• 20 Best Filipino Books for Kids 3 Years and Below (P75 to P295!)

    An often overlooked essential for a nursery is a library of books in the Filipino language.
    by Alexine Parreno .
  • 20 Best Filipino Books for Kids 3 Years and Below (P75 to P295!)
    ILLUSTRATION Bunny Vivero
  • Because of what I do for a living (sell books), I get to meet a lot of first-time moms who often ask what age should they introduce books to their child and what type of books should they purchase. We advocate reading from birth or even while baby is still in the womb. Reading to babies has endless benefits, but the most important is it stimulates brain development, build language skills, and it is a wonderful way to bond with your child. Reading aloud to your child is a special activity you can do together for years. 

    When putting together a baby’s nursery, an often overlooked essential is a library of books in the Filipino language. Smart Parenting has written recently how crucial it is to teach our kids to be fluent in Filipino first. Knowing the native tongue first will actually help our kids learn a new language better. 

    So we've put together 20 Filipino books below that will make a great beginner library. We've also categorized them according to budget. They are not all board books. If you're scared that the baby will rip it, we say what if she doesn't? (Or even if she does, there’s always tape.) Either way, it’s a minimal investment with maximum gains. Here's how to enrich your children in their early years and raise them to be proud Pinoys! 

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    UNDER P100.00

    1. Ang Kapuri-puring Kuting, P74.75

    Teach your children manners and respect via this kitten who says thank you, greets her elders, helps others and does not say hurtful things even when she is angry. Each page has one short sentence so it's perfect for very young readers. This book is part of Lampara Book’s new series, Mga Aral nina Pagong at Matsing.
    Author: Eugene Y. Evasco / Illustrator: Dominic Agsaway / Publisher: Lampara Books
    Language: English & Filipino / Format: Softcover

    2. Ang Mabait na Kalabaw, P99


    Let your child learn what traits are admirable with this carabao who is adorable, friendly, and helpful, which is why he is well-loved by everyone. Big letters and big, bright illustrations make this book a very fun read. 
    Author: Virgilio S. Almario / Illustrator: Liza Flores / Publisher: Adarna House
    Language: English & Filipino / Format: Softcover

    3. Bahay Kubo, P99


    This book about vegetables could save you a lot of heartache during meal times. It worked for me, and other moms have said the same. Sing Bahay Kubo while showing him the fun illustrations in this book. 
    Illustrator: Pergylene Acuña / Publisher: Adarna House
    Awards: 3rd National Children Book Awards, Save the Children Award 2014, Best Book for Kids 0-4 Years Old 
    Language: English & Filipino / Format: Board book

    4. Bulanglang, P74.75

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    Here's a way to instill in your kids the lesson of how good things always come to those who help others. In the story, Pagong and Matsing share their food to friends in need. They had shared until there was nothing left for them. Then they suddenly get a surprise visitor, who brought delicious food, of course! It is my personal favorite from Lampara Book’s new series, “Mga Aral nina Pagong at Matsing.” 
    Author: Will P. Ortiz / Illustrator: Dominic Agsaway / Publisher: Lampara Books
    Language: English & Filipino / Format: Softcover

    5. Masaya Ako! P99Each page has an illustrated facial expression with labels in both English and Filipino. It can guide your babies and toddlers to express their emotions. 
    Illustrator: Yasmin DoctorPublisher: Adarna House 
    Language: English & Filipino / Format: Board book

    6. Salamat Po! P75 

    Young children learn through repetition, and saying “salamat po” is an important sign of gratitude and respect we want them to learn. The book is also a sweet story of young child who says “salamat po” for all his blessings throughout the day. 
    Author: Russell Molina / Illustrator: ï»¿Tokwa S. Peñaflorida / Publisher: LG&M Corporation 
    Language: Filipino / Format: Softcover

    7. Sampung Mga Daliri, P99

    This classic Filipino children’s song is always fun for very young kids. It’s particularly good for them because they learn the different parts of the body too! 
    Illustrator: Hubert Fucio / Publisher: Adarna House 
    Language: Filipino / Format: Board book

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    UNDER P200.00

    1. Takbo! P150

    This fun little book has 39 illustrated Filipino verbs such as hilikbagsakyakap, taktak. You and your little one will enjoy reading this because you’ll definitely end up acting out all the words. It means lots and lots of giggles! 
    Illustrator: Auri Asuncion Yambao / Publisher: Tahanan Books
    Language: Filipino / Format: Softcover

