Books and Guidebooks about the Philippines

Whenever people come to a new country, one of the questions that is inevitably asked is what book would capture the quintessential Philippines. Most of the time we come up empty with an answer for that. But let me proffer some candidates to fill that hankering…

Ilustrado by Chuck Syjuco will be available on April 10 in National Book Store, Glorietta 5, Makati. Go there at 2 pm, and you’ll get to meet the author. Haven’t read the book yet, but it did win the Man Asian Literary Prize, so no matter what, it will be important to our fledglling literary history.

This Saturday, April 10, Launch at National Bookstore, Glorietta 5. Noon. Signing at 2pm.

Sunday 11am: National Bookstore Ayala Cebu.
Sunday 5:30pm: Manila launch at Fully Booked at the Fort.

Tues: talk at Ateneo at 10:30am, hosted by School of the Arts. –

Wed: 3pm talk w/ Butch Dalisay… & Tony Hidalgo @ Filipinas Heritage Library, hosted by the National Book Development Board.

Playing With Water by James Hamilton-Paterson. Haven’t read the book but I’m getting it through Amazon. It supposedly is the ultimate book about living on an island in the Philippines. Am excited to read it.

In Our Image by Stanley Karnow. The history of the Philippines from an American point of view. It doesn’t completely capture our history but it does give you a perspective.

Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal. The great Filipino novel, Rizal does evoke how it was to live under the yoke of the Spanish.

El Filibusterismo by Jose Rizal. The sequel to Noli Me Tangere but with more action.

The Tesseract by Alex Garland. Again another perspective on Filipino “street” life. It does come off as pretentious, but it does give you a “view”.

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. I only read the first part, which deals with Manila. I don’t know if they go back to Manila, because I didn’t finish the book. Can describe Intramuros to a T.

Guidebooks about the Philippines

Any “true” backpacker will say Jens Peters’ Philippines Travel Guide is the best guidebook to the Philippines. I’ve leafed through it, and I can’t say it’s any different from Lonely Planet Philippines. Oh well, I’ve never really used either to explore the Philippines. I also looked through the Rough Guide to the Philippines and that guidebook looked like ass.

There’s a book about Biking in the Visayas


One thought on “Books and Guidebooks about the Philippines

  1. Pingback: Learn Tagalog: Center for East Asian Languages and Books about the Philippines « The Philippine Backpacker Trail

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