Google Doodle Honors Filipina Writer of Dead Stars on Her 129th Birthday

paz marquez-benitez on google doodle

( It’s always a delight when Google Doodle pays tribute to legendary Filipinos that more of us ought to know of. We’ve seen the likes of Girl Scouts of the Philippines founder Josefa Llanes Escoda, food scientist Maria Ylagan Orosa, and playwright Severino Reyes in the past, but now another pioneer joins the roster—just in time for Women’s Month, too.

On March 3, Google celebrates the life of Filipina writer Paz Marquez-Benitez on her 129th birthday with a Google Doodle illustration of her set against a field of shining stars.

Anyone who has ever gone through Philippine high school education will have been assigned to read Dead Stars, a short story of a love triangle between bachelor Alfredo Salazar, his finacee Esperanza, and his mistress Julia. It’s highly regarded as the first modern short story in English from the Philippines.

But Dead Stars is more than a simple love triangle. It’s also a deeper allegory on what American Imperalism did to the Philippines.


“Google Philippines is proud to honor an important figure in Philippine literature, Paz Marquez-Benitez,”  said Mervin Wenke, Head of Communications and Public Affairs for Google Philippines in a statement. “Our rich literary heritage would definitely not be the same today without Marquez-Benitez’s impactful contributions, not only with her creations, but also with her valuable mentorship of a long line of writers in the country.”

Also read: 10 Times Google Doodle Celebrated the Philippines

Who is Paz Marquez-Benitez?

It isn’t just Dead Stars that Marquez-Benitez is remembered for. Marquez-Benitez is also an educator, editor, and was even a beauty queen at age 18.

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According to Filipino Writers in English: A Biographical and Bibliographical Directory, Marquez-Benitez has been recognized as “far ahead of her period” in mastering the writing techniques of a modern short story. Her other works include A Night in the Hills, Stepping Stones, Half a Life, An Old Story, and The Fool.”

At the age of 25, she founded Woman’s Home Journal, the first women’s magazine in the country. Ten years later, she compiled Filipino Love Stories, the first anthology of Philippine stories in English.

She was also a beloved mentor at the University of the Philippines, teaching the first generation of Filipino writers in English for 35 years until her retirement in 1951.

Her “enduring influence on the emergence and development of Philippine literature in English” would inspire several Filipino writers such as Francisco Arcellana, Loreto Paras Sulit, Paz Latorena, Bienvenido Santos, Manuel Arguilla, and S.P. Lopez, all of whom were her students in University of the Philippines.


Also read: 10 Essential Filipina Writers for Your Reading List

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