By: Sanriel Chris Ajero

2009 has been a generous year for the Philippine film industry. Most of the Filipinos, however, hardly even notice. It is the year when boundaries were crossed, walls were crushed, and hurdles were conquered – but nobody seemed to care. As the whole world delightfully discovers the immense array of talents our country has to offer, we were busy uncovering the latest disgrace concerning our dearly-loved wedded showbiz personalities. As the most prestigious of all film festivals, Cannes Film Fest, took its hat off to Filipino directors, we were busy marveling the outlandish skill of a doctor-turned-director in his breakthrough filmmaking career. As our small films gather thunderous uproar (whether good or bad) in the global film stadium, we were busy, glued to the screens, eagerly awaiting for the latest in the seemingly infinite collaborations of Mother Lily and Joel Lamangan. It is a sad reality, a bitter pill we, film buffs and film critics alike, have to swallow – that the majority of Filipinos are not yet ready. Be it for the giant leap in film appreciation we all want injected to each and every one, or simply for any sort of change. This is a maddeningly long process, but we are lucky to have some films keeping us company – and keeping us sane.

Before giving out my list, here are some well-regarded films of the past year that did not make the cut: (1) the little indie that could, ‘Kimmy Dora’; (2) the best mainstream effort of 2009, ‘In My Life’; (3) the Cinema One Originals Best Film winner, ‘Wanted: Border’; (4) Cinemanila gems ‘Anacbanua’ and (5) ‘Biyaheng Lupa’; (6) the internationally-acclaimed ‘Bakal Boys’; (7) breakthrough filmmaker Pepe Diokno’s ‘Engkwentro’; (8) Cinemalaya Best Picture winner, ‘Last Supper No.3′; (9) Cinemalaya audience choice award winner, ‘Dinig Sana Kita’;  and (10) Raymond Red’s comeback feature, ‘Himpapawid’. Some of these I found amusing but not good enough; some I found rather appalling; and some, I didn’t get the chance to see. So, now, on with the show.


Here are my picks for the top Filipino films of 2009. These 10 films made 2009 a highly-appropriate closure to a very significant decade in Philippine cinema.


*I apologize for the lack of writeup. It is to follow but subject to workload 🙂 Enjoy!