25 Poetry Books Written by Filipino Authors

This list contains some poetry books written by Filipino authors published within the last two decades. Some of these books are written in Filipino while the others are in English, and one includes Mangyan script.

There are many many more poetry books by Filipino authors in existence. This list only contains some which I am personally interested in. I am planning on expanding my list. Hence, you can expect a continuation of this list in the future.

In the meantime, please check out these 25 poetry books which I hope you will all enjoy!

Title: Pana-Panahon

Author: Aida F. Santos

Language: Filipino

Mahalaga at malaking bahagi ng tradisyon ng feministang panulaang Pilipino ang mga tula ni Aida F. Santos. Ibinubukas at pinaiilanlang ng kanyang mga tula ang mga himagsik, pakikibaka, pagpupunyagi, tagumpay, kabiguan, pangarap, at lahat ng mga danas ng mga naunang makatang babae upang malaman, maunawaan, at madama ng mga makata at manunulat ng kasalukuyang panahon. Ang antolohiyang ito ay isang paanyayang makidama tayong lahat sa danas at kasaysayan ng mga makatang feminista habang hinahawan nila ang daan upang maging mas maalwan ang landas na ating tinatahak/tatahakin. – Rowena P. Festin

Title: elsewhere held and lingered

Author: Conchitina Cruz

Language: English

elsewhere held and lingered is Conchitina Cruz’s third book, following Disappear (High Chair, 2004), and Dark Hours (UP Press, 2005), which won the National Book Award for Poetry. A recipient of Fulbright and Rockefeller Foundation grants, Cruz teaches creative writing and literature at UP Diliman.

Title: Sansaglit

Author: Lean Borlongan

Language: Filipino

Ang koleksyong ito ay pagdakila sa mga pag-ibig na nananatili sa isang distansya o panig; nagpapaalalang laging may nauunang umibig ng isang dekada, isang buwan, isang araw, isang oras, isang saglit.

-Ma. Cecilia De la Rosa
Coordinator, Kataga-Online

Title: Maybe Something

Author: Isabela Banzon

Language: English

These poems are a study of emotions, a subtle symphonic venturing into the themes of love and loss. If you have been there, this collection is for you.
–Lily Rose Tope

Title: Tangere

Author: Rodrigo V. Dela Peña Jr.

Language: English

Rodrigo V. Dela Peña Jr.’s Tangere (re)turns to José Rizal as a gesture of mining hallowed texts for new possibilities, with each poem corresponding to a chapter in Noli Me Tangere.

Part experiment, part palimpsest and collage, part interrogation and reclamation, the poetic sequence channels the imagined voices of Maria Clara, Pilosopo Tasio, Sisa, and other minor characters of Rizal to create a resonant, kaleidoscopic chorus.

With this reinvention of the Noli, we are reminded of how poetry can help us see, hear, and touch the world anew.

Title: Magic of the Modest

Author: R.C. Perez

Language: Language

In this debut collection of poetry, r.c. perez takes us on a journey of pain, hope, acceptance, and love-one that is all too familiar to anyone who has had a bit of experience in life. Divided into four chapters, magic of the modest is about all the magic we find in the ordinary and how sometimes, life’s greatest lessons are found in the simplest of things. It is the author’s aspiration that through this book, readers will realize that there is magic in carrying on, in looking forward, in letting it be, and in loving with all one’s being.

Title: Birdcatching in Sagada and Other Poems

Author: Franklin Cimatu

Language: English

At the onset of the amihan or the northerly winds, Sagada boys used to practice ikik or birdcatching on top of Mt. Ampacao and other mountains. They would hold high nets and torches to catch the migratory birds riding on the Siberian winds. Sagada would later outlaw ikik when the avian flu became a pandemic, but some residents still practice it.

Poet-journalist Franklin Cimatu not only wrote a poem about ikik but also used it as a motif for this first collection of poems in English. He caught the poems that flew from the North: poems about his parents, the Marcoses, Cordilleran revolutionaries, Hawaiian sacadas from Candon, and artist-friends from Baguio.

