Today in our very modern world and with our technology, our children are admittedly drawn to Western books and culture instead of our very own Philippine folktales for kids or even songs.
As parents, we are responsible to introduce to them the wonderful world of our very own folktales and start telling them the tales we have heard in our own childhood.
With numerous indigenous tribes spread over our 7.641 islands, the Philippines is definitely rich with legends, myths, and Philippine folktales for kids that speak so much about our history and better yet our culture.
Here’s a list of beautifully-illustrated series of classic Philippine folktales for kids.
10 Philippine folktales for kids that your kid will enjoy!
Abadeha: The Philippine Cinderella (Myrna J. Dela Paz)
Abadeha: The Philippine Cinderella is the story of a girl who wept and prayed, and alas she saw a beautiful woman, bathed in radiant light, who appeared to take her worries away.
So go the blessings of Cinderella’s fairy godmother throughout the struggles and eventual triumphs of a young girl against her oppressors.
Set in the exotic islands of the Philippines, this tale captures the mystical charm of the indigenous culture of the Filipinos.
Colorful images of pre-colonial Philippine scenes, costumes, architecture, and folkways vividly enhance the enchanting narratives.
This retelling of lasting value and universal appeal conveys the deep respect and reverence for nature and the earth inherent in the forever-loved story that will never grow old.
Tuko and the Birds: A Tale from the Philippines (Shirley Climo)
Tuko and the Birds: A Tale from the Philippines is a story about a Tuko arriving in a peaceful small Philippine island of Luzon.
The men fished, the women cooked, the children played games, and the birds sang. Everyone knew it was time for bed when they heard the birds’ good-night song.
Then Tuko arrived. Tuko, the gecko, bellowed his name five times every time he ate—day or night. Everyone was miserable from lack of sleep. That is, until Haribon the eagle devised a plan to trick Tuko into leaving for good.
Tuko and the Birds is a 2009 Bank Street—Best Children’s Book of the Year.
Ang Pambihirang Buhok ni Lola (Rene O. Villanueva)
Ang Pambihirang Buhok ni Lola is a story about a violent storm that threatens an old town and an old grandmother attempts to save everybody.
How will she do this? This folktale is not so much about Lola’s extraordinary hair as it is about the Filipina’s extraordinary strength of character.
Ang Pambihirang Buhok ni Lola is a 2003 Best Children’s Book on National Book Award.
The Turtle and the Monkey (Paul Galdone)
The Turtle and the Monkey is a story about a Turtle who needs Monkey’s help in getting the banana tree out of the river, but he’s sorry later when greedy Monkey demands more than his share of the fruit.
Haluhalo Espesyal (Yvette Fernandez)
Haluhalo Espesyal is a story about Jackie who has been sick for a week! Her mother has been giving her all the medicine she needs but nothing seems to work.
Suddenly, Lola Itang comes to visit. Can Lola Itang’s enchanted kitchen restore Jackie’s healthy, happy self?
Recommended for children ages 6-7—the book was developed with the help of Grade 3 pupils from Alabang Elementary School; College of St. Catherine; and Maitim Elementary School, Tagaytay, Philippines (School Year 2005-2006).
Lakas and the Manilatown Fish (Anthony D. Robles)
Lakas and the Manilatown Fish is a story about a fish that can talk. It can jump and play and run—especially run, just like a small boy.
When Lakas and his dad go shopping, they meet a very special fish that can do all these things and more! But this fish won’t stay put in its fish tank.
Once it leaps out, a cast of unusual Manilatown characters chases it down Kearny Street and all the way to San Francisco Bay.
Hoy, hoy! Will Lakas and his friends ever catch this sly and charming fish? Lakas and the Manilatown Fish is the first-ever bilingual English-Tagalog story set in the U.S., reflecting the historical heart of the Filipino community.
Filipino Friends (Liana Romulo)
Filipino Friends is a story about a Filipino-American boy visiting the Philippines for the very first time.
Each watercolor illustration is labeled with English words and their Filipino translations and shows readers both the similarities and differences between Western and Philippine lifestyles.
Filipino Friends, perfect for Filipino-American’s or those just interested in the culture, is indispensable in bridging the gap between the two cultures.
Following the sweet multicultural children’s story, kids will learn about Philippine customs and traditions, including:
- Filipino festivals and celebrations
- Traditional dress
- Snacks and meals
- Songs and games
- The Filipino language—Tagalog—and more!
Filipino Children’s Favorite Stories (Liana Romulo)
Filipino Children’s Favorite Stories presents thirteen well-loved myths and tales from the Philippines. These stories will enchant six to ten-year-old readers around the world with their wit and charm.
Many of the tales have been transmitted from mother to child over centuries, and cover classic childhood themes—such as the forces of good triumphing over evil, children rebelling against adults and the weak prevailing over the strong.
Narrated with an international audience in mind and illustrated with whimsical watercolors by award-winning artist Joanne de Leon, this is a must-have collection of tales for anyone interested in the Philippines.
Featured Filipino stories include:
- Why Mosquitoes Buzz Around Our Ears
- The Magic Lake
- The Deer and the Snail
- Why the Cock Crows
- The Prince’s Bride
The Filipino Children’s Favorite Stories series was created to share the folktales and legends most beloved by children in the East with young readers of all backgrounds in the West.
Cora Cooks Pancit (Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore)
Cora Cooks Pancit is a story about a girl named Cora who loves being in the kitchen, but she always gets stuck doing the kid jobs like licking the spoon.
One day, however, when her older sisters and brother head out, Cora finally gets the chance to be Mama’s assistant chef.
And of all the delicious Filipino dishes that dance through Cora’s head, she and Mama decide to make pancit, her favorite noodle dish.
With Mama’s help, Cora does the grown-up jobs like shredding the chicken and soaking the noodles, but perhaps Mama won’t notice if she takes a nibble of chicken or sloshes a little water on the floor.
Cora even gets to stir the noodles in the pot carefully, while Mama supervises. When dinner is finally served, her siblings find out that Cora did all their grown-up tasks, and Cora waits anxiously to see what everyone thinks of her cooking.
Lakas and the Makibaka Hotel (Anthony D. Robles)
Lakas and the Makibaka Hotel is a story about a boy named Lakas who strolls through his neighborhood one sunny afternoon, the last thing he expects to find is a group of drum-beating, tap-dancing, karaoke-singing new friends.
But these new friends face a crisis: the Makibaka Hotel, where they make their home, is about to be sold. They must pack their belongings and leave their home in thirty days. Unless….
Lakas soon leads his new friends Tick A. Boom, Firefoot, and Fernando the Karaoke King in a rollicking protest against their eviction.
Before long the streets of the neighborhood reverberate with the taps, raps, and chants of Makibaka—of struggle, spirit, and laughter.
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