About Filipino Literature

Literature in the Philippines was nearly non-existent. That’s because Filipinos don’t like reading on their spare time and preferred to glue their eyes in front of the television instead. Nowadays, thanks to Wattpad, teenagers are now into reading for pleasure. In my opinion, that’s great. At least they’re reading but I have a problem with what they’re reading. I’m glad that there are Filipino authors who are getting exposure and Wattpad is getting people to read again.

Just like with songwriting, Filipinos are only into romance. Diary ng Panget and She’s Dating the Gangster were originally published on Wattpad but turned into books. My Facebook friend told me that the reason they turn Wattpad stories into books so that people without a Wattpad account have access to them.

I didn’t know that Diary ng Panget was based on a book at that time of my discovery. When I was looking for a movie to watch, I stumbled on the movie adaptation of Diary ng Panget and did further research on it. I haven’t read the book but I’ve heard the summary of the story. It’s so uncreative and full of cliches. The story is rather forgettable and it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It’s about an “ugly” girl (I use that term very loosely) who falls in love with a rich and handsome bad boy. Where have I heard of that before? Eya, the main protagonist, is Cross’ maid who isn’t even ugly, she just has plenty of zits on her face. Diary ng Panget is very predictable. I saw the movie for free on YouTube just to check out what the hype is all about. The movie doesn’t even have a plot and felt more like a series of events happening too fast. There’s no character development and I found Eya, Cross, Lori, and Chad to be bland. Cross and Lori doesn’t have any screentime together and yet, Lori likes him. Chad likes Lori but they barely interact in the movie. I’m not sure if that’s what happened in the book.

The book cover looks bland and why use the author’s username instead of her (she’s called Denny) real name? The publishers should’ve at least used a pseudonym. It looks unprofessional.

There’s 4 books in total and each have 128 pages each. Why divide it into 4 books? They could’ve just merged it into one book. Maybe it’s their way of making money or the readers don’t want to read a book with 300+ pages.

She’s Dating the Gangster is going to have it’s movie adaptation coming soon with Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla as the lead couple. I haven’t read the book and frankly, I don’t want to waste my money on it. From what I know, the book costs around 150 Pesos. I would rather waste that money on food. 150 Pesos is too much for a poorly written book. I read the preview of the book because it’s still on Wattpad and it looked like it was written by an amateur. The book is riddled with errors; the author abused the caps lock too much.

Here’s an excerpt on Wattpad:

“To Sara Jung: Where are you1!? I NEED TO EXPERIENCE SUMMER ROMANCE! NOW.”

First off, who talks like this? I’ve never heard any teenager who speak that way. When I was a teenager, I never said any of these things.

“I sighed on what I just sent her. I sounded so desperate. Well, I am being desperate.”

No shit, Sherlock. You didn’t need to say it again because you just said that you’re being desperate.

It’s not original either and it’s about… you guess it, a good girl falling in love with a bad boy. Athena Dizon pretended to be Kenji’s girlfriend to make his ex-girlfriend Abigail jealous. There’s a surprise, Kenji and Athena fall for each other for real. Cliches aren’t a bad thing as long as you add your own tweaks to it but if your story is nothing but cliches, then your story is just like every other romance novels. According to  Goodreads reviewers, “It has a resemblance and a mixture of two Korean films titled “100 days with Mr. Arrogant” and “He was Cool.”

“…Yeah sure you can die anytime.”

And Abigail says “Forget it Kenji… You won’t see me again. Ever.”

Didn’t he use Athena to make Abigail jealous? This makes no sense. So he’s just gonna let his ex-girlfriend die?

“I rushed to his side. Kenji was all wrapped in a blanket and shaking violently.”

How can one shake violently? Also, remove the word all and it’ll look like this, “Kenji was wrapped in a blanket and shaking violently.”

One reviewer on Goodreads said, “And by emoticons, I do not mean the simple emoticons. (e.g. “:)” “:(” “:D”) In almost every page, there were different smileys/symbols that were too childish and unfitting. (e.g. “^___^V” ) It really annoys me that there were too many languages used. Some sentence were in Tagalog then the next was in English then later some Korean expression will be inserted”

This book cover is just as bland but at least they used the author’s name.

