Filipino Reader Fridays: Philippine Literature

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 2 - 2011

As part of an event to promote the upcoming Filipino Reader Conference, I’ll be participating (or trying to) in Filipino Fridays, where Filipino readers discuss a weekly topic. For this week, I’m going to talk a bit about my favorite books by Filipino authors.

Well, my biases are certainly going to be evident in this post. As may be obvious to visitors of the site, I make it a point to actively seek out Filipino-created works of science fiction and fantasy (although I don’t always have time to read them). Luckily, there’s a lot more of that available now than when I was growing up. (But there’s always room for more!)

Most prose genre works by Filipinos are short stories, so my favorite books are really collections with many different authors: there are the regular publications such as the annual Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology (which has been released every year since 2006), and the Digest of Philippine Genre Stories, which has recently gone online; a few of the stand-alone anthologies I’ve really enjoyed are “A Time for Dragons” (edited by Vincent Simbulan), “The Farthest Shore” from Estranghero Press, “Waking the Dead” by Yvette Tan, and the two reprint collections “The Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler” (edited by Mia Tijam and Charles Tan) and the “Best of Philippine Speculative Fiction 2009“. Of course, some of my favorite stories aren’t found in anthologies but magazines (such as “Teaching a Pink Elephant to Ski” by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz), and I’m glad we have people like Charles who bring such stories to our attention.

While realist works still dominate the prose scene, the opposite holds true in the field of comics. Amongst the many contenders, my favorites include: The “Trese” series (Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo); “By Moon Alone” (Hai Ibardolaza); “The Mythology Class” by Arnold Arre; “Askals” (Dodo Dayao and Bong Leal); “Ninja Girl Ko” (Marco Dimaano and Kriss Sison); “Pericos Tao” (Andrew Drilon); “Tabi Po” (Mervin Malonzo); “Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah“  (Carlo Vergara). Special mention should also be made of the children’s comic book “Private Iris” (Jaime Bautista and Arnold Arre).

If you haven’t read most of these stories yet, it’s never too late to start. Welcome to the world of the Philippine Fantastic :)

6 Responses to “Filipino Reader Fridays: Philippine Literature”

  1. Honey says:

    Love it how I can always rely on you for recommendations. Thanks, Pao!

  2. Chachic says:

    I should bookmark this page so I can read all of the titles you mentioned. Your dragon book is still with me!

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Rocket Kapre is an imprint of Eight Ray Sun Publishing Inc. (a new Philippine-based publisher), dedicated to bringing the very best of Philippine Speculative Fiction in English to a worldwide audience by means of digital distribution. More info can be found at our About section at the top of the page.

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