All cultures offer a wealth of stories and their own brand of literary magic. As a Filipino, I’m very happy to introduce you to mine! These speculative fiction books are written by Filipino authors, from the homeland to the massively diverse diaspora.
Personally, I spent last month consuming as many Filipino stories as I could. And doing so fueled my appreciation for my culture, and of course, for the incredible work done by Filipino authors.
Having said that, here is a list of Filipino sci-fi and fantasy books for all ages!
Alinam: Diego Domingo and the Mandato Ruiz
A great choice for readers looking for a fun portal fantasy to get lost in! Alinam is a parallel world where magic exists, mythical monsters are real, and the city is ruled by a tyrannical governor-general.
When awkward kid Diego Domingo and his friends accidentally stumble into this bizarre place, they meet a familiar face in charge of the growing resistance—and find themselves on a dangerous journey to get back home to Manila.
The Atlas Six
In case you aren’t yet familiar with this TikTok dark academia sensation, The Atlas Six revolves around a secret society of magical academicians whose mandate is to protect the lost knowledge of great civilizations. The story begins when six uniquely talented magicians are recruited as potential initiates, except only five will make it through to the end.
In the known world where the People live in gigantic treetops and dangerous beasts lurk on the forest floors, young Seri is a warrior-in-training. But a chance encounter introduces Seri to a strange girl from the unknown world with a special connection with the beasts.
While readers will find comfort in the staple elements of YA fantasy, Dauntless is bound to keep them on their toes with twists, revelations, and unexpected feats of courage.
In this genre-defying novel, dwellers are people with the ability to take over the physical form of others. When two dweller cousins inhabit the bodies of Jonah and Louis, they find more than they bargained for—including a dead body in the basement of their new home.
Heart and Hero
Despite not having any powers, Karla finds herself enrolled in a secretive school exclusively for superhumans. To add to her increasing stress, there's also a baffling prophecy that involves the future of both supers and non-supers alike. With the help of her crush (who is struggling to control his own electric abilities), Karla must survive the school year while keeping the world safe.
Recommending this one for fans of the Sky High (2005) film!
Lalani of the Distant Sea
When she makes a wish that puts her already-vulnerable village at even greater risk, Lalani decides to leave her island and ventures across the sea in search of good fortune.
Drawing from Filipino folklore, this book depicts a beautifully vivid landscape of magical creatures through the eyes of its 12-year-old protagonist, who is brave, determined, and hopeful.
The Never Tilting World
Fans of the post-apocalypse and climate justice won’t want to miss this epic fantasy duology. The defiance of a sister goddess literally divides the world in half—with one side cloaked in perpetual cold darkness, the other in an unforgiving sun.
When mysterious forces call out to this generation’s twin goddesses, Odessa and Haidee embark on a dangerous journey to undo the damage caused by their predecessors.
In this alternate reality where people live inside the fortified walls of a futuristic city to protect themselves from mecha aswangs, Anya Valerio joins the Philippine Mech Force with the hope to restore her father’s honor. However, upon discovering an enemy conspiracy, her view of the war shifts—and so does her ambition.
A Tiny Upward Shove
This novel is literary fiction with fantastical elements. It follows a young Filipino woman who transforms into an aswang after being brutally murdered. With access to its host’s mind, body, and memories, the aswang must settle Marina’s unfinished business to finally move on and leave her spirit at peace.
With a great Netflix adaptation under its belt, Trese is a widely-loved comic series that follows the investigations led by Alexandra Trese, a young detective who deals with paranormal crimes and seeks to protect the streets of Manila from supernatural creatures.
The Vanished Birds
In a sweeping space opera that transcends space and time, a woman exhausted by a lifetime of traveling through the stars and a boy who fell from the sky find solace in each other. But when the boy’s past finally catches up with them, it threatens to destroy their newfound connection.
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro
In a world inspired by pre-colonial Philippines, a queen is abandoned by her own men and left stranded in hostile territory. With that, Queen Talyien, the daughter of a notorious tyrant, must fight her way back to her kingdom and work to finally unite her people. Even if they’d rather see her dead.