There's much to be said about learning history through textbook and pen. However, any student can tell you that it's just more engaging -- and, not to mention entertaining and fun -- to watch about history than to just read about it. You get to see history as it unfolds right before your eyes -- albeit on a screen from a recorded retelling of the tale by a film crew. Nevertheless, if it makes history more interesting for our kids then why not, right?
To ease us into our list is the unexpected blockbuster of the year, Heneral Luna (Disclaimer: as most of these films are set during times of unrest, there may be scenes too brutal for young audiences):
1. Heneral Luna (2015)
Set in 1898, in Philippine history, right after the Americans bought our country from Spain, this gripping biopic centers on newly-appointed general Antonio Luna. Students will get to peek into that slice of history where heroes – and also traitors – are made and not born. Unless you’re on a social media hiatus, we’re sure you’ve seen countless posts raving about this film already. If you haven’t seen it yet, bring your kid along and head to the nearest mall. It’s still showing in theaters on its second week.
2. Bayaning 3rd World (2000)
After reading (and memorizing) about the life and works of the Philippine’s national hero and the face on the one peso coin Gat Jose Rizal, a great culminating activity would be a film viewing of Bayaning 3rd World.
Bayaning 3rd World sheds light on aspects of the life of Rizal that the textbooks don’t talk about, particularly on some of the controversies surrounding him. The Church wanted Rizal to retract his ill views on Catholicism, including his famous novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, in order to marry his beloved Josephine Bracken. Bracken is now written down in history as Rizal’s wife. So, did Rizal give up his country for his wife?
3. Aishite Imasu 1941: Mahal Kita (2004)
Set during the Japanese occupation in the Philippines at the time of the Second World War, the film centers on the romance between a homosexual spy and a Japanese officer. (Aside from history, this will also be a great opportunity to discuss gender, sexuality and love with the students).
4. Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon? (1976)
Jumping from one colonizer to the next, from the Spaniards to the Americans, the film follows a simple provincial Filipino young man and his country’s struggle to find its cultural identity.
"Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon?" is guaranteed to provide students with a new perspective of our country’s culture today with its mix of Western and Eastern cultures.
5. Dekada ’70 (2002)
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The Martial Law era contain some of the darkest days in recent Philippine history making it even more so important for students to learn about and connect with. Part of the reason for learning about history is to avoid repeating our forefathers’ mistakes.
"Dekada ’70" follows the life of a family and centers around the mother and an activist son as they struggle to survive the oppression brought about by a dictator. The film is based on the book of the same title written by Lualhati Bautista. Both book and film are highly praised.
6. Sister Stella L. (1984)
Up until today, being a religious nation, the Philippines is still struggling to separate its religion from its state. Sister Stella L. tackles this same issue. A nun joins hands with the poor, protesting the government’s neglect of the people they’re supposed to look after.The resolution and magnificent script and acting make the film a must-watch.