Collect All the Books in the GREAT LIVES LIBRARY!

What makes a hero? What made them great? Witness our country's riveting journey to nationhood with the award-winning Great Lives Series.

First published over 20 years ago, the award-winning Great Lives series from Tahanan Books are a solid introduction to the lives of men and women who made a difference in Philippine history. Each book is written by an established historian or writer, in words simple enough for young people to understand. Reissued with gorgeous new covers and modern interiors, these thoughtful biographies make history come alive for homeschooling families, teachers, and librarians.

The Great Lives titles are available at Shopee, Lazada, and and in selected outlets of Fully Booked and National Book Store. Follow @tahananbooks on social media for updates or discounts.




ELMER A. ORDOÑEZ is a retired professor of English with the University of the Philippines, where he earned M.A. and A.B. degrees in English. He graduated with a Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin and enrolled in post-doctoral courses at Oxford University in England.
     Published here and abroad, Dr. Ordoñez has written over 20 books spanning essays, literary critiques, creative nonfiction, biography, and fiction. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including Ani ng Dangal (National Commission on Culture and the Arts), Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas (Writers Union of the Philippines), Southeast Asian Write Award (Thai Royalty in Bangkok), and the Distinguished Lifetime Award (U.P. Alumni Association).
     Dr. Ordoñez lives in a family compound in Imus, Cavite, the town which young Emilio Aguinaldo sought to free from Spanish colonial rule. The author’s late wife, Elenita S. Sayoc, is a great-granddaughter of Licerio Topacio, a general in the Magdalo army led by Aguinaldo. It was she who inspired the author to write this book.
AMBETH R. OCAMPO is a public historian best known for his writings about our national hero, José Rizal, and Looking Back, his bi-weekly editorial page column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He served as chairman of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (2002–2011) and concurrently as chairman of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (2005–2007).
     His witty observations and commentaries on Philippine history were compiled in 12 books under his “Looking Back” series (Anvil). Ambeth has won three National Book Awards, for Rizal Without the Overcoat; Makamisa: The Search for Rizal’s Third Novel; and A Calendar of Rizaliana in the Vault of the Philippine National Library. A multi-awarded historian and teacher, Ambeth is known for his sold-out lectures on Philippine history, known as “History Comes Alive.”

     Teodora Alonso is his first book for young readers.

SYLVIA MENDEZ VENTURA graduated with degrees in English from Barnard College and Columbia University.
    In addition to dozens of book reviews and articles, she has written fables and children’s stories. Her story “The Tangerine Gumamela” won second prize in the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature in 1984.
     Other books written by Sylvia Ventura for Tahanan Books include Jose Rizal (1992), Carlos P. Romulo (1995), Indio Bravo (1997), and Supremo (2001).
     Ms. Ventura was Professor Emeritus of English and comparative literature at the University of the Philippines. She was the former director of the University of the Philippines Press. She passed away in 2016.
ISAGANI R. MEDINA has won numerous awards and citations for his work as one of the most prolific writers of history in the country. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in library science and a Ph.D. in history from the Univer- sity of the Philippines, as well as a master’s degree from the University of Michigan.
His book Cavite Before the Revolution: 1571-1896 received the 1994 National Book Award for History from the Manila Critics Circle. Dr. Medina also wrote The Streets of Manila; The Complete Works of Claro M. Recto; and History of the Filipino People (eighth ed., 1990), which he co-authored with Teodoro A. Agoncillo. In 2001, he was awarded the Gawad Alab ng Haraya by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
     The author served as Professor Emeritus at the Univer- sity of the Philippines, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, in Diliman, Quezon City.
He passed away in 2004.

VIVENCIO R. JOSE finished his A. B. (English), M.A. (Comparative Literature), and Ph.D. (Philippine Studies), at the University of the Philippines, where he served as the Secretary of the University and the Board of Regents. He also has served as director of the University’s Ph.D. Philippine Studies Program, director of the U.P. Press , chairman of the Depeartment of English and Comparative Literature, and Dean of the College of Arts and Letters.
     Dr. Jose is the author of several books and monographs, including The Rise and Fall of Antonio Luna. A freelance journalist since 1988, his columns have appeared in both national and Asian newspapers.

STEPHEN LATORRE was a regular columnist of two leading dailies published in Manila. He earned a master’s degree in history and philosophy from the University of Navarre in Pamplona, Spain. A cum laude graduate of the University of the Philippines, he has served on the faculty of the U.P. Department of European Languages.Dr. Latorre has written several books on religion, including Guidebook for Baptism and Catechism of Catholic Doctrine. 
     The author lives in Alabang, Metro Manila.
CARLOS QUIRINO is regarded as one of the most decorated and prodigious Filipino historians of the 20th century. The author of more than 30 books, notably Philippine Cartography and Filipinos at War, Mr. Quirino has written hundreds of articles on a rich variety of topics about Filipino culture and history. In 1990, President Corazon Aquino conferred on him the Legion of Honor for the body of his written works on Philippine history. In 1997, he was named a National Artist of the Philippines for Historical Literature.
     The author was a journalism graduate of the University of Wisconsin and a member of the Philippine bar. He fought in Bataan during World War II and escaped from the infamous Death March to join the guerillas. He received a Purple Heart for injuries sustained while serving his country. During the 1960s, Mr. Quirino served as director of the National Library and was founding curator of the Ayala Library and Museum.
     The author had a special connection with the subject of this book. In 1936, President Quezon awarded the young Quirino first prize in the Commonwealth biography contest for a manuscript he wrote on the life of José Rizal, titled “The Great Malayan.”
     Mr. Quirino passed away in 1999, at the age of 89.
NENI STA. ROMANA-CRUZ is a children’s book writer, teacher, freelance journalist, and book reviewer whose work has been anthologized in over 20 publications. Her book Why the Piña Has a Hundred Eyes won a National Book Award for Children’s Literature. Her wildly successful Pinoy pop culture gift books include You Know You’re Filipino If.... A Pinoy Primer, Don’t Take a Bath on a Friday: Philippine Superstitions and Folk Beliefs, Ngalang Pinoy: A Primer on Filipino Wordplay, and Philippine Proverbs, all published by Tahanan Books.
Neni chaired the National Book Development Board from 2011–2019 and was a trustee of Teach for the Philip- pines. She has served as president of the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) and was a board mem- ber of Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation. She is the founding director of Where the Write Things Are, a center for writers of all ages. Neni actively conducts writing classes for children and young adults as well as teacher training work- shops to promote literacy and the love of reading.
     The author enjoys giving speaking engagements to schools around the Philippines and to Filipino-American audiences in the United States. She lives with her husband in Parañaque, Metro Manila.

ADRIAN PANADERO is an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer who feels passionately about Philippine culture and the preservation of our national heritage. In 2017, his first book, INTRAMUROS: The Walled City, was published by Tahanan Books for Young Readers. Based on his undergraduate thesis at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts, the book offers young people the chance to cut and build their own paper model of Intramuros. In 2019, Adrian won the PBBY-Alcala Prize, an annual award for children’s book illustrators given by the Philippine Board on Books for Young People.
     The artist lives in Antipolo, Rizal.

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