Opening Lines of 50 Filipino Novels

 

Aguilar, Faustino. Pinaglahuan (1907)

Bayan ang tumawag at bayan ang dumalo.

 

Alfar, Dean Francis. Salamanca (2006)

Seven years after the complete destruction of Manilaville in Louisiana, the dissolute author Gaudencio Rivera decided to settle the matter of his prodigious sexuality and beget a child.

 

Bautista, Lualhati. Bata, Bata…Pa’no Ka Ginawa? (1991)

At sa wakas, tumugtog ang graduation march at nagmartsa ang mga batang magsisipagtapos.

 

Bulosan, Carlos. America is in the Heart (1943)

I was the first to see him coming slowly through the tall grass in the dry bottom of the river.

 

Bulosan, Carlos. The Cry and the Dedication (1995)

Now long shadows were falling upon the hushed silence of the great forest.

 

Castillo, Erwin E. The Firewalkers (1992)

Once upon a time, in the year of 19 hundred and 13, there lived in the town of Lakambaga, the province of Cavite, a man named Gabriel Diego who was sergeant of the police.

 

Cleto, Luna Sicat. Makinilyang Altar (2002)

Dadamputin ko na sana ang librong nakapatong sa pasamano nang mapansin kong dumapo ang maraming tarat sa punong sampalok sa bakuran.

 

Coson, Mara. Aliasing (2018)

A volcano is about to explode, but perhaps if they don’t think about it, it won’t happen.

 

Cruz, Andres Cristobal. Ang Tundo Man ay Langit Din (1986)

Lalabas na sana si Victor del Mundo sa silid na kulong ng salamin nang kumiriring ang telepono sa kanyang mesa.

 

De Guzman-Lingat, Rosario. Ano Ngayon, Ricky? (1971)

Nakita mo na ang Maynila?

 

De los Reyes, Isabelo. Ang Singsing nang Dalagang Marmol (1912)

Matapus ang kasindaksindak na labanang nangyari sa mga tagalog at americano sa Kingwa, lalawigan ng Bulakan, ng ika 23 ng Abril ng 1899, na siyang ikinapatay kay Coronel Stotsenburg, sa Capitan at iba pang mga kawal americano, kaming mga tagalog naman ay nagsiurong sa Sibul, at sa isang bahay-gamutan ng aming mga kawal ay natagpuan ko ang isang matapang na pinunong tagalog na bahagya nang makagalaw at makapagsalita dahil sa marami niyang sugat.

 

Derain, Allan. Ang Banal na Aklat ng mga Kumag (2013)

O Dakilang Manunubos na isinugo ng Dios Ama buhat sa Kinabuhayan na siyang unang langit.

 

Diaz, Glenn. The Quiet Ones (2017)

The airport’s impersonal contours and antiseptic light discouraged strength of feelings, but the regret in Alvin’s chest brooded, a petulant child.

 

Firmeza, Ruth. Gera (1991)

May dalang balita ang LO, ang pinunong pangkomunikasyon: Kaalis ng napakaraming sundalo, galit dahil walang natagpuang NPA sa baryo.

 

Francisco, Lazaro. Maganda pa ang Daigdig (1955)

Natatalisod ng tao kung minsan sa landas ng buhay ang isa o dalawa o ilan mang pangyayaring nauukit nang malalim sa gunita at di nalilimot.

 

Galang, Zoilo M. A Child of Sorrow (1924)

Lucio had just received his sheep-skin diploma from the provincial high school, and had laid his book on the dust-covered shelf.

 

Gonzalez, N.V.M. A Season of Grace (1956)

It is in the hills beyond the sitio of Bondoc where the Alag begins.

 

Groyon, Vicente Garcia. The Sky Over Dimas (2003)

The fact is: George Torrecarion went crazy.

 

Guillermo, Ramon. Ang Makina ni Mang Turing (2013)

Mula sa kinatatayuan natin ngayon, kinamamanghaan natin ang kamangmangan ng mga pangunahing panauhing pangkasaysayan tungkol sa kanilang sariling daigdig at panahon.

 

Jalandoni, Magdalena. Lucia (1919)

Sa isa ca malinong nga hilit nga mahamtang sa isa ca bahin sining matahum nga cadatuan sang Iloilo, may isa ca masangcad nga baybayon; baybayon nga ang iya masadia nga hunasan napunihan sang mga matin-ao nga paquinhason nga naga silac sa tunga sang iya malum-oc nga cabalasan nga sa guihapon guina hadcan sang iya maazul nga ilog.

 

Javellana, Stevan. Without Seeing the Dawn (1947)

He was only eighteen years old but already he was tall, as wide as a house, and he had big strong arms like those of the town blacksmith.

 

Joaquin, Nick. The Woman Who Had Two Navels (1961)

When she told him she had two navels, he believed her at once: she seemed so urgently, so desperately serious—and besides, what would be the point of telling a lie like that, he asked himself, while she asked him if he could help her, if he could arrange “something surgical”—an operation.

 

Joaquin, Nick. Cave and Shadows (1983)

The vision–a crab on a string being walked by a naked girl–occurred in deep hotel-corridor twilight and moreover  when he, Jack Henson, was feeling himself in a swoon.

