10 Filipino Female Authors to Read This Women's Month

Filipino female authors have contributed countless works to the body of Philippine literature, and they deserve more time in the sun. We can't include every writer in this brief article, but the 10 authors that we've gathered in this list are a good place to start. 

Beverly Wico Siy

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Also known as Bebang Siy, the author injects humor in her many essays that explain the Filipino woman's experience in a toxic macho culture. Siy never pulls her punches, delivering hard truths with hilarious banter.

Read: It's a Mens World, It's Raining Mens, Nuno sa Puso: Pag-ibig, Nuno sa Puso: Relasyon

Jessica Zafra

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Zafra's commentary on pop culture, politics, and society never fails to amuse readers. With her heavy use of sarcasm, you can count on all of her books and essays (some of which are compiled in the 25th-anniversary edition of Twisted) to possess her trademark wit.

Read: Twisted series, Womenagerie and Other Tales from the Front, Manananggal Terrorizes Manila and Other Stories

F.H. Batacan

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This Singapore-based Filipino author did a stellar job with Smaller and Smaller Circles, a crime novel that dissected the state of serial killers in the Philippines. It's considered one of the first true Filipino crime novels and is still widely read to this day.

Read: Smaller and Smaller Circles (available at Fully Booked's online and Lazada stores)

Paz Marquez-Benitez

You can't study women's literature in the Philippines without starting with Paz Marquez-Benitez. She published the first modern short story in English in the Philippines. Titled Dead Stars, the short story was published in 1925, and the author went on to mentor the next generation of English-language Filipino writers.

Read: Dead Stars

Leny Mendoza Strobel

Photo by centerforbabaylanstudies.org.

Strobel explores the Philippines' glorious culture before the colonizers arrived. In pre-colonial Philippines, gender fluidity wasn't taboo and Babaylans were the epitome of glory.

Read: Coming Full Circle: The Process of Decolonization Among Post-1965 Filipino Americans; Babaylan: Filipinos and the Call of the Indigenous; Back from the Crocodile's Belly: Philippine Babaylan Studies and the Struggle for Indigenous Memory 

Lualhati Bautista

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Before she passed away earlier this year, Bautista was a living legend. Her books have consistently explored women's issues in the Philippines and always depicted women with strength and agency. Bautista was 77 years old when she died in February 2023.

Read: Dekada '70, Bata, Bata… Pa'no Ko Ginawa, Bulaklak sa City Jail, 'GAPO

Doreen Fernandez

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The late Doreen Fernandez created the foundations for food writing in the Philippines. The writer and food critic wrote countless articles, columns, and books over the years, all of which have added to the body of food literature in the country.

Read: Tikim: Essays on Philippine Food and Culture, Sarap: Essays on Philippine Food, Panitikan: An Essay on Philippine Literature

Jhoanna Cruz

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A writer and scholar, Cruz has made notable contributions to queer literature and women's literature in the Philippines. She's currently a professor at the University of the Philippines Mindanao, where she's teaching literature and creative writing.

Read: Women Loving: Stories and a Play, Abi Nako, or So I Thought

Edith Tiempo

Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Tiempo is a legend in Philippine literature. The National Artist wrote poetry, short stories, and novels, and all of her works became pillars of Philippine literature. It was Tiempo who founded the prestigious Silliman National Writers Workshop in Dumaguete City, which went on to discover and mentor many successful Filipino writers over the decades. From this list, she is the only woman writer to ever be bestowed with the Order of National Artists in the Philippines.

Read: A Blade of Fern, The Builder, The Alien Corn, The Tracks of Babylon and Other Poems

Kerima Polotan Tuvera

Know for her unfiltered and unflinching perspective, Polotan-Tuvera was a respected writer of her time. Some of her works were published under the pseudonym Patricia S. Torres. In life, Tuvera was close friends with Tiempo, so much so that the two writers died within days of each other in 2011.

Read: The Hand of the Enemy, The True and the Plan: A Collection of Personal Essays, Adventures in a Forgotten Country

Also read: 

Our 36 Favorite Filipino Books of 2022

10 Books That Prove Non-Fiction Is Just as Entertaining as Fiction

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