5 Essential books to Never Forget the martial law era

Sep 21, 2022 0 comments

In the present day where the past seemingly haunts us again, poised to repeat its atrocities; it is only best that we, Filipinos, shield ourselves from the rain of lies and misinformation that aims to hinder us from seeing the shining rays of truth. 

Aside from a quick google search, a scroll on social media, or a view from Tiktok videos—surprise, surprise! If you’ve forgotten, books can also provide us with information, too. Even better, with historical and factual ones. They’re not chismis!

Interested? Then, listed here are 5 Philippine historical and/or political books that we curated for you to indulge in! A mixture of fiction and nonfiction, too. Enjoy! 

Looking Back #15: Martial Law by Ambeth Ocampo

In the 15th installation of his Looking Back series, Filipino historian Ambeth Ocampo presented a historical account of Martial Law. The non-fiction book contains a compilation of essays based on late-President Marcos’ diaries.

Note that the book is not as extensive as other Martial Law-related books out there, but it is a good warmer about the dark period. Get your copy here

Dekada ‘70 by Lualhati Bautista

Sounds familiar? It’s probably because you have heard of its movie adaptation or its musical plays. First published as a novel, Dekada ‘70 was a means of revolution. 

The political fiction novel tells the tale of a middle-class family under the late president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ administration, particularly during Martial Law. Seemingly paralleled to the current Philippine society, it depicts the parents as apolitical and the children as activists. However, everything changed for the mother, Amanda, when their family first-handedly experienced extremist violence. 

Unfortunately, the novel is currently sold out, but you can get your copies from Anvil Publishing Inc. once they’ve restocked!

Eating fire and drinking water by Arlene Chai

“I was someone hungry for stories; more specifically, I was someone who craved after facts. I was, you see, a person with no history. Lacking this, I developed a curiosity about other’s people’s stories. . . .” 

Are you an inspiring journalist/reporter who wants to read something evocative yet relatable? Or are you simply a reader who has caught interest after reading the above excerpt and now, wants to know more? If your answer is yes, well, Eating fire and drinking water is for you! 

The story revolves around Clara Perez, a novice journalist from a local newspaper who yearns for something more substantial to report and thus, gets herself deeply entangled in the world of adventure and politics–set in an age of heavy rebellion and subtly, in the age of Martial Law. With an average of 4.5-star reviews on Goodreads, readers classified this novel as terrifying, spectacular, and insightful. 

The physical copy is currently out of stock at National Bookstore, but you may obtain its ebook through Penguin Random House and other online book retailers.

Gun Dealers’ Daughter by Gina Apostol

Set again in the Martial law era, young and privileged Soledad Soliman befriends a group of radical teens and consequently turns into a communist militant herself. Hidden behind the personal experiences of young Sol is the political landscape that is inextricably linked to the current state of our nation. 

Although the pacing of the novel may be slow at the start for some, the following parts will surely keep you hooked. 

The fictional novel has also won The Pen/Open Book award. Grab the book here!

The Quartet of the Tiger Moon by Nick Joaquin

Last on our list is a book recommended by Atty. Chel Diokno himself! Stored under his Twitter thread, ‘Books I Recommend for Woke People.’

The Quartet of the Tiger Moon: Scenes from the People Power Revolution, as its full title depicts, is a nonfiction novel that tells of the events that transpired before and after the historic EDSA People Power Revolution. The National Artist paints in the reader’s mind how it felt and what it meant to be part of the revolt. 


Read its excerpt, pause, and think: “We had returned to normal. Because we had decided we were to have a future again, a tomorrow again, and that we didn’t have to resign ourselves to a numbing prospect of one damnable Marcos after another.” 

Ironic in today’s time, isn’t it? 

Borrow the book here or get your own copy from Amazon

As you pick on any of these listed novels, I hope you get reminded of how tauntingly real our history is, and that it is our job to preserve it—resist revisionism, and reject denialism. Demand accountability, and never forget.

━━ Written By  Reyza Bianca Ferranco
━━  Art By Metroscene Mag 

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