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MANILA, Philippines – We all have at least one or two people in our lives whose Christmas wishlist almost always has the word “books” at the very top. With how often bookworms are in search of a new book to get lost in, why not help them find titles by Filipino authors to add to their shelves?
From komiks to nonfiction, we compiled a list of books written by Filipinos to help you find the perfect read for your bookworm loved ones this Christmas. Who knows – you might even find something to add to your own collection!
Essay, short story collections
Some Days You Can’t Save Them All is here for the doctors and med students in your life. It is an essay collection of its author Dr. Ronnie E. Baticulon’s experiences throughout medical school and neurosurgery training at the Philippine General Hospital. Baticulon’s essays include advice for medical students and aspiring doctors, and even anecdotes that touch on the weight of losing a patient and the struggle behind having to tell a family that it’s time to say goodbye.
Wildfire: Filipina Lesbian Writings published by Gantala Press is a culmination of the work of Filipina lesbian poets, komikeros, and essayists – all of whom strive to bring to light the “struggles, pains, and triumphs” of being a lesbian in a misogynistic, patriarchal society. The literary folio’s 33 contributors each come from various backgrounds and communities.
In Ruvel Abril’s psychological thriller comic book Depikto, artist Paco Lazaro is suddenly invited to an exhibit that features his own art depicting several key moments in his life. While the paintings are definitely in his style, he doesn’t remember ever creating them. Did the experiences in the paintings truly happen, or has Paco’s recollection of his current memories become a blur? More importantly, is there someone or something behind it all?
For those looking for adventure, Aswang High by Macoy and Cyril Vendivil sees its titular character Abel Alcazar enter a mysterious school on a special scholarship, only to find out that he is the only human among his peers who are all aswangs or supernatural creatures. When he hears a rumor that the school’s cafeteria serves human meat, he launches an investigation to prove or debunk the intriguing claim.
Set in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, Broken Islands by Criselda Yabes tells the tale of Luna and Alba, two Bisaya women whose paths cross when they begin to live under the same roof. Luna is a maid who works for law student Alba’s uncle. It sees feminism, gender inequality, local politics, and class intertwine as Yabes delves deeper into the relationship between the two women.
Another equally captivating climate-centric novel, Tiempo Muerto by Caroline Hau sees Racel and Lia come together to look for Alma, who goes missing after a deadly typhoon strikes her village. Racel, an OFW, is Alma’s daughter, while Lia, an heiress, is Alma’s alaga. While the two women may come from starkly different backgrounds, they have one thing in common: their love for Alma.
Young adult fiction
For the young adventurers and kids at heart, Stray Cats by Irene Sarmiento follows eighth grader Elisa Paz, who sets out to find her best friend Raquel Madria who suddenly goes missing. As Elisa is exposed to a world that’s entirely different from the one she and Raquel had built together, she enlists the help of Oscar Santos, a talking cat.
In Ingrid Valenzuela’s queer novel Alon and Lila’s Last Summer Before Doomsday sees Camarines Sur high schoolers Alon and Lila spend their last summer together before going off to college in Manila. When a strange man tells them the world is ending, the two best friends are left to confront past traumas and fears to truly have the best summer ever.
Fairest by Meredith Talusan is a memoir that delves into the Filipino author’s journey of migrating to America and transitioning to becoming a woman. Talusan explores the complexities of being a member of a diasporic household that has yet to obtain US citizenship, all while trying to find her identity and grappling with settling into an entirely new place to call home.
Meanwhile, Some People Need Killing: A Memoir of Murder in My Country by Patricia Evangelista gives readers a more detailed look into her investigations into former President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. – Rappler.com