Posted April 17, 2012 by Jerald Uy in Comics

Top 5 Filipino-centric Komiks Worth Checking Out

Before debates about what’s a true Filipino sparked following a television anchor’s comment about caucasians playing for the national football team, the Philippine comics world has been divisive on what comics are truly Filipino. There has always been a thin line between Filipino-created comics and comics drawn in the so-called “Filipino style.” Some also argue that a Filipino comic is a comic written in the Filipino language.

I believe that regardless if the story is drawn manga or Marvel style, what makes a comic Filipino is the theme. Sometimes it is not so apparent and it just hits you as you read the story and you say, “yup, this is a Filipino comic.”

Not to put down comic universes set in fictitious magical lands, I believe there is a lot of room for stories set in our country. So pack your bags as we tour the country with my Top 5 Filipino-centric komiks worth checking out and let’s proclaim:

Komiks reading. It’s more fun in the Philippines!

5. Maktan 1521

Location: Cebu

What started as a thesis turned into a cult hit in the indie comics scene. Tepai Pascual revisions Pre-Hispanic Philippines, tracing the looming feud between Magellan and Lapu-Lapu. Perhaps she can finally provide the answer to the mystery of Lapu-Lapu’s death because a lot of people have told me that a chef killed Lapu-Lapu for dinner. See, it’s not that funny anymore.





4. Sanduguan

Location:  Pampanga

Gener Pedrina uses his knowledge of Kapampangan mythology to weave superhero stories. A proud Pampangueno, Pedrina even writes some of his characters’ lines in Kapampangan. I believe Sanduguan is successful in terms of creating a superhero team that is representative of Filipinos like Narra, Bernardo Karpio, Adarna, Diwata, Supremo and Bato, the Agimat Warrior. A Captain America-analogue, Sandata, fights with sinawali or Kapampangan arnis.




3. Trese

Location: Metro Manila 

Truly suited for our komiks tourist theme, Trese’s chapters open with maps locating where paranormal activities took place. Sometimes the places were renamed presumably to avoid legal issues. For example, Livewell Village owned by electric-powered elementals reminds me of the Lopez Group’s Rockwell; the zombie outbreak happened in Makati South Cemetery and the dragon living in a mall alludes to the urban legend of a snake man scaring women inside a fitting room in a mall in Ortigas.

2. Mythology Class

Location: Various parts of Luzon

Before Trese, there was Arnold Arre’s Mythology Class, a motley crew who ran after loose creatures of the Philippine folklore and features mythological and historical heroes Kubin, Sulayman and Lam-Ang. Arre’s other works equally Filipino in content are Martial Law Babies, Trip to Tagaytay and Andong Agimat.




1. Pasig

Location: Pasig (duh.)

A lot of comics creators and readers in their 20s say that they got into comics because of Culture Crash Comics. I believe Pasig was the best comic series in the said comics anthology. Marvel introduced me to the medium but the inspiration to write my own comics came from Pasig.

Set in a dystopian future where human sabong is a sport and clean air is for sale, Pasig tells the story of bounty hunter or “manunubos” Mina and her supposed target, Dante, an “esclabo,” people marked with a white “P” on their foreheads and trained as lethal fighters.

Culture Crash Comics got crushed by financial issues and folded in mid-2000s but Pasig creator Melvin Calingo, popularly known as bucket-head “Taga-ilog” still continues writing and drawing Mina and Dante’s adventures in mini-comics format for around P30.



Jerald Uy writes mini-comics and writes about comics.

Jerald Uy