5 Books About and Written by Filipinos I Want to Read/Re-Read

Posted March 30, 2017 by Zeee in Blogger Insider | 1 Comment

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Blogger Insider: Life stories from the blogger

As I am prepping for my trip back home (yes, I still call the Philippines home), I wanted to share books and stories set in the Philippines and also about the Philippines.

The sad thing is, I have not read a lot of these books so hopefully, I will rectify my mistake. Unfortunately, one of my problems is that I have a hard time reading in Tagalog, which is the Philippine national language. Yes, I can speak it, and yes I can understand it, but I actually have a hard time reading in Tagalog. Before you bring out your pitchforks and burn me at the stake, I learned Bisaya first. Bisaya is one of the dialects spoken by those who were born in the Visayas. And to be honest, I also have a hard time reading in Bisaya.

5 Books About and Written by Filipinos I Want to Read/Re-Read
Title: The Dumaguete We Know
Written by Merlie M. Alunan
Find on Goodreads

This is the Dumaguete of the chance sojourner, innocent of purpose or desire, who in a time, finds himself wandering the streets, the boulevard, the marketplace, walking amongst the friendly and gentle people and suddenly discovering in his heart a longing to stay. Or the pilgrim in search of heart's desire, who, after the first visit, is compelled to return over and over--to feed the soul, to find ease, to become empty and thus, find strength to get on. Or those who came to stay, finding a haven and making a home among welcoming strangers.

This is the Dumaguete of the poet, the teller of stories, the artist, sharer of secrets, hoarder of memories. This is The Dumaguete We Know.

The first book I wanted to share is The Dumaguete We Know edited by Merlie M. Alunan which is basically about my hometown! It’s a short book and I’m not really sure what it’s about because the blurb kinda sounds like it’s a collection of poems? Whatever the case, I want to read this!


5 Books About and Written by Filipinos I Want to Read/Re-Read
Title: Feast and Famine: Stories of Negros
Written by Rosario Cruz-Lucero
Find on Goodreads

Gathered here are four long stories and one novella about life in Negros Occidental, written between 2000 and 2003, but covering pratically the whole of Philippine history--from the Spanish colonial period to the post-Marcos era.

The second book is an anthology titled Feast and Famine: Stories of Negros by Rosario Cruz-Lucero. Based on the blurb, it sounds like it is delving into the history of the island where I was born from the Spanish colonial period to the post-Marcos era. It’s mostly stories about life in Negros Occidental, which is technically not where I am from because I hail from Negros Oriental.


5 Books About and Written by Filipinos I Want to Read/Re-Read
Title: Dead Stars
Written by Pas Marquez Benites
Find on Goodreads

This is the 1925 short story that gave birth to modern Philippine writing in English.

The third book is one that I actually read! It is a very short story, about 2-3 pages what doesn’t entirely end in an HEA but I actually rated 5 stars! This is also written by a Filipina and as the blurb states: ushered the modern Philippine writing in English.

I have to say that I forgot the characters of this story because I last read this in 2006. I do know that is about a man in a love triangle (?). Anyway, he is supposed to be affianced to one lady but he loves another and he ultimately made the decision to marry his fiance. Ack, such a sad story but I read it at the time where this story was very close to what was happening to me at the time.


5 Books About and Written by Filipinos I Want to Read/Re-Read
Title: ABNKKBSNPLAKo?! (Mga Kwentong Chalk ni Bob Ong)
Written by Bob Ong
Find on Goodreads

Bakit namamalo si Miss Uyehara?
May mga notebook bang lumilipad?
Bakit masakit sa ulo ang Mafhemafics?
Ano ang sikreto sa pagkakaibigan nila Pepe at Tagpi?
Bakit may mga taong nakapikit sa litrato?
Masarap ba ang Africhado?
Sino si Tigang?
Bakit may mga classroom na kulang ang upuan?
Masama bang mag-isip nang malalim habang naglalakad?
Saan ang Ganges River sa Pilipinas?
Bakit may mga umaakyat ng overpass pero hindi tumatawid?
Sino ang webmaster ng bobongpinoy sa Internet?

No calculators.
No dictionaries.
No erasures.
No cheating.
Oops, time's up!
Pass your papers.

I’ve also read this book and I can read the title! This is written in Tagalog and is a compilation of blog posts published on bobongpinoy.com about growing up and going to school in the Philippines. I have to say that I could relate to the Bob Ong’s experience in school since I lived and went to school in the Philippines until I was 23. I actually own this copy and I might just read it again for the heck of it!


5 Books About and Written by Filipinos I Want to Read/Re-Read
Title: Noli Me Tángere
Written by José Rizal
Find on Goodreads

In more than a century since its appearance, José Rizal's Noli Me Tangere has become widely known as the great novel of the Philippines. A passionate love story set against the ugly political backdrop of repression, torture, and murder, "The Noli," as it is called in the Philippines, was the first major artistic manifestation of Asian resistance to European colonialism, and Rizal became a guiding conscience—and martyr—for the revolution that would subsequently rise up in the Spanish province.

I would also be remiss if I won’t mention Noli Me Tangere (what do you know, it was published by Penguin Classics, too!). I had to read this in high school and I did not understand a word of it because the Tagalog was even harder to understand. Good thing someone translated it into English so I was able to get a copy and read it. Ahem.

This book was first written in Spanish because it was aimed at the Spanish who were occupying the Philippines at the time. It is the book that inspired the Philippine Revolution and it is also a love story. Although, spoiler alert, it does not end in an HEA. The second book, El Filibusterismo is more about revenge than love.

If you are a Filipino, have you read any of these books? Thoughts?

Do you read books about your country?

Has anyone read a book set in the Philippines? Any recs?

I REALLY want to know!



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One response to “5 Books About and Written by Filipinos I Want to Read/Re-Read

  1. I’m not Filipina but I still feel a little bad because I don’t know that I’ve ever read a book written by a Filipino(a) author! Or even set in the Philippines? In fact, I’m Indian and I don’t really find myself reading many books by Indian authors… I have been trying to do better this year (it’s a goal of 2017). I need to do better, because books by Indian authors don’t usually get a ton of attention (and I think the same can be said about books by Filipino authors too, right?). I hope you get the chance to read all of these, Zeee!

    Have a lovely week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!
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