Reading books about Philippine history doesn't just teach us about our past; it also helps us move forward as a nation. As our national hero Jose Rizal once said, “He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination.” More than a century after his death and the wisdom behind this popular quote still rings true.
Choosing a history book to read can be a quite daunting task. There are a lot of things that you should consider like the period in history you want to read about and which books give credible accounts. In this article, we've created a list of Philippine history books you can purchase online and crafted a buying guide that can help you decide which one to bury your nose in this weekend.
Here are some key points to consider:
For more detailed information, read through our buying guide below.
Our history spans hundreds and thousands of years, and it would help to narrow it down to different periods you want to read about. Here is a breakdown that can help you out.
Precolonial history refers to the time when indigenous peoples took part in healthy trade with different cultures and economies in the region. The earliest settlers in our country are believed to have reached the country through land bridges. Choose this if you want to learn about our earliest ancestors and their way of life before we were colonized by Spain.
The Spanish colonial rule lasted for 333 years - from 1521 to 1898. These accounts start with Magellan’s arrival at the island of Homonhon and end with the establishment of the first republic of the Philippines. Choose these books if you want to read about the history of Christianity and the birth of many revolutionary heroes.
Just as we were establishing our independence from Spain, the United States took possession of our country after winning the Spanish-American war. This is the time of the First Philippine Republic and its transition to a Commonwealth government, World War II, and our liberation from American rule. Purchase these books if you want to learn about the events from 1898 to 1946.
What happened after we gained independence from the Americans? If you've been wondering about the real state of postcolonial Philippines, you should read up on history books tackling Philippine history after 1946.
This was a time of postwar Philippines, the Huk Rebellion, and programs aimed at developing and diversifying the economy. Buy these books if you want to know more about the things that happened from 1946 to 1965.
There are many dependable historians who chronicled the events that happened during Ferdinand Marcos’ presidency. His first term as president started in 1965, and he was re-elected in 1969. To stay in power, he declared Martial Law in 1972. If you want to read credible sources on what really happened at this time, look for history books with factual stories from 1966 to 1986.
The best books about Philippine history are those written by highly respected authors and historians. One of the easiest ways to know about the reliability of a historian is to check if they work at an academic institution. It is best to choose history books written by those who are knee-deep in the academe because they have a scholarly reputation to uphold that ensures their credibility.
Meanwhile, books that are acknowledged by esteemed institutions validate their credibility, as it shows the high-quality reading that awaits you. Also, check for reviews from reputable publications. If they have written a favorable review, then the book is definitely worth buying.
Depending on your preference, there are different types and formats of books that you can choose from. Here are some of them:
To give you a rundown, here are our top 5 picks for the best books about Philippine history you can buy online:
Best for learning about Martial Law: The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos
Best for learning about the Filipino identity: Culture and History
Best for learning about the Spanish and American colonial era: A History of the Philippines
Best for learning about the country's most famous hero: Rizal Without The Overcoat
Patricio Abinales and Donna Amoroso
Ambeth R. Ocampo
Luis H. Francia
Jose F. Lacaba
James M. Scott
State and Society in the Philippines
The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos
Culture and History
A History of the Philippines
Rizal Without the Overcoat
A History of the Philippines
A Nation Aborted: Rizal, American Hegemony, and Philippine Nationalism
In Our Image
Days of Disquiet, Nights of Rage
An Updated Account of Philippine History
Firsthand Accounts From the Dictator's Inner Circle
Merging History With Self-Examination
Learn How Philippine Class Structure Shapes History
Humanizing the Philippine National Hero
Putting Colonial Rule Under a Magnifying Glass
Exploring Philippine Nationalism During and After the American Colonial Era
How American Imperialism Still Exists Long After They've Left
Transporting Readers to the First Quarter Storm
A Closer Look at the 29-Day Battle of Manila
|Price Starts at||₱520||₱650||₱795||₱3,650.09||₱350||₱171.26||₱640||₱557.99||₱1,700||₱787|
|Period||Pre-colonial Era to the First Year of Rodrigo Duterte's Presidency||Marcos Era||Pre-Colonial to Post - Independence||Spanish Period to Second World War||Pre-Colonial||Pre-colonial to Post-Marcos Era||American Colonial Period to Post-colonial Philippines||American Colonial Rule||Marcos Era||American Colonial Rule|
|About the Author||Abinales: Historian; Professor, School for Pacific and Asian Studies (University of Hawaii-Manoa); Director, Center for Philippine Studies (University of Hawaii-Manoa) Amoroso: Researcher and Editor, Center for Southeast Asian Studies (Kyoto University)||Journalist Turned Propagandist for President Marcos||National Artist of the Philippines for Literature; Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts; Three-time Carlos Palanca Memorial Award Winner||Journalist; Professor - University of the Philippines Diliman, University of the Philippines Manila, Far Eastern University, Adamson University, Arellano University||Fukuoka Prize (Academic); Grand Cross of the Order of Lakandula With Rank of Bayani; Presidential Medal of Merit; Knight Grand Officer (K.G.O.R) in the Order of the Knights of Rizal; Order of Civil Merit With the Rank of Commander (Encomienda); Ordre Des Arts Et Des Lettres With the Rank of Officier; National Book Award 3-Time Awardee||Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature; PEN Open Book Award; Asian American Literary Award Winner; Filipino American National Historical Society, Metro New York Chapter Lifetime Achievement Award; Gawad Balagtas Award for literature, UMPIL (Writers Union of the Philippines); Knights of Rizal Award for Achievements in Arts and Literature; National Book Development Board and the Manila Critics’ Circle National Book Award||Historian; Professor; TV Director and Producer; Founder, Research Institute for Sustainable Alternatives (RISAL)||Pulitzer Prize in History; Shorenstein Prize; Overseas Press Club Awards||Journalist; Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Poetry in Filipino||Pulitzer Prize Finalist; Nieman Fellow at Harvard; Gilder Lehrman Prize for Military History Finalist|
|Length||615 pages||430 pages||211 pages||459 pages||256 pages||352 pages||344 pages||494 pages||178 pages||635 pages|
|Publisher||Rowman & Littlefield, Inc.||Ateneo de Manila University Press||Anvil Publishing||Monthly Review Press||Anvil Publishing||The Overlook Press, Peter Mayer Publishers, Inc.||Ateneo de Manila University Press||Ballantine Books||Asphodel Books||W. W. Norton & Company|
|Format||Paperback, eBook||Paperback, eBook||Paperback||Hardbound||Paperback||eBook, Paperback||Paperback||eBook||Paperback||Paperback|
The products we introduce below were carefully curated by the mybest team, from the best-sellers of E-commerce sites like Lazada, and using the points mentioned in our detailed and thoroughly researched buying guide.
