Musicals are amazing. Everything about it is so easy to love. The visual feast that is the production, the beautifully choreographed dance numbers, the way people burst into song when they just can’t keep their emotions in any longer–it’s all just a breathtaking spectacle!
While musicals on-stage aren’t unusual in the country, there’s not much exposure of musicals on screen–be it on the big screen or the small screen. Being naturally music-loving people, don’t you find that strange?
Nevertheless, there are a few on-screen local musicals that do exist. Some, you might’ve forgotten about, or probably escaped your knowledge.
So, we rounded up a few of local on-screen musicals you should definitely see.
5. Kakabakaba Ka Ba? (1980)
This one’s a classic, so you probably know about this.
Kakabakaba Ka Ba? is a musical-comedy film by legendary filmmaker Mike de Leon. It’s a masterpiece that premiered in 1980. And I don’t use the word “masterpiece” very lightly because this film truly is.
It follows the story of two couples who find themselves in the middle of a conflict between the Japanese and Chinese–both having strongholds on the Philippine economy at the time. All this while the Catholic Church was also expressing their power over the nation. It’s basically a commentary on the social and economic conditions of the Philippines at the time.
I know. Genius, right?
The social commentary doesn’t keep the film from being a spectacle, though. It’s every bit of a musical the way you’d imagine it–complete with beautiful production design, song and dance numbers, and entertainment factor.
ABS-CBN had released a digitally restored version of it, so watch out for possible screenings on television.
4. DoReMi (1996)
Mikee Cojuangco, Donna Cruz, and Regine Velasquez in DoReMi (1996)
You also probably haven’t forgotten about this because it’s deemed as the biggest musical film of the country.
DoReMi stars Donna Cruz, Mikee Cojuangco, and Regine Velasquez–three of the biggest names in the industry at the time. The film follows the three as they struggle to have a successful music career, ultimately gaining lasting friendship between them.
The trio became quite iconic when the film was released in 1996. Even now, the three still show up for reunions on TV. The film’s theme song, I Can, also became a top hit in the Philippines.
It’s such a treat to see the chemistry between the three talented ladies. Plus, the songs are really catchy. People love it so much that even until now, they’re asking for a sequel! Why not give it to them?!
3. Diva (2010)
Now let’s go to TV. Yes, once upon a time there was a musical TV show on local channels.
Diva was an iconic television series aired on GMA7 for a couple of months in 2010. When I say “iconic,” I mean it. The star-studded cast itself was iconic: Regine Velasquez, Jaya, Rufa Mae Quinto, Gloria Diaz; and with cameos from the biggest music artists such as Ogie Alcasid, Rachelle Ann Go, and Mike Hanopol!
Man, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I fangirled over this show.
And it’s not like it’s some lazy musical sitcom–because there were spectacular song-and-dance numbers that could’ve belonged on the big screen (see video above). Plus, every episode is basically a full-on concert and display of Regine’s musical prowess. Seriously, is she even human?
To close this part, I state that this is a masterpiece of Philippine television and the Filipino people should see it.
PS. Please bring this back!!!
2. I Do Bidoo Bidoo: Heto nAPO Sila! (2012)
This musical film was a tribute to the songs of the legendary musical group, APO Hiking Society.
I Do Bidoo Bidoo follows the story of two young lovers from opposite social classes who are preparing to get married after being plunged into the world of unplanned parenthood. The film stars Sam Concepcion, Ogie Alcasid, Gary Valenciano, Eugene Domingo, Zsa Zsa Padilla, and Tippy Dos Santos.
It’s basically a Romeo and Juliet-type premise but with the iconic songs of APO. And with these songs, it couldn’t possibly do any wrong.
This is a full-on musical that is a feast for the eyes just as much as it is for the ears. The way the songs were used to move the story along was just flawless. You’ll be sure to sing along with every one of them.
I definitely loved this film when I watched it in cinemas with my family. I remember falling even deeper in love with musical films after that.
While it’s a shame that it didn’t do as well as expected in mainstream cinema, I Do Bidoo Bidoo was actually able to compete in foreign film competitions and was able to win awards locally.
Believe me when I say that you have to see this film. It’s perfect for those days when you just need something to cheer you up. This film won’t fail you.
1. Emir (2010)
Emir is a hidden treasure of Philippine cinema.
This film was produced by the Film Development Center of The Philippines and the Cultural Center of The Philippines. It follows the story of Amelia, a young woman who leaves the country to work for a royal family in the Middle East.
While the film may grab your attention with it being a “tribute to OFWs,” it’s really the breathtaking visuals and spectacle that will pull you in.
The film features the picturesque landscape of the Banaue Rice Terraces, a wide panoramic view of a “Middle East” desert that may have been shot in the Philippines, and a beautifully crafted “Middle-Eastern castle”. A professor of mine shared that the iconic chandelier used in the film was bigger than our classroom.
It’s really such a shame that not many people know about Emir because I think it’s really one for the books.
Well, there goes the end of our list! I truly hope for more on-screen Pinoy musicals to add to this list in the near future.
What do you think of this list? Which one of these on-screen Pinoy musical films have you seen? Share it with us below!