Posted December 6, 2015 by Paul Ramos in Comics

GEEK STUDY: A Comparative Search of the Herderian-Historical-Rizalian Nationalism within RODSKI PATOTSKI: ANG DALAGANG BABY

A Comparative Search of the Herderian-Historical-Rizalian Nationalism within Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby

I. Introduction and some Historical Tidbits

In search of our common cohesive action as Filipinos/as, we like to look around or search something that can give us this sense of pride to our identity. Being “makabayan” or roughly being nationalists has many attributes or faces that include promoting a singular language, highlighting our diverse cultural practices, and knowing and sharing a “common” past with a nationalist-leaning historical perspective. In that matter, I argue that comics as the visual medium/literature are acceptably considered as one of the conduits of promoting, advocating, spreading and heightening our sense of being “makabayan”, for better or otherwise. I may be one of the few voices in the wilderness of elitist snobbery but comics or “komiks” contribute immensely to the continuing quest of answering the PHILIPPINE QUESTION—what constitutes of being PINOY or PINAY?

Due to the accessibility of “komiks” in Manila in the 1950s up to the 1980s, migrants from various parts of the Philippines who came here learnt Tagalog or Pilipino firsthand, and many classic cinematic masterpieces came from “komiks”, particularly from the body of works of newly proclaimed National Artist in Visual Arts Francisco Conching.1 As a matter of fact, he was even recognized for making a lasting legacy “on the succeeding generations of younger cartoonists and his comics as popular art has helped forge the practice and consciousness of Filipino as a national language.”2 Popular cultural icons like “Panday”, “Darna”, “Captain Barbell” and “Trese” come from “komiks” and even being adapted to both movie and television series to and for more wider demographics.3 And recently, “komiks” are now considered as a serious art form that was once belittled then by the snotty members of the haute couture community. One of the recent visual publications that I feel so confidently continues the legacy of promoting Philippine nationalism and further redefining it for present demographics is the collaborative work of Gerry Alanguilan and Arnold Arre, that is RODSKI PATOKSI (2014).4

II. Theoretical Application

In this discourse, I submit to the ideological framework and perspective of one of the most prominent advocators of nationalism, Gottfried von Herder.5 Herder’s conceptualization of common identity in the terms “Deutsch” and “Geist” is significant in indentifying Alanguilan and Arre’s nationalist attributes that constituted “RODSKI” from start to finish. Herder argued that one’s roots should be clearly defined from the environs being the starting point, to the cultural practice, and the language spoken that may truly define and identify as such (again, Deutsch in Herger’s situation). RODSKI, upon laying Herder’s schema, almost shows the distinctiveness to the point of celebrating of virtually everything associated with the Philippines and being “makabayan”, “Pinoy”, “Filipino/Pilipino”. Herder’s influence goes beyond that our own National Hero Jose P. Rizal studied and embraced Herger’s nationalist brand that reflected to our hero’s advocacy of educating fellow “kababayan” to become “Filipinos”6 and initiating reforms that Spain then failed miserably.

Going back to the discourse that Herger’s thoughts blend to the creative team’s sublime and direct call for national oneness and pride in their latest visual collaborative effort. Therefore, “komiks” serve the purpose.

III. Pointing the Obvious-Ness

Herder’s trajectory of fulfilling the cohesiveness of the society as a powerful force to be reckoned with is going back to the “roots” of the cultural practices a society or nation possesses, inherits, cultivates, and strengthens. These “roots” can be found in peoples who were/are yet to be “tarnished”, “contaminated”, or “fused” by outside “forces” such as immigration, integration, and invasion. Environment of the place being tackled is highly important due to the fact that this is the most primary source or “root” of our cultural and social practices that could arguably influence later in the political, social, economical and religious developments. Moreover, the key instruments of Herder’s VOLTGEIST are the environment concerned and the language of the people convey in that same place. Granted that the Romantic advocator was surely leaning on his beloved DEUTSCH and everything associated with it, we can discern that his thoughts were so grounded and inflexible to the point of being aware of his philosophical and ideological loopholes/weaknesses/dangerous viewpoints such as the conception of the “other-ness”, “diversity”, “races” and “co-existence”” vis-à-vis to the “purity” of the so-called RACE (or “white-ness”) in its pristine, if ever, form.7 Therefore, I select to dilute Herder’s stringent parameters of nationalism to make the discourse palatable and acceptable.

