Lualhati Bautista

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Lualhati Bautista
Lualhati Torres Bautista

(1945-12-02) December 2, 1945 (age 73)
Alma materLyceum of the Philippines University
OccupationNovelist, film and television screenwriter

Lualhati Torres Bautista (born December 2, 1945) is one of the foremost Filipino female novelists in the history of contemporary Philippine literature. Her novels include Dekada '70, Bata, Bata, Pa'no Ka Ginawa?, and ‘GAPÔ.


Bautista was born in Tondo, Manila, Philippines on December 2, 1945, to Esteban Bautista and Gloria Torres. She graduated from Emilio Jacinto Elementary School in 1958, and from Torres High School in 1962. She was a journalism student at the Lyceum of the Philippines, but dropped out because she had always wanted to be a writer and schoolwork was taking too much time.[citation needed] Her first short story, "Katugon ng Damdamin,"[1] was published in Liwayway Magazine and thus started her writing career.[2]

Despite a lack of formal training, Bautista as a writer became known for her honest realism, courageous exploration of Philippine women's issues, and compelling female protagonists who confront difficult situations at home and in the workplace with uncommon grit and strength.

Works as novelist[edit]

Bautista garnered several Palanca Awards (1980, 1983 and 1984) for her novels ‘GAPÔ, Dekada '70 and Bata, Bata… Pa’no Ka Ginawa?, which exposed injustices and chronicled women's activism during the Marcos era.

‘GAPÔ, the Palanca Awards 1980 grand prize winner, published in 1992, is the story of a man coming to grips with life as an Amerasian. It is a multi-layered scrutiny of the politics behind US bases in the Philippines, seen from the point of view of ordinary citizens living in Olongapo City.

Dekada '70 is the story of a family caught in the middle of the tumultuous decade of the 1970s. It details how a middle-class family struggled and faced the changes that empowered Filipinos to rise against the Marcos government. These events happened after the bombing of Plaza Miranda, the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, the proclamation of martial law and the random arrests of political prisoners. The oppressive nature of the Marcos regime, which made the people become more radical, and the shaping of the decade were all witnessed by the female protagonist, Amanda Bartolome, the mother of five boys.

Bata, Bata… Pa'no Ka Ginawa?, literally, "Child, Child… How Were You Made?", narrates the life of Lea, a working mother and a social activist, who has two children. In the end, all three, and especially Lea, have to confront Philippine society’s view of single motherhood. The novel deals with the questions of how it is to be a mother, and how a mother executes this role through modern-day concepts of parenthood.

Bautista's 2013 book In Sisterhood received the Filipino Readers' Choice Award Nominee for Fiction in Filipino/Taglish in 2014, organized by the Filipino Book Bloggers Group.[3]

In 2015, Bautista launched the book Sixty in the City, about the life of friends Guia, Roda and Menang, who are in their mid-60s and realize that there's a good life in being just a wife, mother and homemaker.[4]

Short stories[edit]

Two of Bautista's short stories won the Palanca Awards, namely "Tatlong Kwento ng Buhay ni Juan Candelabra" (Three Stories in the Life of Juan Candelabra), first prize, 1982; and "Buwan, Buwan, Hulugan mo Ako ng Sundang" (Moon, Moon, Drop Me a dagger), third prize, 1983.

In 1991 Bautista with Cacho Publishing House, published a compilation of short stories entitled Buwan, Buwan, Hulugan Mo Ako ng Sundang: Dalawang Dekada ng Maiikling Kuwento.[5]

As screenwriter[edit]

Bautista's venture as a screenwriter produced several critically acclaimed works. Her first screenplay was Sakada (Seasonal Sugarcane Workers), 1976, which exposed the plight of Filipino peasants. Her second film was Kung Mahawi Man ang Ulap in 1984, which was nominated for awards in the Film Academy of the Philippines. Also written during the same year was Bulaklak ng City Jail, based on her novel about imprisoned women, which won almost all awards for that year from various awards guilds including Star Awards and Metro Manila Film Festival. In 1998 her work was used for Chito Rono's film adaptation of Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa, starring Vilma Santos. In 2000 she wrote Gusto Ko Nang Lumigaya, the screenplay for Maryo J Delos Reyes' political drama thriller.

Other honors[edit]

Bautista became a national fellow for fiction of the University of the Philippines Creative Writing Center in 1986. She also served as vice-president of the Screenwriters Guild of the Philippines and as chair of the Kapisanan ng mga Manunulat ng Nobelang Popular.

