At least 35 Mindanao books published in the time of COVID-19

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 23 January) – The COVID-19 pandemic did not stop Mindanawons and non-Mindanawons from writing books about Mindanao: at least 35 books, mostly on history and literature were published in 2020 and 2021. 

Two of these won the Cardinal Sin Catholic Book Awards in November last year: Handumanan (Remembrance): Digging For the Indigenous Wellspring by Redemptorist Brother Karl Gaspar of Davao City, published in 2021 to mark the 500th year of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines, won in the Spirituality category while Spaces: Narratives about the Mission of Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF by journalist Ma. Frencie Carreon of Zamboanga City, published in 2020, won in the Ministry category.

Both books were published by Claretian Communications Foundation, Inc. in Quezon City. 

MindaNews  checked on university publications, private publishing houses and authors and recorded at least 35 books on Mindanao written by Mindanawons or non-Mindanawons, as well as books on other topics written by Mindanawons. At least 14 books were published in 2020 and at least 21 in 2021. Five of these books – two in 2020 and three in 2021 – are in Cebuano; one is a Meranaw translation of a book in Arabic, while another is in French. 

“Handumanan” by Karl Gaspar and “Spaces” by Frencie Carreon: winners of the Cardinal Sin Catholic Book Awards 2021 for Spirituality and Ministry.

The Davao City-based Gaspar, Mindanao’s most prolific book author, produced three during the two-year period: “Handumanan” and two books in Cebuano under his pseudonym Melchor M. Morante.  Eric S.B. Libre of Digos City wrote two books in Cebuano, one published in 2020, Inalisbo sa Pulbora, a collection of Binisayâ short stories and poems about armed conflict and the quest for peace, and a Binisaya joke book in 2021 while Jhoanna Lynn B. Cruz, also wrote two books, one each in 2020 and 2021. 

Two books on the Marawi siege were published in 2020, written by journalists Criselda Yabes and Carmela Fonbuena. Fonbuena’s book was nominated for the Witold Pilecki International Book Award, one of five nominees for a special prize for war correspondents. 

The Meranaw Cultural Heritage Center produced three books – two comic books on the Meranaw epic, Darangen,  in 2020 and a book on cultural heritage mapping. It also launched Mindanao’s first book in 2022: Rinarinaw, an anthology of poems in Meranaw. 

Among the books published in the time of COVID-19, 2020 and 2021. MindaNews photo by Carolyn O. Arguillas

2021 BOOKS

1. Ang Dagayday sa Panahong Nanglabay
Melchor M. Morante  
Aletheia Printing and Publishing House, Davao City 

2. Ascending the Fourth Moutnain: A Personal Account of the Marcos Years
Maria Virginia Yap Morales
Bughaw, an imprint of the Ateneo de Manila University Press, Quezon City. 

3. Balasahon sa mga Agik-ik ug Talidhay (Book of Giggles and Laughter)
Eric S.B. Libre
Lulu Publishing, United States

4. Beyond the Bansalan Skies
Leila Rispens Noel 
8Letters Bookstore & Publishing, Manila 

5. Civilizational Imperatives 
Oliver Charbonneau 
Ateneo de Manila University Press, Quezon City

6. Coffee Table, Hesus, pwede ta mag-estorya?
Ateneo de Davao University Publication Office, Davao City 

7. Davao – Reconstructing History from Text and Memory (2nd edition)
Macario D. Tiu
Ateneo de Davao University Publication Office, Davao City 

8. Des nomades a l’arret: Corps, lieux et cosmologie des Blaan de Malbulen (Philippines)
[Nomads at a Standstill: Body, Places and Cosmology of the Blaan of Malbulen (Philippines)]
Antoine Laugrand 

9. Diaspora Journey: Stories of Philippine Migration to Hong Kong.
Editors: Leila Rispens-Noel, Heda Bayron, Felma Joy Tadios-Arenas and Cindy Wong 
WIMLER Foundation Hong Kong, Ltd. 

10. GAHANDOLANSAY (Garay, Handumanan, Pamalandong ug Saysay)
Elvi C. Tamayo
Blue Iguana Computer Consultancy Services, Davao City

11. Handumanan (Remembrance): Digging for the Indigenous Spirituality
Karl M. Gaspar
Claretian Communications Foundation Inc., Quezon City  

12. Pamorawag: Marawi City’s Cultural Heritage Mapping 2021 Edition 
MSU Cultural Heritage Mappers 
Meranaw Cultural Heirtage Center, Mindanao State University – Marawi 

13. PagTuhan: The Tausug Spiritual Tradition
Darwin J. Absari
University of the Philippines Press, Quezon City 

14. Prayer book, Hesus, pwede ta mag-estorya? 
Ateneo de Davao University Publication Office, Davao City 

15. Remembrances of Davao and Beyond
Fr. Renato C. Ocampo, SJ
Ateneo de Davao University Publication Office, Davao City 

16. The Challenges of Reporting Violent Extremism: Lessons from Mindanao 
Carolyn O. Arguillas. Anna Tarhata Basman. Dalomabi Lao Bula. Amalia B. Cabusao. Jose Jowel Canuday. Sittie Ayeesha Dicali. Elin Anisha Guro. Samira Ali Gutoc. Gail Tan Ilagan. Mansoor L. Limba. Milet B. Mendoza. H. Marcos C. Mordeno. Macapado A. Muslim. Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI. Vic M. Taylor 
Edited by Carolyn O. Arguillas
MindaNews Publications, Davao City 