I wouldn’t consider any books that were originally published from Wattpad to be literature because they’re not. Those books are rubbish and yet, these are what the Filipinos are into. It’s just like those teleserye that they watch on GMA and ABS-CBN except it’s in book form. If this is what’s getting them to read, then they have bad taste in literature. I just hope they don’t make students read these books in English class or Tagalog class because if they do, the new generation will believe that it’s how you’re supposed to write a book.

Look, I have no problem with writing romance. I write them myself from time to time but I write in other genres aside from it. I write some science fiction and sometimes fantasy. I don’t have anything against Denny (haveyouseenthisgirl) and Bianca. Both authors deserve credit for writing a story from scratch and they’re doing what they love. The books they write are just like every other romance novels like Nicholas Sparks’ stories.

This gives me hope that my works will get published because if they can get published, then so can I. All it takes is to upload my story on Wattpad, hopefully get some views, and once it has enough views, then they’ll publish it and turn it into an actual book. Filipinos have low standards when it comes to literature. Diary ng Panget, She’s Dating the Gangster and every Wattpad stories turned books are entertaining but lack substance. I hope that the publishers in the Philippines would produce more quality books but sadly, this is all we’re gonna get.

Published in Education, Rants


  1. Profile gravatar of Pinay Lover
    Pinay Lover

    That is funny you mention this! I’ve been happy lately because my wife is reading just about every night, but when I found out what she was reading, I was disappointed (Filipino romance novels). I suppose it’s a common theme for a women to read, but as you mentioned….these Filipino written books seem to be low grade, below standards (but what do you expect from the Philippines).

    Something I noticed right away when I started dating my wife, is that she had a bad judgment on movies. She would sometimes want to watch these really LOW rated movies and actually watch the whole way through. I and many other people usually want to watch a movie that got good ratings. If the majority of raters rated the movie poor, then it is most likely poor! But my wife doesn’t believe in any ratings. Why? Well, Filogic! Does she have taste in movies? Yes! What kind of tastes does she have? Something with a very easy plot, no story, lots of action and something that doesn’t involve learning!

    I on the other hand, love a documentary! I like a lot of underground docs. That’s probably 80% of what I watch! Having to listen to someone for more than 2 minutes makes my wife fall asleep. At least she likes nature show though. She loves those because there isn’t much talking and just a whole lot of camera action! Ha…..so I can sit and watch that with her.

    1. Profile gravatar of Zurina Alvarez
      Zurina Alvarez Post author

      I don’t have a problem with romance novels, movies, and TV shows because they’re guilty pleasures of mine. Maybe that’s because I’m a woman and a sucker for romance. There’s nothing wrong with liking them and with watching/reading romance every once in a while but if that’s ALL she reads, then there’s something wrong with her. Romance is popular for a reason and I understand why women like these particular type of stories -they’re wish fulfillment. They help her escape reality and dive into the fantasy.

      Your wife has bad taste and will like anything then. She probably hates stories that involve critical thinking and a complex plot since she might not be able to process it.

  2. Profile gravatar of Spartacus_killingus

    I have first hand knowledge of this bro.
    My ex fil wife is *coughs….One of the writers of the books your wife reads no doubt (Facepalm)
    I can’t go into any more details than that, but I will say that that was a whole publishing company I was trapped it with dozens of writers around me all the time.

    It was a nightmare, and it was like the only thing anyone wanted to talk to me about was these horrible romance novels.
    They are not awful, they are a completely different species of WTF. I mean, I have no words to describe my hatred for these filipino stories of “Love”. Moreover, having been stuck in a relationship where I had nothing to talk about unless it involved these romance stories I hated my life.

    I guess what I dislike the most about it all is that the types of women who read those actually attempt to project that fiction into reality even if it will not fit. I mean it was like Jr high school level drama 24/7.

    I just could not handle it!

