Metro Manila Film Festival

The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) is an annual film festival held in Metro Manila, the Philippines. The festival, which runs from December 25 (Christmas) through New Year's Day and into first weekend of January in the following year, focuses on Filipino films. During the course of the festival, only films approved by the jurors of the MMFF are shown in movie theaters. No foreign movies are shown except in 3D theaters and IMAX theaters, since 2010s, film entries were played in select 3D cinemas that it can show movies in 2D format. It is one of the two Filipino major film festivals to exclude foreign films in a week-long period, the other being the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino happening during August.

Metro Manila Film Festival
LocationMetro Manila
PredecessorManila Film Festival
AwardsGabi ng Parangal
(lit.Awards Night)
No. of films8 (per edition)
LanguagePrimarily Filipino

The annual event began with the 1975 Metro Manila Film Festival, during which Diligin Mo ng Hamog ang Uhaw na Lupa ("Water the Thirsty Earth with Dew") by Augusto Buenaventura won the best film award.[1]

One of the festival highlights is the parade of floats at the opening of the festival. The floats, each one representing a movie entry with their respective stars, parade down usually Roxas Boulevard, as was the case in many of the previous awards, but beginning in 2017 the float parade is now usually hosted by each of the 17 local governments of the capital region. On the awards night, a Best Float award is also announced along with the major acting awards.


A precursor the current festival began in 1966. Then-mayor of Manila Antonio Villegas inaugurated the "Manila Film Festival" ("Manila Tagalog Film Festival").[2] It was set up in order to get Philippine films screened in "first-run" theaters which at that time only screened American films.[3] It was a 12-day event from June 14 through June 24, Manila's birthday, during which only locally produced films could be shown in the theatres. The festival featured a parade in downtown Manila of actors and the featured films. In addition, in an effort to promote Philippine films, Antonio Villegas banned the showing of foreign films at movie houses during the Manila Film Festival.[4] Most of the first batch of the festival films came up with English titles.[5] Despite the lack of support, there were different changes in making the festival flourish.[6]

The best films of Manila Film Festival included Daigdig ng mga Api (1966), Dahil sa Isang Bulaklak (1967), Manila, Open City (1968), Patria Adorada (1969), Dimasalang (1970), Cadena de Amor (1971), Elias, Basilio at Sisa (1972), Nueva Vizaya (1973) and Alaala mo Daigdig Ko (1974). Starting in 1975, Manila Film Festival was discontinued as Metro Manila Film Festival took over.

In 1973, the Manila Film Festival was discontinued as Martial Law was imposed in September the year before. On September 21, 1975, during the Marcos dictatorship, the filmfest was expanded to include all the other cities and towns in the newly formed Metro Manila and began under the name "1975 Metropolitan Film Festival" (MFF). In 1977, name was changed to "Metro Manila Film Festival".

After Villegas' death in 1984, a special award in the Metro Manila Film Festival, the Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award, was created in his honor and is given to the best film that best portrays Philippine culture and Filipino people to the world.[7] MRN Film International's Andrea, Paano Ba ang Maging Isang Ina? was the first one to receive the lifetime achievement award in 1990.[8] Since then, it has been awarding prestigious films that deserves the honors.

In 2010, the film festival underwent some changes. First, the commercial viability criterion (box-office performance of the entries) was removed. As of 2010, the criteria for the selection of Best Picture(s) are: artistry; creativity and technical excellence; innovation; and thematic value. Entries are also judged for global appeal (70 percent) and Filipino cultural and/or historical value (30 percent). In addition, the festival format gave a tribute to independent "indie" films. Lastly, the established board of jurors was expanded to include housewives, drivers, students, teachers, etc. The festival logo was changed to feature a map of the Metropolis of Manila, based on the old seal of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority with seventeen stars on it symbolizing the 17 cities and municipality of Metro Manila. The logo for the first 35 festivals featured a torch.[9]

In September 2011, Atty. Francis Tolentino, then-chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) changed the category name of "indie" films to "New Wave" films to make it sound better and more attractive to hear, as well as including "Student Short Film Category" for the first time.[10] Consequently, the next year, the 38th Metro Manila Film Festival held in 2012 became the highest earning MMFF to date with 767 million pesos, 21% higher than that of 2011.[11]