    2. Ay Naku! P195


    While this book only has 65 words -- it's practically one word per page but accompanied by vivid illustrations -- that's all it takes for this book to win anyone over. Toddlers love the main character, Botbot, because they can easily relate to his mischievous ways. 
    Author: Reni Roxas / Illustrator: Sergio Bumatay III / Publisher: Tahanan Books
    Awards: 2012 National Book Awards, Winner, Best Reads for Children 
    Language: Filipino / Format: Softcover

    3. Dumaan si Butiki, P199


    Follow a cute little lizard as he scuttles around the house. You’ll be sure to get lots of squeals and giggles with this book, and your child won’t even realize he’s already learned several Filipino words!
    Author: Mary Gigi Constantino / Illustrator: Ray Sunga / Publisher: Adarna House
    Awards: 2014 Manguna sa Unang Pagbasa, Winner, Short Story Writing Contest 2016 National Children's Book Awards, Best Reads for Kids
    Language: Filipino / Format: Board book

    4. Kumilos na, Kuya! and (5) Kumilos na, Ate! each at P150 

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    Whether or not your little one has a Kuya or Ate, these fun little picture books are engaging and perfect for learning new words. 
    Author: Ompong Remigio / Illustrator: Bunny Vivero / Publisher: Tahanan Books
    Language: Filipino / Format: Board book

    6. Maghapon Namin Ni Nanay, P199


    It's a day in the life of a mother and daughter -- a simple story but so full of love. Moms who grew up in the province like me will love this because it's feels like we're sharing a piece of our childhood with our daughters. 
    Author: Genaro Gojo Cruz / Illustrator: Nicole Anne Lim / Publisher: Adarna House
    Language: Filipino / Format: Board book

    7. Tingnan Ninyo Itong Nakita Ko! P135

    I absolutely love this book! It’s about little ants that try to bring a lollipop to their home through a series of exciting events. This story is best complemented with a trip to the garden so you can point out ants, the other characters, and settings in the story. Watch your little one’s amazement as he sees the book come to life! 
    Author: Dabiz Molinero / Illustrator: Junko Matsuoka / Publisher: The Bookmark, Inc. 
    Language: English and Filipino / Format: Softcover

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    UNDER P300.00

    1. Alpabetong Filipino, P295


    This is the Filipino alphabet in pictures, each letter is represented by a distinctly Filipino object with English translation. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful! If you love visuals, then you will definitely appreciate the bigger softcover edition, also available for P350.
    Author: Nicanor G. Tiongson / Illustrator: Crispin Dayao, Jr. / Publisher: Tahanan Books
    Language: English and Filipino / Format: Board book

    2. Antukin, P295 

    When my daughter was an infant, I wanted to sing her Filipino lullabies, but I realized I  didn’t know know most of the lyrics. For mommies with newborns and for musically-inclined families, this is a real gem. Antukin has 32 Filipino folk songs and lullabyes gathered by musicologist Dr. Felicidad A. Prudente. These include favorites such as Bahay Kubo, Leron-Leron Sinta, Paruparong Bukid, Pagtulog Na, Nene and Salidummay. Each song has English translations, music, and wonderful illustrations.
    Selection: Felcidad A. Prudente, Ph.D. / Illustrator: Joanne de Leon / Publisher: Tahanan Books
    Language: English and Filipino / Format: Ring-bound softcover

    3. Florante at Laura: Aklat ng Kulay, (4) Ang Alamat ng Ibong Adarna: Aklat ng Bilang, P295 and (5) Noli Me Tangere: Aklat ng Hugis, P295 each


    Did you struggle with these stories in school? I know I did! Our kids no longer have to fear them because they can be introduced very early on in this wonderful "BuliLit" series by Tahanan Books. They are three Filipino literary classics reimagined as concept books for young children to teach numbers, colors and shapes.
    Illustrator: Eisen V. Bernardo / Publisher: Tahanan Books
    Language: Filipino / Format: Board book

    6. Tagu-Taguan, P295

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    Counting 1 to 10 is so much more exciting when you’re counting creepy crawlies! This board book edition is literally hot off the press and was created especially for little hands. The original soft cover edition was awarded the 2010 Best Reads for Children by the National Children's Book Awards.
    Author and Illustrator: Jomike Tejido / Publisher: Tahanan Books
    Language: Filipino / Format: Board book

    Alexine Parreño is mom to 6-year-old Adriana, a bookworm who dreams of becoming a ninja, the first Filipina astronaut, a scientist, and a chef. Alexine also runs the online bookstore, Pumplepie Books & Happiness.

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