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Pinoys just love romantic comedies. Did you know that half of the local film releases last year are rom-coms, and that the top five highest-grossing of them earned a combined half a billion pesos at the box-office? Here are 10 of the best, and the most memorable, Pinoy romcoms of the last 20 years. Is your favorite part of the list?
10. ENGLISH ONLY PLEASE (DAN VILLEGAS, 2014)
Who knew translating can be so sexy? A radiant Jennylyn Mercado plays the Filipino-English tutor to Fil-Am dumpee Derek Ramsay, who’s trying to learn the right Tagalog words for all the hurtful things he wants to say to his Filipina ex. Soon their sessions turn to long talks, soulful stares, and love—no translation necessary. While most romcom leads don’t win acting prizes, Mercado and Ramsay were declared Best Actress and Best Actor, respectively, in the 2014 Metro Manila Film Festival. English Only Please was also a surprise hit, earning more than PhP100 million at the box office and propelled independent film outfit Quantum Films to become a major player in the local film industry.
9. KAILANGAN KO’Y IKAW (JOYCE BERNAL, 2000)
In what could be the Philippines’ answer to Notting Hill, Robin Padilla plays Gimo, a mechanic who falls for the uber famous pop star Francine, played by Regine Velasquez. A “Date A Star” contest brings these two people from different worlds together. Francine soon falls for Gimo and his simple life. A reversal of the popular romcom trope where the average plain jane falls for the rich, unattainable guy, Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw was a massive box-office success. It steered Padilla away from his usual slew of action films, and established him as a bankable romantic leading man. Six years later, these two teamed up once again for another box office hit, Till I Met You.
8. PAANO ANG PUSO KO? (RORY QUINTOS, 1997)
Paano ang what?! This 1997 Star Cinema offering is the perfect storm of romcom cheesiness. It stars the most popular love team of that generation, Judy Ann Santos and Wowie De Guzman, along with fellow 90s superstar, Rico Yan. The film tells the story of barrio lass Cecile (Judy Ann Santos) who is torn between her shy and unassuming childhood friend Ruben (Wowie de Guzman), and his outgoing, YOLO-ing cousin Jason (Rico Yan). It’s a love triangle, somebody dies in the end, and you hear the godawful titular song by April Boy Regino every 10 minutes! It’s pure schmaltz sure, but it is good, nostalgic schmaltz. Plus, it’s pretty much the blueprint for many other successful romcom films and TV series of recent years. Laugh at the cheesy dialogue, cringe at the 90s “porma”, and witness Judy Ann Santos’ babystep her way into bona fide superstardom.