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10 FAMOUS FILIPINO WRITERS

1. CARLO J. CAPARAS
Carlo J. Caparas is a comic strip creator, writer, director and producer who became sensational
known for his created local superheroes and comic book characters that are still popular to
Filipinos until now. Some of his creations turned Filipino icons such as Panday (a Blacksmith
hero) and many others. As a producer and director, Carlo J. Caparas produced box-office movies
based on comics and true-to-life stories and crimes. In 2009 he received National Artist Award
granted by the President of the Philippines.

2. MARS RAVELO
Mars Ravelo is also a comic strip creator and writer who became phenomenal in the Philippines
for his created superheroes such as Darna (a Filipino version of Wonder Woman), Dyesabel
(name of the Filipino mermaid/heroine), and many others. During his time, the Golden Age of
Comics flourished. Like Carlo J. Caparas, Mars Ravelos creations and writings were turned
into films and became box-office hit during 1960s to 1980s. Ravelo was also the highest paid
comic writer during his time. Until now, his creations is still influential to Philippine
contemporary literature.

3. LOUIE MAR GANGCUANCO
The youngest among the list, Louie Mar Gangcuanco published his debut novel entitled Orosa-
Nakpil, Malate at the age of 18. The novel illustrates the pink culture in the streets of Orosa and
Nakpil, which is known as the haven of gay Filipino culture. The novel became an instant hit,
becoming a bestseller months after it was released. His work was featured in the top-rating TV
show, Sharon, in June of the same year. In August 2006, Louie Mar was awarded the Y Idol
Award (Youth Idol Award) by Studio 23s Y Speak. Later that month, the Sentro ng Wikang
Filipino conferred a Sertipiko ng Pagpapahalaga for Orosa-Nakpil, Malate. His phenomenal
novel is endorsed by prominent people and institutions including the multi-awarded director,
Jose Javier Joey Reyes, Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan (former DOH secretary) and Dr. Raul Destura
of the National Institutes of Health Philippines.
After one year of circulation, Orosa-Nakpil, Malate made it to the Best Sellers List released by
National Book Store in April 2007. With him in the list are authors Mitch Albom of One More
Day, James Patterson and Maxine Paetro of The Fifth Horseman, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez of
Memories of My Melancholy Whores. The book landed on the Top 8 spot, overtaking
international authors Steve Berry and Kiran Desai.

4. GILDA OLVIDADO
Gilda Olvidado is a popular Filipino novelist and writer, known for her extraordinary love
stories. She became famous during the 1970s with her remarkable novels Sinasamba Kita (I
Worship You), Babangon akot Dudurugin Kita (Sweet Revenge). She also wrote screenplays
that later turned into blockbuster such as Saan Nagtatago ang Pag-ibig? (Where is Love
Hiding?) who made her rise into popularity after the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and
Sciences recognized it as the best story. Today, Gilda Olvidados fans are still counting, waiting
the release for her next novel.

5. NICK JOAQUIN
Nick Joaqun was born in Paco, Manila, one of the ten children of Leocadio, a colonel under
General Emilio Aguinaldo in the 1896 Revolution, and Salome Marquez, a teacher of English
and Spanish. Being read poems and stories by his mother, Joaquin taught himself by reading
widely at the National Library of the Philippines and the library of his father, who by that time
was a successful lawyer after the revolution. This developed further his interest in writing.
At age 17, Joaqun was first published in the literary section of the Pre-World War II Tribune
under writer and editor Serafn Lanot. Before publishing in the Tribune, Joaquin worked as a
proofreader of the paper.
After winning a Dominican Order-sponsored nationwide essay competition for La Naval de
Manila, the University of Santo Tomas awarded Joaqun an honorary Associate in Arts (A.A.)
and a scholarship to St. Alberts Convent, the Dominican monastery in Hong Kong. Upon his
return to the Philippines, he joined the Philippines Free Press, starting as a proofreader. Soon, he
was noticed for his poems, stories and plays, as well as his journalism under the pen name
Quijano de Manila. His journalism was markedly both intellectual and provocative, an unknown
genre in the Philippines at that time, raising the level of reportage in the country.
Joaqun deeply admired Jos Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines. Joaqun paid tribute to
Rizal by way of books such as The Storytellers New Medium Rizal in Saga, The Complete
Poems and Plays of Jose Rizal, and A Question of Heroes: Essays in Criticism on Ten Key
Figures of Philippine History. He also translated the heros valedictory poem, in the original
Spanish Mi Ultimo Adios, as Land That I Love, Farewell!
Joaqun served as a member of Motion Pictures under President Diosdado Macapagal and
President Ferdinand E. Marcos. Joaquins first move as National Artist was to secure the release
of imprisoned writer Jos F. Lacaba. Later, at a ceremony on Mount Makiling attended by First
Lady Imelda Marcos, Joaqun delivered an invocation to Mariang Makiling, the mountains
mythical maiden. Joaqun touched on the importance of freedom and the artist. As a result, for
the remainder of the Marcos regime, Joaqun no longer received invitations to address important
cultural events.