The poems follow his flight path in journalism from the early 1990s up to the 2010s. His subjects are mostly the people he covered. He scoured his old notebooks, newspaper clippings of typhoons, journals of old European explorers and the New York Times on the day he was born. This book is also a very personal collection. Many of these poems are dedicated to his friends and are eulogies to some of them. Add to this the patented play of words and love for the sestina, canzone, and sonnetina.

Some of the poems were part of collections that won the Palanca Awards and the Procyon Contest for Young Filipinos. Some were published by the Philippines Free Press, Sunday Inquirer Magazine, and the Likhaan series.

Title: Busilak: New LGBTQ Poetry from the Philippines

Author: J. Neil C. Garcia

Language: English

The poetry suites of the LGBTQ poets in this [book] are postconfessional precisely in these respects: they “confess” their makers’ gendered and sexual subjectivities, both textually, through their works’ representational content, and extra-textually, by the sheer performativity of their having been included in [the first Global GRACE LGBTQ National Writers Workshop]. They also all evince varying degrees of self-disclosure, which may be reckoned in terms of the polarity of timidity on one hand, and excess on the other.

The… authors of [these] poetry suites, mostly all approached the subject of sexual and gendered self-disclosure indirectly—through the use of personae and stories that do not so much represent or describe as evoke their identities as queer subjects. In other words, while tapping into the formal and thematic affordances of confessional poetry, they nonetheless demur against its more readily recognizable features by thickening or attenuating their poems’ queer representational contents. In either case, the resultant articulation can be read postconfessionally as queer, despite or precisely because of the stylistic circumvention it performs.

–from the Introduction by J. NEIL C. GARCIA

Title: Bulaklak sa Tubig: Mga Tula ng Pag-ibig at Himagsik

Author: Joi Barrios

Language: Filipino

Giving voice to victims of violence, the workers, the women, the disappeared, these are courageous love poems that address the paradoxical nature of nation, of struggle, and of the deeply personal. Often in the voice of woman, Barrios’ poems are exquisite guerilla forays into the theater of contemporary cultural wars; we emerge from them having learned that love’s secret name is justice. — SYLVIA TIWON, University of California Berkeley

Dapat basahin si Joi bilang makata na babae, feminista, aktibista, at nasyonalista. Magkakatuwang ang mga naturang katangian upang ibukod siya sa kasalukuyang hanay ng mga makata sa Filipinas. Magkakatuwang din ang mga ito upang higit siyang maging kapani-paniwalang tinig kaysa makatang babae lamang, feminista lamang, aktibista lamang, o nasyonalista lamang. –VIRGILIO S. ALMARIO, National Artist for Literature

Title: The El Bimbo Variations

Author: Adam David

Language: Filipino

To write ninety-nine versions of a single line sounds like the idle boast of a literary geek in response to a drunken dare. Though endearing in its brain-over-brawn daredevilry, it smacks of absurdity, the chances of its successful execution slim. Up the ante—pick a line from a well-known and well-loved song, one that hardly needs rewriting to begin with—and the stage is set for the author of the boast to lose the bet, ending up naked, injured, or broke instead. Unless, that is, the literary geek in question is Adam David, who, in writing The El Bimbo Variations, turns what might be dismissed as a harebrained idea into a hilarious, thought-provoking read. –from the introduction by Conchitina Cruz

Title: The Pink House of Purple Yam Preserves & Other Poems

Author: Aileen I. Cassinetto

Language: English

“The Pink House of Purple Yam Preserves & Other Poems” is a collection of poetry and prose written over a period of 20 years. From Asia to Europe to America, it is a sketch of scenes already vanishing. More importantly, it is about engaging cultures and landscapes, as well as fortified domestic spaces and the lives lived within them.

Title: The Poet Learns to Dance / Aimless Walk, Faithful River

Author: Simeon Dumdum Jr.

