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6 Books To Read About Life Under The Marcos Regime

6 Books To Read About Life Under The Marcos Regime
Images by @anvilpublishing / Instagram

On the 49th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines on September 21, 2021, Filipinos once again recalled the atrocities and horrors of this regime. It is a time of painful remembrances from which many lessons could be learned. 

Over the decades, however, this part of history has undergone many versions, and in this age when people are hardly critical of information they find on the internet and accept everything they read about as fact, we realize that many of us still need to be educated about the Martial Law era.

If you really want to find out the truth about Martial Law and the lives of Filipinos under the Marcos dictatorship, books by reputable authors are one of the best sources. Here are 6 books on the subject that you can cop from the 2021 Manila International Book Fair, which returns online this year from September 30 until October 4.

Desaparesidos by Lualhati Bautista

Lualhati Bautista is a liberal activist and Carlos Palanca Memorial awardee whose popular novels include Dekada ’70, Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa, and ‘Gapo. Desaparesidos, written in 2007, is a historical fiction about Anna, a mother who was forced to leave her child when she was taken by the military due to her involvement in the revolution against the Marcos dictatorship. Twenty years after, Anna continues to search for her child.

A Spanish word for the “disappeared,” Desaparesidos highlights the Martial Law’s traumatic effects on Filipino families, and the damages that they carry even decades after.

Get the book for Php 265 from Manila International Book Fair’s website.

Ascending the Fourth Mountain by Maria Virginia Yap Morales

The author, who hails from Davao, tells a very personal story in this 2021 book published by the Ateneo de Manila University Press.

She details her years under Martial Law: the participation of women against human rights violations, the rampant sexual abuse under military detention, and her journey in self-discovery.

Get the book for Php 296 from Manila International Book Fair’s website.

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Dekada ‘70 by Lualhati Bautista

This Lualhati Bautista masterpiece has been adapted into a film and a musical production, but nothing beats reading the original award-winning novel.

It centers on Amanda Bartolome, wife to Julian and a mother to five sons, and how their family suffered from the oppressive dictatorship. In the novel, Amanda explores her role as a woman, a mother, and as a Filipino during the Martial Law.

Get the book for Php 265 from Manila International Book Fair’s website.

Tibak Rising: Activism in the Days of Martial Law, edited by Ferdinand C. Llanes

Tibak Rising—tibak being a play on the word “aktibistacommemorates the lives of anti-Martial Law activists who were at the forefront of the fight against the oppressive Marcos rule. The book’s editor, Ferdinand C. Llanes, is a professor of history at the University of the Philippines.

The book compiles first-person accounts of more than 40 contributors, with photographs and details about their experiences under Martial Law.

Get the book for Php 395 from Manila International Book Fair’s website.

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The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos by Primitivo Mijares

This tell-all book by Primitivo Mijares was eye-opening for many millennials and Gen Zers. From his work as Marcos’ media adviser, Mijares exposes the corruption, greed, and abuse that were prevalent under Ferdinand and Imelda’s conjugal dictatorship.

“Forty years after its first publication, the book, in this revised and annotated edition, reminds Filipinos of their past that remains a present threat,” its synopsis reads.

Get the book for Php 455 from Manila International Book Fair’s website.

Killing Time In A Warm Place by Jose Y. Dalisay Jr.

Killing Time In A Warm Place is a novel that centers on Noel Bulaong, who grew up during the Marcos years. He narrates his travels, struggles, childhood, the Diliman commune, and martial law prisons.

Get the book for Php 180 from Manila International Book Fair’s website.

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