Dekada '70 is the story of a family caught in the middle of the tumultuous decade of the 1970s. It details how a middle class family struggled with and faced the changes that empowered Filipinos to rise against the Marcos government. This series of events happened after the bombing of Plaza Miranda, the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, the proclamation of Martial Law and the random arrests of political prisoners. The oppressiveness of the Marcos regime made people become more radical. This shaping of the decade are all witnessed by the female character, Amanda Bartolome, a mother of five boys. While Amanda's sons grow, form individual beliefs and lead different lives, Amanda reaffirms her identity to state her stand as a Filipino citizen, mother and woman. Dekada '70 introduces the new generation of Filipino readers to the story of a family of a particular time in Philippine history. Its appeal lies in the evolution of its characters that embody the new generation of Filipinos. It is the story about a mother and her family, and the society around them that affects them. It is a tale of how a mother becomes torn between the letter of the law and her responsibilities as a mother.
A defining but not subversive Filipino novel, Dekada '70 was one of the two grand prize winners for the 1983 Palanca Awards for the novel. It was adapted into a film by Star Cinema in 2002, starring Christopher de Leon and Vilma Santos.
Dekada '70 is set in the turbulent Martial Law era in Philippine history. In the 1970s, the Republic of the Philippines was under the rule of then President Ferdinand Marcos. On September 21, 1972, Marcos declared Martial Law which placed the country under the rule of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, but kept himself in power. Under the Martial Law era, Marcos consolidated control of the armed forces, freedom of the press was severely limited and opponents of Marcos were detained.