Memorable Characters from Philippine Speculative Fiction

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 27 - 2010

This Saturday, 30 January 2010, I’ll be one of the speakers at the Project 20:10 launch at the Ateneo High School Fair. (For those interested in the project, the first part of my interview with Ria Lu is up on Metakritiko today.) I’ll be talking about creating paranormal characters, so I thought it might be a good warm up to talk about a few more-than-human characters from Philippine Speculative fiction and komiks who I’ve found to be memorable, and to try to analyze why I found them memorable. These aren’t necessarily my favorite characters mind you, as that’s largely a matter of reader preference/affinity for particular personalities… but whether or not the reader remembers the character is, I think, something a tad more objective, and a more universal goal for creators to aspire to.

That being said, this is still a personal and subjective aggregation (and in no way comprehensive), so please feel free to suggest others in the comments.

(Images from the slider image are attributed below)



Key words: Unity of Elements.

Why I remember him: While the fact I was so young when I first saw him is certainly a factor (nothing takes so permanent an impression as a child’s mind), the striking–yet simple–character design is probably what makes Zuma such a memorable character. While it would take years for special effects and costume technology to reach the point where heroes such as Batman and Spiderman could be rendered on-screen in a non-campy way, the 1985 Zuma film pretty much nailed its title character–not that difficult a task really, since all they needed to do was shave Max Laurel’s head, dye him green, and give him a two-headed snake. Yet those three elements were enough to convey the other-ness, the power and the malice which defined Zuma as a villain. While his costume, so to speak, is basic, every aspect of it was geared towards producing a singular impression.

(Image source: Artwork by Gilbert Monsanto)

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Chained Links: 15 January 2010

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 15 - 2010

Still adjusting to my new schedule, and trying to balance Metakritiko editing/writing duties with Rocket Kapre and my own fiction, and couple that with my Internet outage (attributable to my router dying apparently) and that means I’ve been a bit behind on my news-of-relevance-to-Pinoy-SF… but that’s nothing a Chained Links post can’t fix!


Philippine Spec Fic News:

  • Lola: A Ghost Story (with a story by J. Torres and art by Elbert Or) is a graphic novel from Oni Books that tells the story of a boy who returns with his family to the Philippines for the funeral of his grandmother. Elbert says it should be out in comics stores this week, so you all know what you’re shopping for this weekend. You can check out some reviews at School Library Journal and Comic Book Resources, or check out the 17 page preview at the sites Elbert mentions here.
  • A list of indigenous tribes and languages of the Philippines by F. Blumentritt which briefly describes each tribe’s location, culture and religion. Handy resource eh? (
  • Project 20:10 is a project with the two-fold mission of drumming up support for local creators, and increasing the amount of local content in fiction, comics, animation and gaming. I’ll have an interview with project organizer Ria Lu (of Talecraft fame) at Metakritiko soon, so watch out for that.
  • Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels Seminar by Glasshouse Graphics from January 30-31. You can find the details here – warning, the site has audio. (via Komikero)
  • Speaking of comics, komiks creator macoy (I recently reviewed his “Ang Maskot“) posts embedded video of a Kubori Kikiam motion comic (which is obviously NSFW) and an animated mock opening to “The Metro” by Jerome Jacinto –which, I confess, I’ve never heard of before, but it looks awesome.
  • The Philippines’ second solar car (there was a first?), aptly named Sikat (see what they did there? *nudge*) is embarking on a nationwide tour. (Good News Pilipinas)
  • Spirit Photography is the topic of a recent blog post of Spec Fic author Yvette Tan . Speaking of Yvette, have I mentioned that she plugs our Ruin and Resolve anthology here?
  • Trese 5000: No, that’s not a far-future story arc, it’s a sales figure estimate for books 1 and 3. Congratulations to Budjette, Kajo and Visprint on the continuing success of Trese.

Genre and Fandom:

  • The Bibliophile Stalker Awards 2009 went up last January 13, in case you missed it.
  • Neglected Books and Authors get some love over at
  • Fandom, Participatory Culture, and Web 2.0 is the title of a course which I’d love to take up, but as that’s unlikely to occur anytime soon, I’m glad that Professor Henry Jenkins has posted his syllabus at his site.

