Looking for Philippine Folk Tales?

I’m part of a  new small storytelling group in Manila.  For my piece, I want something unique, something not so familiar among kids. We probably know a lot of western children stories and a lot of Grimm’s fairy tales.  For this reason, I prefer to use a Filipino story. The problem with Filipino children stories or must I say Philippine literature in general. They are not available on the internet.  You’ll probably find a few but very limited. You have to go to libraries and book stores to find one. Luckily, I  found this book in National Book Store. It is a collection of Philippine folk tales about fruits.  It has eight stories. Some of which are  popular ones such as Why the Pina Has a Hundred Eyes, How the Lasones Became Edible, Why the Mango is Shaped Like a Hear, The Story of First Coconut Tree. 

It  astounds me that I only get to know some of these tales as an adult such as  The Story of the First Durian,  Why the Guava Wears a Crown, The Story of the First Banana Plant,  The Legend of the First Makopa Tree.  With this kind of books, there is no excuse to repeat the same stories to children. We have a lot of stories.  We just lack exposure. We, who are stoytellers, teachers, and adults can promote the richness of  Philippine children literature.  And stories feel  closer to us  if the subjects are very familiar to us such  the fruits we regularly eat such as banana, pineapple, and coconut.

This  book suits all ages but smaller kids may not pay much attention. The illustrations are colorless and the characters do no look  cute-like creatures in Cartoon Network.  It is written in a simple language. It is easy to understand, easy to memorize but it is not playful. Hence, if you are reading this  out loud in front of kids, you should be more creative in your delivery.

Philippine Children Books

If you are running out of children stories, go back to folk tales 🙂

9 thoughts on “Looking for Philippine Folk Tales?

  1. You are such a great writer! And I really like your blogs.
    Being the teacher that I am when I wasn’t retired, I went to a Filipino store in National City, San Diego County, in Calif, and looked for Filipino children’s stories, and lo and behold, I found quite a few. I looked in my storage bins and found just two, the rest I gave to my grandchildren, and I have a few in Dumaguete. I will send you the names of the rest when I see my little girls soon and also when I return to Dumaguete. These are two that I have now. The Carabao-Turtle Race and Other Classic Philippine Animal Folk Tales by Sylvia Mendez Ventura, and A Sea of Stories (Tales from Sulu) by Carla M Pacis .


    1. so happy that you’ve been reading my blog! thank you very much! It’s good to know that you read and have copies of Filipino folk tales. They are worth a treasure. You can’t easily find them…..and great, you find them in California?! 🙂


  2. love the philippine folk tales… it brings me back.. hahaha!

    A friend brought a book of Philippine folk tales here… like the legend of mango (or something similar). Anyway, our Russian friends got curious and asked what the book is about. Not that I don’t want to tell the story, but since it was in Filipino, made it difficult for me to translate it in English. Hahaha! Regardless, I manage to tell the story and they appreciated it.


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