    1. Profile gravatar of Pinay Lover
      Pinay Lover

      “I guess what I dislike the most about it all is that the types of women who read those actually attempt to project that fiction into reality even if it will not fit. I mean it was like Jr high school level drama 24/7. ”

      Lol, that’s the part I really don’t understand. I mean, my wife is in her 30s and she emulates some of those soap shows she watches, like that shit actually happens in real life! When I was in my late teens and early 20’s I was a sucker like that for Hollywood, but now I can’t stand most films. They are so predictable and fake…..

      But considering these people can be the most gullible and predictable, it doesn’t surprise me!

    2. Profile gravatar of Zurina Alvarez
      Zurina Alvarez Post author

      For a supposedly romantic love story, Filipinos sure don’t know the concept of love. Rather, they don’t know the difference between love, lust, and infatuation. I’ve seen some movies where a guy confuses lust with love and thinks that stalking is an act of love.

      I’m sure people know that what they’re reading is pure fiction and don’t believe that it’s gonna happen in real life. There’s no such thing as a happy ending.

  3. Profile gravatar of

    I cant believe NO ONE has mentioned the obvious, their movies and books (apparently I’ve just found out they have one).
    Anything is better than their lives, The grass is greener, They believe in Fairy tales, Gangsta Handsome Prince.SAME SAME

    The child bride is a reader, that’s one of the first things I noticed about her, educated , smart although she has that logic that defies any imagination.
    Then every one in the room yells at each other over the fucking volume.

    1. Profile gravatar of Spartacus_killingus

      No one mentions the television and movies because its unspeakably bad..
      Whats wrong with you? LOL

      No, for real though, it is indeed awful, and like you say predictable. Literally every series is the same.
      House maid normal looking Filipino girl (AKA The least likely ugly girl) in her struggle to follow her destiny to the top all the time being ruthlessly attacked by the (Insert corporate CEO pale ass white looking filipino here).
      *Slowly peels skin off of face…..

      Or the “Unlikely couple” movie where comedy is forced and you are also supposed to listen to the screaming and crying when they go from attempted humor to over drama in 0.2 seconds.
      *Cuts wrists….

      Or the depiction of the “Gay comedy sidekick friend” who is overly loud mouthed, screamy, obnoxious, and also trying to jam humor down your throat. No what I would call normal behavior regardless of sexual proclivity.
      *Saws on throat with broken shard of glass..

      Or the “Highschool sweethearts shit”
      The “troubled family”
      The “Billionaire Boyfriend”
      The “Infidelity of marriage but at the end the STRONG FAMILY TIES HOLD THEM TOGETHER!!” *Coughs I mean catholic church (Forces) an unhappy couple to pretend everything is fine while they continue to cheat…

      I will stop hear because I am bleeding to death, and I need to save some life force for more berating later on..

    2. Profile gravatar of

      LOL! And they slapped each other so often, I swear their faces must be insured for several million pesos! I heard awhile back that the PI government censors the show plus all TV networks are owned by government cronies and political dynasties anyway, so they make sure that the “masa” (dumb population) stay dumb and gets dumber. I can’t remember ever seeing any documentaries from the local channels when we were living there or during our subsequent visits.

      “They believe in Fairy tales, Gangsta Handsome Prince.SAME SAME”

      Why else would they vote semi-illiterate, D-grade movie actors and actresses as senators? These people never held a normal job, most of them got into acting because of family connections. Just like politics in the Philippines, the entertainment industry is again a “who you know” industry rather than what you know or your abilities to act or sing!

      1. Profile gravatar of Zurina Alvarez
        Zurina Alvarez Post author

        There’s some documentary shows on ABS and GMA but they’re only showed late at night. During the day, they have talk shows, variety shows, noontime shows, and for the most part, soap operas. GMA has Kapuso, Jessica Soho and ABS have SOCO, Matanglawin, and Failon Ngayon.

