Posted May 16, 2014 by Alvin Minon in Comics



Written by Jet Tagasa
Illustrated by Juancho T. Dizon
Translated into Filipino by Norman Wilwayco

For some, the only way forward is to go back to the dark.

To tell you the truth, I found it curious that this story’s translated in Filipino. Why bother translating? What message’s needed to be delivered in Filipino? Or is the story complex enough that some might not understand it if it’s not in Filipino? Then I found out later on what’s the deal. And yeah, it’s somewhat needed to be transalated into our vernacular.

Nene‘s a story about a young girl. Nene in the first few pages described how she admired the world around her, from the wind to the current of the river down to the blades of grass dancing. She’d seem cheerful and romantic, like some innocent version of Alice in Wonderland amazed by things around her. And it wasn’t really clear at first only to find out later on that she’s a dead girl in a plastic bag, a victim of rape and murder and left there to rot. It’s her spirit talking, and grieving that she has to abruptly leave despite all the beautiful things she’s cherished. The story turned dark, and really sad.

Why is it needed to be translated into Filipino? Because as the book says, the story’s inspired by true events. I’m not sure whether the event’s something the author Jet Tagasa has heard of firsthand or something else, but it doesn’t matter. The tragedy of Nene happens and it’s something we see in the news every now and then. Tagasa’s words in this story has really hit me. His prowess in storytelling, capturing images and inciting emotions with his words, they’re evident in how he depicted the young girl’s innocence and how everything’s beautiful in her eyes, contrasted to the grief and and tragedy of dying at the hands of the driver her father has entrusted her with to pick her up from school. The story’s as heavy in Filipino as it is in English, too. Norman Wilwayco has done a great job in conveying the story in Filipino that I could imagine Nene in other forms of media, like some episode of a local horror series or something else.

Jet’s words are amplified by Juancho T. Dizon‘s art. The illustrations start out light, with elegant, gentle strokes depicting a mesmerizing Wonderland. Then things turn grim and darker, with stronger hues of black and gray, intensifying as Tagasa’s words draw more heartbreak. The art jumps from the pretty to the horrifying images, reflecting how Nene must’ve felt, or probably how evil such event could be.

Nene’s a heartbreaking story. Horrifying, but it’s the real deal, an imagery of the dark things that occurs in our society. Kudos to Tagasa, Dizon and Wilwayco, not only for the quality of the story but for what it represents. Also, it’s a great deal that the proceeds would go to charity, Bahay Tuluyan, a Filipino NGO working with children in need of special protection.

I just hope, that Nene has really found her way home.

Alvin Minon