Reading and Writing:

Chained Links: 21 December 2009

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 22 - 2009

For your pre-Christmas edition of our link round-up, we’ve got a site launch, writing tidbits and a smattering of history:


Site Launch:

  • The official Estranghero Press website is now up and running (although parts remain, as per internet tradition, “under construction”).

Books and the Writing Craft:

  • Speaking of Estranghero Press, here are a few interesting posts from Joey Nacino’s blog, one on local monsters, and another on the inclusion of an editor’s own story in his/her anthology (the latter with bonus flame-y flavor in the comments, if that floats your boat).
  • Mitali Perkins on why she writes multicultural books. (Via Stacy Whitman)
  • For essay writers, poets and artists, there’s a call for submissions for Duguang Lupa, a chapbook of reactions to the Ampatuan Massacre. (via PGS)
  • In the Nick of Time” a free Holiday Sampler put together by J.C. Hutchins with excerpts from a dozen new novels and nonfiction books by authors such as Laurell Hamilton, Cory Doctorow and Joseph Finder. (via
  • The 43rd Bookworms Carnival covering books on/related to mythology (we contributed our post on Anvil’s Treasury of Stories)
  • The Apex Book of World SF (which includes a story by Dean Alfar) is available for the Kindle, and for  free worldwide shipping in dead-tree form. (via World SF News Blog)

Event Coverage:

Historical Documents: (via

Contests and Sales:

New Trese Graphic Novella at Rogue

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 7 - 2009


For all you Trese fans out there, a new novella entitled Masquerade (or Case File # 1031) has been uploaded to Rogue magazine, with a story by Trese scribe Budjette Tan and art by Mark Torres. It’s nice to see Trese stories appearing in different formats, and it does seem to allow for the possibility of more frequent releases of related content even when co-creator Kajo Baldisimo is busy/unavailable.

Chained Links: 2 December 2009

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 2 - 2009

Let’s start off December with another link roundup of news that might be of interest to readers and writers of Philippine Spec Fic:

Komix 7107: Issue 1

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 6 - 2009

Komiks creators Budjette Tan, Kajo Baldisimo (Trese), Ian Sta Maria, Mervin Ignacio (Skyworld), and Paolo Fabregas (Filipino Heroes League) have put up a new blog called Komix 7107, a site where they will be posting their creations (samples, old projects, and new experiments) for free online. Three works are currently up in their first online anthology:

The complete first issue of SKYWORLD.


The complete story of THE LAST DATU, a project that Budjette and Kajo worked on before Trese

I’m glad to see komiks creators using (or continuing to use, as with the Trese gang) the web to gain greater exposure for their work. It’s also good to see the Last Datu more widely available. Best of luck to the creators and here’s hoping we can see more of their work online in the days to come.

Trese: The Devil’s Playground

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 31 - 2009


I can think of few better ways to celebrate Halloween than kicking back with a new Trese story–and that’s just what co-creator Budjette Tan has to offer us today, assisted by the photographs of Melvin Arciaga. Trese: The Devil’s Playground is a four page photocomic (fumetti) featuring, amongst other things, Trese’s youngest fan (or, well, the Kambal’s youngest fan as Budjette puts it).

Enjoy the comic and stay dry everyone!

Komikon 2009: El Indio Book Launch

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 19 - 2009

Here are a few videos I took of the El Indio book launch at yesterday’s Komikon (with apologies for the shaky-cam… alas, I am not the steadiest of hands). The portion I caught on video consists of Karen Lucero of the Vibal Foundation interviewing Gerry Alanguilan (who doesn’t know Sir Gerry?), the driving force behind the project and the komiks/comics writer-artist extraordinaire who helped clean/restore the artwork of the great Filipino comics artist Francisco V. Coching for this compilation. This was followed by a kick-ass, fully-voiced teaser-reading of one of the chapters from the book–hopefully someone else can post that segment. (EDIT: Here it is!)

This is the first video clip I’ve taken for Rocket Kapre, but there will be more in the future whenever the opportunity presents itself, so please feel free to subscribe to our new youtube channel.