Language: English

In the tradition of the great Romantic poets, Simeon Dumdum Jr.’s Aimless Walk, Faithful River is a delicious meandering through lush poetic landscapes in a relentless search for those wellsprings that make us fully human and fully alive. Blending his superb lyrical and narrative gifts with an effortless mastery of poetic forms, Dumdum meditates on the consolations of nature, the transience of beauty, the accidental pleasures of travel, love and loss, the wisdom of age, the unguarded tenderness of children, religion and politics.

Title: Forth

Authors: Rosmon Tuazon

Language: English

The clarity and cleverness of Rosmon Tuazon’s poetry—often surprising, always gripping—are made all the more evident by an assured translation, thanks to Ben Aguilar’s ability to create new music while preserving the essence of the originals. Clearly here are two well-matched poets whose deftly-written lines linger in the mind, certain to be remembered—and weigh urgently on the tongue, demanding to be spoken. —Stefani Tran

In each of the poems, Rosmon Tuazon situates the reader in active engagement with the world to allow them to experience the force of history in the here-and-now as it is embodied in language. He effectively gives shape to the faculties of poetry to bring us to the brink of choice and the awakening of agency. We need this book even more urgently now during this time of dissolution of the bases of our beliefs. … I am glad that Tuazon’s works will find new and more readers through the skillful translation of Ben Aguilar. —Allan Popa

Title: Pesoa

Author: Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles

Language: Filipino

“Mga tala sa alala ng paglimot ang laman ng aklat na ito. Ngunit mga talaga nino, alala nino, paglimot nino, aklat nino? “Bawat pangalan ng iba ay sa akin,” sabi ni Mesandel Virtusio Arguelles gamit ang mga labi ni Rene O. Villanueva. Tadtad ng butas ang kaniyang corpus, inambush ng pag-akda Ano ba naman si Arguelles, si Villanueva, kundi heteronym ni Pessoa, sa Pesoa. Ano ba naman si Pessoa, sa Pesoa, kundi heteronym ng wika. Mga alala ng pagtala sa paglimot ang aklat ng laman na ito.”

—Angelo V. Suarez

Title: Lila: Mga Tula

Author: Roma Estrada, Louise O. Lopez, and Bebang Siy (editors)

Language: Filipino

Pagbubuntis at panganganak, pagiging maybahay, unang pag-ibig, alaala ng pagkabata, sarili, sariling katawan, kalikasan, mito, musika, wika, kamatayan, kasaysayan, karahasan, pagsipat ng lalaki, paglilimi sa lipunan, at ang Drug War ni Duterte ang ilan lamang sa mga paksa ng antolohiyang ito. Kung ang Lila ay isang pinta ng babaeng nakahubad, nakahubad siya para sa sarili. Siya ang nagpinta sa sarili. 

Title: Pag-aaral sa Oras: Mga Lumang Tula Tungkol sa Bago

Author: Kerima Lorena Tariman

Language: Filipino

Taong 1996 nang ilathala ng Philippine High School for the Arts ang “Biyahe” na unang libro ng makata at aktibistang si Kerima Lorena Tariman. Sa pagpasok ng bagong milenyo, si Tariman ay inaresto at kinulong ng militar habang nanunungkulang editor sa Philippine Collegian ng UP Diliman. Kasama sa bagong kalipunang ito ang mga tulang sinulat niya sa loob ng 20 taon simula 1996.

Isang makabuluhang paglalakbay ang pagbabasa sa koleksyong ito. Sa simula, madarama ang mga pag-aalinlangan ng batang makata tungkol sa halaga ng pagtula sa pakikisangkot sa kilusang masa. Pagkuwa, sa mga tula tungkol sa pagiging detenidong pulitikal, makakasama ang makata sa pagsahod sa mga “salitang hindi maubos, / hindi masaid.” At sa bandang huli, sa mga tulang sinulat sa panahong bumalik na si Tariman sa kanayunan para ipagpatuloy ang pakikibaka, matatagpuan ang sarili sa dulo ng landas na tinatahak hindi lamang ng tula, kundi ng mismong pagtula: Dahil ang tula, hindi ba, sa simula’y gumagapang, / Makakakita’t titindig, makikinig at tatapang, / Tumatanda, may alaala at may tiyak na asinta.

