“It only takes one story left untold to make men forget all the the things they could be. And your people have many. ” — Skyworld
In honor of Independence Day, I thought of paying homage to some of our long forgotten heroes. While they may or may not have existed at all, their stories have inspired and influenced Philippine folklore and history – I’m talking about our Filipino legends and mythological figures. If you’ve forgotten about Bathala, aswangs, Lam-ang, tikbalangs, etc. Here are some Pinoy komiks that will remind you how rich, fun and interesting Philippine mythology is!
The Mythology Class by Arnold Arre
Bantugan was given the wisdom by the gods to write about Bathala and his creation of sansinukob – our universe. He wrote his chronicles on narra tablets. The tales in these tablets would tell us that Bathala also created an alternative universe for enkantos (spirits). But soon, these enkantos grew restless and escaped from their own world to our own, spreading terror and horror across the land. The gods then decided to give Bantugan the task to return these monsters back into their own world.
The problem arises when Bantugan discovers that these enkantos have scattered themselves across generations and roam the threads of time. Before he died, he promised the gods to send his wife, Datimbang, to travel across centuries to train students who can fulfill the tasks he no longer can. Thus, The Mythology Class was born.
The Mythology Class is a very fun read – imagine a band of college kids chasing tikbalangs, kapres, aswangs, and many more! What keeps it closer to home for me were the references made to the University of the Philippines and the landmarks surrounding the Diliman campus. Reading this comic book will surely make you want to read more about Lam-ang, Kubin, Ibalon warriors and other figures in Philippine folklore!
Skyworld by Mervin Ignacio and Ian Sta. Maria
Skyworld tells the stories of a tikbalang prince who is in search of vengeance for the death of his father, a murdered Skygod that returns to present day Manila, and the Queen of the Asuang who unleashes the deadly Bakunawa (dragon) – all of these come together when Andoy, a crippled orphan, discovers that he has yet to fulfill a prophecy dating back to the time of Lapu-Lapu.
The prophecy tells us of an ancient tribe that traveled to our lands through land bridges. This tribe was made of warriors known as the Sons of Heaven. They were “fearsome warriors gifted with strength beyond mortal men, ruled by a code that was not of this earth.” With them was an amulet that carried all the source of their power. The amulet was passed from one generation to the next. It was said that one day, a warrior of noble birth would rise and use the amulet to unite warring tribes. This warrior would be known as the Maharlika.
What makes Skyworld very interesting is that it tries to weave fantasy and historical events together – imagine what it would be like if the battle of Lapu-Lapu and Magellan were actually influenced by the gods and mythical creatures? And then fast forward to a decaying modern-day Manila, what would happen when the Queen of the Asuang unleashes all sorts of horror to claim the city? How will Andoy fulfill the ancient prophecy? The story is told in a two-part series. Though I’ve only read the first volume, I’ll surely be buying the next one!