In January 2013 review, writer Jessica Zafra complained, "Speaking of standards, why do we bother to review the festival entries when most of them are rubbish? Because they're not supposed to be rubbish! Contrary to what you’ve been led to believe, 'entertainment' and 'commercial appeal' are not synonyms for 'garbage'. There are good commercial movies, and there are bad commercial movies. The bad outnumber the good because the studios think the viewers are idiots."[12]

Notable incidents

There have been numerous notable incidents during the various festivals.[13][14]

In 1977, director Lino Brocka walked out of the awarding ceremonies at the Metropolitan Theater when Celso Ad. Castillo's Burlesk Queen starring Vilma Santos won eight of the ten awards including the Best Picture award during the 3rd Metro Manila Film Festival. Mr. Brocka reportedly threw invectives at Rolando Tinio, who was the chairman of the panel of judges of the festival.

In 1978, the board of jurors decided to not award honors for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress on the 4th Metro Manila Film Festival. Instead, the jurors gave Nora Aunor a "Best Performer" award for her role in the movie Atsay. Aunor beat Vilma Santos, whom fortune-tellers on the talk show of Inday Badiday and many moviegoers predicted would win the award for her role in the movie Rubia Servios. When Nora accepted her award, she cried "Mama, mali ang hula nila" ("Mama, their prediction is wrong") apparently because fortune-tellers incorrectly predicted the outcome.

In 1983, during the awards night of the 9th Metro Manila Film Festival, many were surprised after Coney Reyes won the Best Actress award for the movie Bago Kumalat ang Dugo and Anthony Alonzo is given the Best Actor award for the same movie, besting acting greats Charito Solis, Phillip Salvador, and Vic Silayan, who were all in the movie Karnal. In addition, juror's standards of giving Willie Milan the Best Director award against Lino Brocka is questioned.

In 1986, for the first time, the 12th Metro Manila Film Festival did not give out the traditional first and second Best Picture awards as well as the other two categories: Best Story and Best Screenplay. According to one of the jurors, Tingting Cojuangco stated: "No one of the seven entries deserved these awards..." He added that they: "...would like to express [their] concern over the current state of the Philippine movie industry as reflected in the entries to the year's MMFF...[The entries] failed to reinforce and inculcate positive Filipino values by portraying negative stereotypes, imitating foreign films and perpetuating commercially-oriented movies...".[15]

In 1988 during the award-giving ceremony of the 14th Metro Manila Film Festival, stuntman and character actor-turned-filmmaker Baldo Marro won the Best Actor for Patrolman film, which also won him the Best Director award. In fact, he was not known before this. He bested prizewinning director Chito Roño of Itanong Mo Sa Buwan in the division, sending uproar from well-meaning critics and regular local film observers. Nevertheless, the announced Best Director award goes to Laurice Guillen.[16]

In 1993, during the "Gabi ng Parangal" of the 1993 Metro Manila Film Festival, the list of winners was supposedly leaked.[17]

In 1994, during the "Gabi ng Parangal" of 20th Metro Manila Film Festival held in PICC, the six major awards (Three Best Pictures, Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Awards, Best Director, and Best Screenplay) were not given as Alejandro Roces, chairman of the Board of Jurors announced that "none of the entries was deserving".[18] On the side note, the Manila Film Fest (MFF) had a similar, but different case in which both the Best Actress and Best Actor awards were given to Ruffa Gutierrez and Gabby Concepcion respectively instead of the supposed-to-be winners.[19][20]

In 2001, on December 27 of the 27th Metro Manila Film Festival, Cesar Montano, although he received the Best Actor award, expressed his disappointment that his film, Bagong Buwan did not receive the Best Picture award. He states: "For me, Bagong Buwan is still the best picture. No offense meant, but for others, Yamashita may be the best picture. Kanya-kanya 'yan. Wala nga lang kaming trophy. Bibili na lang kami ng trophy sa Recto. (To each his own. We just don't have a trophy. We'll just buy one in Recto)." referring to a strip on C.M. Recto Avenue in Manila notorious for manufacturing fake diplomas, certificates and trophies.[18]