Title: Letters to a Young Brown Girl

Author: Barbara Jane Reyes

Language: English

Barbara Jane Reyes answers the questions of Filipino American girls and young women of color with bold affirmations of hard-won empathy, fierce intelligence, and a fine-tuned B.S. detector.

The Brown Girl of these poems has is fed up with being shushed, with being constantly told how foreign and unattractive and unwanted she is. She’s flipping tables and throwing chairs. She’s raising her voice. She’s keeping a sharp focus on the violences committed in her everyday, and she’s writing through the depths of her “otherness” to find beauty and even grace amidst her rage. Simultaneously looking into the mirror and out into the world, Reyes exposes the sensitive nerve-endings of life under patriarchy as a visible immigrant woman of color as she reaches towards her center and the core values of her elders.

Title: God’s Will for Monsters

Author: Rachelle Cruz

Language: English

In many ways Rachelle Cruz, here, contests, demolishes and remixes the bizarre, early 20th Century colonial and classic ethnographic summations of the Philippines, of its peoples and culture, those “without history” – with her incredible, leaping, elegant, multi-form, cinematic, “forest” of word-magic. The food, the body, the islands, the crossings, the colonial montage, the “Renaissance” in reverse, Imelda Marcos and her gallery of humanless shoes, the mother, the daughter, money order “transactions,” and early school days of cultural slippage–as Renato Rosaldo, one of the few anthropologists to dismantle the colonial dis- guring of the Ilongot of Luzon, Northern Philippines, Cruz creates a hurricane masterpiece of anti-ethnographies of scenes, moments and artifacts, of cultural realignments. Who is the monster now? An award winner non-stop, a deeply serious, studied set of investigations, yet, playful, a Tumbler of blurred faces, light, time, space, paint, medicine, plants and plates at the hands of a spiritcaller- writer, word-levitator of the 21st Century. One of a kind. –Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States

Title: Lahat ng Nag-aangas ay Inaagnas

Author: Paolo Tiausas

Language: Filipino

Ang LAHAT NG NAG-AANGAS AY INAAGNAS ay isang full-length collection ng mga tula tungkol sa pagkalalake, pagiging lalake, at pagkilatis sa konsepto ng lalake na ito.

Sa pamamagitan ng mga tula, sinusubok mailuwal ang distorsiyon ng pagkalalake na, paglaon, ay kayang wakasan ang kanyang sarili, kayang maagnas sa sarili nitong pilit na nag-aangas at bumabalikwas. Sapagkat sa huli: walang messiah na mapapala sa lalakeng pilit itinitakwil ang pagkalalake at ang sari-saring karahasang dulot nito. 

Title: Ang Mga Iniiwan Ng Tubig

Author: Jason Tabinas

Language: Filipino

“Sa pagbasa sa mga tulang ito, maging handa sa nakakahawa’t humihiwang mga gunita mula sa isang binabalikang mga poon at pook at kinabibilangang kabataan na higit pang pinag-iigting ng pagdadalumat ng parehong mga rawitdawit, na taglay ang mga nilalagnat na talinhaga, na kayang sidlan, sindihan ang anumang loob, o tupukin, papagningasin ang mga ga-kamalig nating mga maligalig na pananalig.” – Kristian Sendon Cordero

Title: Juan Luna’s Revolver

Author: Luisa A. Igloria

Language: English

The poems in Juan Luna’ s Revolver both address history and attempt to transcend it through their exploration of the complexity of diaspora. Attending to the legacy of colonial and postcolonial encounters, Luisa A. Igloria has crafted poems that create links of sympathetic human understanding, even as they revisit difficult histories and pose necessary questions about place, power, displacement, nostalgia, beauty, and human resilience in conditions of alienation and duress.

