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Alternative Alamat: Stories Inspired by Philippine Mythology
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Alternative Alamat: Stories Inspired by Philippine Mythology

4.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  165 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Philippine mythology is full of images that ignite the imagination: gods of calamity and baldness, of cosmic time and lost things; the many-layered Skyworld, and weapons that fight their own battles; a ship that is pulled to paradise by a chain, and a giant crab that controls the tides . . . Yet too few of these tales are known and read today. Alternative Alamat gathers st ...more
ebook, 174 pages
Published December 2011 by Flipside Digital Content Company, Inc. (first published 2011)
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Kee the Ekairidium
"Sometimes I feel like there's a tendency--even amongst Filipinos--to view the Philippines as a footnote on the world stage. Yet there's so much that is unique and beautiful in Philippine culture, if only we would take the time to learn it. Philippine mythology has much to offer the world. This anthology, we hope, has opened a doorway. We invite you to step through it." ~Paolo Chikiamco

This is an anthology that has made me even prouder of my cultural roots, particularly when it comes to a Filip
Jan 08, 2012 Meann rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All Filipino readers
*My actual rating is a 4.5*

Originally posted at The Girl Who Read and Other Stories

I love alternative takes on mythology (Rick Riordan fan here), so I thought "Alternative Alamat" would be a good place for me to start with my resolution to read more works written by Filipino authors.

I also love the idea of this compilation because it brings Philippine mythology closer to modern readers like no scholarly book of myths possibly could. I am not belittling the efforts of the authors who wrote the
Aug 19, 2014 Monique rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Monique by: Tina

Reading Alternative Alamat was like hurtling through time back to high school, back when I was first introduced to Lam-ang, Bernardo Carpio, and Maria Sinukuan. Of course, stories about important creatures of Philippine folklore such as the tikbalang, kapre and manananggal were told to me by my older cousins at a very young age, and I've been friends with Maria Makiling ever since my family's very first trip to the nearby town of Los Banos, where Mount Makiling looms proud and majestic from
Dec 29, 2011 Tina rated it it was amazing
Original post at One More Page

When I was a kid, I had fond memories of reading about different Filipino legends for school. These legends were really made to teach a lesson to us kids to be nice, respectful and hardworking, really, and not just tall tales for bedtime stories. Most notable was the legend of the pineapple, which tells of a girl who felt lazy to look for what her mother was asking her to find and her exasperated mom wishes for her to have many eyes so she can find it and poof, she
Kristine Muslim
Jan 06, 2012 Kristine Muslim rated it really liked it
Alternative Alamat is a fine volume which showcases the contemporary retelling of Philippine myths. The first story, which I also think is the most suitable lead story, shows off Eliza Victoria’s remarkable attention to details. I am also impressed by the musicality of Dimacali’s “Keeper of My Sky.” Another standout is the David Hontiveros piece. Although replete with distracting and unnecessary popular culture allusions, his tale is well-written and graceful in its storytelling. I also find to ...more
"Sometimes, I feel like there's a tendency--even amongst Filipinos--to view the Philippines as a footnote on the world stage. Yet's there's so much that is unique and beautiful in Philippine culture, if only we would take the time to learn it."

This pretty much sums up my opinion about this book and Philippine culture in general. I grew up learning about and loving Greek mythology, but know so very little about my own. I could tell you who the Greek gods and goddesses are, what they represent, ye
Sean the Bookonaut
Oct 11, 2013 Sean the Bookonaut rated it really liked it
Once, last century, I studied Filipino history for my undergraduate degree. The units were imaginatively named The History of the Philippines Part A and B. Like most things I studied, I remember little.

To be fair, it was Darwin and there was a lot of drinking.

Thankfully Alternative Alamat by Paolo Chikiamco is imaginative and stock full of story that I never got the chance to encounter as part of my history major. So while reading Alternative Alamat evokes a certain level of nostalgia, there’s
Aug 19, 2012 zni rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading "Alternative Alamat" (even though I am still squeamish with the e-book format) because it offers new perspectives on old myths and pieces of folklore. I also appreciate the intention to preserve these old stories, a part of Philippine culture, which are in the threshold of becoming lost and forgotten. The stories are also appropriate for contemporary readers to enjoy. To me, to narrate the stories the way they have been narrated for hundreds or thousands of years, to retain the ...more
Definitely enjoyed this selection. Epic alamats with a twist!

