How to Apply as a Graphic Designer

Just something non-A to Z related, but I think it’s important to share. If you’re an aspiring graphic designer, read this and you can thank Jonas Diego for it afterwards 🙂

Jonas Diego

We are told “not to judge a book by it’s cover” but we do it all the time, none the less.

I am the Studio Manager for the Creatives Department of the Ladbrokes Coral Group in Manila, responsible for the provision of creative services including overseeing the delivery and execution of creative requests across the business globally. Last week I posted a call out for Graphic Artists in my Facebook account, asking those interested to send their resume and portfolio to my email address. To date, I’ve received over 300 applications (and they’re still coming) but I’ve shortlisted only 40 people out of this number.

Don’t get me wrong: a lot of those submissions were impressive bodies of work.

The problem however, was that a big chunk of those applications were not packaged professionally enough. Believe me when I say that how you put together your submissions greatly affects your…

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RIP, Johnny

I met Johnny Danganan through Jonas Diego at the first Komikon (well, Comics Festival, actually) I attended. Since then, I only saw him again at the Komikons, not even every time I attended. We became FB buddies, but we weren’t anywhere near being close, regardless of us coming from the same alma mater, or…well, regardless of anything. But still, Johnny’s passing took me by surprise just minutes ago.

I never knew it. I had an inkling somewhat, for some reason, but that was it, just an inkling. Even if we were not even close enough to be called acquaintances, I still feel sad. It’s the kind of sad you generally feel with regards to someone’s death. But I also feel sad to know that there’s one less face to see in the Komikons to come. He definitely will be missed.

That said, I urge you to come read his friend Jonas’ tribute to him. I am not able to reblog, so I’m sharing the link instead:

REMEMBERING JOHNNY DANGANAN 

RIP, Johnny.

The Art of Komikonation #atozchallenge2015

If there is one thing that I have come to realize in my adult life, it’s that I’m a late-bloomer in a lot of things. I need not go into more (read: boring) details about it, but in relation to my topic of the day, it is only now, in my later years, did I realize that I really, actually love comics.

K of A to ZI don’t have hundreds in my collection, not yet anyway, nor do I have any of those cherished and expensive first editions of famous American comics or Japanese manga. I didn’t start collecting until several years ago when I learned from artist Jonas Diego that we actually hold local conventions now. Komikons, they have called these local gatherings, and they have successfully put “komikon” in the modern Filipino dictionary.

By that time, I was already aware that I could draw a little. Well, sketch, really. Learning about artists now gathering and holding conventions kind of made me regret I did not practice and improve on my visual artistry. Maybe I would be already joining them and marketing my own comics had I pursued learning the art, who knows?

Attending Komikon has become a part of my annual routine. I have been unable to attend some events in the past, but I have at least made it a point to be in one of the three major ones. I’ve been enjoying and, I guess, celebrating the new artists of this era who have made making local comics cool again.

I know of people who seem to look down on local comics, whether they admit it or not. The problem is they don’t even try to consider attending komikons or to simply check out samples. They have become mentally colonized to even dare think that local comics are worth their time. They either have forgotten or have no idea at all that many Filipino artists have actually been a part of various DC and Marvel series. Ever the peaceful guy, a friend of mine said it’s just probably because they already get to read manga on the net for free. But he completely missed the point. That said, I was not about to lose friendship over it; I was not the one missing something good, anyway.

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A sample from Kiko Machine. What immediately drew me to this when I encountered the strip in the dailies was it not only obviously showed bits and pieces of the Pinoy way of life, but the campus scenarios, though made all funny, gave the artist away, that we’re from the same alma mater. It’s not really bias on my part, just that it’s like reminiscing your school days 🙂

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I read the copies my friend owns and am really hankering to buy my own copies of the series. I like the drawing, but I really appreciate the story-telling and the fact that they — the Damaso couple — create “rewinds” to give readers more ideas as to the background of the story. They have also created the comic book Dragon Breed, which I like as well

school-run-sample-drawing

From the site: “in the post-zombie apocalypse, just getting to school in the morning can be a real killer. welcome to the worst day in the lives of a school bus full of children.” I would love to see a movie version of this! Oh, and this was even before “World War Z” came out

If it’s not obvious already from my past posts, I already have several favorite titles that I like to follow: Kiko Machine, Cat’s Trail, Drop Dead Dangerous, Espiritista, Sulsi (and the other IKOS comics), School Run. I would like to follow Trese, Fallen Ash, Bathala, Dragon Breed, what else….? I really liked, too, the book Elmer and the short Ang Maskot that later became a short film, plus, Kapitan Tog provides comic relief, pun maybe intended 😉

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The Alphario Team…Photo credit is theirs

Having bought a story from them, I think I should also try checking out titles from a certain group whose name escapes me for now. Meanwhile, I have to say that I really like the enthusiasm and the efforts the whole Alphario Team always puts into marketing and promoting their comics during the event and even pre-event.

Of all the titles, though, I really am very partial to Ang Sumpa (by Andoyman). Not only does the artist himself pours his heart into it, but so do I. When Andy asked me to serve as editor, I also ended up sharing my ideas, as far as the forensics side is concerned (expert-wannabe). That’s probably why it says “Story Assist by…” on the cover. Still, it’s his story, not mine, his characters, his plot. I, on the other hand, is just happy to be a part of the comics industry, even in just this way. Admittedly, I am now inclined to write my own story or stories — I can’t do the drawing, but I can write the story, right?

