12 books about Martial Law in the Philippines
It’s been 45 years since former President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in the Philippines. Many Filipinos suffered during this period: the rampant violence, the government abuses, the fight for freedom. Many risked their lives and lost their loved ones in the process. Today, many of us have forgotten these times. We tend to take the issue of martial law lightly and quickly conclude without reviewing our past. In these changing times, we must remind ourselves of this period in our history, study and reflect it – in order for us not to repeat our mistakes. Here are 12 books that tell stories about martial law in our country:
- “Days of Disquiet, Nights of Rage” by Jose F. Lacaba
A compilation of on-the-spot reports on the First Quarter Storm first published in the Philippine Free Press and the Asia-Philippines Leader, Days of Disquiet, Nights of Rage is a useful manual for mass media students and practitioners working in the so-called New Journalism or literary journalism.
“Of our journalists, one of the most able in the new style is Jose F. Lacaba. As TV and newsreel do, he puts you right on the scene… He communicates the emotion, even the meaning of what’s happening without having to spell it out.” – Quijano de Manila
This book is divided into three parts. Stories of
Available for P450 at National Book Store and Powerbooks Store branches and online at www.anvilpublishing.com
- “Dekada ’70” by Lualhati Bautista
“Definitely a political novel. More than the individual story of a mother watching her sons grow and plunge into real life, Dekada ’70 is an indictment of martial law, and here, Lualhati minces no worlds.” – Female Forum, November 21, 1983
- “Tibak Rising” edited by Ferdinand Llanes
Columnist and teacher Michael L. Tan writes, ” The Tibak stories remind us there’s more to transformation than slogans and the grim and determined politics of the streets… We find friendships and camaraderie built even in detention, not just among prisoners but with the soldiers… (These stories) remind us that history and memory-making, so vital for the nation to move forward as a people, is not just of commemorating people, but also of reclaiming places weher people lived, struggled, and died.”
- “To Suffer Thy Comrades” by Robert Francis Garcia
Winner of the 2001 National Book Award, To Suffer Thy Comrades is a brutally honest, meticulously researched, and brilliantly written account of one of the CPP-NPA internal anti-infiltration operations—the infamous Oplan Missing Link—written by a former cadre himself who, like his comrades and other purge victims and survivors, seeks healing and justice while striving to move on from the tragedy.Vivid, shocking, action-packed, and at the same time heartrending and thought-provoking, this book takes us into the guerrilla headquarters, into the lives of the zealous (mostly young) people who became part of the revolutionary movement in the turbulent Martial Law era, and into the chaos and paranoia that later enveloped the revolutionary group and caused it to implode.
- “Killing Time in a Warm Place” by Jose Dalisay, Jr.
This is a novel about growing up in the Philippines during the Marcos years. Told through the voice of Noel Ilustre Bulaong, the narrative travels through familiar social and literary territory: the coconut groves of Bulaong’s childhood, Manila’s hovels, the Diliman commune, “UG” safehouses, martial law prisons, the homes and offices of the petite-bourgeoisie.
- “Subversive Lives: A Family Memoir of the Marcos Years” by Susan F. Quimpo and Nathan Gilbert Quimpo
“Written as a family history this book furnishes us with powerful testimonies on the era of Ferdinand Marcos and Jose Ma. Sison, along with narratives on the vicissitudes of the revolutionary movement. Each Quimpo sibling bears witness to the events they and others did so much to shape. From aborted attempts to smuggle weapons for the NPA to heady times organizing ‘spontaneous uprisings’” and general strikes in Mindanao, from the cruel discovery of the cause of one brother’s death at the hands of a kasama(comrade) to the near hallucinatory tales of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the military, these stories remind us of the personal costs and the daily heroism of those who joined the movement… To read these accounts, each so rich and distinctive in its tone, is to hear the rhythm of the revolution.” -From the Foreword by Vicente L. Rafael
- “Gun Dealers’ Daughter” by Gina Apostol
“In this fearlessly intellectual novel, Gina Apostol takes on the keepers of official memory and creates a new, atonal anthem that defies single ownership… perception is always in question, and memory and the Filipino identity are turned inside out.” -Eric Gamalinda, author of Empire of Memory
- “Empire of Memory” by Eric Gamalinda
Two friends are hired by Marcos to rewrite Philippine history. Their mission: to make it appear that Marcos was destined to rule the country in perpetuity. Working from an office called the Agency for the Scientific Investigation of the Absurd, they embark on a journey that will take them across a surreal panorama of Philippine politics and history, and in the process question their morals and beliefs.
This landscape includes mythological sultans, mercenaries, the Beatles, a messianic Amerasian rock star, faith healers, spies, torturers, sycophants, social climbers, sugar barons, millenarian vigilantes, generals and communists—the dizzying farrago of lovers and sinners who populate the country’s incredible story. By the end of their project—and this breathtaking novel—the reader emerges from a world
that is at once familiar and unbelievable. It’s what real life might look like if both heaven and hell were crammed into it, and all its creatures were let loose.
- “SDK: Militant but Groovy” by Soliman M. Santos Jr. and Paz Verdades M. Santos, eds.
In his now classic essay “The Tide of History,” SDK stalwart Vivencio Jose describes what he calls a narrative of liberation thus, “It was patently clear that the unchanging official historical narrative was no longer feasible, they had to create their own narrative. With high hopes that praxis would disclose its discourse, they embarked on a journey of discovery and struggle. They did not look back even when the violent pull and push of reality tore the last shred of their innocence. The journey changed their lives forever. They thus created their part of the narrative of human liberation.”
- “Seven in the Eye of History” edited by Asuncion David-Maramba
Eugenia Apostol, Corazon Aquino, Macli-ing Dulag, Rosa Henson, Luis Jalandoni, Eduardo Quintero, and Jaime Cardinal Sin all found themselves in the “eye of history,” defining moments that changed or ended their lives.
The essays are by Lorna Kalaw-Tirol, Vicente Tirol, Neni Sta. Romana Cruz, Adolfo Azcuna, Nestor Castro, Sheila Coronel, Angelito Santos, Fides Lim, Bienvenido Lumbera, Lita Hidalgo, Wilfrido Villacorta, Dulce Baybay, and Ferdinand Santos.
- “Armando J. Malay: Guardian of Memory” by Marites N. Sison and Yvonne T. Chua
The feisty journalist, educator, and activist according to his own detailed memoir, and the recollection of family, friends, and colleagues. The book also contains many vignettes which capture the highlights of Philippine history from the 1940s to the 1990s.
Available for P150 online at www.anvilpublishing.com
- “The Jupiter Effect” by Katrina Tuvera
This is the story of Kiko and Gaby, two martial-law babies who underwent political initiation during the Marcos years. The book poses questions about the Filipinos’ complicity in the Marcos dictatorship and portrays many compromises that are still present in the current Philippine politics.