First, the ideological essences and characteristics of Nationalism change and shift from one place to another; from one epoch to another; and from one generation/nation and circumstances to another. From Herder’s to various interpretations that depend on the suitability of time, events, and influences to the advocators and followers. Similar to all religious, philosophical and ideological premises/rationales/ assumptions/contentions, Herder’s VOLTGEIST is no exceptional case, for better or worse. Similar here in the RODSKI illustrative and narrative delivery in promoting and celebrating the “makabayan” spirit with a deliberate twist—juxtaposing the lingua franca of the hoi polloi and the intellectual/privileged/ educated types of our own society. And, the uncanny of our case is that both seemingly binary classes understand quite so well not only in the literal sense but on the emotional or mutual levels even so.

For examples on the utilization of Tagalog-Filipino tongue in the graphic novel, Alanguilan’s script clearly presents the clarity of the society involved in his narrative is starkly point blank. The parents of the heroine and the place they once lived present a crystal clear illustration of the reality of the surroundings in Manila or other parts of the Metropolis as well. The thought balloons and dialogues delivered are surely in Tagalog, together with the residents of the informal settlement the parents once belonged.8 The “purity” of Tagalog is obviously wanting in the strictest sense but making this the case in mind would surely make the readers of the 21st century—the target demographics of the creators—more alienated than being mystified. Plain and unsophisticated level of the native tongue delivers more connectivity of the “makabayan” sense to the young readers’ mind, more than having a simple pleasure of reading a comic book. Perhaps, Alanguilan’s delivery is a strong nod to the earlier Philippine comic strip era where various languages or vernaculars were utilized to make a strong sense of either regional or national longing of commonality, identity, and more probably pride to the “roots”.

The argument of the so-called contaminations of the pristine-ness of the language may indeed sully this illustration. We are aware of the several usages of Spanish words or phrases that eventually made these as “ours” without even thinking knowing beforehand. This is the case of several lines along the way in the dialogues again with the parents and even some supporting characters while conversing openly or privately. The words “problema” and “bobo” are two of the many “Pinoy” words that we speak with authority and care less a bit of their meanings on a shallow level, until someone tells us that these are foreign/Western or outside influence after all.9 The naturalness in tone and delivery even in the already fused mixture of both grounded and the inherited factors/influences seemed to mesh well to the portrayal of being “makabayan” since whatever the origins of the some words/phrases, they become part of our continuity of searching of the illusiveness of the our “roots”/“ugat”, though inexplicably more fluid than going to the actual or Tagalog equivalents of “suliranin” (to “problema”) and “mang-mang” (to “bobo”). Or, if the purity insists, this may create a tension of the old to the new audience.

