Pinoys love their romance and there has been a lot of books and movies that attests to that fact. In my teenage years and early 20s, I’ve read a lot of Tagalog romances, and they’ve given me so much feels that I still remember most of them *coughKristineseriescough*. Now that I’ve been reading more Filipino romances in English, I can say that local authors still know how to amp up the swoon factor while presenting various situations where characters are tested not just individually, but also their relationships with their significant others. It also helps that Filipino authors integrate the character’s relationships with their families (a distinct Filipino trait) while sharing a profound bond with their friends.
So without further ado, here’s my top picks for romance books by Filipino authors!
#5: Only a Kiss by Ines Bautista-Yao
One thing I like about this book is how genuine the characters sounded. Katie and Chris have been friends since they were nine years old, with Katie declaring declaring her love for Chris’ older brother. Bautista-Yao’s skill is in making the dialogue sound genuine and realistic, as if they were the things a nine-year-old would say. As the characters grew in the story, so did they reach their “maturity”. I love her simple and succinct prose, and I think that’s one of her likable trademarks as an author. And the cover! How can anyone say no to that lovely, lovely cover?
I’ve read this book years ago, yet The Hagette remains to be my favorite Ramos-Atienza book because of the laugh factor. Seriously, I can’t recall the many times I’ve guffawed over Cynthia’s flamboyant friends Mario, Leon, Alex, and Davey. They have a close bond that makes me want to have awesome friends like them. Ramos-Atienza balances the romance between Cynthia and Carlos as well as Cynthia’s growth as a character, thanks to her support system. If you’re the type who likes this mix of eccentric characters, this is the book for you.
Available on: Goodreads
A romance that revolves around food and a really cute chef…who could say no to that? Peria’s love for good food resounds in the story coupled with her fun and quirky writing style. Also, a word of advice: do not read this book on an empty stomach. I had to stop reading a few times because the descriptions were just too mouthwatering to ignore. And well, the romance between Nate and Olivia was just as tantalizing as sticky Chinese ribs. I had visions of Erwan Heussaff as Nate cooking up something in the kitchen, although Anne Curtis doesn’t quite fit the bill for me as Olivia. But anyway, yes, food and romance. You can’t go wrong with that.
This is, hands down, my favorite Esguerra book. Yes, I’m a Dante fan for all the reasons you’re thinking of. Dante is definitely book boyfriend material. But aside from that, the story tackled a thing that most women may encounter in this day and age: cradle-snatching…err…I mean having a relationship with a younger guy. This may not be an issue for other women, but for some, the struggle to solve the puzzle is real. Are younger guys emotionally mature? Do they bring something else in a relationship? Esguerra voiced out these sentiments through the main character, Carla. If you want to know the answers to those questions, read the book. It may or may not have the answers you seek, but it’s definitely worth your while to get your hands on a copy.
My review of Play With Me just about sums up my feels for this book. Tee is Filipino-Chinese and is a tour de force in the international indie publishing world for being a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. That’s one hell of an accolade for one lady, and quite deserving at that, too. Tee sticks to her brand of romantic comedy where you’ll find yourself smiling like crazy (so be sure to keep your feels in check if you’re in a public place) or getting all hot and bothered (this woman brings the steam to her writing like no one’s business). Play With Me isn’t set in the Philippines, but setting is a moot discussion when we talk about how awesome this story is. In fact, I’m excited to share my review of book 2 at the blog next month, so watch out for that.
Damn, I should’ve mentioned Xavier Solomon as book boyfriend material as well, but I’m going to rectify that by mentioning Romancing the Bookworm as a great addition to the list. Who doesn’t love surfers and bookish heroines? I certainly like the interaction between Xavier and Tamara as well as the dynamics between their mutual friends. Evangelista also paints a vivid description of her setting, Maverick Bay, that I could almost hear the waves crashing and see the glistening bodies of people soaking up the sun by the beach. It’s likewise interesting to see the lengths Xavier had to go through to show his affection for Tamara.
Gal on the Go was my first Psicom chick lit book and it sparked my interest to read local Pinoy English romances. During these times, I’ve read Sophie Kinsella, Jane Green, and Jennifer Weiner that reading something close to home was such a welcome thing. I was able to relate to Bella de la Fuente, a career-oriented 20-something woman who had a stressful job as an events organizer. She was also hung up on her best friend Gino who returns to the country after studying in the US. Though the trope is familiar, it was still endearing to read about Belle and Gino’s happily ever after. Plus, there’s a childish minor character pegged as a too-kikay-for-her-own-good Filipina version of Jessica Simpson. There was a lot going on in the story and the romance was satisfying. I had a smile on my face after reading this book, and that’s a good indication of how much I enjoyed reading it.
Available on: Goodreads
There you have it! Do you have any favorite romances penned by Filipino authors that I may have missed? Do you have a Pinoy romance book I should read? Leave a comment and let’s talk!