It struck a cord how we as Filipinos are so ignorant of our own land's stories and mythologies. It is awesome to experience initiatives such as this one that seeks to break the barrier and make Philippine mythology more known and be seen as something cool which it is!

On a side note, I find that I've been reading slow and I'm not sure if it has to do with me reading mostly short stories which prompts me to stop after each story ends be
Nov 03, 2014 Rain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"There is a dual beauty to Philippine Mythology: the stories that we know, and the stories that we don't."

It is my first time reading an anthology of Philippine legends written in English and added with a twist which is refreshing. I made it my duty just recently to dedicate myself to reading more literary works created by Filipinos (although I was looking forward to reading something written in Tagalog), that made me realize that I made the right choice. It also have a little bit of some surpr
Sami C
Jun 22, 2015 Sami C rated it it was amazing

GORRRL. Oh my bathala! This book was great!

Philippine mythology has a whole universe of its own. Greek, Norse, Roman mythology--all great. We know what they're about. But Philippine mythology is seriously underrated. I always knew it was fascinating, but I didn't fully realize the scope until I read this book of retellings.

Growing up in a largely Catholic and superstitious country made me paranoid child. I was always wary about offending spirits and supernatural creatures. The night was my enemy
Aug 01, 2014 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All I can say is THANK YOU for such an amazing anthology. One of the best I've read and extremely appreciate. :)
Catherine Walder
Jan 08, 2013 Catherine Walder rated it it was amazing
Whether you're familiar with Philippine mythology or not, you'll enjoy this diverse collection of fantastic Filipino fiction. From pre-Hispanic rule to modern-day Philippines, stories of deities, culture, legends and beliefs come together in one spectacular volume. Reading some of these is almost like coming home for me, but I must admit, the twists and turns are way better than how my late grandmother had told them.

Ana's Little Pawnshop opens the volume and was a fun read. The pawnshop reminded
Robin Edman
May 15, 2012 Robin Edman rated it it was amazing
Remember when you were a kid reading the European myths for the first time? The stories were so wild and interesting and sometimes just so clever that you would read them despite the outdated language in which those collections were always written. The language, though, makes it impossible for a grown person and developed reader to enjoy these stories if they don't get early enough exposure.

Well, now suppose that you could come back to those stories as an adult, but written in updated form and s
Christine Carmel
6 out of 5 stars, since I think this compilation should have had more stories.

Alternative Alamat is a treasure trove of Philippine mythology stories retold for modern readers such as myself. Having read and loved old books about Maria Makiling and other local Filipino deities when I was young, it was really a pleasure to read this anthology.

There was definitely a Rick Riordan / Neil Gaiman type of feeling while I was reading this, which made me love the book more. Hats off to Mervin Malonzo for
Nikka Calindas
Dec 08, 2014 Nikka Calindas rated it really liked it
This curious collection of stories inspires me to actually look up all our (Filipino) old deities and get acquainted with them. It makes me ashamed that I know more about Greek, Roman, Norse and Egyptian mythologies than my country's own. But then again, literature about our old gods is really scarce unlike the other mythologies that are rich not only in literary sources but also richly portrayed in other arts, such as pictures, paintings, sculptures and even movies. What is more popular and wel ...more
Maria Ella
It's like embarking on a journey doing anthropological pursuit. I remember listening to the legends and stories of the Old. Cool.
Chrissie Peria
May 12, 2015 Chrissie Peria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Filipino mythology has so much to offer. Why don't we have more material covering it? I was so happy to get my hands on this anthology, as it builds new stories over our old myths. Like most anthologies, some stories appeal more to me than others. My favorites in this collection are Ana's Little Pawnshop on Makiling St. (Eliza Victoria), The Last Full Show (Budjette Tan), Harinuo's Love Song (Rochita Loenen-Ruiz), and Beneath the Acacia (Celestine Trinidad).
Mar 07, 2012 Angelo rated it really liked it
This seminal anthology of reimagined (alternative) legends and myths delightfully caters to both young and adult readers who may be either taking a refresher course on Philippine mythology or losing steam with heavy, thick textbooks. Tales-of-old lovers, readers and writers, you won't regret "ALTERNATIVE ALAMAT".
Jul 31, 2015 rho.da rated it it was amazing
I grew up reading Philippine myths and folklore but some of the stories, especially those from outside Luzon, i have only encountered in this collection (which means i still have a lot to read on).

