This August, we’re celebrating Buwan ng mga Akdang Pinoy, and what better way to do it than by (re)visiting some of our favorite Filipino works, from gothic tales on the page to Filipino stories on a plate.
The Woman Who Had Two Navels and Tales of the Tropical Gothic
by Nick Joaquin
Set amid the ruins of Manila devastated by World War II, his stories are steeped in the post-colonial anguish and hopes of his era and resonate with the ironic perspectives on colonial history of Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa. His work meditates on the questions and challenges of the Filipino individual’s new freedom after a long history of colonialism, exploring folklore, centuries-old Catholic rites, the Spanish colonial past, magical realism, and baroque splendor and excess. This collection features his best-known story, “The Woman Who Had Two Navels,” centered on Philippine emigrants living in Hong Kong and later expanded into a novel, the much-anthologized stories “May Day Eve” and “The Summer Solstice,” and a canonic play, A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino.
Philippine Cookery: From Heart to Platter
by Tatung Sarthou
Philippine Cookery: From Heart to Platter approaches cooking, not as a cold, mechanical guide, but as a process that is much more organic and forgiving, where cooks learn and excel through “feel” and where a recipe is regarded as a “suggestion” more than a rulebook. As the book’s title hints, cooking is truly borne out of love, from which values of honesty, integrity, sense of family, nostalgia play a key role in teaching how to cook Filipino. Through captivating photographs, recipes, stories, and practical advice, Sarthou takes readers on a journey through time, space, and memory, offering a road map for them to follow to discover their own love for cooking.
Smaller and Smaller Circles
by F. H. Batacan
Payatas, a 50-acre dump northeast of Manila’s Quezon City, is home to thousands of people who live off of what they can scavenge there. It is one of the poorest neighborhoods in a city whose law enforcement is already stretched thin, devoid of forensic resources and rife with corruption. So when the eviscerated bodies of preteen boys begin to appear in the dump heaps, there is no one to seek justice on their behalf.
In the rainy summer of 1997, two Jesuit priests take the matter of protecting their flock into their own hands. Father Gus Saenz is a respected forensic anthropologist, one of the few in the Philippines, and has been tapped by the Director of the National Bureau of Investigations as a backup for police efforts. Together with his protégé, Father Jerome Lucero, a psychologist, Saenz dedicates himself to tracking down the monster preying on these impoverished boys.
Smaller and Smaller Circles, widely regarded as the first Filipino crime novel, is a poetic masterpiece of literary noir, a sensitive depiction of a time and place, and a fascinating story about the Catholic Church and its place in its devotees’ lives.
In the Country
by Mia Alvar
These nine globe-trotting, unforgettable stories from Mia Alvar, a remarkable new literary talent, vividly give voice to the women and men of the Filipino diaspora. Here are exiles, emigrants, and wanderers uprooting their families from the Philippines to begin new lives in the Middle East, the United States, and elsewhere—and, sometimes, turning back again.
A pharmacist living in New York smuggles drugs to his ailing father in Manila, only to discover alarming truths about his family and his past. In Bahrain, a Filipina teacher drawn to a special pupil finds, to her surprise, that she is questioning her own marriage. A college student leans on her brother, a laborer in Saudi Arabia, to support her writing ambitions, without realizing that his is the life truly made for fiction. And in the title story, a journalist and a nurse face an unspeakable trauma amidst the political turmoil of the Philippines in the 1970s and ’80s.
ni Russell Molina at Kajo Baldisimo
Nasa labas ka pa rin? Hala.
Nakalimutan mo ba ang curfew?
Kung Alam N’yo Lang
ni Ricky Lee
Mga kuwentong pambata para sa mga hindi na bata.
Apat na bata, apat na kwento ng pagharap sa mga katotohanan at kasinungalingan ng buhay.
Kung alam lang nila.
Si Janus Sílang at ang Tiyanak ng Tábon
ni Edgar Calabia Samar
Ang akala ni Janus, pangkaraniwang laro lang ang TALA Online. Sunod-sunod ang pagbabago sa buhay niya matapos ang kahindik-hindik na pangyayari sa RPG tournament sa sinalihan niya. Pero nang matuklasan niya ang tunay na kaugnayan ng larong ito sa alamat ng Tiyanak ng Tabon, wala na siyang magawa kundi ipagpatuloy ang paglalaro!
What are your favorite local reads? Share them with us in the comments!
Interested in any of these titles? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries.