Fest on 2003 and is recommended by the Department of Education.


    Image grabbed from robinpadilla

    Genghis Khan, 1950 – This film is based on the life of legendary Mongol chief Temujin, more popularly known as Genghis Khan. The movie was the first Filipino movie to be shown at the Venice Film Festival in 1952, where it was cited for outstanding technical achievement.

    genghis-khanImage grabbed from gmanetwork

    Sakay, 1993 – Directed by Raymond Red, Sakay is a film based on a Filipino rebel leader who founded the “Tagalog Republic,” Macario Sakay.


    Image grabbed from ravepad

    Lakambini, 2015 – This film tells a story about the life of Gregoria de Jesus, wife of Andres Bonifacio and the founder and vice-president of the women’s chapter of the Katipunan of the Philippines. The film was directed by Jeffrey Jeturian.

    lakambiniScreengrab from Lakambini



    • Baler, 1998 – This movie is about the love story of a Spanish soldier and a Filipina, set during the Siege of Baler in 1898.



    • El Presidente, 2012 – This movie tells about the life of the first Philippine president, Emilio Aguinaldo.



    • Bonifacio : Ang Unang Pangulo (Bonifacio: The First President), 2014 – This focuses on the life of Andres Bonifacio and his relation to the revolution after Jose Rizal was arrested.



    • Heneral Luna (General Luna), 2015 – this critically-acclaimed story of General Antonio Luna and his leadership of the Philippine Revolutionary Army during the Philippine – American War became a hit with its positive feedback from the public.



    • Aishite Imasu 1941: Mahal Kita, 2004 – This is a love story about a Japanese soldier and a Filipino that formed during 1941.


    ang paglilitis ni andres

    • Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio (The Trial of Andres Bonifacio), 2010 – This is the untold story of Andres Bonifacio’s trial under the Revolutionary Government of Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo.



    • Dekada ’70 (The 70’s), 2002 – A movie set in the 70s that focused on the Bartolome Family and their lives before, during and after the Martial Law.


    The Philippines’ national hero had a few movies made to tell his life story, achievements, and sacrifices for the country. Here are a few of the many movies that focuses on Jose Rizal and his heroism.



    • Rizal sa Dapitan, 1997 – This movie focuses on the part of Rizal’s life where he was exiled to Dapitan, Zamboanga Del Norte in 1892 where he met the love of his life, Josephine Bracken, started a new life and finally left Dapitan as he was put up for execution.



    • Jose Rizal, 1998 – This movie tells of Rizal’s life from his childhood to his adult years, to what made him be the hero that he was, the challenges he had to face and the obstacles he had to go through. This is one of the few movies that tells how Rizal became popular.


    • Bayaning Third World, 1999 – Directed by Mike De Leon, Bayaning 3rd World is a film that tackles the heroism of the Philippine National Hero, Jose Rizal.


    Image grabbed from cargocollective


    These are only a few of the many documentaries that will make you learn a lot about Filipino culture and personalities:


    the pledge

    • Panata (The Pledge), 2011 – A documentary by Scott Wurth about how the Philippines celebrate the Holy Week and how the different provinces and cities celebrate the occasion.



    • Imelda, 2003 – A “beyond the shoes” documentary on the former first lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos. According to, the documentary focuses on the former first lady, Imelda Marcos.

    There are still many interesting films, documentaries, and books to watch and read which you can learn more about the Philippines! Hop on to the nearest stores and learn about the history of the country!

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