    3. Profile gravatar of 30-30

      if you see watching that crap tv full volume,, please come tomy house and shoot me,, i will have old aged dementia and consider myself lucky somebody shot me,, if i ever see another 10 peso horror movie again,,,,,,,, just frigging shoot me,,,,,,

  4. Profile gravatar of justsomeflip

    This is my first time commenting on this site. Yes, modern Philippine literature really is just the same recycled soap cliches over and over again (I’m Filipino btw). There’s really no difference between the “stories” or “novels” these kids read and the trash flip soaps on TV.

    I guess I’m incredibly lucky that my mother (also Filipino) raised me from an early age to know the joys of reading (actual literary works, well she is an English teacher). I got to know of the Iliad and the Odyssey as early as grade school.

  5. Profile gravatar of Thunderhead

    My GF has a young female relative who can’t speak Tagalog. She speaks English. The only reason she speaks English instead of Tagalog is that the television was used as a baby sitter early on. She is born and raised in the Philippines. G_d have mercy on that girl.

  6. Profile gravatar of

    Ah I remember the days I used to joke about my father watching THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL every afternoon,
    I’m fucking sure that the Filipinos plagiarized that crap, Lots of failed and shonky business deals, women crying, every night lots of slapping and firing staff, everyone richer than god , lawyers everywhere. Beautiful women and handsome men.

    The plots are 100% plagiarized.
    BUT SIR we have BAKALAS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CANNED LAUGHTER, and a whining kid that will save the world.
    Just about sums it up.
    KILL ME please KILL ME

  7. Profile gravatar of vinzz

    I was amazed too by the non existence of interest in books in this country .
    The first times i went to my wife place, i brought books for too warms afternoons or rainy days and several times, some neighboors coming there for something saw me reading and asked : ” ohh! is it the bible ? ”
    sh..t! they were not able to think you can find something else than religion in a printed document…

    With my wife too, she’s only interested in romance & silly Noisy movies with filippinos living in mansions & driving mercedes, allways crying & shouting. We watched several realistic movies from brillante mendoza she seemed to appreciate . but often argue it”s too hard and than filippino “culture” is attracted by dreams, and try to avoid truth in movies….

    the only hope was with my nephew, who asked me my thick book on philippines birds.
    I left to him, thinking if they sell it it’s a pity cause this book was expensive in europe, but happily when i go back there, the book is still here & looks to be used. He till spend time with my diving books about reef fishes too.
    Just hope it will keep him away for a while from this silly Noisy tv show & open his mind befor it’s too late & he become like almost everybody here.

    1. Profile gravatar of Zurina Alvarez
      Zurina Alvarez Post author

      It goes to show that the only book they read is the bible. That’s it. They don’t read anything else because they’re not interested in reading for pleasure. I’m not saying all Filipinos are like this but the vast majority of them are. Thanks to Wattpad, Filipinos got into reading but they’re just reading a written version of the same romantic and sappy love stories they see on TV.

  8. Profile gravatar of Mike

    Speaking of dumbass filipinos movies. A couple of months ago I decided to take the family to a movie at SM. It would be my sons first time going to the movie theater since when had access before he was too small. So all the movies playing are PG13, PG17 and such. So we look at the posters and pick a movie to see, go up to the ticket counter with money out. Now here is where the filipino stupidity started. They refused to sell my 6 year old son a ticket to a PG13 movie.

    When I asked why they said he had to be 13 to see it. So I asked what the PG13 meant, a normal and simple question in my experience. So the pinay tells me someone has to be over 13 to see it or be with a parent. I duly inform her that our son is with BOTH of his parents still she refuses. Why? Because he’s not 13! So here we go again. The movie we picked was a spy movie though I don’t recall the title. I ask the pinay why he cannot go in to see this movie yet watch the same thing on free tv or listen to the radio that play songs whos main words are fuck, fuck you, motherfucker, I want to fuck you and so on. Yes I worded it just like that. Reaction? The stupid blank look.
    And for ONCE they even got the manager without me having to ask. But she was just as worthless. So like I do I simply looked them in the eye and told them, And filipinos wonder why this country is so fucked up and will never improve.

    But my son did get to see a movie, Jupiter Ascending. Which had what? The same kind of action that our choice had!!