**Prices may vary depending on the website and their campaign period**
|Period||Pre-colonial Era to the First Year of Rodrigo Duterte's Presidency|
|About the Author||Abinales: Historian; Professor, School for Pacific and Asian Studies (University of Hawaii-Manoa); Director, Center for Philippine Studies (University of Hawaii-Manoa) Amoroso: Researcher and Editor, Center for Southeast Asian Studies (Kyoto University)|
|Publisher||Rowman & Littlefield, Inc.|
|About the Author||Journalist Turned Propagandist for President Marcos|
|Publisher||Ateneo de Manila University Press|
|Period||Pre-Colonial to Post - Independence|
|About the Author||National Artist of the Philippines for Literature; Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts; Three-time Carlos Palanca Memorial Award Winner|
From the Spanish Colonization to the Second World War
|Period||Spanish Period to Second World War|
|About the Author||Journalist; Professor - University of the Philippines Diliman, University of the Philippines Manila, Far Eastern University, Adamson University, Arellano University|
|Publisher||Monthly Review Press|
|About the Author||Fukuoka Prize (Academic); Grand Cross of the Order of Lakandula With Rank of Bayani; Presidential Medal of Merit; Knight Grand Officer (K.G.O.R) in the Order of the Knights of Rizal; Order of Civil Merit With the Rank of Commander (Encomienda); Ordre Des Arts Et Des Lettres With the Rank of Officier; National Book Award 3-Time Awardee|
From Indios Bravos to Filipinos
|Period||Pre-colonial to Post-Marcos Era|
|About the Author||Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature; PEN Open Book Award; Asian American Literary Award Winner; Filipino American National Historical Society, Metro New York Chapter Lifetime Achievement Award; Gawad Balagtas Award for literature, UMPIL (Writers Union of the Philippines); Knights of Rizal Award for Achievements in Arts and Literature; National Book Development Board and the Manila Critics’ Circle National Book Award|
|Publisher||The Overlook Press, Peter Mayer Publishers, Inc.|
|Period||American Colonial Period to Post-colonial Philippines|
|About the Author||Historian; Professor; TV Director and Producer; Founder, Research Institute for Sustainable Alternatives (RISAL)|
|Publisher||Ateneo de Manila University Press|
America's Empire in the Philippines
|Period||American Colonial Rule|
|About the Author||Pulitzer Prize in History; Shorenstein Prize; Overseas Press Club Awards|
|About the Author||Journalist; Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Poetry in Filipino|
MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila
|Period||American Colonial Rule|
|About the Author||Pulitzer Prize Finalist; Nieman Fellow at Harvard; Gilder Lehrman Prize for Military History Finalist|
|Publisher||W. W. Norton & Company|
Below are some of the most asked questions on the web answered by the mybest team.
History reveals truths, lies, rights, and wrongs. That's why Philippine history is important: we understand the present conditions we are in and recognize the things we should improve on. To learn history is to create a better present and future for all of us!
If there's something that will and should always remain relevant, it should be our own history! Our country's past is still the key to most of the societal problems we have today. Take Dr. Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere which reflected the Philippine society under Spanish colonial rule: published in 1887, but the lessons it contains are still relevant to the contemporary state of our country.
Start them young! It's always best to let your child have a grasp of our country's history as early as first grade by encouraging them to read a book about Philippine history. There are history books made for children that you can use to train them in reading and speaking in Filipino and English!
Are you looking for more books to beef up your home library? Here are some recommended titles that could help you diversify your collection at home.
Author: Laura Mercado
Editor; Re-editor: Ayeza Mangulabnan, Ronadine Amata
Our buying guide was carefully researched and crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors. We used the buying guide as a basis for choosing and ranking the product recommendations, and we looked at reviews and ratings from E-commerce sites like Lazada, Shopee, and more.
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