If the environment is the factor of VOLTGEIST, then one of the strengths of the Philippine characterizations is the adaptability of the situations, particularly in the understanding of language even in foreign form. Though this maybe a bit a stretch of Herder’s ethnocentric brand of belongingness, but we Filipinos/as are known to “pick-up” phrases or catch phrases even though these necessarily lack the proper comprehension of the foreign-ness’ tongue, especially the English language the Americans thought and institutionalized in the three decade domination in the educational system; and the carry-over by the postcolonial educational system since 1946 onwards. Let’s look again the dialogues between the parents and the daughter, the female genius to her bodyguard/love interest, and Rodski to her educated-leveled counterparts.10 The first is a true exchange of parental concerns and wishes to/from their daughter’s “gifted” intellectual prowess though emotional devoid. Yet, the former is the signified of the lacking of educational comprehensiveness for they married early without finishing proper and formal education and lived in the informal settlement, and just doing their best in their means to sustain a respectable and dignified lifestyle until the government’s notification of the girl’s “gifts”. Despite their handicaps, they still understand their daughter’s tantrums (in English), conversations (in average-level English), though cannot fathom some words/phrases in dramatic/comedic fashion(s) (like “simpleton” in the father’s case). The most dramatic part is when Rodski confronted her parents on the truth behind love interest’s “disappearance”. Rodski, the foreign-speaking intellect, unleashed here rare and pure emotional thoughts to her native-grounded parents, and the latter replied hopelessly the justifications of the bodyguard’s absence. We have that kind of ability to translate foreign-ness to a slight idea that really connects a bit of the former’s essential somehow. Also, the latter’s part of the story, when Rodski’s emotional spectrum gave way to her connectivity; she still talks in the foreign tongue to her average-but-dedicated love interest which he fully comprehended despite of her speaking sophisticated English terminologies and phrases, particularly when catastrophe awaited and being taken place. A tandem made in synchronization of dichotomy sides that only their mutual feelings connect emotionally strong. Lastly, she talked reasons with her respected intellectual and level-headed superior, but apparently and later directly, showed her primal id in the tongue understood by her less equal but educated counterparts (more to the helpless scientists who could not match her intensity and the paranoid general who initiated the whole bomb project).

IV. Purity of Language and Disconnection of the Paradigm: Cases of Sovereignty, Rizal, Food, & Pride

Herder discussed the sanctity of the VOLTGEIST by keeping out the foreign forces since they claimed to contaminate the essence altogether. Meaning, as much as possible, the language and culture in a society concerned should be rooted or invented from within, neither influenced nor affected from anything external. Look at the correspondence between our National Hero Jose P. Rizal and his intellectual and best comrade Ferdinand Blumentritt who were obviously praising and elevating Herder’s concept of VOLTGEIST via linguistic pureness. The German scholar told Rizal of the attempts/ moves/initiatives of fellow German intellectuals to convert the German language into “pure” by discarding any foreign-tainted influences. This move inspired Rizal to study his native Tagalog language and other Philippine tongues during his sojourn in Dapitan (in Zamboanga del Norte) and trying to trace their origins and even attempted to make a dictionary or two that never realized.11 Meaning, Rizal wanted/dreamed of making Tagalog as “pristine” as the pre-Westernization/colonization through the advocacy of returning the letters of “k”, “y”, “ng”, “p” and “ly” among others.

In Rodski’s case, it is quite the opposite but essentially the same of defending the sanctity of “purity” of national scope. I mean, a true nationalist or “makabayan” defended, defends and will defend the nation from any “contamination” or threats involved. The term “threat” can be interpreted in different perspectives. What Herder and later Rizal and Blumentritt thought that, “pristine”, “purity” and “roots” of language are paramount and to either protect or return to their sanctity from outside forces, in any means, are commendable. This is also seen as a similarity of protecting the nation’s interest from aggressive threats, if opportunities and fore/farsighted fuse to nationalists in the national scale. Alanguilan and Arre show that kind of dream when the Philippines unleashed its ultimate weapon of mass destruction that visualizes the “what-if” scenario of protecting our national purity and resolve.12 Rodski’s gifted or innate/native genius-level intellect is joined by the nationalist-minded but a little paranoid military officers (especially the general) who saw the potentiality of harnessing the girl’s mind to challenge the successfully the “enemy” or foreign that tainted the core. Thus, realpolitik wannabe and linguistic and cultural independence truly mend in this creative team’s vision of celebrating Philippine pride and glory.