6. LUALHATI BAUTISTA
Lualhati Bautista is one of the foremost Filipino female novelists in the history of contemporary
Philippine Literature. Her novels include, Dekada 70 (Decade 70), Bata, Bata, Pano Ka
Ginawa? (Child, Child How were you made?, and GAP (short name for Olongapo,
Philippines).
In addition to being a novelist, Lualhati Bautista is also a movie and television screenwriter and a
short story writer. Her first screenplay was Sakada (Seasonal Sugarcane Workers), a story
written in 1975 that exposed the plight of Filipino peasants. Bautista has received recognition
from the Philippines Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature and the Surian ng
Wikang Pambansa in 1987. Her award-winning screenplays include Bulaklak sa City Jail (A
Flower in City Jail) (1984), Kung Mahawi Man ang Ulap (If The Clouds are Parted) (1984), Sex
Object (1985). For screenplay writing, she has received recognition from the Metro Manila Film
Festival (best story-best screenplay), Film Academy Awards (best story-best screenplay), Star
Awards (best screenplay), FAMAS (finalist for best screenplay), and URIAN awards. Two of her
short stories have also won the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, Tatlong
Kuwento ng Buhay ni Julian Candelabra (Three Stories in the Life of Julian Candelabra), first
prize, 1982; and Buwan, Buwan, Hulugan mo Ako ng Sundang (Moon, Moon, Drop Me a
Sword), third prize, 1983. Bautista also authored the television dramas Daga sa Timba ng Tubig
(The Mouse in the Bucket of Water) (1975) and Isang Kabanata sa Libro ng Buhay ni Leilani
Cruzaldo (A Chapter in the Book of Life of Leilani Cruzaldo) (1987). The latter won best drama
story for television from the Catholic Mass Media Awards.
Bautista was honored by the Ateneo Library of Womens Writings on March 10, 2004 during the
8th Annual Lecture on Vernacular Literature by Women. In 2005, the Feminist Centennial Film
Festival presented her with a recognition award for her outstanding achievement in screenplay
writing. In 2006, she was recipient of the Diwata Award for best writer by the 16th International
Womens Film Festival of the UP Film Center.
She is also the only Filipino included in a book on foremost International Women Writers
published in Japan, 1991.

7. F. SIONIL JOSE
F. Sionil Jose is one of the most widely-read Filipino writers in the English language. His novels
and short stories depict the social underpinnings of class struggles and colonialism in Filipino
society. Joss works written in English have been translated into 22 languages, including
Korean, Indonesian, Russian, Latvian, Ukrainian and Dutch.
Jose Rizals life and writings profoundly influenced Joss work. The five volume Rosales Saga,
in particular, employs and interrogates themes and characters from Rizals work.
Throughout his career, Sionil Joss writings espouse social justice and change to better the lives
of average Filipino families. He is one of the most critically acclaimed Filipino authors
internationally, although much underrated in his own country because of his authentic Filipino
English and his anti-elite views.
In 1980, Sionil Jose received Ramon Magsaysay Award (Asias Nobel Prize) for Literature.

8. FRANCISCO BALAGTAS
Francisco Baltazar, known much more widely through his nom-de-plume Francisco Balagtas,
was a prominent Filipino poet, and is widely considered as the Tagalog equivalent of William
Shakespeare for his impact on Filipino literature. The famous epic, Florante at Laura, is regarded
as his defining work.
Balagtas learned to write poetry from Jos de la Cruz (Huseng Sisiw), one of the most famous
poets of Tondo. It was de la Cruz himself who personally challenged Balagtas to improve his
writing. (source: Talambuhay ng mga Bayani, for Grade 5 textbook)
In 1835, Balagtas moved to Pandacan, where he met Mara Asuncin Rivera, who would
effectively serve as the muse for his future works. She is referenced in Florante at Laura as
Celia and MAR.
Balagtas affections for Celia were challenged by the influential Mariano Capule. Capule won
the battle for Celia when he used his wealth to get Balagtas imprisoned under the accusation that
he ordered a servant girls head be shaved. It was here that he wrote Florante at LauraIn fact,
the events of this poem were meant to parallel his own situation.
He wrote his poems in Tagalog, during an age when Filipino writing was predominantly written
in Spanish.
Balagtas published Florante at Laura upon his release in 1838. He moved to Balanga, Bataan in
1840 where he served as the assistant to the Justice of peace and later, in 1856, as the Major
Lieutenant. He was also appointed as the translator of the court.
Balagtas is so greatly revered in the Philippines that the term for Filipino debate in
extemporaneous verse is named for him: balagtasan.

9. BOB ONG
Bob Ong, is the pseudonym of an anonymous Filipino contemporary author known for using
conversational Filipino to create humorous and reflective depictions of life as a Filipino.
A Filipino Literary critic once commented:
Filipinos really patronize Bob Ongs works because, while most of his books may have an
element of comedy in them, this is presented in a manner that replicates Filipino culture and
traditions. This is likely the reason why his first book and those that followed it, can be
considered true Pinoy classics.
The six books he has published thus far have surpassed a quarter of a million copies. His words
of wisdom were applied by some of the Filipinos to their daily lives.

10. JOSE RIZAL
For obvious reasons, he is the most influential and the most bestselling author/writer until now.
Jose Rizal was a prolific poet, essayist, diarist, correspondent, and novelist whose most famous
works were his two novels, Noli me Tangere (Touch Me Not) and El filibusterismo The
Filibuster). These are social commentaries on the Philippines that formed the nucleus of
literature that inspired dissent among peaceful reformists and spurred the militancy of armed
revolutionaries against the Spanish colonial authorities.
His books are still cracking the bestselling list.