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They did not hold the usual Summer Komikon this year. But rest assured that the Indieket’s happening soon. I plan to go so hopefully, things will go as planned. If they do, see you there, folks! Support the local comics industry!!! Time to KOMIKONATE  😀

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For more Komikon-related posts, please go to COMICS TRIPS.

Komikon for Dummies

komikon-official-event-cover-photo Last Saturday, August 2, was 2014’s Indieket Day or the Independent Komiks Market event of the local Komikon, the Philippines’ own comics convention. Indieket is the second of three bigger Komikon events held annually, the other two being the Summer Komikon (keyword: summer) and the regular one usually held November or December (my friend Sherwin The Kraken tries to call it the Winter Komikon, nevermind that we have no winter). Other often smaller but equally special conventions happen in provinces once in a while, too, like in Cebu, Baguio and, recently, Iloilo.

I’ve been attending these three Komikons a few years now and *BIG SIGH* last Saturday, I was absent. For the first time since I began patronizing the once-again blooming comics industry, I missed an event. *MORE SIGHS* For more personal reasons that can actually be elaborated some other time, I stayed home instead and got busy.

Well, comics-related events have been around for quite a while before I discovered one, but I do believe I can say that I am now credible enough to share what I know. So since I have not been sharing my experiences in the more recent events, I thought I’d come up with this post. If you’re a Komikon dummy like I was, read on. This can help you on your first–or your next–Komikon experience.

The Dos-and-Don’ts Guide for Komikon Dummies

To the uninitiated, lemme explain. The occasion is for comics artists to showcase their works and for enthusiasts to take advantage of this. Rarely do you encounter dozens of artists and creators crammed in one place, so good for you. Here, you will find both newbie creators and more seasoned ones — take your pick. Okay, let’s start…

The Bayanihan Center facade. Credits belong to Ateneo.edu

1. KNOW the venue. Sounds duh, but it’s great advice coming from experience. Around two years ago, my officemates and I were to attend a Gaming, Toys, Manga/Anime and Cosplay Convention or GTMACCON (this is not Komikon, but just to drive a point…). We were a big enough bunch who came from Makati and went somewhere in UP Diliman to attend. We waited on university grounds until it was way beyond schedule and it seemed the place wasn’t even going to open. Finally, I texted comics guy Andoyman, asking where the exact venue was as someone got stuck with the wrong info that got disseminated to us.

Lo and behold! We were not even close! To add insult to injury, the venue was just in Makati, WHERE WE CAME FROM…Wow, mali (wrong). GTMACCON: Go To MAling Comics CONvention. The usual venue for the Komikon, by the way, is the Bayanihan Center located at the Unilab Compound in Pasig. 

2. Come early. It’s not like you’re going to be thrown out of the event or anything if you come in the afternoon. But it has been observed that the Summer Komikon and the “Winter” one tend to draw a big crowd. You’ll want to be one of the first to see the various merchandise, talk to the artists and ask for autographs and/or photographs. If you’re lucky, some artists give away their own simple freebies like little snacks, stickers, etcetera, as a form of appreciation. Better be there before supplies end.

It’s one, big geeky event, can’t you tell? This is the main hall where Komikon is always held, but you can imagine how it must have looked like at the entrance.

The organizers do give away freebies also right at the event entrance (not the building entrance, but where you are allowed entry after paying P100 for your ticket). Don’t expect too much, though. This is not Oprah or Ellen. Sometimes, sponsors put up booths/tables like 711 that once gave away free Slurpee and commemorative Lord of the Rings tumblers.

indieket-2013-catalog

There’s Tico Limosinero’s boy robot Neox together with Elbert Or‘s Chuck the Bakemono High werecub (extreme right), Ikos Komiks’ Ronzkie Pacho-Vidal‘s Asul from her work Sulsi at 6 o’clock and Michael David’s own ‘kikiam’ renditions of Chuck and Asul

Oh, and at times, they give away catalogs with lots of free space on them where you can ask artists to draw something for you for free (do buy something first, please!). You can do that throughout the day, but being early means you’ll have more time to approach more artists for it, plus they won’t be too tired already to draw anything. 

3. Don’t be a snob. If you look down on local comics based on them being, well, local, this is not the event for you. Either you beat it, pal, or give local comics a chance. There are ways, though, to get your fix of foreign ones by visiting booths of edition sellers like Comic Odyssey that has somehow become a sort of fixture, so to speak, in Komikon events because I see them there every time.

Meanwhile, we know you most probably know the creators of Kiko Machine, Pugad Baboy, Kubori Kikiam and the likes. These guys get the longest lines of people wanting to buy their products for some great photo-ops and autograph-signing with their idols. BUT the Komikon is mainly one giant showcase of newer talents. It won’t hurt to get to know them and their works. It’s actually fun to be “there” when a comic book is just starting and to gradually see it grow, so to speak.

