Best Performances of the Decade So Far (Top Ten)

  1. Sid Lucero, Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan (2013)

10 Sid Norte

Character: Fabian, an embittered law student who commits a brutal murder

“It’s now common knowledge that Lucero is one of the finest actors not just of his but of any generation. He has mastered the naturalistic speaking style, the way people stammer and hesitate and pause when talking in real life. Working with Lav Diaz, who is known to give his actors free rein over their performances, must have been heaven for Lucero who, as Fabian, a disaffected youth who deals with the consequences of a crime he committed, gets to display his acting chops in full throttle, knowing full well that he will most likely never get another role that will be as meaty and as complex. A towering performance if there ever was one.” – SCL

  1. Eugene Domingo, Barber’s Tales (2014)

9 Eugene Barber's

Character: Marilou Aguallo, a newly widowed woman who inherits the town’s only barbershop from her husband

“Domingo’s boundless dramatic gifts continue to unravel as she delivers a master class in thespic restraint and subtlety in her prized portrayal of a subservient housewife. She is a thespic knockout from beginning to end—you won’t miss the knowing twinkle in her eyes we often see in her crowd-pleasing ‘dramedic’ potboilers, even in the production’s random moments of angst-leavening humor. Her character’s situations may be dire, but she manages to keep her scenes from becoming overwhelmingly treacly. Eugene is smart enough to know that gut-wrenching ululations of grief don’t necessarily result in a textured characterization. Without a doubt, hers is one of the year’s finest performances.” – Rito Asilo

  1. Angel Aquino, Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita (2013)

8 Angel Chacha

Character: Pilar, a mysterious woman who becomes the object of a pubescent girl’s affection

No other actor could have played the complicated Pilar the way Aquino did. The role calls for a gorgeous actor who is capable of showing a dark side and Aquino gets under the skin of her character, that when she breaks Anita’s heart, we wanted to shake her silly and forgive her at the same time.

“Aquino was a beguiling presence in Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita.” – Cathy Peña

  1. Joel Torre, Kabisera (2013)

7 Joel Kabisera

Character: Andres, a simple fisherman who finds part of a consignment of drugs floating in the sea and decides to run a drug empire

“Torre portrays Andres with a mix of apprehension, excitement, familial love, obsession, and menace, and makes it all too human that even as we curse him for making wrong decisions along the way, we can understand why he had to do the things he did. If that, meaning eliciting empathy, is not the goal of acting in the first place, nobody knows what is.” – SCL

  1. Martin Escudero, Zombadings (2011)

6 Mart Zombadings

Character: Remington, a homophobe cursed by a wizard to turn gay on his 21st birthday

“His character shifts and emotional upheavals are competently delivered in the subtlest movements. He perfected the nuance of a flaming (queen) who’s hard-pressed in controlling his emerging effete tendencies. What a joy to watch!” – Cathy Peña

“Escudero is a stunning discovery. His comic talent is impeccable. He speaks, sashays, and acts like a real gay man! He is the crowning glory of Zombadings.” – Fidel Antonio Medel

  1. Eula Valdez, Dagitab (2014)


Character: Issey Tolentino, a Humanities professor who gets entangled in an extramarital scandal

Valdez almost did not get to play Issey Tolentino, the juicily complex professor character written by director Giancarlo Abrahan, because of scheduling conflicts. The stars must have aligned for the role to be offered back to her, after the replacement actors also backed out, because we can’t imagine any other actor who could give the role justice. Valdez lends Issey a delightful blend of sexiness, intelligence and mystery that makes her riveting to watch.

“Valdez is a great actress and it is not up until now that she is given more to work with and she is just amazing.” – Carl Joseph Papa

  1. Vilma Santos, Ekstra (2013)

4 Vilma Ekstra

Character: Loida Malabanan, a single mother who acts as a bit player in TV soaps

“For naysayers who scoff at the actress’ penchant for physical acting, here’s a movie that shows the egoless Vilma—warts, wrinkles, eye bags and all—at her quietly insightful and vulnerable best, as she fights for better roles on the set of a teleserye that must finish 45 sequences overnight. She’ll break your heart especially in scenes that require no dialogue, particularly in the sequence that shows Loida quietly watching her botched scene with Cherie Gil and Pilar Pilapil.” – Rito Asilo