She was the only Filipino included in a book on foremost international women writers published in Japan in 1991.

Bautista was honored by the Ateneo Library of Women's Writings on March 10, 2004 during the 8th Annual Lecture on Vernacular Literature by Women. In 2005, the Feminist Centennial Film Festival presented her with a recognition award for her outstanding achievement in screenplay writing. In 2006, she was given the Diwata Award for best writer by the 16th International Women's Film Festival of the UP Film Center.[6][7]

Translations of her novels[edit]

Excerpts of Bautista's novels have been anthologized in Tulikärpänen, a book of short stories written by Filipino women published in Finland by The Finnish-Philippine Society (FPS), a non-governmental organization founded in 1988. Tulikärpänen was edited and translated by Riitta Vartti, et al. In Firefly: Writings by Various Authors, the English version of the Finnish collection, the excerpt from the Filipino novel Gapô was given the title "The Night in Olongapo", while the excerpt from Bata, Bata, Pa'no Ka Ginawa? was titled "Children's Party".[8][9][10][11]

A full translation of Bautista's best works could better represent the characteristics of Filipino writing in international publishing. Dekada '70 has been translated to the Japanese language and was published by Mekong Publishing House in the early 1990s. Tatlong Kuwento ng Buhay ni Julian Candelabra (1st prize, Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, 1983) was translated in English and published by The Lifted Brow in Australia.[citation needed]




  • Sila At Ang Gabi: Isang Buong Laot at Kalahati ng Daigdig (1994) ISBN 9712703290
  • Ang Babae sa Basag na Salamin (1994) ISBN 9716850328
  • Araw ng mga Puso ISBN 971685014X
  • Apat Na screenplay ISBN 9712704475
  • Ang Kabilang Panig ng Bakod
  • Hugot sa Sinapupunan
  • Desisyon
  • Sumakay tayo sa buwan


  • Sakada (co-writer)
  • Kung Mahawi Man ang Ulap
  • Bulaklak sa City Jail
  • Kadenang Bulaklak
  • The Maricris Sioson Story
  • Nena
  • Bata, Bata...Pa'no Ka Ginawa?: The Screenplay
  • Dekada '70
  • Gusto Ko Nang Lumigaya (screenplay)
  • Sex Object
  • Isang Kabanata sa Libro ng Buhay ni Leilani Cruzaldo (television drama)

Television scripts[edit]

  • Dear Teacher (co-writer)
  • Daga sa Timba ng Tubig
  • Mama
  • Pira-pirasong Pangarap
  • Desaparesidos (1998)


Year Award Category Work Result
1984 Metro Manila Film Festival[12] Best Story Bulaklak sa City Jail Won
Best Screenplay Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Liwayway Magazine, November 17, 1963 issue
  2. ^ Ong, ed. by Aihwa; Peletz, Michael G. (1995). Bewitching women, pious men : gender and body politics in Southeast Asia. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. p. 217. ISBN 0520088611. Retrieved 8 October 2016.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Filipino Readers' Choice Award Winners, date retrieved: 5 July 2016
  4. ^ Sixty in the City, Lualhati Bautista, date retrieved: 4 July 2016
  5. ^ "Buwan, Buwan, Hulugan Mo Ako ng Sundang". Goodreads. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  6. ^ Lualhati Bautista, Ateneo Library of Women's Writings, date retrieved: 27 May 2007
  7. ^ Lualhati Torres Bautista: The Author,, date retrieved 27 May 2007]
  8. ^ Firefly: Writings by Various Authors (Lualhati Bautista Translated into Finnish and English), Edited and Translated by Riitta Vartti, et al. Our Own Voice June 2001 (OOV Bookshelf 2001), date retrieved: 27 May 2007
  9. ^ "Bata, Bata Pa'no Ka Ginawa? (Lea's Story): Title Page from". Archived from the original on October 27, 2009. Retrieved 2010-10-07., date retrieved: 27 May 2007
  10. ^ English Language Summary of Bata, Bata Pa'no Ka Ginawa? (Lea's Story) from, date retrieved: 27 May 2007
  11. ^ Vartti, Riitta (editor). Preface to the Finnish anthology Tulikärpänen - filippiiniläisiä novelleja (Firefly - Filipino Short Stories), Kääntöpiiri: Helsinki, Finland 2001/2007, retrieved on: April 14, 2007
  12. ^ "Metro Manila Film Festival:1984". IMDB. Retrieved 2014-04-09.

External links[edit]