By the way, while the Indieket gives much more chance for new creators by giving them the spotlight, on other Komikons, they are provided a separate area called the Indie Tiangge. It’s a sort of rite of passage before they are finally allowed to make it big…Er, well, before they are allowed to take space in the main activity area, that is. Some not-so-new ones are there as well simply because they are new participants of the event.  There are various factors considered but I’m not an authority on that, ergo, I leave it to you to interview anyone there. Make sure, though, to pay the Tiangge a visit. Not because they’re there, they are not worth a look. That’s not how it works. You’ll never know what treasure lies undiscovered in that room.

espiritista-comics

I encountered the Espiritista, its first-ever of the series by Niño Balita, at the Summer Komikon 2013 Indie Tiangge and I have been happily following his creation…Congrats to him and the Mrs. Espiritista–I mean–Mrs. Irene Balita, by the way!!!  They just exchanged I-Dos a few months ago 🙂

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I also first found Drop Dead Dangerous at the Indie Tiangge and I have been hooked ever since. Story by Chad Cabrera, art by Mike Banting

4. Have ka-ching, will buy. Sure, no one will send you away for “window shopping”. But the point of being there is to purchase, at the least, one or two comics. You don’t have to have a lot of moolah, believe me, I know. It’s one big decision-making exercise. A limited budget can still buy you more or less a dozen titles. A lot of them are priced from as low as P30, even P20. That’s already a steal, considering it’s art and the labor of one’s love. Of course, for such a price, do not expect a thick, glossy, full-colored edition. Generally, you’ll get photocopied versions, or limitedly colored ones, at least. But if you’re any good at choosing your comics, you can get clear, respectable-looking ones. Inexpensive doesn’t necessarily have to mean cheap.

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Andoyman’s Ang Sumpa is one of those inexpensive comics that do not disappoint visually. And, no, I am not just saying that because I know him nor does it have to do with me being somehow a part of it. Shameless plug, though: DO GET YOUR COPIES!!!

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Finally got to buy from the artist who likes to be simply called Macoy my own copies of School Run! He’s got various titles for you to choose from and the prices do vary based on thickness. The illustrations are fun and I like his storytelling

ikos-komiks

The Ikos Komiks table is one stop I never forget to do. They are a group of three artists with different styles in drawing and storytelling. In this pic are the aforementioned Ronzkie Pacho-Vidal (left) and Anino Karimlan (right). In-between is (the missing) Ray Vidal‘s Lola Lourdes whose stories and poems I get to read every time as they give away copies of her own brand of art — Thanks po for the autograph!!!

freely-abrigo-kulas

This one from Freely Abrigo, his Kulas, could be bought at just P30 with a fully-colored, little glossy cover

Also, I have stumbled upon inexpensive comics that have much better stories and illustrations than some pricier, glossier ones. It’s not just about getting your money’s worth when obviously, you can get much more satisfaction with still the least possible expense. If you do have more money to spare, then by all means, go for more gold! Maybe you’d like to purchase other comics-inspired merchandise, too, such as posters, stickers, plushies, beanie hats, keychains…You can even have works commissioned.

5.  Choose wisely. It’s another decision-making exercise. If you don’t know the artist/creator in front of you and can’t tell by just looking that you’d like to purchase, browse through a copy. If the premise does not interest you whatsoever, or the storytelling is bad, or the supposed humor is lacking, or the drawings either leave much to be desired or are totally horrendous (that totally happens), put the copy down and walk away.

FUM-manga

Sherwin The Kraken (the guy in middle) has really gotten to be a FUM fan so he never misses to visit their table. These are your FUM peeps, folks! He’s got all their comic mag editions, I think, not much encouraging needed

Try not to engage or be pulled to engage in a conversation with the artist unless you sincerely would really like to learn more about the comic book. Just saying, because that would be the more humane thing to do than to put his hopes up and have him waste time and energy trying to convince you when you’re not even buying.

On a more positive note, it’s a win-win situation, whether you buy or not. If you don’t, you don’t end up with something you don’t want. If you do, at least you’ve helped someone and maybe given him the inspiration to do better next time. 

6. Pay more attention. Enthusiasts are expected to walk around the area sizing up comics and getting to know the people behind the comics. By all means, do that. But you might also want to pay attention to the stage and what they announce over the microphone once in a while. Why? The organizers have prepared more stuff and surprises for you: Contests. Interviews with well-known international Pinoy artists like Whilce Portacio of X-Men fame. Featured guests, like those from the Macoy comics-based indie film ANG MASKOT. Even surprise wedding proposals!!! Also, talks and film showings are sometimes held in other rooms.

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International Guests!!!

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Self-explanatory.

I also say pay attention because being a much-attended event, it has gotten the attention of bad elements as well and there have been unfortunate cases of loss of valuables. Take care of your things and, as signs always say, “Please do not leave your valuables unattended.” 

