Artwork by Sean Sonsona

Artwork by Sean Sonsona


This essay introduces a series of essays that came out in 2017 listing down 144 of the most essential Pinoy works from various creative fields that came out from 2006 to 2017. Get to know the 12 listmakers and the rationale behind this list.*


144 Essential Pinoy Works from 2006–2017 is a series of 12 essays written by 12 Pinoy artists who are all currently actively engaged in at least one of these 12 different creative fields: poetry, romance book, fantastic fiction, humor lit, Muslim literature, graphic literature, children’s lit, play, spoken word, film, TV shows, and music. Each of the essays discusses the artist’s selection of the 12 most essential Pinoy works from their assigned field––works that are written, published, or produced in the last 12 years (from 2006 to 2017).


This series was conceptualized as part of the #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy––an online campaign I began three years ago that encourages everyone to share their favorite Pinoy works in social media for the whole month of August. Many people have always been asking me for book recommendations, or movies to watch, or music albums to listen to, and I would always suggest one or two titles that I personally enjoyed. Well, now, here is a list of recommendations that will keep you preoccupied for at least a year––until we come up with a new set of lists for next year’s #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy. By the end of the series, you will have a checklist of 144 Pinoy works that you can devour or assess and quarrel with. If you’ve already consumed most of them, good for you! Maybe you can even suggest some other works that did not make the cut but are equally essential for you.


For many Filipinos, August means Buwan ng Wika. For me, too, and this #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy campaign was obviously an offspring to that. I began this campaign in 2015 (back then, it was just an invitation to close friends) with this Facebook post:

Bukas, simula na naman ng Buwan ng Wika. Kung ano-ano na namang makikita sa social media at sa mundo sa labas nito para ipagdiwang ito o punahin/tuligsain ang mismong pagdiriwang na ito. Dito sa FB Timeline ko, dahil nagkataóng nag-aayos pa rin ako hanggang ngayon ng mga libro kong mahigit 90% ay Filipiniana (ibinenta o ipinamigay ko na dati ang marami kong foreign books na meron na sa aking Kindle), ipagdiriwang ko ang Agosto bilang #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy, dahil ang totoo, ang anumang maliit na pagpapahalaga ko sa bansa natin at sa lahat ng kinakatawan nito ay nagmumula nang malaki sa mga manunulat na Filipinong binasa ko't patuloy na binabasa, at bagaman hindi laging sinasang-ayunan ay pinapahalagahan at hinahangaan ang paglalaan nila ng loob dito sa gawaing pinili ko ring harapin. Kaya simula bukas hanggang Agosto 31, bawat araw ay magtatampok ako ng isang manunulat na Filipino o isang serye ng publikasyon na nasa mismong bookshelf ko. Isang paalala rin ito sa sarili na sa mga ito napupunta ang malaking bahagi ng pinagpapaguran ko sa pagtatrabaho dahil sa ganito ko nakikitang may saysay ang lahat ng pagsisikap. Gusto n'yo bang makisali sa kalokohang ito?


But #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy evolved into a life of its own. When many other people and institutions beyond my immediate circle of friends responded to my invitation, it turned into an online campaign. And people shared works by Filipinos from fields that are beyond literary and written in languages other than Filipino. In a sense, the social media became a library of our beloved Pinoy works even for just a month. And speaking of libraries, did you know that the National Library of the Philippines was also founded in August––when a royal order was signed in 12 August 1887 for the establishment of the Museo de Biblioteca de Filipinas? (How's that for a good old Pinoy trivia courtesy of this site?) Among the National Library’s prized collections is its Rizaliana that houses manuscripts, books, and monographs by/on Rizal that we can all access online! (This is an online treasure that every Filipino should know.) Here, for example, is a detail of birds drawn by Rizal that I directly accessed from the archives:,h_616,al_c,q_20/file.jpg