Jul 17, 2024

Cover of Hotspot, Cool Country: Biodiversity in the Philippines.

Filipino-American author Almira Astudillo Gilles was in Vancouver recently to present her book Hotspot, Cool Country: Biodiversity in the Philippines.

 Gilles was born and raised in Manila. Her mother is from Batangas, and her father is from Catanduanes. She spent her childhood in Puerta Gallera in Mindoro, the area that paved her path to nature conservation.

Now based in the U.S., she travels regularly to the Philippines for different projects.

A blurb for her book notes: “The Philippines is one of the few countries that is both a megadiverse country and a hotspot. It is not only diverse, but it is megadiverse, which means it has more species concentrated in its land than most places in the world. We have not even found all the different kinds of mammals, fish, birds, insects, fungi, mosses out there. Yet it is also one of the most endangered areas, which means it is a top priority for global conservation.”

A psychology graduate from the University of the Philippines, Gilles also holds master’s and doctorate degrees from the Michigan State University.


Cover of Hotspot, Cool Country: Biodiversity in the Philippines.


Gilles’ book was presented at the Philippine consulate general office in Vancouver on July 14, 2017.

The event was a collaboration among the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of B.C., One Alumni Association of the Philippines B.C., and the consulate.

Gilles has written a number of books, including an anthology of poems. She was the winner of the Philippine Presidential Award for Literature in 2012.