7. Don’t expect a food fair. Don’t go around complaining where the food stalls are–it’s not a food fair. There is a designated area for a limited bunch of food to buy, so find out where it is. There may be a hotdog-eating game happening onstage so if you’re also up to it, why not??? (hint: it normally happens pre-lunch period). Some participants actually give away little snacks so it pays to be early before they run out. Some do get to sell munchies at stalls outside the main Komikon area. However, if you really want fuller meals, just have your wrist stamped for re-entry later and get out of the venue. There are fast-food and regular restos around.

cupcakes-for-sale

Once in a while, there are little snacks you can get your hands on. For a price, though. But, boy, do they look yummy….(DISCLAIMER: I’m not endorsing anything)

8. Expect cosplayers. Encounters with comic characters in the flesh are quite possible so get your cameras ready. The Komikon is often attended by cosplayers who are either there for fun or are representing artists’ creations, like the famous Amber from Ambush and Dennis and his pal from Alphario: The World Connection. Do not expect many of them, though. It’s not a cosplay event after all.    

alphario-characters

Creator SPLGum as Dennis Blake (sitting) and friend Wilhansen Li as the character Senjo Tamura. Photo credits to SPLGum and whoever took this pic

9. Join contests. It can be as simple as the aforementioned eating contest, or raffles the organizers or artists themselves are holding, or a meet-and-greet with well-known international artists, or an actual video game at someone’s booth. Whatever the organizers and its participants’ clever minds can think of! My Komikon buddy Sherwin actually joined a create-your-character thing sponsored by Filbar’s. His and the other competitors’ works were simply amazing!

10. ENJOY!!! Totally self-explanatory, right? I just saved the best for last 🙂

Well, I hope I’ve given you ideas, you Komikon newbies. There could be lots more I have not covered, but I’ll let you discover those for yourselves. That’s part of enjoying the whole Komikon experience. Meanwhile, here are some more random but nice pics I haven’t shared before. Forgive the layout, I am editing it (there are still stuff that I don’t understand in WordPress…), and will add links soon.

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Very cool Planeswalker cards that were actually just giveaways. I got Ajani, Chandra, Jace, Liliana, and Tezzeret. You can’t really play them (like I’d even know how), but they’re nice souvenirs and the art is whoah!!! Digital art by Allen Geneta

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Cute Manosaur cartoon by Elbert Or on my catalog

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Just had to post ’cause I really like this shot. Photo credits to SPLGum and whoever took this pic

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Sherwin’s winning pose for Alphario’s Pose with Spot contest (well, I forgot the name of the contest, too, hee…)

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I won for the most number of Facebook Likes category mainly because I begged and forced people–I mean, I looked so convincing…uhm, yeah…

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I wasn’t EVER going to buy posters as my main goal was to buy comics, but when I saw this at Allen Geneta’s table, I knew I just HAD to have a copy. Recognize these ninjutsu-trained amphibians? Click HERE for a closer look

me-as-stitch

First time to wear one of those beanie hats at an event. My Komikon buddy was right, it was liberating, he he…That was the nearest to cosplaying in public that I could get, if that’s even cosplaying. But hey, notice my colors? 😉

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So…plushies…!!!!

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So cuuuuteee!!!!

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The new Gerry Alanguilan book…I honestly have not bought a copy yet and have not read any part of it. I hope it’s just as good as his Elmer and Wasted

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The Sulsi main characters. Got my complete set already, woohoo!!!

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“Yes, I’m shameless. So sue me.”

mb pose4               See you next Komikon…I PROMISE!!!!!

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Thanks so much just for dropping by and I hope you got even the tiniest bit of new info. For more Komikon-related posts, please go to COMICS TRIPS.

Office Blogmates #atozchallenge2014

Honestly, it took me this long to post something because for my idea, I couldn’t find two audio files that I was supposedly going to share. Well, seeing that I’m way past schedule, I thought I’d post something to do about OFFICE instead.

It was really my original theme, but I couldn’t decide what to write about it exactly. I now realize that since we’re all about blogging anyway, I think I should introduce to you past and present officemates who also actively blog and whom I follow. I also realize this is a way better idea. Why didn’t I think about that before?

So folks, here are my office blogmates, from my first “offices” to my current one. Let’s start with…

JONAS DIEGO

Technically, Jonas Diego and I were officemates, having worked together for a college radio station, which was technically not an office, but anyhoo. He maintains JonasDiego.com, naturally, and its spawns, TheBlurb, which is a webcomic, and I Want Work, which is an online classified ads blog over at Blogspot.

“Jonas, …also continues to participate in events and activities which push his advocacy of a thriving, vibrant, and sustainable Philippines Comic Book Industry.” I used to say he was one of those responsible for the birth of the Philippine comics convention dubbed Komikon, but was just recently corrected. I do think that he also had a lot to do with promoting the local comics industry these past years, so I still say, good job, Raven! (He probably hates it now when he’s called this, but I’m just so used to it!)

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JonasDiego.com

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The Blurb Webcomics

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I Want Work!

THE PROFESSIONAL HECKLER

As far as I can remember, Loi Landicho a.k.a. The Professional Heckler really had been quite the funnyman and a heckler even before the fame. He was a classmate and I got to work with him in the school paper (that’s technically an office, too, since it did have one). So you know, he’s no stranger to writing and politics. He’s a trivia-freak, too, and I guess that comes with the territory.

Witty Loi, or his more famous monicker, Professional Heckler, is now a multi-awarded political humorist-blogger. He quotes Henry Cate VII: “The problem with political jokes is they get elected.” True, that.

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The Professional Heckler

TONYO CRUZ

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TonyoCruz.com

Another one from the school paper. I also knew Tonyo Cruz as witty and a good writer-journalist. I remember Editorial meetings and he would be one of those very animatedly discussing topics and fervently debating. I’ve only recently discovered his blog because I’ve also only reconnected with him.

