Iconic writer Gilda Cordero-Fernando dies at age 90

Published August 27, 2020, 2:13 PM

by Vianca Gamboa

Philippine culture mourns the death of renowned multihyphenate Gilda Cordero-Fernando or “GCF,” who passed away today, Aug. 27. 

The renowned book publisher, short-story writer, food historian, visual artist, art producer, playwright, and fashion designer was 90.

According to her son Mol Fernando’s Facebook post, Cordero-Fernando had held her own wake earlier this morning, “there will be no need for funeral services. We will miss her dearly and love her always.”

Cordero-Fernando began writing short fiction in the ‘60s, revolving around nonconformist characters with bizarre Philippine settings and twisted storylines, compressed in two collections—The Butcher, The Baker, and the Candlestick Maker in 1962, and A Wilderness of Sweets in 1973—which were compiled and republished as the Story Collection in 1994. 

On top of writing and illustrating children’s books, she had made a mark on our national history and cultural study through several volumes and titles published under her name, The GCF Books, including Streets of Manila (1977), Turn of the Century (1978), Philippine Ancestral Houses (1980), Being Filipino (1981), The History of the Burgis (1987), Folk Architecture (1989), The Soul Book (1991), Philippine Food and Life (1992), and various Filipiniana source books. 

In the 2000s, she delved into different creative industries to pursue her passion for arts. She painted several portraits of women sold as a card set, produced eccentric plays, pop pageants, TV shows, and fashion shows, and produced Pinoy Pop Culture for the Bench Corporation.