Words by John Peter Himor
Photos by Meghan Sevilla and Danielle Castillo
At the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF), an annual week-long book fair at the SMX Convention Center, our Filipino creators got to exhibit their work to a massive crowd of 150,000 book lovers over the book fair’s five-day run. Last September 12-16 was the 39th staging of the MIBF, and the amount of creativity from our local artists was beyond expectations!
What’s crazier is that these titles are usually offered at special MIBF prices at discounted rates—all the more reason to start visiting MIBF every year! To help you decide on what to buy, here we’ve listed down 10 must-read Filipino titles that you can check out at different bookstores or at next year’s MIBF:
10. Dead Balagtas Tomo 1 by Emiliana Kampilan
Dead Balagtas Tomo 1: Mga Sayaw ng Dagat at Lupa (SRP P550)
Philippine geography and hugot romance make an unusual tandem in Dead Balagtas Tomo 1: Mga Sayaw ng Dagat at Lupa. This first volume details the story of the creation of the Philippines based on the local mythology of the romance between Tungkung Langit and Laon Sina. Furthermore interspersed in its storytelling are short stories of ordinary Filipinos personifying significant geographical events in the birth of our nation. Dead Balagtas is simultaneously personal and global in scale, and undeniably beautiful and well-written.
9. P*cha, E’Di Komiks Pa Rin by Toto Madayag
P*Cha, E’Di Komiks Pa Rin (SRP P350)
People just couldn’t get enough of Toto Madayag’s Facebook comics Libreng Komiks, that he had to publish an equally hilarious volume 2, P*cha, E’Di Komiks Pa Rin. This book compiles the funniest strips from Libreng Komiks along with exclusive content you won’t find anywhere online. P*Cha, E’Di Komiks Pa Rin is something you can enjoy anytime, anywhere if you want to have a lighthearted, good laugh!
8. What Kids Should Know About Filipino Food by Felice Sta. Maria & Mika Bacani
What Kids Should Know About Filipino Food (SRP P149)
For those with curious kids or curious minds themselves, What Kids Should Know About Filipino Food is the perfect book to muse over. While it targets a younger audience, the book still offers an engaging and informative take on Pinoy food favorites which appeals to both adults and young-at-hearts. Explore the different types of Filipino street food, or learn why Filipinos love eating rice. Filipino Food is the third installation of this series, the first two being What Kids Should Know About Filipino Architecture and What Kids Should Know About Andres and the Katipunan.
7. Hukbong Sandatahan ng Kahaggardan! by Manix Abrera
News Hardcore! Hukbong Sandatahan ng Kahaggardan! (SRP P500)
Manix Abrera is a household name in the comic book industry. If his popular Kikomachine series is set in a school setting, News Hardcore! Hukbong Sandatahan ng Kahaggardan! provides a behind-the-scenes look of the world of media and journalism. With News Hardcore, enjoy an extensive and witty (and fully colored!) illustration of the publishing industry with the Manix-esque art style we’ve all grown to love. Rak-en-rol!
6. Strange Natives by Paolo Herras and Jerico Marte
Strange Natives: The Forgotten Memories of a Forgetful Old Lady (SRP P300)
Strange Natives: The Forgotten Memories of a Forgetful Old Lady is the book for the lover of the supernatural. Bringing a different flair to Philippine mythology, this book tells the story of a native land before the time of colonizers and invaders, as told through Grasya, a forgetful old lady with the ability to remember her memories through a touch of a butterfly. With its captivating story and masterful illustrations, Strange Natives is also a National Book Awards 2017 nominee. How cool is that?
5. Zsazsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakhang Maynila by Carlo Vergara
Zsazsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakhang Maynila Blg. 2 (SRP P200)
We may not have a whole cinematic universe, but the Philippines also has a rich lineup of badass superheroes. Carlo Vergara’s Zsazsa Zaturnnah is an interesting cult favorite. Zsazsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakhang Maynila, divided into three parts, chronicles the life of Ada (Zaturnnah’s alter ego) at the heart of the metro. With a bonggang superhero and a crazy storyline, Zsazsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakhang Maynila is sure to make you forget about the long upcoming Wonder Woman 1984, at least for a while.
4. Ang Hari ng Komyut by Lizette Daluz
Ang Hari ng Komyut: Ang Pagkilala (SRP P99)
Nothing comes quite as relatable as Lizette Daluz’s Ang Hari ng Komyut, telling the tales of the commuting experience with hilarious honesty and vivid accuracy. Hari ng Komyut is the ideal commuter—patient, respectful, and street-smart—so much so that it seems like the book is a guidebook for proper public transpo etiquette. This book is filled with good values and beautifully illustrated comic strips, eventually winning the Best Reads for Children award at the National Children’s Book Awards 2018! Bring this book wherever you go, whether you’re in the jeep, bus, or MRT.
3. Inside Daniel’s Head by Joji Reynes-Santos
Inside Daniel’s Head (SRP P275)
Inside Daniel’s Head is Adarna House’s newest publication and tells the story of Daniel, an autistic child with a secret taste for adventure. Pushing for inclusivity and acceptance, Inside Daniel’s Head is a timeless tale for the happy little kids out there. Look out for this book on bookshelves before it runs out!
2. Komunity by various artists
Komunity (SRP P200)
Can’t decide on which art style you prefer, or don’t have the budget to buy multiple comics all at once? Komunity, a collation of comics from several of your favorite artists, may be the answer to all of your woes. Featuring 19 artists including the likes of Arnold Arre, D. Borja (Hunghang Flashbacks) and Juris Go (Jan Jan Comics), Komunity includes a comic style to satisfy all desires. What’s cooler is that Komunity is also available in four variant covers so you can either pick the cover you like most or purchase all four to gift to your friends or as a collector’s item!
1. Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon by Carljoe Javier and Natasha Ringor
Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon (SRP P250)
This manga-style rendition of Edgar Calabia Samar’s novel Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon is another cult favorite. In this first installment of the Janus Silang series, mystery lurks around an RPG game, TALA Online, as several teen deaths weave Janus into the game and into the legend of the Tiyanak ng Tabon. Mixing Philippine folklore and elements of RPG gameplay, Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon takes the reader to a world full of adventure, suspense, and danger. The second comic installment of the series, Si Janus Silang at ang Labanang Manananggal-Mambabarang, is also in the works, so stay tuned!
Which Filipino title from our list is your favorite? Do you have any suggestions for other must-read local Filipino titles? Share them with us below!
Manila International Book Fair (MIBF)