That aside, I have known and heard from the grapevine that Tonyo has stayed quite active as a political — uh — activist (it’s not redundant, is it?). Looks like he hasn’t shown any signs of stopping. Right now, he writes for a column in one of the big national dailies. His blog, TonyoCruz.com also has its share of awards.

FRANCES BELDIA

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Cure4Mondays

Technically, we were not officemates. In a sense, we had a non-working relationship. You see, I was already out of the magazine I worked for when she joined the publication. I got to know her because they still needed information from me and I got to visit them. To make the long story short, here we are, blogmates.

Frances Beldia calls her blog Cure4Mondays, “a mom blog on homeschooling, kids and family activities, events, reviews on books, movies, products, life in Manila and the rewards and stresses that come with it.” She hasn’t been that much active lately, but I find her blog to be a nice read.

ANDOYMAN KOMIKERO

The office was really where I met this guy. We were not exactly talking much until the topic of comic books (his forte) and, later on, of forensic science (my interest) came up. That was when Andy Edoria really began his career in the comics industry as Andoyman Komikero. He has since also begun to carve his own niche in the industry and it seems things are going the positive route.

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Andoyman Komikero

Andy already has several comics to his name, the series titled Ang Sumpa, in particular. He has also drawn for others, most notably for the elusive Bob Ong, whom he has communicated with only online and unfortunately hasn’t even met in person.

MEIKAH DELID

Until last month, she was an officemate, our Operations Manager, in fact. Our OM had been the most active blogger, if not the only one, save from myself. Every time she logged into YM to which we were all connected, she imparted words of wisdom by posting relevant quotes as her status messages.

Miss Meikah, more endearingly known as Miss Meiks, imparts more wisdom through her blog Mama is Working. “This blog chronicles my daily parenting challenges and triumphs. I will be talking mostly about the lessons I am learning about parenting, motherhood, womanhood, keeping a home and pursuing a career,” she says.

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Mama is Working

[IMPORTANT NOTE: I have un-linked from Mama is Working. Miss Meiks can now be found and followed at Mom in Midlife.]

JANE C.

This is my youngest blogmate. Fresh out of college, Jane C. is not exactly a neophyte when it comes to blogging, having maintained several blogs before deciding to keep her WordPress one called Etcetera. Basically, she says it’s for random stuff, but if I am to summarize it, it’s a blog for travels with friends, retro music, fun runs and baking experiments (that me and our officemates often get to taste-test). She’s done some fiction in WattPad, too.

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Etcetera

 

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The Meeka and Lexy Project

Jane also isn’t that new in writing, having written for a magazine (not the one I worked for) during and post-internship. Plus, while not currently updated, she has maintained with a friend another blog that has “Three missions: grab every grub in town, sweat ’em out, and type ’em all down” — The Meeka and Lexy Project.

(Oh and she’s part of the A-to-Z Challenge so you might want to check her blog out as well)

MADMA

I only got to work with Marvin Salazar for a short period of time. I was new at work and he was about to go. He was really quiet, poised and contemplative. The most times we really spoke was whenever I shared Fita biscuits with him as his station was next to mine. So imagine my surprise and confusion to find that this person who soon somehow made a name in the blogworld as Madma and Marvin the Quiet were one and the same!

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Yours Truly, Madma

He owns the blog Yours Truly, Madma where he dishes out socio-political commentaries, gives sensible if not somewhat naughty advice particularly on sexuality, and shares other fun, funny and more naughty stuff. The language may not be to your liking but that’s how he is. Madma’s blog gained quite a following when, well I don’t know how it all started exactly, but he ended up holding an online fashion modeling contest where anyone could join and others could comment and vote for which photos they deemed best and most appropriate for the week’s theme. That was a blast!

 

And that, my friends, are my office blogmates. I hope you give their blogs a visit to see for yourselves why I follow them. 🙂

 

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Did you like checking out their blogs? Then feel free to LIKE this page and theirs 😀 There is another person I was thinking of including in the list but I am not sure if it’s okay with her. Will update once I get her go signal.

This post is for the…

a-to-z-challenge

“Missing San Pablo” Part II

Aaaand we’re back! Last time, I asked someone’s permission to let me repost/reblog her writeup on “Missing San Pablo.” As promised, here is its second and final installment, with some translations and comments from moi.

Again, we hope you enjoy this one! Oh, and this one would be quite “gastronomic” 😉 Forgive my lay-out problems. Fixing…

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MISSING SAN PABLO

(Aileen ‘Ayie’ Alcos-Garcia)

(This is an old post, dated Feb. 2009. Written during the time that I moved out of San Pablo. But now I’m glad that I am back home. I’m sure most of you who are no longer physically residing in San Pablo can relate to me.)