Igloria traces journeys made by Filipinos in the global diaspora that began since the encounter with European and American colonial power. Her poems allude to historical figures such as the Filipino painter Juan Luna and the novelist and national hero José Rizal, as well as the eleven hundred indigenous Filipinos brought to serve as live exhibits in the 1904 Missouri World’s Fair. The image of the revolver fired by Juan Luna reverberates throughout the collection, raising to high relief how separation and exile have shaped concepts of identity, nationality, and possibility.    

Suffused with gorgeous imagery and nuanced emotion, Igloria’s poetry achieves an intimacy fostered by gem-like phrases set within a politically-charged context speaking both to the personal and the collective.

Title: Pillow Talk

Author: Alyssa Cataluna

Language: English

A collection of poems carefully picked to describe my teenage years while suffering from Bipolar II Disorder. When I first made this booklet, I initially had a more pessimistic theme in mind. I had wanted it to be the anti-thesis of the “Love Conquers All” idea that had gotten popular in the mainstream. But as I got older, I realized that it described the vicious cycle that I was stuck in. I noticed this pattern while I curated my poems for my booklet–my strongest poems were often written at my best or at my worst. But it’s never one or the other, it’s a slow transition. Like I said, a cycle. The poems in this booklet were a manifestation of my symptoms. It’s not perfect, and it’s a whirlwind of emotions but I hope you grow to appreciate the vulnerability like I did. Enjoy! (tw: depression, suicide ideation, and self-harm)

Title: I Must Belong Somewhere: Poetry and Prose

Author: Dawn Lanuza

Language: English

A daring but necessary insight into themes of longing, home, bullying, loneliness, and mental health, I Must Belong Somewhere is a silver lining for anyone struggling.

With her third poetry collection, I Must Belong Somewhere, acclaimed writer Dawn Lanuza is returning to her most popular literary platform. Written during her year of rest and travel, this new collection speaks to the indescribable feelings of displacement and longing for the companionship she left behind. Touching on the difficult themes of body image, death, bullying, sexism, mental health, and injury, Lanuza brings her contemporary views and powerful honesty to address topics many are too scared to talk about. With its modern, global perspective, I Must Belong Somewhere is sure to resonate with a wide array of readers.

Title: Ambahan: A Love Story: Poems

Author: Quintin Pastraña

Languages: Filipino, Mangyan

Ambahan, A Love Story written by Quintin Jose V. Pastrana celebrates and honors the Hanunuo Mangyan’s traditional form of poetry. In the words of Dr. Nestor Castro, Cultural Anthropologist from the University of the Philippines: “While honoring the tradition, he (Quintin) has introduced his own innovations in verse structure with fixed seven-line stanzas to create a more rigid art form while infusing new metaphors, contemporary themes; and from his experience, different aspects of love.” 

Award-winning author Danton Remoto lends his expertise in translating the poems in Filipino and with inscriptions of Mangyan script (Surat Mangyan) by the indigenous peoples organization —Pinagkausahan Hanunuo sa Daga Ginurang (PHADAG). 

Title: Diwata

Author: Barbara Jane Reyes

Language: English

Tagalog is a language spoken by twenty-two million people in the Philippines. Diwata is a Tagalog term meaning “muse.” Diwata is also a term for a mythical being who resides in nature, and who human communities must acknowledge, respect, and appease in order to live harmoniously in this world.

In her book Diwata, Barbara Jane Reyes frames her poems between the Book of Genesis creation story and the Tagalog creation myth, placing her work somewhere culturally between both traditions. Also setting the tone for her poems is the death and large shadow cast by her grandfather, a World War II veteran and Bataan Death March survivor, who has passed onto her the responsibility of remembering. Reyes’ voice is grounded in her community’s traditions and histories, despite war and geographical dislocation.

For more poetry books check out these 50 Poetry Books by Black Authors.

Have you read any of these poetry books? Who is your favorite Filipino poet? What is your favorite poetry book? Share your thoughts below!


3 Replies to “25 Poetry Books Written by Filipino Authors”

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