Herder praised the indigenous culture of native land Prussian. This may include the local sustenance the locals/natives eat since food can be a medium of identification of one’s roots. Obviously, environment plays a great role in that matter for it is where the inhabitants get their physiological needs. Truly, the cliché “what you eat is what you are” goes beyond self-identification. It proceeds to be labeled as part of the larger community such as locality, regionalism to nationalism. In Alanguilan’s script, there are two instances that mentioned a distinctive Philippine culinary dish. In the middle of the first chapter when a year-old Rodski mentioned the different ingredients in English while her mother cooked the dish. Personally, I fail to fathom the exact name of the dish the tandem dished out until the female rumor-mongering/antagonist called the mother “kumara” to demand some lemons or in our tongue, “kalamansi”. The hulking woman smelled “ginataang kuhol”. Perhaps, she might come from the province of Quezon or the Bicol Region, where the cuisine there has coconut milk or “gata” as the primary ingredient, and the abundance of coconut tree in those said areas (even though the dialogues sounded/read more the former, Alanguilan’s is Tagalog-Laguna whose dialect is no different with the Quezon-Tagalog variant). And, when the “tsismosa” par excellence tired to enter to personal confines of the Rosarios, the mother immediately gave the nagger the “kalamansi” in large quantity and mentioning the dishes that go well with the fruit itself.13 With the exception of “bistek” and “siomai” that are basically foreign-influenced (American and Chinese, respectively) lemon extract or “kalamansi” juice is usually considered native though the world “juice” should supposedly be “katas” (as I pointed out earlier, our adaptability to our environs make the anachronistic term gave way to a bit of flexibility, if not out-of-tune to level-minded reading demographics and general population). Nevertheless, the versatility of our “kalamansi” shows the justifiable basis of the Philippines’ unique palette on the fruits’ sourness to any dishes made, from the native/regional/local types to even the outside and being “acculturated” as our dishes, though bit contaminated in the strictest sense, but I can say our culture of functionality and modification from our limited resources may act us to create culinary variants which later become as our own in the linguistic tongue and to our culinary palettes as well.

V. Historicizing, Cultural and Sociological Looks on the Generational Abyss

Even though much of the graphic novel is set in modern setting, the first part is a glimpse of the not-so-distanced past even many of the today’s generation were born in the late 90s up to the 2000s. I say that the generation gap between the 1980s and the so-called millennial is relatively short, but the cultural and psychological perspectives/points-of-view/mentalities between them are admittedly vast. Perhaps, the integration of the technology like the computers and the internet in our daily lives in the mid-90s, the entry of the Philippines in the global market during the administrations of Fidel V. Ramos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and embracing the outside influences via the internet in the 2000s, in addition of the gadgets that truly individualize our daily existence may contribute to the chasm between the older and younger generations. In Rodski’s case, this dilemma/dichotomy/discourse is very apparent in the midst of being hilarious, ridiculous, heartwarming and even patriotic.

Let’s look on the date itself: September 13, 1993, Rodski’s birthday. Alanguilan mentioned the date as Friday the 13th, the “unlucky” day. Superstitious lot indeed, the Filipinos/as have this uncanny attitude on the supernatural/unexplained/meta-perceptions/old wives tales. Even some of our most intelligent members of the society believe some of the so-called “nonsense”, “rubbish”, “un-scientific” beliefs for, perhaps, there are things science fails or unable to explain or otherwise. Anyway, to heighten the mood, Alanguilan and Arre presented various events that transpired on that event that may give readers laughter or amazement and/or simply bewilderment: sinkhole, two-headed baby monkey, dark skies and even a freak thunder storm!14 Of course, it is imperative to put these happenings into context. As I specified above, Philippine society in general believe in many superstitions, admittedly or not. The number 13 is just a number per se. Similar to all religious and mythological beings, numbers are imaginary creations. Only humans put flavors or “meanings” later on (the irony here is a creation upon a creation!). And, the primal fear of the unknown (particularly in religion—the afterlife) intensifies the image of the rather simple conceptualization. Thus the rise of the irrational and the unexplained fears or “phobias” connected to our psychological mindset up to this day, some cultural practices are being associated with “13”, especially the perceptions of the emergence of these unusual occurrence. Furthermore, that date was a transition part of the Ramos administration (1992-1998) who inherited the serious challenges from the previous Aquino (Corazon) regime (1986-1992): ENERGY CRISIS (“brownouts” on a daily basis; water shortage or “rasyon”), political and military instability, and a very weak national economy.15

