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Arts Culture Filipino Novels: 5 Gripping Thrillers That Will Keep You Up At Night

Filipino Novels: 5 Gripping Thrillers That Will Keep You Up At Night

Filipino Novels: 5 Gripping Thrillers That Will Keep You Up At Night
Photo: Unsplash
By Ryanne Co
By Ryanne Co
July 16, 2021
The Filipino culture is rich with adventure. For some of the most spine-tingling ones, check out these books written by local authors!

As people begin to renew their interest in local literature, we've decided to pay tribute to some of our country's most exciting tales. Some of them are about murder, others about monsters, but both are equally page-turning adventures that you're sure to love!

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Smaller And Smaller Circles

Written by F.H. Batacan in the 1990's, Smaller and Smaller Circles found renewed fame in 2017 after it was adapted unto film. It's won a Carlos Palanca award in 1999, and centres around two Jesuit priests on the hunt for a serial killer. In the book, the protagonists pose the question: why are there no serial killers in the Philippines? While that's difficult to answer, the book—which makes the systematic red tape and organisational failures of multiple government offices apparent—makes it evident that perhaps, we're simply not looking closely enough. 

Patron Saint of Nothing

Randy Ribay's Patron Saint of Nothing looks at the president's war on drugs through a whole new perspective. After his cousin's murder, Filipino-American protagonist, Jay Reguero, flies to the Philippines to uncover the truth. Complex and emotional, the story was written by Ribay as a way to connect to his Filipino roots. In an interview with NPR, he said: "I created [Patron Saints of Nothing], ultimately, as a way to confront that question: What's my role as a Filipino American who is at once connected, but also an outsider to what's happening in the Philippines."

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A Prevalence of Witches or the Exorcists

National Artist, Nick Joaquin, shares with us his penchant for storytelling through A Prevalence of Witches or the Exorcists. The book contains an anthology of stories, all of which are inspired by true events which have made headlines on the news. The book is as creepy as it sounds, and just as delicious for those late night hours you want to cuddle up with a book. 


Si Janus Sílang at ang Tiyanak ng Tábon

Written by local author, Edgar Calabia Samar, the Janus Silang series is a set of Filipino novels written in Tagalog. It's an easy read, especially for people who are more acquainted with Filipino. It follows the adventures of its namesake protagonist, Janus Silang, as he investigates the mysterious deaths of his fellow video game players. Soon, he uncovers a fantastic though terrifying turn of events in his very own home.

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Trese Series

You may have watched Trese on Netflix; if you have, then it's time to read the books! With multiple volumes, the world of Trese is as evocative as it is online. Plus, reading the graphic novel will give more meaning to the nuances of Alexandra Trese, Crispin, Basilio, and all the other characters on the show. (Not to mention, the art is fantastic in and of itself!)

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