Call it cliche, but at one point, we’ve all craved to sit down and watch a good local romantic movie just for the sake of getting all the *feels*. While there is no shortage of films in this genre every year, there are those timeless classics that managed to become film legends. Planning to have a binge-watch session soon? Here are some of the local movies that will warm up your cold, cold heart again. Cuddle buddy, optional.
1. Sana Maulit Muli (1995)
Starring: Aga Muhlach and Leah Salonga
Here’s one for the viewers who are all about romance with a good dash of self-empowerment. Sana Maulit Muli tells the story of Agnes (Leah Salonga) who transforms from being an overly-dependent girlfriend to Jerry (Aga Muhlach) into a self-sufficient woman who can fend for herself. The movie perfectly showcases how pride can ruin a relationship and how revolving your whole life around someone else is never a good thing. The ending is bittersweet, but it perfectly delivers the dose of inspiration anyone who has found themselves in the same situation needs.
2. Got 2 Believe (2002)
Starring: Claudine Barretto and Rico Yan
The mother of all Filipino rom-coms, Got 2 Believe is a story about A+ wedding coordinator and forever bridesmaid Toni (Claudine Barretto) who is in a race against time to get married and avoid her ‘family curse’—being an old maid. She meets Lorenz (Rico Yan), a photographer who doesn’t believe in love. The usual cat and dog relationship common to rom-com movies ensue, with Toni realizing that when it comes to true love, you don’t always end up where you’re planning to be.
3. Labs Kita, Okey Ka Lang? (1998)
Starring: Jolina Magdangal and Marvin Agustin
Here’s a fact: Marvin and Jolina owned the 90s. While the pair has starred in various films and teleseryes together, Labs Kita, Okey Ka Lang? remains as one of their most iconic projects ever. Its success owes to its very relatable plot—girl best friend falls in love with guy best friend, their friendship suffers, etc. The plot is really predictable, but hey, Ned and Bujoy will always have a special place in our hearts.
4. Don’t Give Up On Us (2006)
Starring: Judy Ann Santos and Piolo Pascual
Who could ever forget the iconic duo that is Juday and Piolo Pascual? In this 2006 film, Juday switched things up as she played Abby, a feisty and rather overbearing career woman who goes off to search her brother’s fiancee in Baguio. There, she hunts down Vince (Piolo Pascual), a pub singer who she hopes will bring her to her brother’s bride. The story follows Abby’s change of perspective about the world and heart against the wonderful backdrop of Baguio.
5. One More Chance (2007)
Starring: Bea Alonzo and John Lloyd Cruz
It would be a total disrespect to have this list and not mention Popoy (John Lloyd Cruz) and Basha (Bea Alonzo) aka the favorite movie couple of anyone who wants to ugly cry. The plot may be as simple as romance movies can get—girl gets suffocated with the relationship and leaves boy devastated, boy finds a new flame and ex suddenly wants him back—but Bea and John Lloyd’s mastery of their roles and amazing chemistry have made this a classic. Cue timely background music of ‘I’ll Never Go’ and you have one surefire classic to cry over.
6. A Very Special Love (2008)
Starring: Sarah Geronimo and John Lloyd Cruz
Before Sarah’s now-viral dance moves in her song ‘Tala,’ she was grooving to the rain dance, the iconic move she made in this movie with John Lloyd Cruz. Here, she played the role of Laida, Miggy’s (Cruz) number one fan. In a plot almost similar to most K-dramas of today, Laida ends up working under her ultimate crush and changes his cold, bitter heart in the process.
7. My Amnesia Girl (2010)
Starring: Toni Gonzaga and John Lloyd Cruz
This is the third John Lloyd film on this list, we know, but what can we do? The guy has amazing chemistry with his leading ladies! My Amnesia Girl had him trying a different genre when he played Apollo, a runaway groom who is set on a mission to earn back the love of his ex-fiancee Irene (Toni Gonzaga). His chances seemed slim after abandoning her at the altar (duh) but there’s a bigger problem he had to address: she has “amnesia” (mind the double quotes here) and can’t remember him! The movie has a lot of funny moments but also has its fair share of tear-jerking scenes, too.
8. Starting Over Again (2014)
Starring: Toni Gonzaga and Piolo Pascual
This one may not have had the same amount of buzz as the other classics on this list, but believe us when we say how underrated this film is. In the story, Ginny (Toni Gonzaga) chooses to pursue her dreams and leave boyfriend Marco (Piolo Pascual) out of fear of having her ambition fizzle out if she stays with him. Years later, Ginny—a successful engineer—and Marco who has changed career paths to become a chef, meet again to work on a joint project. Ginny realizes she wants him back, something she could have done, except that this time, Marco is about to get married to his fiancee.
What makes this movie beautiful is how it taps into the emotions of its viewers by making them root for the original couple but also urging them to question what they want given Marco’s relationship status. It’s ending is nevertheless surprising, and set a new pace in local romance films.
9. That Thing Called Tadhana (2014)
Starring: Angelica Panganiban and JM De Guzman)
It’s not surprising at all how this indie production blew up into a major film sensation. That Thing Called Tadhana is the perfect combination of wit, giggle-inducing moments, and touching life lessons. The story starts when heartbroken Mace (Angelica Panganiban) casually invites airplane seatmate Anthony (JM De Guzman) to go on a random trip with her to Sagada and Baguio to shake off her blues. Anthony agrees, and the unlikely pair goes on a journey while mulling over life’s lessons. Sure, this set-up may not be all that ideal in real life but the movie does a wonderful job in creating relatable characters and delivering moral lessons subtly and creatively.
10. Milan (2004)
Starring: Claudine Barretto and Piolo Pascual
What happens when you put together one-half of two of the country’s most legendary love teams? An iconic show like Milan that is, where Piolo Pascual headlines as Lino, a loving husband who travels to Italy in search of his missing wife. There she meets Jenny (Claudine Barretto) who takes him under her wing and shows him the ropes of how to survive in the country as an OFW. The two ultimately fall in love, but were tested by the realities of their situation. What’s amazing with Milan is that it portrays humanity at its best and challenged when it comes to life and love, all set in the wonderful landscape of Italy.