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  • Writer's pictureMia P. Manansala

My Wikathon Reads: A Month-long Celebration of Filipino Authors

I was so excited when I saw on Twitter that several Filipino book bloggers and booktubers had banded together to create Wikathon, an annual readathon for Buwan ng Wika (a month-long celebration of language in the Philippines).

The bloggers and booktubers Your Tita Kate, Gerald the Bookworm, Kat (Her Bookish Side), Alex on the Block, and Love, Julienne were the hosts of this readathon and created a list of TBR prompts for anyone who wanted to participate:

If you want a quick scroll, you can check out My Wikathon Twitter Thread, but I thought I’d list all the books I read here as well because they were so fantastic and I want to see more love for Filipino/Filipino diaspora books!

These books fed my soul—it was so amazing to have characters that looked like me and had similar cultural touchstones. But what I enjoyed the most were the books set in the Philippines because there’s just so much I don’t know about my ancestral homeland, modern-day or otherwise, and I loved seeing it depicted in fiction through the eyes of people who actually live there.

My Wikathon Reads (contains affiliate links):

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

  • The Filipino Diaspora

  • New to Me

TW/CW: Sexual assault, various forms of abuse, child harm

Dark, haunting, twisted, and absolutely unputdownable (totally a word). This book is about friendship, betrayal, obsession, and hideous secrets that you'll do anything to keep buried.

Not a big thriller reader, but am absolutely going to keep up with Jennifer’s career. Her latest book, Little Secrets, is next on my list.

  • The Modern Pinoy

  • New to Me

  • Hosts’ Choice

Absolutely loved this MG debut! It’s based on the superstition that black butterflies are the herald of death, so when the protagonist Sab sees one, she decides she needs to repair the rift between her older sister and father before she dies. Deals with some big issues like drug addiction, colorism, and colonial mentalities. Also loved that it took place in Quezon City, which is where my mom is from!

  • The Modern Pinoy

  • New to Me

  • Hosts’ Choice

TW/CW: Child harm, graphic descriptions, sexual assault

I’d had this book on my TBR for a while now, considering that it won a bunch of awards and is considered the Philippines’s first crime novel. It follows two priests who’re trying to track down a serial killer, and having to contend with a lack of resources and non-cooperation from the local authorities. It tackles a lot of heavy themes, like scandals in the Catholic church getting swept under the rug, systemic problems in law enforcement and government, and also the fact that nobody cares about the victims because they’re poor boys from the slums and not “worth” the effort.

Definitely recommended, but make sure you have something sweet and fluffy to follow it up with because it gets DARK.

You, Me, U.S. by Brigitte Bautista

  • S2PID Love

  • Filipino LGBTQIA+

  • New to Me

This was an absolute pleasure to read and the perfect follow up to Smaller and Smaller Circles. I've really been into romance lately and this convinced me I need to start reading more Filipino romance.

A F/F friends-to-lovers romance set in Manila that manages to be light and sweet, while dealing with issues like class, immigration, family expectations, and positive portrayals of sex work. A quick read and highly recommended.

Flipping the Script by Danice Mae P. Sison

  • S2PID Love

  • New to Me

Another short, sweet romance, this time a YA featuring high school film interns from rival families. Really interesting to learn about classic Filipino films since I’m not familiar with Filipino pop culture.

  • The Filipino Diaspora

I loved Roselle Lim’s debut, Natalie Tan’s Book of Love and Fortune, and was so happy to dive into her sophomore book. With the world as it is now, I’m absolutely craving happy, fluffy, and sweet books, which this is, but she also included a dash of magic and some of the most delicious descriptions of food ever. I’ve always vaguely been interested in Paris, but after reading this book, it’s absolutely on the post-pandemic, must-travel list! Also, Aunt Evelyn gave me real Michelle Yeoh-vibes and I am here for it! Someone make this movie already!

Nasaan si Kuya Emil? (Where is Kuya Emil?) by Germaine Yia and Michael Adrao

  • Sariling Wika

Yes, that is absolutely a children’s book being read aloud, but it totally counts! My Tagalog level is high beginner, so my Tagalog class chat partner recommended it to me as a good exercise. And unlike with other languages I’ve studied (namely Spanish and Korean, but those are still beginner level as well), my Tagalog listening skills are way better than my reading skills. Probably because I wasn’t taught Tagalog as a kid—what little I learned was by listening to my parents and grandparents speaking to each other and absorbing it that way.

Anyway, it's a very cute story of a young boy who idolizes his older cousin Emil, who he used to play with all the time. But now Kuya Emil is older and has changed so much, the boy is convinced the person in front of him isn't really Kuya Emil at all! So he follows the impostor to see where his Kuya Emil really is.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

  • Filipino SFF

  • Hosts’ Choice

I'm usually a fast reader, but something about this book forced me to slow down. Take my time, luxuriate in the language and the world that Roshani Chokshi was building. It's essentially a heist story set in a fantasy version of Belle Epoque France, and everything was just so gorgeous and ugly at the same time. I particularly appreciated the Author's Note at the end explaining what inspired this story and why she wrote it the way she did. Already looking forward to the sequel, The Silvered Serpents, which comes out later this month.


So there are all my August reads for Wikathon. I'd also started The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso and The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco, but I just couldn't finish them in time. I definitely plan to return to them, but probably not till October since this is going to be a busy writing month for me. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines!

So Dear Readers, did any of you participate in Wikathon? Have you read any of the books on the list? Which ones do you plan on picking up? Let me know in the comments!

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