(THE CONTINUATION…)

bibingka

This is the bibingka, a kind of cake made up of sticky rice, cooked through direct steaming. In some places, bibingka looks totally different, like what you’ll see if you CLICK HERE. In San Pablo, we call that biko, I think. In some places, it’s sinukmani, which we also have except it looks different. It’s complicated, I guess. Now take a look at HOW BIBINGKA IS MADE

7. San Nicolas BibingkaKahit tulog ako sa bus, ‘pag umakyat ang mamang may tindang bibingka, nagigising ako sa bango nito! Ay winner talaga especially the ones with itlog na maalat on top…(Even when I’m asleep, the moment the bibingka vendor enters, the wonderful aroma wakes me up! What a winner, especially the ones with salted egg on top…)

small-bibingka

Bibingka used to be the size of a regular saucer, but I normally see them now in smaller sizes, even much smaller like these ones above, the kind vendors sell aboard the bus when they get the chance at bus stops

[Ed.– That’s a bibingka at left. Shreds of buko (young coconut) meat are always added in the bibingka mix (well, always, as far as I know), then butter is spread on the top when the cake has taken shape. To make them extra-special, the following may be added as toppings: pieces of itlog na pula (salted boiled egg with the shell painted pula or red…don’t ask why, me not know), cheese (strips or grated), and grated coconut meat. I would love to try out jam or jelly on them, I bet they’ll be masarap (delicious)!]

8. Comics Den – This place used to be a popular hangout for young ones during my time. They had a cool collection there. Across the den was the residence of the Banayos that had a band studio that my friends (including my ex) would often rent for their usual jamming sessions. I wonder if the studio and the den are still open. The den is likewise a symbol of the local punk scene. ‘Nuff said. [Ed.– I believe this is the place where I accompanied artist Jonas Diego, back when he was still working on his early piece, The Book of John.]

9. “Ano baga!” (“Whaat!”) I do miss the San Pableño accent. A mix of the Batangas, Laguna, and Quezon province’s tones. It’s quite interesting that we have terms in San Pablo (and nearby places) that when we mention them in Manila, we hear “ANU ‘YUN???” (“WHAT’S THAT???”) quite often.

Examples:

Libagin (dirty clothes)                         Liban (cross the street)           Wari ko (I think)

Barino (in a bad mood/temper)       Tarangkahan (gate)                 Bahaw (left-over rice)

[Ed.– QUICK LANGUAGE 101:“Ano baga!” is usually, but not always, more of an expression rather than a real question, as if the speaker is confused about something (“What is it, really…?”), in disbelief, or is exasperated (“What are you looking at, punk!”).

The Filipino language is also similar to the Chinese in the sense that when the same word is spoken differently, with only a change in intonation or speed, it may mean something that is simply related or something else entirely. For instance, in San Pablo, saying “liban” in different intonation and tenses relays other possible meanings–except” (if slower), to go over something literally like over a fence (fast, as in the sample given), to be absent or go on leave, or to delay something.]

lanzones-fruit10. Lanzones – Whenever rambutan season, which I don’t like, is almost over, lanzones seeds start to grow abundantly. The San Pablo variety is, I think, the sweetest (I am sure those from other places would love to disagree). I like ours better than Camiguin’s for the seeds are smaller. My favorite place to buy this from is the store at M. Leonor, beside the funeral parlor (…oh, maybe that explains the sweetness…?).

11. Various specialties from various stores:

– Marilyn’s siopao at Schetelig Ave.

– Delfin’s luglug (or palabok, a type of pancit)inside the public market [Ed.– Not sure if it’s the same place but I rather like Onie’s luglug. I often buy there still when I’m at the public market. The price has remained at P20 for the longest time, which is one thing that makes it cool.]

Mami near the railroad/highway [Ed.– I have not tasted delicious mami for a long time. The best I have ever tasted is—well, was—at a mami-an (place to order/eat mami) that could be found along Sampaloc Lake, the part near our barrio. We could easily go to it back when the Rotary Club house (or whatever it is called) situated in our barrio had its gates open and anyone could pass through the wide pavement leading to the lake. It’s closed now and there is a much, much narrow alternative route. The mami-an has long been closed as well. Not sure if they relocated somewhere else.]

siopao-asado

The siopao is a steamed bun filled with either chicken or especially pork (asado/pot-roasted or bola-bola/meatball-shaped) and eaten with a special sweet sauce you pour in. At times, the bola-bola has salted egg added. Sizes vary but the usual is around the size of a saucer. If it sounds Chinese, it’s because it is, like many foods that found their way on our tables…or should I say in our tummies?

pancit-luglog-palabok

This description from its source explains luglug: “a noodle dish served with an array of seafood garnish, spring onions, hard boiled eggs in thick rice noodles. Usually served on deep bowls due to its saucy nature,…Luglug sauce also should be lighter in taste as it uses more of it” compared to other noodle dishes. Well, its noodles are not that much thicker, really, but otherwise, it’s spot-on. I do remember very well that when I was a kid, our favorite luglug-an  (place to eat/order luglug) would wrap take-out orders with banana leaves. It’s unfortunately not the case anymore

pancit-mami

Mami is the Philippines’ version of chicken noodle soup. While its origin is obvious, its name isn’t Chinese. China’s Ma Mon Luk introduced the “Mi” (noodle) dish here. Just put two and two together and you get the idea *wink!*

– Q9’s tapsilog near the Laguna College school. Tapsilog is a contraction of the following: tapa (dried or cured meat, usually beef), sinangag (fried rice) and itlog (egg, normally fried).

Mang Bert’s sorbetes (Mr. Bert’s ice cream) at Central School. He used to stay in one place near one of the buildings and sell “dirty ice cream” on cones [Ed. – Note: Peddlers were allowed in our school premises before and could walk more freely (which, in hindsight, was probably not very wise of management to allow, although perhaps they were monitored but I was too young to know or care).

