These Children's Books Are Here to Remind You That Manila Is A Beautiful Place

Take a tour of Manila through a kid's eyes.

(SPOT.ph) Manila is a beautiful place—something easily forgotten when faced with the everyday soot and grime that covers it. We know it can be difficult to see, especially through the usual trials of adulthood, so here's a tip: why not try and look at it through a child's eyes? Good Morning, Manila! and Good Night, Manila! are two new children's books that offer a fresh look at the nation's capital, something people of any age could definitely use.

PHOTO BY Mia Rodriguez
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Inspired by a sort of daily ritual author Yvette Fernandez practices with her daughter, Safiya, the books revolve around a child greeting a good morning and good night to the city of Manila. From jeepneys and kalesas to sari-sari stores and flower markets, every little part of Manila gets a well-deserved greeting, with verses written in both Filipino and English. 

"When my little Safiya was an infant, I would take her out in the garden while we were still both in pajamas and I would say, 'Good morning, sun! Good morning, sky! Good morning, tree! Good morning, flower!'" says Fernandez in a online conversation with SPOT.ph. 

They first started doing this exercise when Safiya was just 10 months old. Eventually, Fernandez shared the short verses with a friend, Xandra Ramos Padilla, president of Anvil Publishing, who pushed her turn the morning verses into a book. "Andrea Pasion Flores, Anvil’s general manager said, why not make it two books?" adds the author, and so Good Morning, Manila! and Good Night, Manila! was officially launched in November 2019—right on Safiya's third year. 

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PHOTO BY Mia Rodriguez
PHOTO BY Mia Rodriguez
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Fernandez herself has fond childhood memories in the city of Manila, from watching the famed Manila Bay sunset in a grand-uncle's condo along Roxas Boulevard to high school proms held in Manila Hotel. It is these types of moments these books will hopefully teach kids to appreciate and maybe even remind adults of.

"I'd like to think that these books will resonate with Filipinos all over the world who have happy memories about Manila. I want these books to be a source of nostalgia and pride for them," says the author. Written from a child's perspective and accompanied by the bright illustrations of Nicole LimGood Morning, Manila! and Good Night, Manila! are a great way to teach kids (of any age) to appreciate not just Manila, but also all the little things that make big things great.

Good Morning, Manila! and Good Night, Manila! (Anvil Publishing, 2019) are currently available online and at National Book Store, priced at P99 each.

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