The 37th National Book Awards
BREAKTHROUGH - Elfren S. Cruz (The Philippine Star) - November 8, 2018 - 12:00am

The Manila Critics Circle and the National Book Development Board proudly announced the winners of the 37th National Book Awards for books published in the Philippines in 2017 except for Meranaw which accepted publications during the years 2015 to 2017. The annual awarding ceremonies will be held at the National Museum on Saturday, Nov. 24, 6 pm.

The National Book Awards was originally conceptualized and established by professor, writer and journalist Isagani Cruz who chaired the Manila Critics Circle for decades , the body of writers and book reviewers reading and evaluating all the books. Cruz is credited for initiating this valued tradition in Philippine cultural life.

Today, the MCC chaired by Ruel de Vera works in partnership with the NBDB and a group of selected judges for every category in both the literary and non-literary divisions. With the growth of published titles each year, it has become necessary to work with other reader judges, recognized for their expertise in specific fields. MCC partnered with the NBDB to ensure that the awards would be institutionalized – and it is a milestone to mark its 37th year today. 

Non-Literary Division:

Best Book Design: Dead Balagtas, Tomo 1: Mga Sayaw ng Dagat at Lupa by Emiliana Kampilan, Designer, Adarna House, Inc.

Alfonso T. Ongpin Prize for Best Book on Art: The Life and Times of Purita Kalaw Ledesma by Purissima Benitez-Johannot, Vibal Foundation Inc.

Best Book on Professions: The Philippines Towards Resilient Cities and Communities by Felino Palafox Jr., Anvil Publishing Inc.

Elfren S. Cruz Prize for Best Book in the Social Sciences: Philippine Modernities: Music, Performing Arts, and Language, 1880-1941 by Jose S. Buenconsejo, University of the Philippines Press.

John C. Kaw Prize for Best Book on History: Cyclones and Earthquakes: The Jesuits, Prediction, Trade, & Spanish Dominion in Cuba & the Philippines, 1850-1898 by Aitor Anduaga, Ateneo de Manila University Press.

Best Book on Food: Feast with Me by Stephanie Zubiri, Anvil Publishing Inc.

Best Book in Science:  Traditional Medicine in the Philippines, 16th to the 19th Century by Ma. Mercedes G. Planta, University of the Philippines Press.

Best Book in Journalism:  Magandang Gabi Bayan: Nation, Journalism Discourse, and Television News in the Philippines by Estelle Marie M. Ladrido, Ateneo de Manila University Press.

Best Book on Humor, Sports, and Lifestyle: Playing with the Big Boys: Basketball, American Imperialism, and Subaltern Discourse in the Philippines by Lou Antolihao, Ateneo de Manila University Press.

Literary Division:

Best Novel in Filipino: Ang Ikatlong Anti-Kristo by Eros S. Atalia, Visprint Inc.

Best Novel in English: The Quiet Ones by Glenn Diaz, Ateneo de Manila University Press.

Gerardo P. Cabochan Prize for Best Book of Short Fiction in Filipino:  Ang Nawawala by Chuckberry J. Pascual, Visprint Inc.

Cirilo F. Bautista Prize for Best Book of Short Fiction in English:  Coral Cove and Other Stories by Angelo R. Lacuesta, University of Santo Tomas Publishing House.

Best Book of Nonfiction Prose in Filipino: Pag-ahon: Mga Kwentong Buhay ng mga Nanay by Luna Sicat Cleto, 8Letters Bookstore and Publishing.

Pablo A. Tan Prize for Best Book of Nonfiction Prose in English: Of Tyrants and Martyrs: A Political Memoir by Manuel C. Lahoz, University of the Philippines Press.

Best Book of Essays in English: The Thing with Feathers: My Book of Memories by Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, University of Santo Tomas Publishing House.

Best Anthology in Filipino:  May Tiktik sa Bubong, May Sigbin sa Silong by Allan N. Derain, Ateneo de Manila University Press.

Best Anthology in English: Tinalunay: Hinugpong Nga Panurat Nga Winaray by Merlie M. Alunan, University of the Philippines Press.

Best Book of Literary Criticism: Literary History: Elites and Ilustrados in Philippine Culture by Caroline S. Hau,  Ateneo de Manila University Press.

Victorio C. Valledor Prize for Best Book of Poetry in Filipino: Mga Sugat ng Naligaw sa Gubat by Emmanuel Q. Velasco, Ateneo de Naga University Press.

Philippine Literary Arts Council Prize Best Book of Poetry in English: Running with Ghosts by Merlie M. Alunan, Ateneo de Naga University Press.

Best Graphic Literature:  Dead Balagtas, Tomo 1: Mga Sayaw ng Dagat at Lupa by Emiliana Kampilan (Creator, Adarna House Inc.

Best Translated Book: Bamboo Whispers: Poetry of the Mangyan by Hanunuo Mangyan Poets of Mindoro, translated into English, Filipino, Spanish by Antoon Postma+, Resti R. Pitogo, Soledad Laviña, Sylvia Mayuga, Marne Kilates, Quintin Pastrana,  The Bookmark, Inc. and Mangyan Heritage Center Inc.

UNDAS footnotes:  My recent column on “Undas: a Filipino fiesta” elicited interesting and informative responses from readers Ana Quintos Sy-Quia, Maria Ramona Ledesma and Erlinda Panlilio who said that UNDAS  is a Spanish contraction of the Spanish, “Un dia de las almas,” meaning, “a day of the souls,” e.g., “All Souls’ Day.” 

Former senator and human rights icon Rene Saguisag remembers his Pasig childhood: “In my youth in Pasig, ‘mag-undas tayo,’ meant to appropriate some neighborhood chicken without the owner’s knowledge, much less, consent, for some hapi-hapi midnight supper or snack. Shallow and uncommon, only observed in our neck of the woods.

 Peks man, yan ang kinalakhan ko sa Pasig. Chicken owners were forewarned about the good-natured prank of the mischievous.”

Creative writing classes for kids, teens, adults

Young Writers’ Hangout on Nov. 10 with Grace Chong and Nov 24 with DM Reyes (1:30pm-3pm; stand-alone sessions), writing in the workplace with Ginny Santiago on Nov. 17  (1:30-4:30 pm) at Fully Booked BGC.  For details and registration,  email


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with