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- 15 Filipino Books to Read in 2023
- La Tercera by Gina Apostol
- Yñiga by Glenn Diaz
- The Heart of Summer: Stories and Tales by Danton Remoto
- Stolen City by Elisa A. Bonnin
- Chloe and the Kaishao Boys by Mae Coyiuto
- Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim
- I was the President’s Mistress!! By Miguel Syjuco
- Song of the Mango and Other New Myths by Vida Cruz-Borja
- Chasing Pacquiao by Rod Pulido
- The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi
- How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight for Our Future by Maria Ressa
- False Nostalgia: The Marcos ‘Golden Age’ Myths and How to Debunk Them by JC Punongbayan
- Abi Nako, Or So I Thought by Jhoanna Lynn B. Cruz
- Song of Negros: Myths and Culture in the Philippines by Victoria Hoffarth
- Kilig Anthology edited by Mina V. Esguerra and Paolo Herras
- Dive into the Literary Masterpieces of Filipino Authors
One thing we know for sure is that Filipinos are imaginative and creative people. So, whether you’re looking for another book to add to your reading list or thinking of giving books as gifts to a bookworm, you really can’t go wrong with Filipino books.
Here are 15 books written by Filipinos that you should include on your reading list for the rest of the year:
15 Filipino Books to Read in 2023
La Tercera by Gina ApostolGina Apostol is known for her meta-fictional historical novels that play with the past and the present. Her latest book, La Tercera, takes on the complex Filipino family relationships and histories. The novel is simultaneously personal and political, with the novel’s main character being a New York-based Filipino novelist.
Upon her mother’s death, Rosario embarks on an investigation of her family’s history and her mother’s inheritance, La Tercera. The investigation raises an array of questions about her family’s secrets and unearths a dark truth about the history of the Philippines under American occupation.
Yñiga by Glenn DiazYñiga is Palanca winner Glenn Diaz’s second novel. The novel follows Yñiga Calinauan who returns to her hometown after her whole neighborhood is burned to ashes following the capture of a retired army general there. Hoping to rebuild her life, Yñiga is forced to face the “forest of history” that has haunted her family. This novel reflects on resilience, familial legacy, and nation-building.
The Heart of Summer: Stories and Tales by Danton RemotoAward-winning author, Danton Remoto’s anthology of short stories takes you through realistic and fantastic stories about love, loss, and longing. The Heart of Summer: Stories and Tales is comprised of modern fables, parables, and rewritings of urban legends in varying lengths. The stories are both entertaining and thought-provoking – an unsurprising feat from someone who has been dubbed as one of Asia’s best writers.
Stolen City by Elisa A. BonninThis one is a fantasy book by a Filipino author and scientist. Elisa A. Bonnin’s second novel, Stolen City, is set in Leithon, a city under Imperial occupation. Thieves of magical artifacts, Arian Athensor and her twin, are commissioned to steal an artifact that is tied to their mother’s death. The new mission forces Arian to face the pain and guilt she had buried, as well as navigate court politics and family secrets.
Chloe and the Kaishao Boys by Mae CoyiutoThis Young Adult rom-com is sure to make you laugh and swoon with its very Filipino-Chinese-centric story. Chloe and the Kaishao Boys is about a young Chinese-Filipino woman whose father sets up a series of arranged dates to find the perfect escort for her eighteenth debut before she goes to the United States to study at USC. Although she must leave the country at the end of summer, Chloe unexpectedly starts to fall for one of the guys.
If you want a light-hearted read, this is the book for you!
Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle LimThis novel by Filipino-Chinese author centers on the Asian-Canadian experience in a magic realistic setting. Sophie Go is a new professional matchmaker whose prospects in her hometown of Toronto went moot when people find out that she never graduated from matchmaking school. She directs her attention to a club of septuagenarian Chinese bachelors. As she tries to find them their matches, she learns about loneliness and heartbreak.