Note again: “Dirty ice cream” here is just a term for ice cream, which is really more of a sorbet, being sold as street food, peddled by sorbeteros pushing either wooden or tin carts where ice cream is contained. Each cart may offer up to three flavors that are served in wafer or sugar cones, sometimes plastic cups (although I am not sure if they still do that, especially now that use of plastic is supposedly banned in businesses belonging to the service sector, unless they now use paper cups). This ice cream, according to my research, is mainly from coconut milk, unlike others that are made from animal milk.] 

– Botak’s refreshing flavored drinks, also in Central School. Mainly, he pushed a cart with various liquid fruit flavors that he poured in cups of ground ice, each cup was one order.

– Carreon’s taho (as according to my mother, it’s definitely cleanly-made if it’s  Carreon-made)

tapsilog-dish

Any tapsilog order usually comes with vinegar (sometimes sprinkled with crushed garlic or chili) to dip the meat in. Many food establishments offer this or have made “-silog” dishes their main offerings, thus they are called tapsilogan. They pair rice and egg with various meat products (ex. with hotdog=hotsilog). Presentations vary in how the rice is cooked, if tomato or cucumber slices are added, if they offer side dishes (often pickled green papaya called atsara/achara/atchara, however you spell it)

ice-cream

Dirty ice cream, anyone?

ice-cream-man

Mamang Sorbetero (Ice Cream Man). You’ll know he’s around when you hear him ringing a handbell

taho-vendor

A magtataho walking as far as he can go to bring taho to anyone craving for a healthy,  alternative way to satisfy his/her sweet tooth (er, teeth…? he he). You’ll know he’s coming when you here his call: “Tahooooo!!!”

taho

This is what you get when you heed the magtataho’s call, a sweet soya treat 🙂 I actually have been buying this almost every week

– Angelita’s tapa

– Spaghetti of Spaghetti House near Medical Center

Panitubo bread at Everlasting Bakery

Monay bread ata Maligaya Bakery

– Erling’s Rainbow Cake

– Customized cakes by Gem See

– Diding’s macapuno (sweet coconut strings)

– Pikay’s sinukmani!

monay-bread

Bite-size monay

rainbow-cake

Rainbow cake, obviously

sweet-coconut-strings

The macapuno or sweet coconut strings that may be eaten as dessert as is, or even used as an ingredient for other products

sweet-sticky-rice

The sinukmani (sweet sticky rice) we know

12. Dely’s Beauty Parlor – This belongs to my aunt! This is one of the two (am I right?) oldest beauty salon in the city. Its original location was in front of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) along Paulino St., near the Liceo school. It was still back on the 1960s when my  “Mommy Deli” (now called Lola D by her grandkids) opened it and it became the salon of different generations of the girlie girls of San Pablo. And because MD is our aunt, of course, we got free haircut, and even free makeup (whenever we had school programs to go to), including manicure and pedicure.

The parlor used to be our family’s drop-by place, every family member who went to the city proper would always drop by to simply pay MD his/her respect. When she had to leave the location after more than 30 years, the women “revolted” and demanded that it continue. Its present location is at the terrace of my grandma’s house. It’s what gives life to the compound especially with most of the original residents gone, including myself. Ayyy the parlor is here to stay forever! Pag-uwi ko magpapagupit ako… (When I get home, I’m getting a haircut…)

I still have lots that I miss about San Pablo City–things, people and occasions. Most of all, my family. The endless foods, chit-chats, and occasional fights. Nothing beats home, that’s for sure. That is why it isn’t only my kids who get excited about coming summer vacations because we’re going home again. Hayyy, lalafang na naman ng sobra-sobra… (Lots of food-tripping once more…)

THE END

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ayie, as many fondly call her, can be found at THE CURACHA CHRONICLES.

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Didn’t I tell you about things getting “gastronomic”? 😉

Don’t be stingy. Click LIKE if you liked this writeup 🙂 For any questions or comments, go ahead and type away! Again, all copyrights, except those of the images (which are all either linked to their respective sources or credited to owners) go to Ayie.

Un-Newbie-d (The Real Komikon Experience)

“I’ve been KONned.” There’s just no other way to say it. After more than a year of calling myself a Komikon newbie—worse, an (Almost) Komikon newbie’—I can now claim to be a real Komikon fangirl! Attending last April 13’s event at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig made sure of that.

summer-komikon-ticket

Some posts ago, I said I would not expect a real comics convention as much different from the comics festival I went to before, but it’s one of those rare occasions I’m thankful to be proven wrong. The Komiks Festival was cool and all, but the real Komikon…ROCKS! For starters, I was early enough at the venue, but what did I find? Already two long qeues to the building entrance. Later on, the place would be swarming with fans to feed their comic-hungry souls. My friend Sherwin was running late so good luck to him.

summer-komikon-comic-geeks

Whew!!! That’s just at the event entrance, lots more outside the building entrance, and lots more inside Bayanihan Center. Image from Komikon’s Facebook account

This just proved that Pinoy Komiks are NOT dead. Rather, quite alive and kicking. It was overwhelming to see a lot of geeks convening in one place (hey, don’t be offended by the geek-label, remember I was there, too, to enhance my geekiness). More overwhelming to know that thousands support the growing, new comics industry.