In 2002, first, the cast of the film Dekada '70 walked out of the award ceremonies after Lualhati Bautista failed to win the Best Story and Best Screenplay awards. Even more controversial was the decision of the judges to name the first-timer Ara Mina the Best Actress for her role in Mano Po, beating multi-awarded Vilma Santos, who was in Dekada '70. In addition, the producers of the films Spirit Warriors: The Shortcut and Lastikman protested the non-inclusion of the two films as official entries, prompting the Metro Manila Film Festival committee to extend the annual event. Consequently, the committee extended the film screenings to seven days to accommodate two more films which did not make it to the entries.

Speaking of the films, Chito Rono, director of Second Best Picture Dekada '70, was curious as to why was Spirit Warriors: The Shortcut named the Third Best Picture award if the officials disqualify it as an official entry. In the same way, the production team of Ang Agimat: Antin-Anting ni Lolo was also appalled to the decision of the jurors to give the Best Visual Effects award to Spirit Warriors: The Shortcut if they only use "mono", beating their use of the more advanced "Dolby Digital system".[21]

In 2005, director Joel Lamangan walked out after he lost to Jose Javier Reyes. Lamangan failed to win the Best Director for Blue Moon against Reyes' Kutob. In the same year, Regal Films's matriarch Lily Monteverde voiced out her disappointment as she lamented that some winners in the festival were "undeserving".

In 2006, Octoarts Films and M-Zet Production's Enteng Kabisote 3: Okay Ka, Fairy Ko: The Legend Goes On and On and On was declared the Best Picture after festival organizers changed the criteria for the award by giving more weight to "commercial appeal". As it was the only prize that the film won, the decision to let the film receive it becomes the subject of yet another controversy at the festival. Movie producer Star Cinema made a protest to the MMDA and wrote to then MMFF chairman Bayani Fernando, claiming that the movie Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo should have won Best Picture because it topped the box office for the first few days.

In 2007, the awards night ended in less than an hour after festival organizers decided to just announce the winners without even mentioning the nominees for each category. The organizers explained that it had to be rushed and had to end at exactly 9pm because a concert, featuring singer Lani Misalucha, was scheduled right after the awards ceremonies.

In 2011, Amable "Tikoy" Aguiluz declined to accept the award for Best Director for the movie Manila Kingpin after he claimed that the movie "was edited without his consent beyond his recognition."

In 2014, Rina Navarro, one of the producers of Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo questioned the result of the panel's judgement in the awards night. The movie won the most coveted Best Picture award but it failed to win the other major categories such as the Best Director award, the Best Actor and Best Actress awards, the Best Screenplay award, and the Best Original Story award all of which went to Dan Villegas' English Only, Please.

In 2015, a day before the awards night, Erik Matti's Honor Thy Father was disqualified for the Best Picture award after being screened at the Cinema One Originals. Dondon Monteverde, the film's producer, revealed that they did disclose this information beforehand. He attested that its premiere at the Cinema One festival didn't generate revenue which complies by the rules. He also questioned the timing of this decision, one day before the awards ceremony, and he demanded an investigation.[22]

In 2016, the festival gained buzz after the EXECOM {Executive Committee} announced the top 8 entries for the 2016 edition. Different from past years, the movies of the certified box-office drawers Vice Ganda & Coco Martin's The Super Parental Guardians, Vic Sotto's Enteng Kabisote 10 and the Abangers, Regal Entertainment's Mano Po 7: Tsinoy and Vhong Navarro's Mang Kepweng Returns was rejected in that edition. But despite good reviews about the 8 entries, the film festival only grossed ₱373 million, or a ₱667 million drop from 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival's ₱1.040 billion. And the edition of the festival showed only Indie films. The idea of indie-only film was later scrapped and commercial films was allowed again.[23]