Today’s generation should be probably more appreciative that they suffer less inconvenience than their parents’ time where blackouts were a daily staple. Rodski was born in that most inconvenient time of that year, plus September was still considered part of the stormy season before climate change manifested fully in the late 2000s. Another matter is the omniscient Philippine way of life—TSISMIS or rumor mongering. Undeniably, this is a universal trait, but then and now, Philippine society truly embraces this with a paradox attached—we personally do not like it! But we like it all the same. We want to be avoided yet we love to hear juicy (even it is fabricated/unfounded/manipulated/distorted) story or stories. This is so prevalent in a densely portion of our society where privacy and publicity are virtually relevant. The untrue is “TRUE”, “CREDIBLE”, “and even “TRUSTWORTHY” than rationale and credible (solid) justification(s). See the members of the Rosario neighborhood, particularly Eden’s case. She and others attempted to uncover the so-called “mystery” surrounding the Rosario family, particularly the toddler. We can see the unacceptability or naïve-ness of the existence of being “gifted” or “intellectually” endowed children, especially if they speak the foreign tongue, English. Instead of reasoning with reason (logically sound basis), she and her ilk clouded their thoughts with “medieval” or superstitious thoughts (or negative) instead. The term “kababalaghan” is covered with mystery and unjustifiable, yet grounded to the believers worse to the intolerable. This episode broke out with intensity in a virtual mob lynching moment to the Rosarios when the same folks squarely blamed the former for their own financial misfortunes, instead of thinking straightforward and changed the true culprit, scam artist Sison. Once more, they believed feng shui of unlucky/bad luck than admitting their “stupidity” and “greediness” on easy-money schemes. More hilariously, they singled pointedly Rodski as the avatar of their grievances. Her mother tried to rationale and blurted the unsavory truths—“BOBO”, “TANGA” and “SAKIM”—unwritten traits of our collective attitudes, to reflect Friedrich Nietzsche’s introspective insights of our being HUMAN. Instead, PRIDE that dominates our social collectiveness prevailed and persisted to the gullible society. Humility is mostly viewed as a weakness, not a virtue despite the former is one of the central tenets of Philippine’s dominant religion—Christianity. “Ayaw mapahiya” and “mataas ang pride” are so obvious in that intense moment that gave way to the near burning-of-the-stake scenario if not for the military’s timely intervention.

And being “intelligent” as a child was being possessed (“DEMONYO”) was used to that said effect. Speaking of “demonyo”, that imagery of the exact opposite of the moral “good” is also spoken this time in need of desperation, particularly on Rodski’s father when the couple was still childless after years of fruitless conceiving.16 Not only that, the couple, in the hands of the creative team, presented a glimpse of cultural and psychological mindset that is so identifiable with our brand of viewing and acting things when the moment of “kapit-sa-patalim” struck upon. The Rosarios went to the BEINGS that could do the impossible. The wife showed the perpetual faith to the Christian’s Messiah by continuing praying hard in the hopes of having a child sooner than later. On the other hand, and adding the dramatic flair of presenting pouring raindrops, the husband was so desperate that he mocked the heavens and promised to personally make a pact with the “demonyo” or euphemistically as “ISA” to fulfill his only wish. Two powerful Spanish-Western influenced and polarized dichotomy that locked in eternal struggle to win followers among the mortals, this kind of mentality is so prevalent in the Philippine psyche even though rationality and science should supposedly watered down these forces in the 20th and 21st centuries. But that view is relative to different societies, especially in the Philippines where the mentality or roughly as “kalooban” or “kaisipan” is very difficult to erase or be dramatically changed, particularly on the issue of Catholic-Christian faith which most probably remained functional and relevant to the practitioners and many nominal as well. Naturally, the topic of meta-dichotomy was discussed when the couple opened up the possibility of their child’s “gifts”. The father admittedly said the secret pact with the “ISA”/ “Satanas” as being the “potential” giver, the deal with the never-ever-utter-the-name that truly reflects with other terrifying stories of spiritual and damning consequences. If the religion’s existence is the explanation of the afterlife, then the father had the reason to fear not only to him but to his unica hija. Raw and primeval fear illustrated the old man’s anxiety of the unknown. Yet, the mother displayed an optimist-faith-ground-believing type. Indeed, she slapped her husband twice to make sense—in the Christian-good-side—that their daughter was heaven’s greatest blessing to them. “Buksan mo ang mga mata” is the catchphrase necessary for the mother to utter for the partner to realize the follies and whatever dark thoughts he dame.17 Alanguilan and Arre proved that point as seriously and as humorously as possible.