“After a harrowing day on the set where she lost a good role, Loida returns to an empty home. She boils water for a bath, then transfixes her gaze on the table. She starts to eat the leftover food she took home from the set; then eats like there’s no tomorrow, drowning out her frustration and embarrassment. You could see all the pent-up emotions on her face as she masticates and swallows and weeps? The scene is short and line-free, but it packs a wallop. It showcases the emotional power of Vilma Santos as the seasoned and sincere actress that she has become. No lines needed.” –  Cathy Peña

“The only way to silence the doubters is to turn in a nuanced, convincing performance.  It’s a testament to Santos’ instinct as an actor that she finds the honest core of Loida and operates from there. Everything else follows.” – SCL

  1. Eddie Garcia, Bwakaw (2012)

3 Eddie Bwakaw

Character: Rene, a closeted gay septuagenarian who finds comfort in the company of his dog

“Garcia is simply marvelous as the late-blooming homosexual. He masterfully circumvents the stereotypical picture of a washed up gay man. We last saw his brilliance in I.C.U. Bed #7 and we feel honored to witness a level of artistry achieved only by years of insightful experience. Garcia is exquisite in his grief and cantankerous manner. He is delight nonpareil.” –  Cathy Peña

“It’s a testament to Garcia’s talent that Rene, the testy curmudgeon that he is, never loses the empathy of viewers. We cheer him on when he gets the courage to act on his feelings for a younger man and grieve with him when he loses a loved one. And in the end, when he decides to turn a new leaf in his twilight, we, too, wish to have the desire to face life head on even in old age.” – SCL

“It’s hard to beat Eddie Garcia’s tragicomic turn in Bwakaw.” – Rito Asilo

  1. Joel Torre, On the Job (2013)

2 Joel OTJ

Character:  Mario Maghari aka Tatang, a prisoner hired as an assassin

“It is in Torre’s crackerjack portrayal that the film finds its soul—he is ruthless one minute and vulnerable the next, and he juggles those emotions with audacious believability. Watch how the 52-year-old actor knocks his final scene with Anderson out of the thespic ballpark—as they forge their friendship with a shocking gesture of sacrifice!” – Rito Asilo

“Torre schools younger, studlier co-stars in acting by showing that you don’t have to look the part of an action star to deliver a knockout performance – you only have to fully inhabit the character and make sure that you’re playing not just a role but a whole, complex human being. Viewers saw that in Torre’s morally hollow Tatang yet fully understood him nonetheless.” – SCL

  1. Nora Aunor, Thy Womb (2012)

1 NoraThy-Womb

Character: Shaleha, a Badjao midwife who helps her husband search for a second wife

“Aunor’s silent but intensely immersive portrayal. Nora will break your heart as her world-weary face lights up at the film’s final fade. Like the movie itself, Shaleha doesn’t know the fate that awaits her after she delivers Mersila’s baby, but the evocative eyes of the legendary actress who portrays her do!” – Rito Asilo

“Much has been said about Aunor’s eyes that speak volumes, and director Brillante Mendoza utilizes them to the hilt with numerous close-ups. But more than the eyes, it’s Aunor’s body language here that makes her performance captivating. She has fully inhabited the role of a barren midwife and completely understood the verité style favored by Mendoza that you don’t see her act. It’s as if every line she says is something she herself, not the scriptwriter, has thought of. For a movie legend to completely disappear in a role is such a daunting task, but Aunor makes it look so damn easy.” – SCL

“La Aunor succeeded as she gracefully disappeared into her character without much vocal calisthenics or excessive physical artifice.” – Cathy Peña



PART 1: Nos. 100 to 81

PART 2: Nos. 80 to 61

PART 3: Nos. 60 to 41

PART 4: Nos. 40 to 21

PART 5: Nos. 20 to 11

4 thoughts on “Best Performances of the Decade So Far (Top Ten)”

  1. Hi, we would like to share with you regarding our Mabuhay Restop’s Sine Mabuhay Club (SMC) – its a regular screening of Indie Films here in Manila. SMC aims to promote Filipino films and filmmakers. We would like to invite you to be part of the club and help us to spread about this. Were looking forward meeting you if possible on the first screening on Feb 14 K’na the Dreamweaver. We hope that we can have you as our member, please join – its free.

    Thank you so much. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask me, (by the way I am the coordinator of the SMC and Art Director of Mabuhay Restop)

    If you are interested to watch the first film please pre – register online at–uADblG8RB0/viewform?c=0&w=1

    If you want to know more about Mabuhay Restop, please check our facebook page MabuhayRestop.

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