Thursday, February 24, 2011

FUTURE PHILIPPINES Part 4: Rebirth of a Nation

The conclusion of Future Philippines: Masama Ba'ng Mangarap? from Speed Komiks #49 (July 12, 1986). By the year 2025, the Philippines' progress has reduced it to a state of moral decadence. As once before, the country's salvation rests within the power of the people.

FUTURE PHILIPPINES Part 3: Kris Aquino for President in 2012??!!!

I guess it really is the end of the world.

In the 3rd part of Future Philippines: Masama Ba'ng Mangarap? from Speed Komiks #48 (July 5, 1986), the Philippines continues to dominate the world. But at what cost?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

FUTURE PHILIPPINES Part 2: The United States of the Philippines

From Speed Komiks #47 (June 28, 1986), here's Part 2 of Future Philippines: Masama Ba'ng Mangarap? In this installment, the new United States of the Philippines becomes an economic giant and major global superpower, while the rest of the world adopts a "Filipinized" way of life.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the EDSA Revolution, I thought I'd break format for a bit and feature something in the spirit of the celebration.

After the 4-day People Power revolution took place in 1986, many Filipinos thought it would be the beginning of a new age of peace and prosperity for the nation. In response to this optimistic outlook, Speed Komiks ran Future Philippines: Masama Ba'ng Mangarap ("Future Philippines: Is It Bad to Dream?"), based on Cesare A.L. Syjuco's The Philippines and the Rest of the World in the Year 2025. Scripted by Imelda G. Cruz and illustrated by Cal Sobrepena, the 4-part series took a satirical look at the possible future of our country post-EDSA. And while things may not have gone quite how the strip predicted it, it's amusing to look back at how people at the time envisioned our future to be.

In the first part of the series, from Speed Komiks #46 (June 21, 1986), it is the year 1996. A decade after EDSA, the Philippines has become a sterling paragon of peace and democracy for the rest of the world to follow. Suddenly, the Philippines and the United States find that their roles have been reversed.

Friday, February 11, 2011

MACHETE - Hunk of Wood

Not to be confused with the Robert Rodriguez film, this Machete has long been famous in the Philippines through comics, but most especially in the movies, and now, on television.

Image from Komixpage

For the uninitiated, Machete was a wooden Indian (as in Native American) statue, who would come to life at night to, um, give pleasure to whoever love-starved lady had him in her thrall. But he would always turn back into a statue at dawn, giving new meaning to the term "morning wood."

Created by veteran writer Pablo S. Gomez and artist Louie D. Celerio, Machete first appeared in Pinoy Klasiks (published by Graphic Arts Service, Inc.) in 1989. Judging from the original serial's title, Machete: Batong Buhay ("Machete: Living Stone"), it would seem that the character's original komiks incarnation was actually carved out of stone.


Machete first became flesh on screen in the 1990 film Machete: Istatwang Buhay ("Machete: Living Statue"), starring Cesar Montano in the title role. Produced by Seiko Films ("If it's from Seiko, it must be good!"), which was notorious in the 1990's for its string of ST ("sex trip") films, the picture naturally played up the erotic elements in the story.

The movie was successful enough to spawn a sequel, Machete II, which was released in 1994. It starred Gardo Versoza, who did not actually portray Machete himself, but rather played a murdered man who similarly has his spirit infused into a wooden statue (yes, I actually watched this when it came out. I was curious, okay?). This film was also notable for being the first major starring role of '90's sex goddess Rosanna Roces.

Image from Video 48


In 1999, creators Gomez and Celerio revived the living wooden sex toy in a new series, Machete III, which was serialized in Aliwan Komiks. This serial, however, was never adapted into film.

Here's a chapter from Aliwan Komiks #2441 (August 22, 1999). Nothing much happens in it, though.


In recent years, Machete has been brought to life on television a number of times, though of course, the sexual aspect of the character had to be dropped in order to make him suitable for the general TV audience. A 2006 episode of the ABS-CBN fantasy anthology Komiks presented a much more wholesome romantic-comedy adaptation featuring Joseph Bitangcol as Machete and Korean pop star Sandara Park as his love interest.

ABS-CBN would make use of the character again, turning him into a full-fledged superhero in the 2006-07 series Super Inggo. This time out, the hunky hunk of wood was played by model/actor Derek Ramsay, who was not only the first incarnation of Machete not to have long hair, but to date the only live-action version to keep his pants on.

And just as many Filipino celebrities have been switching networks as of late, it appears even fictional characters aren't immune to the trend. This year, the GMA Network gave Machete his own TV series, with young heartthrob Aljur Abrenica as the latest to don the loincloth.

