There’s many hidden gems of local films that lurk in the vast library of Netflix. Watch it now before they bleep it all.

/ 18 September 2020

In a library filled with interesting concepts and themes, it’s easy to get lost while browsing. But there’s more reasons to scour through Netflix with the abundance of local films that continue to grow in numbers as more of them get the recognition that they rightfully deserve.

Many local films in Netflix are finally finding fame since their initial release because they get, not just a second chance, but a roaming visibility in its library that viewers can easily just tap into. With this accessibility and the streamers’ behavior of browsing around, these lesser-known films garner curiosity on the question of how such a big streaming platform stumbled upon a particular title in its curated selection. Because of this, many new found titles became an adventure for binge watchers and to their surprise, some of these films are actually hidden gems waiting to play its tapes. 

Thankfully, Netflix has provided a platform for many local films, from both indie and mainstream selections, to captivate the audience once again with various themes and narratives that have long since been waiting for the audience to reach them. The delay of their hit reception may be due to the regulations of MTRCB or the lack of support or funding for wider promotions, but at least, it’s worth the comeback to our screens. 

With the impending regulation of MTRCB to tap into the streaming giant to monitor their content to align with their views “to empower Filipino values”, many films that hold dark comedy, satire, and hard truths are in the brink of censorship.

A particular film that could be affected is Ang Pangarap Kong Holdap which was limited by MTRCB on most cinemas because of its criminal themes despite being a dark comedy. But then, it found recognition in Netflix as it soars as no.1 most watched film in the Philippines in just 24 hours since its online release. Another could be Pamilya Ordinaryo, which features foul language and explicit themes that may not be suitable for younger age groups. Even though these titles have earned themselves recognition and awards, we may possibly lose these important films that are more telling of real life scenarios only because of the superficial guise of ‘values’. 

While it may be important to regulate content to promote values especially among the youth, Netflix already had a disclaimer on each title regarding the content it holds and a specific maturity rating feature for kids with the profile “Netflix Kids”. However, according to University of the Philippines College of Mass Communications professor Marichu Lambino, “Wala pong jurisdiction ang MTRCB sa mga video streaming apps pagka’t ang computer programs ay property at ang may jurisdiction dito ay mga courts.” 

Netflix definitely catapulted local cinema, particularly indie, to new heights. So, here we’ve curated a set of important films that you must check out before Netflix possibly goes under strict monitoring. 


Ang Pangarap Kong Holdap

Eman, Toto, and Carlo are trying to be the best robbers in their area. Unfortunately, the trio has been a consistent failure since their group started so they were introduced to a new member to join them despite their disapproval.

The 2018 film has been controversial for its R-16 rating from MTRCB therefore it was not able to grace a lot of cinemas. But comeback is real, and they became a no.1 hit on Netflix for a certain period and even made rounds in the internet for its wild positive reception online.


Through Night and Day

An engaged couple went on a trip to fulfill the girl’s lifelong dream to visit Iceland. But their relationship of almost 13 years was tested when they finally spent some time together as a couple and discovered more about themselves in a far away country.

Its 2018 premiere performed very poorly in the box office. But Alessandra de Rossi, lead actress, was very sincere and supportive of the film and it all paid off two years after when it released on Netflix. The movie climbed up to no.1 most watched list in the Philippines on Netflix for a certain period and has since circulated social media with lots of viewers reacting so much feels for the film’s plot.


Tayo Sa Huling Buwan ng Taon (Us at the End of the Year)

The sequel to Ang Kwento Nating Dalawa can hold its own with a story set years after the lead couple broke up. Moving forward to bigger dreams with their new partners, fate had it for them to meet again to challenge their feelings and sincerity to face unanswered questions that were left hanging five years since their last meeting.

The 2019 film recently debuted in Netflix and people have been excited for it since the news of its online release broke out. From its cinematography, soundtrack, and the complexity of its conflict, the film’s charm focuses on the lead cast’s melancholic trip to finding themselves in the midst of all the doubts, unburied feelings, and issues that they both have to face head on to continue the life they long for.


Gasping For Air

A boy searches for his sister in Manila after she went to pursue her dream of becoming a sister. However, both of them discover a dark reality that looms the nightlife in the city.

The 2016 TBA Studios film has been recognized worldwide for its bold, dark themes that are well executed and narrated. Some of the prestigious awards it has received include Official Selection for Asian American International Film Festival and Riverside International Film Festival, and awards from Northern Virginia Film Festival


Pamilya Ordinaryo

Jane and Aries are pickpockets in the streets then one day, they lost their baby. In a series of unfortunate events, the couple struggled with every measure they did to find their child.

The Cinemalaya Best Film of 2016 features a powerful performance that shows the real situation of the poor from their shelter, their language and actions, to the hard truths and discrimination that they face everyday. Because of these, it racked up prestigious awards on Cinemalaya 2016 and nominations on Gawad Urian 2017 with one big win for its lead actress, Hasmine Kilip, as best actress.


Dead Kids 

A misfit plotted a kidnapping of their school’s arrogant rich kid together with his friends. Just when it seemed like everything went right, it all crumbled down when their secret spilled.

The Mikhail Red’s film was the first locally-produced Netflix Original therefore it set the bar on upcoming local films. It was inspired by a real-life story in 2018 when a bunch of students attempted a kidnapping in Manila. With the hit reception of its release, the film has garnered critical acclaim with its terrific portrayal of thriller and coming-of-age themes and its stellar cast of new breed artists.



A young girl was taught how to shoot with a gun but unfortunately hit an endangered Philippine Eagle. This leads to a manhunt on the killer but unfortunately, in their chase, a bigger mystery unravels.

This was the first Filipino film to stream on Netflix therefore its reception has been widely-anticipated. And it didn’t fall short of expectations with its prestigious string of nominations including Adelaide Film Festival, FAMAS Awards, Gawad Urian, and its win as Critic’s Choice Award in Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino in 2017.


Lola Igna

Lola Igna may be your typical foul-mouthed, grumpy, but loving grandmother, but in her quiet life in the province, she actually holds the title of the “oldest living grandmother”–potentially of the world. This is when she, her family, and her small town goes into a convoluted quest to confirm her world title. Ironically, the 118-year-old lead character openly wishes to die.  In the traps of this search though, what she surprisingly unearths is a continuing purpose in her long, storied life.