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If You Like This Song, Read This Book – Filipino Edition

If You Like This Song, Read This Book – Filipino Edition

Have you ever had the experience of reading a book when a particular song comes to mind? Yes, we get you, bookworm! As we Read Filipino this August to highlight the vast, unique experiences and cultures of Filipinos, no matter where they are in the world, we also have some Original Pinoy Music (OPM) songs you can check out while browsing through the pages.

In celebration of Filipino Reads Fest, here are Pinoy book-and-song pairings we think are worth adding to your to-be-read lists and Spotify playlists.

A Song About Space by Reese Lansangan

We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly

A Song About Space by Reese Lansangan—which was also featured in NASA’s #LaunchAmerica campaign in 2020—is the ultimate pair for this thematically rich novel. Similarly to one of the lines in the song, “Swimming inside my own galaxy,” We Dream of Space’s Cash, Fitch, and Bird Nelson Thomas also exist in their own orbits with little in common except an enthusiastic science teacher—the reason why their lives will bring them together in unexpected ways.

Newbery Medalist and bestselling author Erin Entrada Kelly treats readers on an unforgettable journey through this middle-grade book about family, friendship, science, and exploration.

Paninindigan by Ben&Ben

Fairest by Meredith Talusan

Both Meredith Talusan’s Fairest and Ben&Ben’s Paninindigan celebrate love: a kind of love that is celebrated and shared by all. Fairest is a coming-of-age memoir of a Filipino boy with albinism who would grow up to become a woman in America while Paninindigan is about expressing persistence in pursuing romantic love by taking inspiration from the love story of the band’s keyboardist Pat Lasaten and bassist Agnes Romea.

Be inspired by the beautifully written novel Fairest which illuminates the illusions of race, disability, and gender while listening to Ben&Ben’s hit single Paninindigan.

Bakunawa by Munimuni

The Mythology Class: Where Philippine Legends Become Reality by Arnold Arre

The Philippine National Book Award winner fuses traditional myth and magic with contemporary action. Arnold Arre’s The Mythology Class features world-building and an adventure epic with the humor, warmth, and insight of a coming-to-age tale. If you’re into mythology and fantasy, Bakunawa by Munimuni is a must-listen for you. “Si Bakunawa kasi ay yung parang dragon sa Philippine mythology. Sinusubukan niyang kainin ang buwan, kaya daw may lunar eclipse. Yung eclipse, naging representation siya sa akin ng mga panahon na malungkot ako… [pero] may pag-asa pa rin [sa dulo]: ‘balang araw iluluwa rin ang buwan, ibabalik ang liwanag ng nakaraan,” shared Adj Jiao, vocalist and guitarist of Munimuni.

Know more about Philippine mythology with The Mythology Class while singing to Bakunwa.

Burnout by Sugarfree

The Last Time I’ll Write About You by Dawn Lanuza

OPM icon Sugarfree’s Burnout is a lost love’s life anthem with its heartbreaking lyrics hiding beneath the song’s upbeat melody. This makes it the apt soundtrack to The Last Time I’ll Write About You — Dawn Lanuza’s debut collection of beautiful and relatable poems about first love; the perfect companion for anyone who has loved, lost, and emerged anew. Burnout and The Last Time I’ll Write About You teach us to have the courage to say what we truly feel; both promise to love beyond flaws and convenience, even if it means reaching a dead end.

Paagi by Up Dharma Down

Trese by Budjette Tan, Kajo Baldisimo

There is no song suitable to pair with Trese other than Up Dharma Down’s Paagi, which translates to “excuse me” in English or “tabi-tabi po” in Bisaya. Why? Simply because Paagi is the theme song of the Netflix anime adaptation of Trese! Writer Budjette Tan and illustrator Kajo Baldisimo’s award-winning Filipino comic book series tells the story of Alexandra Trese, a detective who deals with crimes of supernatural origin. Netflix Philippines even released a video of Up Dharma Down performing Paagi as part of their promotion for the adaptation. Watch it here.

Hakbang by Cheats

America Is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo

Hakbang is performed by the seven-piece indie rock band Cheats who is known for their songs Accidents and Newspaper Girl. The song is a reflection of what a couple goes through during the pandemic, while America Is Not the Heart talks about three generations of women from one immigrant family trying to reconcile the home they left behind with the life they’re building in America. Even if the book’s plot isn’t centered on a pandemic, both the song and Elaine Castillo’s novel share a common theme: the struggle of transitioning to an unfamiliar circumstance. So, if you pick up this highly-acclaimed novel, don’t forget to put Cheats’ Hakbang on full blast!

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