Watching Filipino movies on VHS or DVD can help you learn Tagalog in several ways. It can help you learn to speak Tagalog as well as learn to understand Tagalog and the two are not always the same thing. First of all you can speak a language and have no idea what you just said. Many languages are ‘phonetic’ and can be spoken accurately if you say them syllable by syllable. Tagalog is like that with one or two exceptions such as mga and nga. For most words you put the emphasis on the second syllable.
So I can read a page of printed Tagalog and sound almost native. So what? The important thing is to be a good listener, much like it is for getting on with people anywhere in the world. It pays to listen more than to speak! Watching DVDs can help you listen to the language. AS your vocabulary improves you will pick out more words you recognize. In time when applied to the action on the screen you will be able to piece together the story fairly well.
Of course they speak very fast but then that is the pace of normal speech and the target to aim for. Getting used ot normal rates of speech via DVDs is a good way to get used to conversations and not feel overwhelmed. What is really useful is if you can watch the movie with the sub-titles turned off, then with them on. See the whole movie first then take it a scene at a time, remember this is a class, not just watching a movie. Really try and figure out what is being said.
You can find Filipino movies for rent at the local Filipino Food Shop near you. If there isn’t one, buy them online or have a friend in the Philippines send them to you. Failing that you could always subscribe to Filipino Cable TV, more on that later.