Remembering Lualhati: 8 Lualhati Bautista Books You Should Read
Feb 13, 2023   •   Edgardo Toledo
8List.ph is published by ID8, Inc.
Feb 13, 2023   •   Edgardo Toledo
Over the weekend, many were shocked and saddened to learn about the passing of Philippine literary icon Lualhati Bautista. Born in Tondo, Manila, Bautista started writing at the age of 16. With a career spanning decades, she became a big name in contemporary Philippine literature for her novels that tackle the struggles of women and socio-political issues. Let’s take a look at some of her greatest works that you might want to read.
This novel follows the story of a waitress, Angela Gutierrez, who was sentenced to jail for frustrated murder. Inside the city jail, Angela meets other women bearing unforgiving circumstances. Bulaklak sa City Jail was adapted into a movie in 1984, which won numerous awards in the 1984 Metro Manila Film Festival, including Best Screenplay and Best Picture. Get a copy here.
Being a mother isn’t easy, and Bata, Bata… Pa’no Ka Ginawa? conveys that message through heartfelt storytelling. The novel is fearless in tackling unusual family relationships and prevalent societal issues far from everyday discourse.
Above all, Bata, Bata… Pa’no Ka Ginawa? conveys an eye-opening perspective into the struggles of being a woman, especially in a society that won’t hesitate to scrutinize women over the tiniest slips. Available on Lazada.
Another Lualhati Bautista masterpiece, Dekada ’70 chronicles the life of a family and the struggles they faced under the Marcos regime. The historical novel received the prestigious Palanca Award Grand Prize in 1983 and was adapted into a film starring award-winning actress Vilma Santos in 2002. Buy your copy here.
Olongapo is known for its breathtaking landscapes and beaches, but this city has a grisly history. ‘GAPÔ follows the stories of Magda, a prostitute who’s trying to make ends meet for a better life; Modesto, who suffers constant abuse from the white Americans; and Mike, a Filipino-American who despises their presence in the city. With their paths entwined, a grim reality far more hopeless than it seems gets unraveled. Available on the National Book Store website.
Anna is an activist who was imprisoned while pregnant with her baby during Martial Law. She was separated from her child and has never seen them again. But with the nation’s authoritarian past long gone, Anna is still trapped in her devastating past while trying to live a new life somewhat drowned in turbid waters. Order your copy here.
Friends Guia, Roda, and Menang are all in their 60s, but it seems like life is just starting to unfold in front of them. Each of them faces life hurdles, one after the other, that they must overcome to move forward. Will they ever get the happy ending they’re dreaming of? Even in their 60s? Available on the National Book Store website.
Kathleen is a writer with a thriving career ahead of her. But as she continues to climb the valley of success, Kathleen is slowly wafting away from her family. Will she be able to make things right before everything falls apart? Get it here.
While parts of Bautista’s life have been told through her own characters (like Lea Bustamante in Bata, Bata… Pa’no Ka Ginawa?), In sisterhood: Lea at Lualhati was Bautista’s actual memoir. This book contains valuable life lessons, writing inspirations, and how Bautista doesn’t believe in “writer’s block,” among others. Truly an icon! Available on Lazada.
What’s your favorite Lualhati Bautista book? Let us know in the comments!
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