I loved all the stories but i would like to read a full novel on Ana's Little Pawnshop on Makiling St. :)
Jan 08, 2016 Amber rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-recommend, mythic
I snagged this because I read a story by Chikiamco in The Sea Is Ours and it grabbed me. This was such an interesting read for me, as my knowledge of the myth and folklore of the Philippines is basically nonexistent. Could it have used an extra eye on the proofreading? A little, but it wasn't too bad. Was it a mesmerizing read for me? Uh, YEAH. I made that classic anthology blunder "It's a bunch of short stories so I'll just read one or two..." LOL. Yeah, done in a matter of hours. It was an eng ...more
Jun 18, 2016 D rated it it was amazing
Like I always said before, anthologies are not my thing. I tend to buy them for a specific author and skip the stories that I don't find interesting.

But an anthology with stories based on Philippine myths (of which I have very little knowledge, ngl) and with illustrations by Mervin Malonzo? Yes please.

My favourites have to be 'Keeper of My Sky' a beautifully told story about Tungkung Langit and Alunsina, and the additional story (for the extended edition) 'Remembrance'. I guess that shows how ro
Frida Fantastic (book blogger)
I finished reading Alternative Alamat, a short story anthology of Filipino mythology retold by contemporary authors.

It's a fascinating read. I gained more knowledge about certain mythological figures (e.g. Maria Makiling, Tungkung Langit, Alunsina, Bernardo Carpio), but I feel like it's just the beginning. There's so much more to explore and retell.

Stories that stood out to me in particular are
-"The Alipin's Tale" - a mythological retelling of Lapu Lapu's fate and the changes after the Battle o
May 29, 2013 Don rated it really liked it
In his introduction, editor Paolo Chikiamco spells out the payoff and the problems involved in putting together an anthology of remixed Filipino myths. "We are a nation of many indigenous cultures--numbering anywhere from sixty to over a hundred, depending on who you ask--with distinct oral traditions." There are resources and strategies aimed at sussing all this out (see the appendices at the end of the book); guideposts to avenues of research in which even some Filipino scholars fear to tread. ...more
Mikael André
May 03, 2015 Mikael André rated it it was amazing
Philippine speculative fiction is one of my favorite genres. This anthology gives a fresh take on Philippine mythology that successfully draws one to reach back to the roots of our richest intangible art form--the verbal art. It provides an avenue for our unique and diverse myths and stories to be neededly commonplace.
Philippine myths and legends are ushered into the 21st century in this collection of eleven stories, with additional information on the original legends and the regions they come from. There are also a couple of interviews with the country’s foremost folklorists included in the appendices. This structure is quite unique for an anthology and I really appreciate the care and rigor that the editor exercised in trying to bridge the past and the present.

My favorite story in the collection is “Harinuo
Jul 05, 2015 Kristel rated it really liked it
I grew up on fairy tales and I carried my love for folklore, fantasy, mythology, and all things phantasmagoria until young adulthood. This book sated my appetite for local folklore, and my only complaint is that I wish this book contained more stories. My favorites are Ana's Little Pawnshop on Makiling St. by Eliza Victoria, Beneath the Acacia by Celestine Trinidad, and Balat, Buwan, Ngalan by David Hontiveros. The new print version also contains a bonus story by Eliza Victoria, and I must menti ...more
Tyrannosaurus regina
I am always a fan of stories based on myths and folklore, especially folklore that has been little explored in recent fiction like that of the Philippines. When I was eighteen years old I lived on Mindanao for a year, which was when I first encountered some of the original tales a few of these stories were based on, making them especially interesting to me. The anthology was at its best, I think, in the more modern retellings and adaptations, but there really wasn't a dud in the bunch.
Feb 26, 2015 Sue rated it really liked it
Overall, nakakapukaw ng interes at imahenasyon ang Alternative Alamat, bagamat halo-halo nga yung strength ng writing at makikita mo yung pagkakaiba ng competent writer at ng truly imaginative writer. Iba ang hila. Pero napaka-interesanteng libro at nagustuhan ko pa lalo yung interview transcripts sa appendix. Siguradong, babalik-balikan ko ang librong 'to!
May 13, 2015 Jetamors rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this collection! I think my favorite story was “Balat, Buwan, Ngalan” by David Hontiveros.
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A lawyer by training and a writer by inclination, in 2009 Paolo resigned from one of the top law firms in the country to establish Eight Ray Sun Publishing Inc., driven to take advantage of the burgeoning ebook market to allow Filipino Speculative Fiction authors a chance, not only to reach an international audience, but to eventually make a living from writing.

Paolo’s articles have appeared in th
More about Paolo Chikiamco...

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