The 12 Best Documentaries About The Philippines

Jul 14, 2023 | Best Of, History

From the ancient rice terraces in Banaue to the bustling streets of Manila, there’s no shortage of sights and stories from the Philippines. Whether you’re looking to learn more about Philippine history or explore Filipino culture, documentaries are a great way to get an in-depth understanding of this diverse nation. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best documentaries about the Philippines – all of which provide an insightful and fascinating look into this Southeast Asian country.


The Peregrine Dame in Manila (2014)

Join Rachel Parsons, an intrepid travel journalist and host, on her solo journey to Manila, the bustling metropolis that serves as the heart of the Philippines. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and rich history of this archipelago nation as Rachel takes you on a local’s tour of the city.






Call Her Ganda (2018)

Jennifer Laude, a Filipina transwoman, was tragically taken away from this world by the hands of a U.S. Marine. Her story has sparked a movement, led by three powerful women who are determined to seek justice for Jennifer and expose the long-standing history of US imperialism.






It’s More Fun in the Philippines (2017)

Join Alex Outhwaite and her travel companion, Mel Dizon, as they embark on a mesmerizing journey through the Philippines. This island hopping tour will take you on an adventure like no other, filled with breathtaking landscapes, vibrant culture, and mouthwatering cuisine.




Rescue in the Philippines – Refuge from the Holocaust (2013)

The untold tale of how five Cincinnati businessmen, the Frieder brothers, joined forces with Manuel Quezon, Paul McNutt, and an ambitious U.S. Army Colonel named Dwight Eisenhower to save 1,300 Jews from Hitler’s Nazi regime during World War II in Manila is a testament to human kindness and courage amidst chaos and destruction.






My Revolutionary Mother (2014)

A stirring tale of a son’s reunion with his long-lost mother, who disappeared from her family in the Philippines due to her involvement in political activism. This powerful documentary captures the journey of reconciliation between two individuals, as well as the larger context of revolution and its impact on families torn apart by ideology.






The 12 Best Free Documentaries About The Philippines


1. Aurora Province: The Treasure of the Philippines

Explore the hidden treasure of Aurora Province in the Philippines and discover its unique history. From being part of Quezon province to becoming a district of Nueva Ecija, learn how it was named after Manuel L. Quezon’s wife Aurora Aragon and annexed to Tayabas (now Quezon). Uncover why this is one of Central Luzon’s most beautiful provinces with its stunning views overlooking the Philippine Sea. Watch this documentary for an insightful look into Aurora Province and find out what makes it so special!


2. No-Go Zones: World’s Toughest Places, Quirino

Are you ready to explore some of the world’s most notorious and deadly places? From South Africa’s Ghost Town, to Mexico’s Tepito City – home to one of the world’s most violent black markets. This series takes an in depth look at what life is like in these dangerous areas. Follow individuals who are part of this illegal game as they confront unique hurdles just to stay alive. Prostitutes, drug dealers, gang members and police officers all have their stories that will make you feel a part of these infamous No-Go Zones. Get a glimpse into six nations with some of the toughest places on Earth!


3. Life In Manila Slums! Don’t Come Here

Have you ever wondered what life is like in the slums of Manila, Philippines? This video takes a look at how poverty affects the city’s economy and offers an insight into some of the non-governmental groups that are providing necessities and practical support to those living in slums. Discover ten facts about slum life, including how local and foreign investment play a role in reducing poverty so you can learn more about this complex issue!


4. World’s Most Dangerous Roads

Are you ready to take the Philippines’ most dangerous road? The Halsema Route, also known as the Benguet–Mountain Province Road, is an adventure waiting to be explored. This 150-kilometer stretch of highway will take you through 8 municipalities in Benguet province and 4 towns in Mountain Province. You’ll experience a range of elevations from city limits of Baguio all the way up to 7,400 feet (2,300 meters) above sea level at Atok. Plus when you get to Dantay settlement, there’s even more exploring as two routes split off – one leading into downtown Bontoc and another towards Sagada! So what are you waiting for? Join us on this thrilling journey down the World’s Most Dangerous Roads – Philippines Documentary!


5. The History Of The Philippines

The Philippines has a rich and fascinating history. From the time of its discovery by Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, to its eventual independence from Spanish rule at the turn of the century, this beautiful country has had an eventful past. This documentary takes you through all the major events that have shaped Philippine society over centuries, from its early days as Las Felipinas under Spanish rule, and Jose Rizal’s stirring call for freedom in his two books – smuggled into the country despite being prohibited – to his ultimate execution on December 30th 1896.


6. The Unseen Cost Of Philippines Pandemic Baby Boom

The pandemic has caused a dramatic increase in unwanted pregnancies across the Philippines, with many of these mothers being young teenagers. In this video we explore the unseen cost of this baby boom and investigate how access to birth control was curtailed during the pandemic. We look at stories from teens who were faced with an unexpected pregnancy and see how their lives have been changed by this unique situation. Join us as we uncover the realities behind this pandemic-driven baby boom.


7. Street children in the Philippines

The Philippines is facing a crisis. President Rodrigo Duterte has launched an aggressive war on drugs, with thousands of innocent people paying the ultimate price. But it’s not just adults who are affected – street children in the country have been among those caught in the crossfire of this devastating conflict. In this documentary, we explore how these vulnerable kids are being impacted by their president’s controversial policies and what can be done to help them survive and thrive despite all odds.


8. Life in the Mountains of the Philippines

Come join us on a journey to the beautiful province of Ifugao in the Philippines! We had an amazing opportunity to connect with the locals, learn about their culture and traditions, and witness firsthand how they strive to protect their heritage. Our guide Irene Binalet was our beacon throughout this adventure as we explored these mountains and connected with artisans. This video captures snippets from our memories that will stay close to our hearts forever – don’t miss it!


9. Tawi-Tawi: Life & Death On The Sea Border Of Malaysia & The Philippines

Tawi-Tawi is a unique place between Malaysia and the Philippines, where life and death meet on the sea border. It’s an area known for its hostile environment but also rich in natural resources – including the rare Sulu Hornbill. This documentary will take you into this world to explore what makes this region so special. We’ll learn about its culture, people and wildlife – as well as get an insight into why it has become such a dangerous place. Join us on our journey across Tawi-Tawi!


10. Philippines Welcomes More US Troops At Home: Will It Be Worth It?

The Philippines is now welcoming more US troops into their country due to rising tensions in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait. This video will explore whether or not this move is beneficial for both countries. We’ll examine how these increased military presence could affect strategic alliances, regional security, and economic development between the two nations. Finally, we’ll consider what are some of the potential risks associated with this decision. Join us as we analyze if it’s worth it for the Philippines to accept more American troops at home.


11. Most Dangerous Ways To School – Philippines.

Every day, children from the small village of Madibago in the Philippines face an incredible challenge just to get to school. They must climb a steep and slippery rock face overgrown with moss and tree roots, risking their lives for a chance at a better future. In this video we take you on an incredible journey through the jungle with 11-year-old Aible as she navigates her way past 90 degree slopes and heavy rain showers to reach her school each day. It’s an inspiring story of courage and determination that will make you look at your own life differently!


12. The Philippines Baby Factory

The Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila, Philippines has earned the nickname “baby factory” due to its high rate of newborns – an infant is born every 12 minutes! Many of these new mothers are young teenagers, some as young as 13. In this documentary we take a look at what life is like for these teenage moms and their families, and explore how they cope with the unique challenges that come with raising a family so early on in life.

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B