I was the President’s Mistress!! By Miguel SyjucoSyjuco’s political satire perfectly captures Filipinos’ sense of humor in handling political issues. This provocative novel is about Vita Nova, the most popular star in the Philippines and the mistress of an impeached president, and her sensational tell-all memoir.
Syjuco brings the same playfulness that made his first novel Ilustrado: A Novel one of the most popular books in the Philippines. His satirical take on the complexities of Philippine politics and society makes I Was the President’s Mistress!! a hilarious read.
Song of the Mango and Other New Myths by Vida Cruz-BorjaMix up your reading list with a collection of magical short stories written by Filipina fictionist Vida Cruz-Borja, Song of the Mango and Other New Myths. Each story in this collection re-weaves Philippine mythologies to examine complex human emotions in the modern context. Some of the stories, like “In the Shadow of the Typhoon, Humans and Mahiwaga Cooperate for Survival” was recognized by the British Science Fiction Award.
Chasing Pacquiao by Rod PulidoRod Pulido captures the polarizing experience of a queer Filipino-American teenager in this 2023 coming-of-age novel. Bobby’s intention to keep himself safe in a violent high school as a queer teenager is sabotaged when he’s suddenly outed. His only choice, then, is to fight back, drawing inspiration from Manny Pacquaio. So, when Pacquiao reveals his stance against the LGBTQ+ community, Bobby is forced to re-evaluate his faith.
The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani ChokshiHorror and romance come together in this gothic tale by American author of Filipino-Indian descent Roshani Chokshi where she flips the trope of a new wife discovering skeletons in her new husband’s closet. In The Last Tale of the Flower Bride, the man finds himself moving to her mysterious wife’s childhood home to take care of an ill aunt. There, he discovers his wife’s secrets.
How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight for Our Future by Maria RessaOne of the globally popular books written by a Filipino is Maria Ressa’s How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight for Our Future. Ressa was a staunch critic of the Duterte administration and fought for the freedom of the press. The memoir accounts Ressa’s experiences defending press freedom and democracy against an autocratic regime. In a world where we’re never quite safe from misinformation and other threats against basic freedoms, this is a must-read Filipino book.
False Nostalgia: The Marcos ‘Golden Age’ Myths and How to Debunk Them by JC PunongbayanWith the proliferation of misinformation about a dark time in Philippine history, another book worth diving into is economist and professor JC Punongbayan’s False Nostalgia: The Marcos ‘Golden Age’ Myths and How to Debunk Them. This book tackles the most popular myths surrounding the Marcoses with fact- and data-based discussions.
Abi Nako, Or So I Thought by Jhoanna Lynn B. CruzAbi Nako, or So I Thought is a memoir by Palanca winner and Creative Writing professor Jhonna Lynn B. Cruz. The memoir centers on her life after moving to Davao following a failed marriage. In her essays, she talks about motherhood, her pursuit of love, her love for the country, her relationship with her mother, and her love for words.
Song of Negros: Myths and Culture in the Philippines by Victoria HoffarthWhen reading books by Filipino authors, references to myths and folklore are commonplace. These are part of Philippine culture. You can gain a deeper appreciation for many books written by Filipinos with a knowledge of the myths and culture that shaped Philippine modern culture and psyche. Victoria Hoffarth, a Negros native, explains the symbolisms that imbue myths, legends, and folktales throughout the Philippines.
Kilig Anthology edited by Mina V. Esguerra and Paolo HerrasKilig anthology is a collection of comics made by over 20 Filipino creators. You’ll find a wide range of fluff romance stories with cute and vibrant illustrations that will surely make you feel kilig. This is a great choice for when you need a quick break from reality.
Dive into the Literary Masterpieces of Filipino Authors
Reading is a wonderful way to enrich your life. Reading books gives you access to different perspectives and, often, great stories and storytelling. Whether you want to go on an adventure, be touched, laugh, or learn more about Filipino culture – there’s a Filipino book for you.
What will you be reading next?