If there is one thing that never goes missing in a typical Filipino household—it’s the lesson-bound stories and tales that our parents and grandparents have passed down to us, or some that we have gathered while on the comfort of our desks in our schools such as the classic stories of Lam-ang andSi Pagong at si Matsing.
Our culture never lacked the taste of rich stories and famous myths, and up until now, literary geniuses and their works of art are still thriving. Despite the presence of foreign books like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson that most young minds read now—our Filipino roots still remain rich and classic in nature.
Filipino stories are staples that are considered as must-haves in our bookshelves and ones that we must preserve and pass down to each generation, no matter what western cultural influences take over the literary industry—and here are some that you definitely should have for your little ones:
Ako si Kaliwa, Ako si Kanan
by Russell Molina
Illustrations by Ibarra Crisostomo
An honorable mention of the 2008 PBBY-Salanga Writers’ Silver Anniversary Prize,Ako si Kaliwa, Ako si Kananis an amusing story about the thoughts of a pair of slippers,KaliwaandKananas siblings fighting over which one is the favorite of their owner and the most significant part of the pair. When one of them goes missing, the other one realizes the importance of the other. Find out more about this comical story by readingAko si Kaliwa, Ako si Kanan!
Alamat ng Amplaya
Story by Augie Rivera
Illustrations by Kora Dandan-Albano
A finalist in the 1995 PBBY-Salanga Prize, this story hypes up the minds of young ones and teaches them a lesson about the threats of greed and envy by telling it with an original tale of the legend of the bitter gourd, or as we call it,Ampalaya.This story is full of lessons and realization that would surely make your little ones be more mindful of their jealousy and greediness—a reason why you should read it to them even at an early age!
Ang Bisikleta ni Momon
Story by Rebecca Añonuevo
Illustrations by Jo Ann Bereber-Gando
Having garnered an Honorable Mention in the 1997 PBBY-Salanga Prize,Ang Bisikleta ni Momon is a story about sentimental value and contentment. Momon, stuck with his old and rusty bike, gets discouraged because all his neighbors have brand new bikes unlike his run-down one. But as he remembers his and his bike’s great memories from back then, he suddenly realizes that maybe his bike is not that useless at all.
Ang Hari ng Komyut
Written and illustrated by Lizette Daluz
Categorized as one of the Best Reads for Kids in the 2018 National Children’s Book Awards,Hari ng Komyut is a story that showcases the hard and sweaty challenges that Filipinos typically experience every day in various public transports systems—shedding a light to the obstacles Filipinos face in commuting every day, by the use of comedic comic strips. This story also highlights that no matter who we are or what our position is, it does not matter because we will all face the same problems either way. It is a story that would exactly open the eyes of little ones so grab for it.
Ang Madyik Silya ni Tiyoy
Story Russell Molina
Illustrations by Marcus Nada
The First Runner-up of the Gintong Aklat Award in 2004,Ang Madyik Silya ni Tiyoy is an exciting story about a magic chair that can transform into a plane, a car, or even a train—taking Tiyoy to a lot of amazing experiences and places that will surely stand a place in your little ones’ hearts by teaching them a lesson about defeating their limitations with only the power of their imaginations!
Ang Mahiyaing Manok
Story by Rebecca Añonuevo
Illustrations by Ruben de Jesus
This story garnered the Third Prize for Filipino Short Story for Children in the 1966 Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature and also bagged the Encouragement Prize in the 2000 Noma Concours for Children’s Picture Book Illustrations.Ang Mahiyaing Manokis an amusing tale about Onyok, one of Mang Oca’s roosters, who keeps sulking because he cannot crow as much and as good as the others. Find out about Onyok’s realizations as he questions himself on how he could gain his confidence among all his rooster peers.
Araw sa Palengke
Story by May Tobias-Papa
Illustrations by Isabel Roxas
A great read recognized in the 1st National Children’s Book Awards as one of the 2010 Best Reads for Children,Araw sa Palengkeis a great story showcased beautifully with text and images, about a little girl who went to the market with her mother and takes the reader to an adventure in the hot and noisy atmosphere of the market through the eyes of a little girl. The story is told in a lighthearted tone, and will surely engage your kids to the text and pictures of the book.
Anina ng mga Alon
Written by Eugene Evasco
Awarded as the Best Young Adult Literature in the 2002 National Book Awards,Anina ng mga Alon is a story about a Badjao girl, Anina, a friend and a loyal companion of the sea, coming of age as she discovers herself in the complicated world she is living in. This opens the eyes of the reader of what it is like to live as a native, and the realities of being a Badjao is told as she gets caught in the middle of poverty and cruelty as it enlightens us about the rich culture of her tribe that still remains unpopular among us. Read about Anina, and discover the essentials of Badjao culture as you follow through her travels, dreams, and revelations of truth.
Can We Live On Mars
Text by Gidget Jimenez
Illustrations by Bru
Also one of the recipients of the 2010 Best Reads for Kids in the 1st National Children’s Book Awards,Can We Live On Marsis an educational and amusing read for kids 9-12 years of age, providing facts about astronomy, heavenly bodies, and space explorations through the use of humorous text and illustrations. This book also serves as a starter for reading science textbooks in their schools, except that this one aims to make learning about astronomy as enjoyable and as fun as possible with lively content and illustrations. It is a great read for little aspiring scientists as they take on little steps on to the future.
Story by Yvette Fernandez
Illustrations by Jill Arwen Posadas
A story that won Grand Prize in the 2015 Samsung KidsTime Author’s Award,Haluhalo Espesyalis a story about a girl named Jackie, who has been sick for a week and every medicine that her mother could think of was not working for her sickness, until Lola Intang, who owns a magical kitchen, comes to visit. Will Jackie be able to overcome her sickness with Lola Intang’s enchanted kitchen? Find out inHaluhalo Espesyal!
These are just some of our local literary gems that won notched awards, and a lot more are surely yet to be discovered in the future. Who knows if your child would grow up to also become an award-winning writer soon? One way or another, the joy of reading, especially the works of our Filipino authors, should still prevail and that is all that matters. So what are you waiting for? Grab your copies now! Engage yourself and your little ones in the world of creative Philippine literature, for all ages!