Filipino Friday: Recommending Fellow Filipinos

"Filipino Friday"Have you noticed the new look of my blog? No? Really?

As the date for the first Filipino Reader Conference draws near, we continue Filipino Fridays with the penultimate ReaderCon-connected meme with this question: “Do you read Filipino literature? If yes, what are some books by Filipino authors that you can recommend to fellow readers?

If you’re one of my few regular readers, then you already know the answer to this question. If you’re one of the random people who just happened to drop by, here’s my answer:

Yes, I do read Filipino literature. Not counting Ibong Adarna, Florante at Laura, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo–all of which were required reading for high school, I’ve read somewhere in the vicinity of a hundred Filipino stories. I haven’t finished them all (unless I finish Ilustrado sometime soon), and I didn’t enjoy nearly half of them. But the ones that I did enjoy, I enjoyed completely.

Some of the best work I’ve read, I’ve already posted about in this blog. These are the books I’m recommending for my fellow readers:

#1 Trese. A series of graphic novels that deals with Filipino folklore with a kickass heroine named Alexandra Trese. It’s an ongoing story rich with mythology, and with characters that really pop out from the pages of the book. Once you finish one book, you’re gonna want to dive in to the next series of stories as soon as you can.

#2 The Filipino Heroes League. There’s only one book so far, and according to its Facebook Fan Page, the next one won’t come out until Summer of 2012. It’s about a group of superheroes who are employed by the government; but like many things in the Philippines, they are underfunded and unsupported. Bleak? Maybe, but it’s this underdog status that drives the story forward, and makes this superheroes a lot different from what we’ve already seen/read from other publishers.

#3 Tall Story. This one was actually published abroad, but it is written by a Filipino author. What I like most about Tall Story is that it’s very fresh, and it’s proves that a Filipino can write Young Adults novels just as well as other writers–that we can write about something other than the desolation of the country, and the problems of the country, and the bleak future of the country. Tall Story is a heartwarming story about accepting differences, and getting by with your family.

#4 Naermyth. Like with Tall Story, the thing I liked most about this book was how it showed what Filipino authors are capable of. In this case, it’s a fairly believable dystopian future fiction. I had problems with the story, but its author does show a lot of promise. I think she just needs more practice.

If you’ve noticed, I steered clear from books about poverty and other problems the Philippines is facing. We already have a lot of books with that plot or that theme. The books I want to promote are the ones that show the Filipino for what they really are: creative and with initiative. We can rise above poverty-porn, we can write about something else other than what currently ails the country.

I’ve always maintained my belief that books are a great form of escape. I’m hoping that sometime soon, we’ll have books of our own that equal the imaginative worlds of The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter.

So now that you know the books I’m recommending, what are the Filipino-produced books you’d like to recommend to me?

12 thoughts on “Filipino Friday: Recommending Fellow Filipinos

  1. I have read and posted on my blog on these works by Filipino Authors

    . Barefoot in the Fire:A Manila WWII Childhood by Barbara Gamboa Lewis

    Adventures of a Child of War by Lin Acacio-Flores

    Songs of Ourselves: Writings by Filipino Women by Elizabeth Manlapaz

    Pinay Autobiographical Narratives by Women Writers-1928 to 1998 edited by Christina Hidalgo

    Living with the Enemy: A Diary of the Japanese Occupation by Pacita Pestano-Jacinto

    The Tobacco Monopoly in the Philippines 1766 to 1880 by Ed. C De Jesus

    plus three short stories
    “Metropolis” by Crystal Koo
    “Magnificence” by Estella Afon
    “The Servant Girl” by Estella Afon

  2. I loved “Trese” and made absolutely sure that I had KaJo and Budjette sign them!

    I also have a copy of Filipino Heroes League but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. Alanguilan’s “Elmer” is also sitting unread on my shelf.

  3. Thanks for the recommendations! Except for Naermyth, the books you recommended are all on my TBR. Which of the other three is the best one to start on?

    Sorry, I can’t give anything to recommend.:(

  4. Hi, Jason! You know, I didn’t know Naermyth was written by a Filipino author. Shows what I know.:P I have yet to read that. In fact, the only thing I read in your list is Trese, which I loved, too. Good thing MIBF is near.:)

  5. LOL your banner is such a winner. I’m already planning to read Trese and Naermyth. Maybe I can check out the rest of the titles in your list when I finish reading those.

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