 

Jose, F. Sionil. The Pretenders (1962)

On the night her husband left her, Mrs. Antonio Samson could not sleep.

 

Hernandez, Amado V. Mga Ibong Mandaragit (1969)

Nangalahati na ang 1944.

 

Laya, Juan C. His Native Soil (1972)

Martin knew what it was to come back to these seven thousand islands and find a place to live in among sixteen million people.

 

Lee, Ricardo. Si Amapola sa 65 na Kabanata (2011)

Sa labas, habang ang mga kababayan ko ay hindi pa nakaka-recover sa sunod-sunod na bagyong pinasimulan ng Ondoy, ako, sa loob ng High Notes sa kanto ng Timog at Morato, ay naka-split sa stage, ini-impersonate si Beyoncé, kinakanta ang If I Were a Boy, theme song ng mga tomboy.

 

Melvin, Reine Arcache. The Betrayed (2018)

In their exile they knew that nothing could last, yet the family tried to feel at home in the new country.

 

Mendoza, A.A. III. Aklat ng mga Naiwan (2018)

Walang nagsusulat upang magpasupil.

 

Nolledo, Wilfrido D. But for the Lovers  (1970)

He was beginning to eat flowers and the crescent moon was in his eyes when he awoke again.

 

Ong, Charlson. An Embarrassment of Riches (2000)

Oh! But for the waste, the awful waste!

 

Perez, Tony. Si Crispin (2012)

Madilim ang gabi.

 

Polotan, Kerima. The Hand of the Enemy (1962)

On Wednesdays, Emma Gorrez knew that as soon as she entered the shop, Isabelo, the cajista, would pull himself up from his shelf of types and look at her with his small bloodshot eyes, parting his lips in a dreary smile.

 

Posadas, Mano de Verdades. Hulagpos (1980)

Pilipinas, 1974.

 

Regalado, Iñigo Ed. Madaling-Araw (1909)

Puno ng tao ang Luneta.

 

Reyes, Edgardo M. Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag (1986)

Sa simula, siya’y isang kalansay na nakatalalan sa hangin.

 

Reyes, Jun Cruz. Tutubi, Tutubi, ‘Wag Kang Magpahuli sa Mamang Salbahe (1987)

Hindi ako makaraan doon nang hindi mapapahinto at mag-iisip.

 

Rizal, Jose. Noli me tángere (1887)

A fines de Octubre, don Santiago de los Santos, conocido popularmente bajo del nombre de Capitan Tiago, daba una cena que, sin embargo de haberlo anunciado aquella tarde tan solo contra son costumbre, era ya el tema de todos las conversaciones en Binondo, en otros arrabales y hasta en Intramuros.

 

Rizal, Jose. El filibusterismo (1891)

En una mañana de Diciembre, el vapor TABO subía trabajosamente el tortuoso del Pasig conduciendo numerosos pasageros hácia la provincial de la Laguna.

 

Rizal, Jose. Makamisa (c. 1891-1892)

Tumigil ang tugtugan at natapos ang misa ni Pari Agaton.

 

Rosca, Ninotchka. Twice Blessed (1992)

The formal ball usually begins with the rigodón de honor, a quadrille by seven couples, six along the hall’s length and one in the middle, underneath a ball of mirrors spinning in its axis, piercing space with the pink, blue, yellow and purple of reflected light, reflected images, its harsh brilliance an insubstantial waterfall spilling upon the dancing pairs, all drawn from high society, provided of course there are enough who can dance without tripping on their feet or causing the help to titter under their breath, otherwise dancers will have to be pulled in from the Women’s School, where they train future society-page ladies and discreet prostitutes.

 

Santos, Bienvenido. The Praying Man (1982)

The President of the Philippines arrived late as usual.

 

Santos, Lope K. Banaag at Sikat (1906)

–Kailanman pong nagpakarami-rami ang taong umahon dito ay di gaya ngayon–anang isang taga-Antipulo sa ilang taga-Maynilang nanunuluyan sa kanyang bahay.

 

Sitoy, Lakambini. Sweet Haven (2015)

You see I didn’t love you.

 

Syjuco, Miguel. Ilustrado (2010)

When the author’s life of literature and exile reached its unscheduled terminus that anonymous February morning, he was close to completing the controversial book we’d all been waiting for.

 

Tuvera, Katrina. The Jupiter Effect (2006)

Gaby, the only Contreras daughter, was a difficult child to conceive.

 

Ty-Casper, Linda. The Peninsulars (1964)

In the early morning sun, the Mexican creoles standing guard on the forty-foot limestone walls appeared like bleached shadows.

 

Ty-Casper, Linda. Dread Empire (1980)

Past nine the night of Friday, September 21, Don Paco—having finished a large supper that began and ended with soup—turns on the porch radio for news from Manila.

 

Yabes, Criselda. Broken Islands (2019)

In my childhood I counted nine bridges.

 

Yuson, Alfred. Voyeurs and Savages (1998)

It was the farthest Chief Antonio had ever thrown his spear.

 

 

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