For this re-imagining, Machete is no longer an Indian, but instead belongs to some indeterminate ancient Filipino tribe. This version wears his hair short, though he does start out with long hair. His real name is revealed to be Dakila, and the name Machete is supposedly taken from the weapon he wields. No, not a big knife, but a hatchet (shouldn't his name be "Hatchete," then?). The story goes that he was mortally wounded in battle and died in his lover's arms. His soul was bonded to a tree which, in the present day, would eventually be carved into a statue in his likeness.
Broadcast from Monday to Friday nights, the series' first week moved a lot faster than most local shows usually do (yes, I watched a bit of it. Again, I was curious). Whereas other shows would spend a week or two on the lead character's childhood, Machete's past history and the female lead's tragic childhood were covered in the first episode. By the second episode, the statue was sculpted, and it finally came to life by the third. On the downside, the show still suffers from the soap opera syndrome that typically plagues pinoy TV dramas, so it's not really something I'd be interested in following. At the moment, the story is focused on the love triangle between Machete, the sculptress who "made" him, and the reincarnation of his lost love, but the action should pick up when they start searching for his missing hatchet (which turns out to have magical properties, kind of like Thor's hammer, Mjolnir).

Machete co-creator Pablo Gomez passed away on December 26 of last year at the age of 79. Prior to his passing, a number of his stories were adapted for the ABS-CBN fantasy series Wansapanataym, and the recent remake of another of his creations, Petrang Kabayo, was a box-office hit. Aside from Machete, there are currently 2 other television programs based on his works, Juanita Banana and Mutya, both airing on ABS-CBN. At a time when Mars Ravelo and Carlo J. Caparas adaptations usually lord over the airwaves, it's nice to see another respected komiks master getting his due for a change.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Kung Hei Fat Choi! In celebration of the Year of the Golden Rabbit, here's a golden Chinese ninja...

Wang Ho ran from 1985 to 1990 in the pages of Ninja Pocketkomiks (later Ninja Komiks), published by Atlas Publishing Co., Inc. Though the characters and setting were basically Chinese, the series was conceived by Filipino creators Rod Santiago (writer) and Ruding Mesina (illustrator).


Master Yin Shan's Pitong Bagwis ("Seven Wings") were the most feared fighters in all the land. When they challenge the temple of Master Hong Tien Lung, the brothers Wang and Tsing Ho step up to face them. But the seven deadly warriors prove much too formidable, leading to Tsing Ho's violent death at their hands.

Vowing to avenge his brother's death and restore his people's honor, Wang Ho journeys to the mountain of Tsunyi to seek the tutelage of the mysterious ninja master Gintong Ermitanyo ("Golden Hermit")

(The Golden Hermit's so tough, he kicked a hole through the comic!)
The Hermit trains Wang Ho in the ways of the ninja, and bestows upon him a magical golden samurai sword, which gives him the power to transform into a mystical Golden Ninja.


Skilled in the martial arts, Wang Ho's physical prowess are magically enhanced when he transforms into the Golden Ninja. His golden samurai appears to be sentient; springing to life on its own at times, responding to its master's commands, capable of levitating, and glowing whenever danger is afoot. In addition to the samurai, Wang Ho also carries a second shorter sword.



Wang and Tsing Ho's mentor.


Hong Tien Lung's daughter, the love of Wang Ho's life.


The enigmatic ninja master of Mount Tsunyi, the source of Wang Ho's powers.


The lilliputian leader of a tribe of tiny rebels, shrunken down to size by Yin Shan's magic.

A husband and wife placed under a curse by Yin Shan. Fu Chow was transformed into a wild boar man, while his wife Kweiyang was turned into a scaly snake woman.


An evil Chinese warlord and master of black magic. He's particularly fond of turning people into animals.



The 1st Wing, a master of deceitful tactics. His weapons include a pair of scythes and his Benwa Balls (metal ball bearings that he spits at his opponents with the force of a bullet).

The 2nd and 3rd Wings. Cheching is armed with a battle axe, while Cheng Haw carries a samurai sword.


The 4th Wing, renowned for his astounding strength and endurance.

After his hands were cut off in the fight with Tsing Ho, Sung-Tao had them replaced with a pair of metal hooks.


The 5th and 6th Wings, twin masters of the nunchaku.


The 7th Wing is the lone female in the group, and perhaps the fiercest fighter of them all. Her weapons are a pair of sais, and her hat, which she throws at her opponents like a boomerang.

Aside from her fighting skills, she also has the power of seduction at her disposal...

But not even Chin Na's lethal charms could sway Wang Ho, who only had eyes for his beloved Ying-Chi.


A ghostly fighter who stalks Wang Ho for his own mysterious reasons. What are they? Only the White Shadow knows.