Moreover, the marks of the Philippine brand of machismo or “manliness” are more displayed in the subtleness for Arre’s illustrations of male characters showed both the “real” and the stereotypical (for humorous effects, in context of our brand of comedy). Again, Mister Rosario highlighted a multi-faceted PINOY by presenting the façade of valor or courage when threatened or confronted danger (“pakitang lalaki” or “lalaking-lalake” moments), but in private, he displayed the softness and sensitivity to his partner, showing a tear-drop reserved ONLY in actualization of enlightenment or giving way to emotional openness typically reserved to Filipinas. In the more subtle tone, the military officers, especially the General, presented how Pinoy soldiers were supposed to be: clean, erect, stern, no-nonsense attitude, and decisive whenever necessary. Additionally, these males-in-uniform showed great restraints in dealing with women in general. The “maginoo” archetype of imagery is presented here to illustrate how officers and the troops act in public or display themselves. And the paragon of “gentlemanliness” in this illustrative collaboration is Rodski’s driver/bodyguard and later paramour. If the old way of thinking of the Spanish “limpieza de sangre” illuminates here (white-skinned superiority complex originated in medieval Spain), indeed the subtlety is shown. He acknowledged his “place” and fulfilling his responsibilities even going beyond to maintain the equilibrium due to her childish ways in some occasions; and he even defended her whenever threats came upon. The last one is obvious when a typical Pinoy D-O-M tried to seduce her in the grocery store due to her rather revealing outfit and manner as well. But the lover/bodyguard showed his brand of “machismo” by directly confronting the stereotype by the “titigan sa mata”, a very direct confrontation to true-blooded males and said in the true vernacular that surely most of Philippine readers understand.18

And typecasts are homage of the Philippine illustrations in the 1960s to the 1980s (and even so to the Philippine cinematic representations in comedy and slapsticks as well).19 The underlings whose facial portraits are floppy, thick-lips and goofy, recalling the Dolphy-Panchito-Bentong archetypes. One could see the omissions of the “others”—the “baklas” and the “tibos” in the narrative. Why the glaring invisibility? Personally, Alanguilan and Arre are tolerant to the LGTB community, or perhaps, they are not part of the broader spectrum in storytelling just yet (a potentiality of a sequel, perhaps). Possibilities are here to exist.

VI. Reflecting the Hergerian Paradigm, the Assumptions of Nationalist Possibilities and Optimism

We may assume that Rodski Patotski is a subliminal and/or direct interpretation of the direct happenings of our Philippine history in the lens of the patriotic/nationalist notions/perspectives. I pointed out that the creative team attempted to highlight the virtues of being Filipino/a, and at the same end, never denying the signifiers that often presented in the satirical, but essentially associated of being Filipino/a. Images/illustrations by the artists are signifying the seething stereotypical and reflective representations of our culture, historical and contemporary events, national identities and some of the connectivity associated t the imageries of the Philippines; and at the same time, projecting the sense of optimism that openly encouraging the readers to look forward that highlight the “liwanag” in the midst of “kadiliman” adage.

