The best known books set in each country: The Philippines

See here for methodology.

TitleAuthorGoodreads
raters
LibraryThing
owners
CryptonomiconNeal Stephenson 112,82917,036
Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue MissionHampton Sides36,9682,735
Arsenic and AdoboMia P. Manansala68,089876
The FarmJoanne Ramos38,712759
American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964William Manchester13,6211,810
How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United StatesDaniel Immerwahr14,7821,147
Avenue of MysteriesJohn Irving13,5581,173
TrashAndy Mulligan13,9911,043

So, the top book most often tagged “Philippines” on Goodreads is Neal Stephenson’s epic Cryptonomicon. I am of course disqualifying it as considerably less than half of the 900+ pages are set in the country, though it does play a crucial role in the narrative.

More than any other country so far, the USA’s historical involvement with the Philippines dominates this list, with the top LibraryThing book with the Philippines tag being a historical account of a military operation during the second world war, a successful American raid on a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

Arsenic and Adobo appears to be set entirely in Chicago, and The Farm in upstate New York, so neither qualifies. I’m disqualifying American Caesar and How to Hide an Empire for the same reason as Cryptonomicon, that less than half of either book deals with the Philippines, though the country is crucial to both narratives. Likewise Avenue of Mysteries, which at least goes to the Philippines, though for less than half of the book.

I’m stretching a point and allowing Trash by Andy Mulligan, because although the setting is not specified, most reviewers seem to think that it is Manila.

The top book set in the Philippines by a Filipino writer is Noli Me Tángere by José Rizal, which ranked only 13th on my list, behind many stories of expat Filipinos and in-country white saviours.

Well, that was a bit depressing. Next up is Ethiopia (actually I should probably have done it two countries ago, before Japan).