Manillennials Gave Their Impression on Pinoy Romance Pocketbooks
by Sherry Tadeja, April 25, 2019 2:52pm
They gave pocketbooks a read!
Precious Hearts Romances (PHR) can be a nostalgic read as one of the oldest Tagalog pocketbook brands in the country. It still triumphs on paperback, seeing how the community of PHR readers is thriving and such was evident during the PHR Grand Fans’ day last March 2019. Pocketbook fans flocked the event, with meet and greet from their favorite authors and to buy more books.
To know if this impact is the same for bookworms who are not familiar to the Philippine romance genre, we asked seven bookworms, who have little to no experience with the genres, to read titles we hauled at the PHR Grand Fans’ Day. Here’s what they have to say:
"It's my first time reading a Filipino pocketbook. I found it...amusing. Random English phrases mixed into the Tagalog narrative like ‘Oh damn’ made me laugh. It was straightforward in painting a very "lovesick" vibe throughout the first chapter. However, I think I'd rather skip to the last page of the book to see how it ends,"
- Taco, 27, on ‘Till We Meet Again by Aya Myers
"I have to admit that I had a notion of Filipino pocketbooks as NSFW (erotica) and formulaic. However, after reading Diyosabelle, Ang Sirenang Chubby made me realize how these short reads are an escape for Filipinos—it's funny and has a lot of personality I never expected to relate to. Plus, it's a good practice to read these kinds of books if you want to start a reading hobby."
- Pearl, 26, on Dyosabelle: Ang Sirenang Chubby by Vanessa
"It's been a while since I've read Tagalog literature (the last was a Filipino high school textbook, tbh), and for someone who is not a native Tagalog speaker and still struggles with the language,
I think reading any Tagalog literature really helps regardless of the genre. I'd encourage it for the purpose of expanding your knowledge on the language,"
- Erika, 26, on Time after Time by Rose Tan
"For someone who has read Precious Hearts Romance pocketbooks (and even engaged in buy and sell of the genre) at an early age, it was refreshing to flip through PHR pages again. I have to say, I didn't remember how confusing it was—the transition from English to Filipino language and vice-versa, most especially. But perhaps it's local literature wanting to be as close to home as possible as if you're listening to a friend telling you a story,"
- Jace, 24, on Heart of Glass by Sonia Francesca
"As someone na mahilig magbasa ng classic Philippine literature, reading PHR novel surprised me. Kapag nagbabasa kasi ako mas gusto ko ''yung conversational tone ng storytelling. ''yung PHR kasi sobrang formal. Pero para sa mga gusto magstart magbasa, pwede ko itong I recommend,"
- Maria, 21, on Smart, Tactless Fangirl by C.D. De Guzman
"I think the last time I've read a Filipino pocket novel was back in college. I've read too many foreign novels,Pinoy pocketbooks became less appealing. But reading one now, sends a nostalgic vibe. The stories are not unexpected, but they are the classic source of kilig I'd recommend to read pocketbooks since they are part of the Filipino literature. It doesn't hurt to explore other kinds of reading material once in a while,"
- Marielle, 23, on The Friendly Wedding by C.D. De Guzman
"I haven't read a Tagalog pocketbook before. My titas and yayas (who are fond of reading Precious Hearts novels) told me it wasn't for kids. After reading Cordelia by Lush Ericson, I appreciated how the writer used relatable Filipino terms and expressions. It was very entertaining, tbh. If you're open to diversifying your book collection, then add a pocketbook on your collection—you'll gain more knowledge on the different facets of Filipino literature for sure,"
- Shara, 22, on Once Upon a Time Trilogy: Cordelia by Lush Ericson
"It is entertaining to think this(the book I'm reading) is an example of the ideal Filipino romance fantasy written on paper. As I'm reading through the pages, I also noticed how some situations normally labeled as ‘sexual harassment’ is seen through a romanticized filter. Besides the moral plot hole, I understand how it's supposed to be absurdly sweet to serve as an escape for the readers,"
- Allen, 21, on Loved You First by N.N. Manalo
It’s nice to know that Philippine literature is still embraced as it continues to evolve, and capture audiences. Even nicer to know that fan communities for local books such as Precious Hearts romances still exist and continue to thrive. Here’s to inspiring more local authors and to more readers of local literature.
Interviews have been edited for clarity and brevity