17. The Sulu Zone, 1768–1898: The Dynamics of External Trade, Slavery, and Ethnicity in the Transformation of a Southeast Asian Maritime State
40th anniversary edition with revised Intro and a Foreword by Noelle Rodriguez
James Warren
Ateneo de Manila University Press, Quezon City

18. The Untold Stories of Camiguin
Andres Narros Lluch 
Xavier University Press, Cagayan de Oro City 

19. Tingle: Anthology of Pinay Lesbian Writing 
Jhoanna Lynn B. Cruz
Anvil Publishing, Inc., Mandaluyong

20. Tinubdan: New Voices from Northern Mindanao
1and Lilia Abregana Cotejar 
Funded by CHED, this project was undertaken by Xavier University’s  Department of English Language and Literature as Center of Development for Literature.

21. The year 2021 also saw the publication of  Manga Katharo si-i ko: Bitikan a langkap sa doniya a kamamanosiyae go so Islam, a Meranaw translation of “Maqalat fi ‘l-qanun ad-duwali al-insani wa-‘l Islam,” Arabic for “Articles on Islam and International Humanitarian Law,” compiled and edited by the renowned Tunisian scholar Dr. Ameru Zammali, former Islamic World Advisor of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).  Published by the ICRC, the book has 15 articles written by different scholars from Middle East, Africa and Europe on the intersection of Islamic law and international humanitarian law.

The book was translated from Arabic to Meranaw by Dr. Abdussalam S. Disomimba, Ph.D., Dr. Anwar M. Radiamoda, Ph.D,  Alim Abdulmajeed D. Djamla, Alim Abdurasad A. Sarangani, Alim Alinor G. Umpara, Alim Mohammad Hadi M. Macarampat, Alim Ansary H. Bato, and was edited and reviewed by Prof. Dr. Abdulkadir M. Ayo, Dean of the King Faisal Center for Islamic, Arabic and Asian Studies at the Mindanao State University (MSU) main campus in Marawi City. 


1. A Timeline of Mindanao Disasters
Alfredo Mahar A. Lagmay and Ma. Criselda B. Baldago
University of the Philippines Press, Quezon City 

2. Abi Nako, or so I thought 
Jhoanna Lynn B. Cruz 
University of the Philippines Press, Quezon City 

3. Biyaheng Pinoy: A Mindanao Travelogue 
Edilberto N. Alegre 
Ateneo de Manila University Press, Quezon City 

4. Butuan in the Pre-Colonial International System: Reconstructing International History from Text, Memory, and Artifacts
John Harvey D. Gamas
Ateneo de Davao University Research Council 

5. Darangen 
Alongan Piseyanan
Illustrated by Mikha Annisah M. Alawi 
Meranaw Culture Heritage Center
Mindanao State University, Marawi City 

6. Darangen Manga Kaplomna 7.A
Kormatan Borodan 
Illustrated by Mikha Annisah M. Alawi 
Meranaw Culture Heritage Center
Mindanao State University, Marawi City 

7. Inalisbo sa Pulbora: Piniling mga Sugilanon ug Balak 
Eric S.B. Libre 
Blue Patriarch Publishing House, Davao City 

8. Kinaadman Journal Volume 42
Xavier University 
Xavier University Press, Cagayan de Oro City 

9. Klaro na Masyado: Poems in Tacurong and Kabacan Tagalog 
Gerald C. Galindez
Kasingkasing Press, Iloilo City 

10. Making Mindanao: Cotabato and Davao in the Formation of the Philippine Nation-State (Expanded edition)
Patricio N. Abinales 
Ateneo de Manila University Press, Quezon City 

11. Marawi Siege: Stories from the Front Lines
Carmela S. Fonbuena
Journalism for Nation Building Foundation, Pasig City 

12. Mga Lumadnong Sugilanon nga Mahinuklogon 
Melchor M. Morante
Aletheia Printing and Publishing House, Davao City 

13. Spaces: Narratives About the Mission of Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF
Maria Frencie Carreon
Claretian Communications Foundation, Inc., Quezon City 

14. The Battle of Marawi
Criselda Yabes
Pawikan Press, Davao City 

The Office of Member of Parliament Rasol Mitmug, Deputy Minority Leader at the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, initiated in 2021 the online publication of  the Bangsamoro Literary Review (BLR) which consists of short  stories, poems, essays, comics, illustrations, literary translations, and hybrid narratives, in an of the languages used in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. 

Two volumes of the BLR have been published, with Gutierrez “Teng” Mangansakan II and  Kristine Ong Muslim as editors. 

Mitmug’s office has also published in book form but in portable document format, an Accomplishment Report 2019 to 2021, the Bangsamoro Administrative Code, Bangsamoro Education Code of 2021, Bangsamoro Civil Service Code, RA 11054 or the Organic Law for the BARMM; Parliamentary Rules, Procedures, and Practices of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority; and People’s Budget, Bangsamoro Halal Ecosystem Program. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)