Subliminal in viewing the panels is a hard task in scrutinizing for it may possess two or more innate subtleties that may consist of more or so meanings to the eyes of the beholder(s). The discursive projections of Rodski and other characters found in the dialogues made by Alanguilan and the artistic perspective of Arre presented the absurdity of our identities such as the superstitious lot of the populace even in the age of science and technology that are already in place; the continuing dichotomy of the intelligentsia to their average-minded folks/counterparts and vice-versa; the supposed understanding of one-side of the hoi polloi of the foreign language to the listener(s) who comprehend more of the same tongue and vice-versa; the existence of humor in the midst of chaos, disaster, and seriousness; and the sense of optimism that is the hallmark of a classical (and still popular) literary styles of Philippine literature—both visual and the prose.

The homage of the past is also given emphasis in an indirect way by the portrayal of the stereotypical images and imageries that dominated in the political incorrectness period that colored the entertainment in virtually all genres, particularly in comedies and slapsticks. However, whatever the interior motives whatsoever the creative team had in conceptualizing, visualizing and executing this graphic literature, these portraits were done with the mission of pointing out the obvious that some of these really do exist that became the bases of foundation of the rather (un)savory illustrations. Moreover, the nonexistence of the other members of the gender that can be seen as an arbitrary way of condensing the story without the clogs of over viewing the subtleties and minor details that could derail the flow of storytelling and characterizations.

The brand of nationalism the creative team process is clearly a mixture of several strands of nationalism or “makabayan” in the evolutionary process from the Gottfried von Herder’s to the nation-state. Truly, the native tongue is understood; the highlights of some “important” events and the mixture of some of our mystical beliefs; and the existence of various colorizations of the Philippine society like Moreno, “kayungmanggi” or brown, white. Perhaps, the sense of nativism can be seen here, though the creative team used the native tongue and the lingua franca of the intelligentsia and bourgeoisie to illustrate the communicative exchanges between these polarize-acculturated classes in the humorous and serious illustrative delivery. Granted the foreign tongue is indeed foreign but it can be patriotic or nationalistic in uttering phrases/commands in the service of the Philippines. As seen in the portrayals of the General and Captain in the intense confrontation with the foreign aggressor, the latter uttered the English word “RESOLVE” in warning the enemies to leave the Philippines alone. Foreign but nevertheless, it conveys the “makabayan” sense of duty and responsibility to the Philippine nation. Thus, our nationalism is so mixed up but the call of being Filipino is clearly unquestionably here.

Practices in the socio-cultural and psychological mindsets of the Philippine settings are somehow manifested in the panels of this graphic illustration. The dialogues Alanguilan wrote showed the levels of the society possessed, then and presently. I felt that the different strands of machismo in showing and interacting with the Filipinas for the very thing the Pinoys showed I the panels is avoiding a physical confrontation. The term “ang tunay na lalake ay hindi nananakit sa babae” rings true all throughout this graphic novel. A shouting match can take place, but to hurt women, particularly the wife or girlfriend is a different matter. Another thing is the strength of the family-centric in our society. Despite the influx of foreign influences and practices in the age of globalization, the zeitgeist of close-knitted family still prevails even in the midst of challenges our society confronts. Rodski, even with her over-the-top intellect and possessing a very low emotional quotient, recognized that Philippine cultural aspect to the core that she counted her family for emotional security until she found her mutual counterpart. Even the parents thought of her well-being to the point of sacrificing something to her overall betterment thought that backfired later on.

Rodski Patotski is a slim one-hundred page visual literature, but each panel is signified with both direct and indirect signifiers that illustrated the socio-historical-cultural-nationalistic discourses and connectivity that both reflect our identities as Pinoys/Pinays, and at the same time, highlighting our follies and pride as people, as well with our roots. It is entertaining indeed, but serious at one hand.