Komikon 2009 in Pictures

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 19 - 2009


Another year, another (non-summer) Komikon. It was great fun, as always, and holding it at the Megatrade Hall at SM Megamall made it easier to circulate from booth to booth, despite the fact that there were probably more people at yesterday’s event than at the Summer Komikon at UP.
The throngs of fans waiting for a ticket


I’m happy I finally had a reason to introduce myself to Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo (Trese), as well as Mervin Ignacio and Ian Sta. Maria (Skyworld) (Here’s an old review of Trese 1 and Skyworld 1 over at Komiks…). There were a lot of other Filipino creators present–both as participants at the con, and as fans–but as most of them were swamped with customers and admirers (or, as was the case with Gerry Alanguilan, frequently at center stage), I wasn’t able to meet as many as I would have liked; after all, it seemed kind of boorish to engage artists in fannish Q&As when they could be making sales–in other words, we need more panels guys!


Art Auction for the benefit of Typhoon Victims

However, I was–finally–able to meet Dado de Guzman (the fantastic young artist who designed the logo and banners for Rocket Kapre) as well as his fellow artist Maya, both of whom are part of the Artspice art group.

Picture 092

Sadly I wasn’t able to watch the Komikon awards, nor the Q&A with Budjette and Kajo (if anyone was able to attend and had any impressions–hints as to Book 4 maybe–please let us know in the comments). I was able to nab most of the komiks on my list however, so coupled with the time spent in an atmosphere of creativity and appreciation, it was a day well spent. The next big con is the Mangaholix  M3Con right? See you guys there ^_^

More Komikon pictures after the cut, but here are a few links to other posts on Komikon 2009, by fans and creators. If you know of any I’ve missed, or have posted one yourself which I did not include here, please let me know in the comments:

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Chained Links (13 October 2009)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 13 - 2009

Things were a bit crazy for the past week, but here’s a round-up of recent news that you guys might find interesting:

  • The deadline of the Pinoy Story Writing Contest has been extended to October 17;
  • Pinoy Transgressive, a website devoted to the publication and promotion of “transgressive literature” has launched, with words by Carljoe Javier, Jonathan Jimena Siason, Karl de Mesa, Marguerite Alcazaren de Leon, and Norman Wilwayco;
  • Spec (and all-things-experimental) Fic author Adam David has been nominated in the National Book Awards in the Best Book Design category;
  • The Bookbabble podcast interviewed Filipina Spec Fic author Crystal Koo.
  • Underpass, a new graphic novel anthology from industry heavyweights such as Gerry Alanguilan, David Hontiveros, Ian Sta. Maria, Budjette Tan, Kajo Baldisimo, and Oliver Pulumbarit will make its debut at the Komikon. You can also check out a list of other komiks launching at komikon at the Komikero blog;
  • In other komiks news, Trese #3 has been printed and should be in the grubby hands of pre-ordering fanatics (like myself) some time this week;
  • Wired points out some functions which will not be present in the International Kindle (if used outside of the US from what I gather);
  • John Scalzi is running a quick writing contest on his AMC blog;
  • Via technovelgy, we’ve got word that parts of The Periodic Table of Science Fiction (a collection of 118 rather short stories by Michael Swanwick) are now online.
  • I’ve also received word via Yvette Tan’s Twitter that the special Horror Issue of Philippine Genre Stories (which she guest edits) is ready, although the Charles Tan informs us that the issue doesn’t appear to be out in the wild yet. Hopefully the news at least means that the release is imminent;
  • Speaking of Yvette, her story “Seek Ye Whore,” which came out in Rogue magazine’s July 2008 issue was long listed in Ellen Datlow’s new annual horror anthology. She’s also guest-editor at UNO Magazine (a men’s magazine so searching it out may be NSFW) this month, has an interview at the FHM (also a men’s magazine) website and has a feature on “”Waking the Dead” in Garage magazine. She does get around doesn’t she? ^_^
  • EDIT: Whoops almost forgot this–we can expect a new book on Philippine Folklore (can never have enough of those) soon, as the book proposal of Dianne de las Casas and Zarah Gagatiga was approved.



About Me

Rocket Kapre is an imprint of Eight Ray Sun Publishing Inc. (a new Philippine-based publisher), dedicated to bringing the very best of Philippine Speculative Fiction in English to a worldwide audience by means of digital distribution. More info can be found at our About section at the top of the page.