Top 5 Philippines documentaries track the tragedy of a country in turmoil


Decades of political upheaval and social unrest has turned the Philippines from a tropical paradise into one of the most troubled countries in Asia. The search for wealth has seen the country’s precious resources plundered. Illegal drugs have fuelled a crime wave that has swept into almost every town and village, killing thousands. This uncertainty has brought social problems the government is ill-equipped to cope with. RTD’s outstanding top 5 Philippines documentaries draw back the veil on a country fighting for its survival.

Here are the top 5 Philippines documentaries you shouldn’t miss.

1. Fallen Angels

Fallen Angels meet the children fathered by men who use the Philippines for sex tourism. Angeles City is the hub of the sex trade, where mixed-race kids are more common than any other part of the country. These children are the visible reminder of the sex trade in the Philippines. Almost none have ever met their biological fathers, and probably never will. It’s a generation tarnished by the modern scourge of sex tourism.

2. Project Duterte

The line between attempting to stamp out illegal drugs and domestic terrorism has become blurred by the controversial Project Duterte programme. President Rodrigo Duterte was swept to power partly on his promise to crack down on the drug gangs. However, not long after taking office, a wave of vigilantism saw the bodies of alleged ‘drug pushers’ dumped on city streets. These extrajudicial killings have put fear into the hearts of ordinary people, who the programme was meant to protect.

3. Golden Gamble

Being an illegal gold miner in the Philippines is possibly the most dangerous job in the world, which RTD investigates in the documentary Golden Gamble. On the outskirts of the town of Paracale, known as ‘Gold Town’, hundreds of illegal wells have been dug looking for gold. Miners plunge into the murky water-filled shafts scraping out the mud which contains the precious gold. Children play their part in the deadly process of gold mining, as it’s the only way their families can survive.

4. Crisis Childhood

It’s not uncommon for indigent parents in the Philippines to sell their children for money to survive. Islamic insurgent groups in the country have been quick to hand over cash for youngsters to bolster their fighting ranks. These child soldiers tell their stories in the harrowing RTD documentary Crisis Childhood. Young boys talk about the brutality they suffered in training camps, being prepared to become suicide bombers, human shields, and even organ donors for wounded fighters.

5. Palawan Lost

The environmental damage being done to the pristine rainforests of the Philippines is examined in the documentary Palawan Lost. The delicate eco-system of the island is being destroyed by illegal logging and coastal erosion. The UNESCO designated biosphere is under threat, and activists from the indigenous tribes are going to ingenious lengths to halt the devastation.

These are just a few of the revealing and thought-provoking Philippines documentaries to be found at