FestivalYearAwards Night
1st1975Metropolitan TheaterManila
4th1978Cultural Center of the Philippines
5th1979Metropolitan Theater
7th1981Cultural Center of the Philippines
10th1984Metropolitan Theater
11th1985Rizal TheaterMakati
12th1986University of Life Theater and Recreational ArenaPasig
14th1988Philippine International Convention CenterPasay
15th1989University of Life Theater and Recreational ArenaPasig
18th1992Philippine International Convention CenterPasay
21st1995Metropolitan TheaterManila
26th2000Philippine International Convention CenterPasay
30th2004Aliw Theater
33rd2007SMX Convention Center
34th2008Sofitel Philippine Plaza
35th2009SMX Convention Center
36th2010Meralco TheaterPasig
37th2011Newport Performing Arts TheaterPasay
38th2012Meralco TheaterPasig
40th2014Philippine International Convention CenterPasay
41st2015Kia TheatreQuezon City
44th2018The Theater at SolaireParañaque


Metro Manila Film Festival
Gabi ng Parangal
2018 Metro Manila Film Festival
Awarded forExcellence in cinematic achievements
LocationMetro Manila
Presented byMetropolitan Manila Development Authority
Manila Broadcasting Company
First awardedDecember 1975

The Gabi ng Parangal (lit.Awards Night) serves as the awarding ceremony for participating films in the Metro Manila Film Festival.

Merit categories

Festival awards

Special awards

annually awarded
not annually awarded

Other awards

Most wins

This is a list of superlative Metro Manila Film Festival winners. This list is current as of the 2018 Metro Manila Film Festival "Gabi ng Parangal" (awards ceremony) held on December 27, 2018.

The following are fifteen films which have received ten or more awards in different categories.

FilmRecord SetYearProduction company(s)Notes
José Rizal171998GMA Films*won all awards except Best Actress
10,000 Hours142013Philippine Film Studios, N2 Productions and Viva Films
Magic Temple1996Star Cinema
Muro-Ami131999GMA Films
Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story122011Viva Films and Scenema Concept International
Mano Po2002Regal Films
Rainbow's Sunset112018Heaven's Best Entertainment
Yamashita: The Tiger's Treasure2001MAQ Productions
Muling Umawit ang Puso1995Viva Films
Andrea, Paano Ba ang Maging Isang Ina?1990MRN Film International
Imortal1989Viva Films
Baler102008Viva Films
Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo2006Star Cinema
Nasaan ang Puso1997MAQ Productions
Halimaw sa Banga1986NCV Productions*only the third Best Picture is given.
Kisapmata1981Bancom Audiovision
Best Director
DirectorRecord SetFirst year awardedRecent year awarded
Joel Lamangan419952018
Jose Javier Reyes319932006
Marilou Diaz-Abaya19801999
Erik Matti220152016
Mark Meily20032008
Chito Rono19972001
Laurice Guillen19882000
Eddie Garcia19871989
Mario O'Hara19841986
Lino Brocka19791985
Best Actor
ActorRecord SetFirst year awardedRecent year awarded
Christopher de Leon719762008
Cesar Montano319982006
Anthony Alonzo19831987
Derek Ramsay220142017
Dingdong Dantes20112012
Eric Quizon19912003
Aga Muhlach19921993
Best Actress
ActressRecord SetFirst year awardedRecent year awarded
Nora Aunor819782012
Maricel Soriano519972013
Vilma Santos419772004
Amy Austria319801996
Gloria Romero220002018
Jennylyn Mercado20142015
Best Supporting Actor
Supporting ActorRecord SetFirst year awardedRecent year awarded
Pen Medina219992013
Cesar Montano19892012
Phillip Salvador20082009
Johnny Delgado19792006
Ronaldo Valdez19931997
Dick Israel19881994
Best Supporting Actress
Supporting ActressRecord SetFirst year awardedRecent year awarded
Eugene Domingo320072011
Cherie Gil19852000
Nida Blanca219751997
Most combined awards for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Director.
NameRecord SetCategories won
Cesar Montano63 Best Actor, 2 Best Supporting Actor, 1 Best Director
Eddie Garcia32 Best Director, 1 Best Actor
Mario O'Hara2 Best Director, 1 Best Actor
Johnny Delgado2 Best Supporting Actor, 1 Best Actor
Dolphy2 Best Actor, 1 Best Supporting Actor
Vic Silayan21 Best Actor, 1 Best Supporting Actor
Most combined awards for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.
NameRecord SetCategories won
Amy Austria43 Best Actress, 1 Best Supporting Actress
Charito Solis21 Best Actress, 1 Best Supporting Actress
Gina Alajar1 Best Actress, 1 Best Supporting Actress
Hilda Koronel1 Best Actress, 1 Best Supporting Actress