1 As publicly displayed in the Official Gazette re National Artists. See http://www.gov.ph/the-order-of-national-artists/ (retrieved on November 26, 2015).
2 As cited in Proclamation No. 808, in honoring the contributions of Francisco Conching in Filipino arts and to posterity. Cited in Gerry Alanguilan, Francisco V. Conching is Now a National Artist, in Komikero Dot Com, June 22, 2014, http://gerry.alanguilan.com/archives/5212 (retrieved on November 26, 2015).
3 For more in-depth analysis on the komiks’ impact to the public consciousness and Philippine popular culture then, see Soledad S. Reyes, Pagbasa ng Panitikan at Kulturang Popular: Piling Sanaysay, 1976-1996 (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1997), 309-322.
4 Gerry Alanguilan and Arnold Arre, Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby (San Pablo City, Laguna: Komikero Publishing, 2014).
5 For more accessible study on Herger’s grand view, see Paul Kelly, ed., The Politics Book (London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2013), 142-143; and David A. Bell, What causes nationalism? and the commentary made by Karen Gold in Harriet Swain, ed., Big Questions in History (London: Vintage Books, 2006), 115-125, and 142-143.
6 See some examples in The Rizal-Blumentritt Correspondence, Vol. 2, 1890-1896 (Translated by Encarnacion Alzona) (Manila: National Historical Institute, 1992), 345-346,350-351, 353-354, and 357-358.
7 See Kelly, 207.
8 Alanguilan and Arre, 7-19.
9 Ibid, 15.
10 Ibid, 56-59.
11 See Rizal’s partial mention to Dr. A. B. Meyer on the former’s intent of making a “grand dictionary” of Philippine languages and dialects in National Historical Institute (now, National Historical Commission of the Philippines), Quotations from Rizal’s Writings (Translated by Encarnazion Alzona) (Manila: National Historical Institute, 1999), 70-71. As evidenced with the future martyr’s exchanges/correspondences with his foreign confidante and friend, Ferdinand Blumentritt on the matter of collecting Tagalog words and compiled into a comprehensive Tagalog dictionary even when Rizal was still touring in Europe before his first homecoming in 1887. See National Historical Commission of the Philippines (formerly, National Historical Institute), The Rizal-Blumentritt Correspondence, Vol. 1 1886-1889 (Manila: National Historical Institute, 1992), 57-64 and 67-70 for some intellectual-linguistic and epistemological situations of rooting Tagalog to finer bits.
12 Alanguilan and Arre, 35-46.
13 Ibid, 8-9.
14 Ibid, 4-5.
15 See brief references regarding on the after effects of the Marcos and Aquino socio-economic-political problems which the Ramos administration had to minimize in Alexander R. Magno, A Nation Reborn in Kasaysayan: The Story of the Filipino People, Vol. 9 (Philippines: Asia Publishing Company Limited, 1998), 181, 198, 211, 225, and 254.
16 Alanguilan and Arre, 9, 14-17.
17 Ibid, 6.
18 Ibid, 28, 57-58
19 Refer to Reyes, 294, 297-300 for more in-depth descriptive analyses on some of the archetypes utilized in “komiks” and/or cinema.


-Alanguilan, Gerry and Arre, Arnold. Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby. San Pablo City, Laguna: Komikero Publishing, 2014.
-Kelly, Paul, Ed. The Politics Book. London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2013.
-Magno, Alexander R. A Nation Reborn in Kasaysayan: The Story of the Filipino People, Vol. 9. Philippines: Asia Publishing Company Limited, 1998.
-National Historical Institute (now, National Historical Commission of the Philippines). Quotations from Rizal’s Writings (Translated by Encarnazion Alzona). Manila: National Historical Institute, 1999.
-Rizal, Jose P., and Blumentritt, Ferdinand. The Rizal-Blumentritt Correspondence, Two Vols. (Translated by Encarnacion Alzona). Manila: National Historical Institute, 1992.
-Reyes, Soledad S. Pagbasa ng Panitikan at Kulturang Popular: Piling Sanaysay, 1976-1996. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1997.
-Swain, Harriet, Ed. Big Questions in History. London: Vintage Books, 2006.
-http://www.gov.ph/the-order-of-national-artists/ (retrieved on November 26, 2015)
-http://gerry.alanguilan.com/archives/5212 (retrieved on November 26, 2015)

Paul Ramos