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Arts Culture Philippine Independence Day: 5 Inspiring Filipino Biographies And Autobiographies To Read

Philippine Independence Day: 5 Inspiring Filipino Biographies And Autobiographies To Read

Philippine Independence Day: 5 Inspiring Filipino Biographies And Autobiographies To Read
Photo: Sam Balye on Unsplash
By Ryanne Co
By Ryanne Co
May 31, 2021
To celebrate Independence Day, we're reading up on the lives of inspiring Filipinos whose stories deserve to be told and retold

Well-written memoirs, autobiographies, and biographies are among some of the most interesting literary genres out there. Unfortunately, biographical literature doesn't seem to be thriving as much in the Philippines as it is in other countries.

There is, however, no shortage of talented writers in our country—and neither is there a scarcity of interesting stories to tell. This Independence Day, we're going to look through our libraries for some of the most interesting and informative stories we know. These comprise the narratives brought unto us by local figures whose stories remain as important today as they did in their time.

Read also: World Book Day 2021: 7 Of The Most Intriguing Filipino Fiction Books

1/5 The First Filipino by León María Guerrero III

The First Filipino, written by León María Guerrero III in 1961, is an award-winning biography of the Philippines' national hero, Dr Jose Rizal. It's a lengthy book, around 500 pages, and details a comprehensive look into the life, beliefs, and imagined emotions of Rizal. Though some people have commented on the verbosity of Guerrero's style, most have praised it for the vivid way in which our hero was portrayed within its pages. 

2/5 The Guerreros of Ermita by Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero

Written by the late National Artist Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero, The Guerreros of Ermita is an honest portrayal of the author's very own family. Though he does mean to highlight their achievements, he does not stray from their humanity, coupling witty and irreverent writing with a truthful depiction of a family in Ermita during the mid-20th century. 

Read also: A Dose Of History: The Glory Days Of Philippine Society Before World War II

3/5 Jaime Ongpin, the Enigma by Nick Joaquin

Master storyteller, Nick Joaquin, lends his voice as Jaime Ongpin's biographer in the 1990's with Jaime Ongpin, The Enigma: A Profile of the Filipino as Manager. Joaquin himself has painted a vivid picture of Ongpin, who was one of the first (and most vocal) to stand up against the Marcos dictatorship. His tragic death made headlines around the world and despite the criticisms he faced, there is no doubt that Ongpin's story is one that has affected not just economists and politicians, but those who knew him and his legacy as well. 

4/5 Inventing Myself: An Autobiography by Miriam Defensor-Santiago

Former presidential candidate, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, is known for her witty quips and strongly worded opinions. Because of this (or despite it), she's gained a loyal following and throughout the years, has published many books on her own philosophies. In 1994, she published the autobiography entitled Inventing Myself. The book, which was written in 1980 while Defensor-Santiago was in Geneva, gives brief yet substantial insight into who she was years before she became the controversial figure she was to have become in the future. 

Read also: International Women's Month: 11 Filipino Women Who Made History

5/5 Stars of Peace: The Talangpaz Sisters by Dr. Luciano P.R. Santiago

Dr Luciano PR Santiago is a writer, psychiatrist, and historian best known for his contributions to Philippine literature. One of his books speaks on the Talangpaz sisters, two women who led a life of service in the 17th and 18th centuries, but who were not allowed to become nuns until they died because of race. Today, people who know of them are lobbying for the Talangpaz sisters to become the first female Filipino saints. 


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