Top 30 highest grossing entries

The table shows the top 30 highest-grossing Filipino film entries in the Metro Manila Film Festival.

Rank Year Title Production Company Box office
1. 2017 Gandarrapiddo: The Revenger Squad Star Cinema & Viva Films ₱571 million[24]
2. 2015 Beauty and the Bestie Star Cinema & Viva Films ₱529 million[25]
3. 2014 The Amazing Praybeyt Benjamin Star Cinema & Viva Films ₱455 million[26]
4. 2013 Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy Star Cinema & Viva Films ₱421 million[27]
5. 2013 My Little Bossings OctoArts Films, M-Zet Productions, APT Entertainment & Kris Aquino Productions ₱401 million
6. 2012 Sisterakas Star Cinema & Viva Films ₱393 million[28]
7. 2015 My Bebe Love: KiligPaMore OctoArts Films, M-Zet Productions, APT Entertainment, GMA Films & MEDA Productions ₱385 million[29]
8. 2011 Enteng Ng Ina Mo Star Cinema, OctoArts Films, M-Zet Productions & APT Entertainment ₱272 million
9. 2014 Feng Shui 2 Star Cinema & K Productions ₱244 million[26]
10. 2008 Ang Tanging Ina N'yong Lahat Star Cinema ₱229 million
11. 2012 One More Try Star Cinema ₱213 million
12. 2010 Ang Tanging Ina Mo (Last na 'To!) Star Cinema ₱210 million
13. 2017 Ang Panday CCM Film Productions, Star Cinema & Viva Films ₱204 million[30]
14. 2013 Pagpag: Siyam na Buhay Regal Entertainment & Star Cinema ₱188 million[31]
15. 2006 Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo Star Cinema ₱187 million
16. 2010 Si Agimat at Si Enteng Kabisote OctoArts Films, M-Zet Productions, APT Entertainment, GMA Films & Imus Productions ₱170.5 million
17. 2005 Enteng Kabisote 2: Okay Ka Fairy Ko: The Legend Continues OctoArts Films & M-Zet Productions ₱158 million
18-19. 2007 Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo Star Cinema ₱152 million
18-19. 2012 Si Agimat, si Enteng Kabisote at si Ako OctoArts Films, M-Zet Productions, APT Entertainment, GMA Films & Imus Productions ₱152 million
20. 2014 My Big Bossing OctoArts Films, M-Zet Productions & APT Entertainment ₱145 million
21. 2006 Enteng Kabisote 3: Okay Ka, Fairy Ko: The Legend Goes On and On and On OctoArts Films & M-Zet Productions ₱144 million
22. 2011 Segunda Mano Star Cinema, AgostoDos Pictures & MJM Productions ₱138.7 million
23. 2014 English Only, Please Quantum Films, MJM Productions, Buchi Boy Films & Tuko Film Productions ₱135 million
24. 2004 Enteng Kabisote: Okay ka, Fairy Ko: The Legend OctoArts Films & M-Zet Productions ₱130 million
25. 2015 Haunted Mansion Regal Entertainment ₱128 million
26-27. 2010 Dalaw Star Cinema, Cinemedia & MJM Productions ₱125 million
26-27. 1998 José Rizal GMA Films ₱125 million
28. 2016 Vince and Kath and James Star Cinema ₱123 million
29-30. 2009 I Love You, Goodbye (film) Star Cinema ₱120 million[31]
29-30. 2016 Die Beautiful OctoberTrain Films, The IdeaFirst Company & Regal Entertainment ₱120 million

Note: All figures are in Philippine Peso.


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