I almost made another mistake, what I call ‘Gayda Moment.’ Years ago, I absent-mindedly smiled and nodded a hey-there to a very familiar face only to realize it was Toni Rose Gayda, who didn’t really know me, and whom I never really personally met. Poor woman didn’t know how to react, trying to place me. So I almost made a fool of myself once again last Saturday, about to smile and nod a hey-there to Gab Chee Kee of the famous Parokya ni Edgar. Wow, ‘feeling-close’ naman ako. Funny, but I ended up following him in line. I could only hope no eager paparazzi took secret photos of him, a girl at his back looking silly like she was about to go to the beach with her large native bag, not attending the convention.

Once I got my ticket back with the stub removed, received my first set of freebies, and had the Summer Komikon logo stamped at the back of my right wrist, I proceeded to the lobby where I consumed a free Slurpee for breakfast (hey, I was in a hurry!). Shamelessly accepted, too, a The Hobbit Slurpee tumbler give-away (excess from when the movie was shown, but who cared? I love souvenirs). There were some non-comicbook goods being sold already right at the lobby but I didn’t want to splurge on them when I hadn’t even bought comics first.

create-own-comics-character

A young comics enthusiast checks out the exhibit on the various Character Making Contest entries

Facing the actual event area, I found on the right an exhibit of the Character Making Contest entries that had “Bata ang Bida!” (loose translation: “Kids Rule!”) as this year’s theme. Boy, a lot of them actually had promise. I would’ve checked out every one to have my own bets, but I told my friend, Andoyman Komikero, I was going to his table at the Indie Tiangge so I thought I’d just come back later (I forgot, though, but here are the winners: Character Making Contest 2013 winners).

So! Where was the Indie Tiangge section? I knew it was supposed to be separated from the main hall itself, but there didn’t seem to be anywhere else to go, but down a corridor that seemed too serious, I didn’t want to go where it could be off-limits. So I entered the hall.

Wow! Talk about crowded. There were lots of people and there were lots and lots of goodies to choose from. It was hard not to somehow touch shoulders with others or accidentally hit a display or two. Many popular titles and artists to choose from, too! I tell you I didn’t know where to start. So I just went around looking for Andoyman here, there, everywhere and I told myself to check outside again. It was a good thing because somebody, at last, posted a big sign now pointing to the direction of the Indie Tiangge, down the serious corridor. Ugh.

There he was! Finally! It had been more than two years when last Andy and I saw each other. Every communication–editing included–done through Facebook, texts and emails. I was glad to get actual copies of his Ang Sumpa (published under his Andoyman Komiks), especially because in a way, I was a part of it. I never knew I’d be doing anything related to comics. But now, let’s just say I’m thinking bigger things. We’ll see.

andoyman-and--komiks

Andoyman Komikero meets the Vidals of Ikos Komiks. That’s Andy, at left, with Ronzkie Pacho-Vidal sitting at the back, and Ray Vidal at our right

andoyman-komiks-sumpa

Andoyman Komiks. From left: The freebie Palimos ng Kulangot written by Doc Ronibats, Ang Sumpa 1 & 2, FOODCOURT, Andoyman’s baptism of fire

After some tête-a-tête and finding out there was no phone signal there, I went out to see any replies from Sherwin. He asked,“Wer n u? Nsa indi komiks tiangge k?” (“Where are you? At the Indie Tiangge?”) , to which I said yes and I would be waiting for him there. Then I spotted the Jonas Diego whom I last saw personally at the Festival; before that was yeeeeaarsss ago. Of course, we got to talk a bit and found we are just practically neighbors in Makati. I asked for issue 2 of his Pocket Comics, unfortunately, it was/is still a negative.

ikos-komiks-comics

The Ikos Komiks. They’re a variety of things–for kids, love stories, fantasies, action, drama, horror even (I am hazarding a guess here)

After a while, I went back to the Tiangge. Andoyman introduced me to the peeps next to him, Ikos KomiksRonzkie Pacho-Vidal and Ray Vidal. Their third member, Anino Karimlan, was not there. Ronzkie got to discuss with me their production and comic outputs. I’ve got to say I was initially attracted to their works visually. Then I got to flip through the pages and, through more explanations from her, I decided I wanted to buy at least two first. Based on what I’ve seen and read later on, I know Ikos Komiks is quite a group to watch out for. I am officially a fan.

As freebie, Ray gave away copies of the poetry book Utterly Woman: Lyric Poems, which, with one look, I immediately knew wasn’t new. Confirmation was when I asked and he said the writer, Lourdes H. Vidal, is his grandma. No problem. I love poems, and I actually considered myself lucky getting such a book for free. There was no other poetry-lover there more thankful.

Moments later, I met up with Sherwin at the lobby, and he was already wearing a Jake the Adventurer hat—to join his Picachu and Stitch hats in the office—that he just purchased from the event area. The Tiangge area was where we first devoted a lot of our time. It was a much smaller place but talent there was just as full and brimming.

I swear, it was somewhat a heartbreaking experience. Imagine, wanting much, much more with much, much less budget. Well, c’est la vie (that’s life). I had to balance between treating myself once in a while and still keeping it practical.

I have to admit, the main reason I bought Macoy Tang‘s Ang Maskot comics was my curiosity about its story, given that according to the woman at the table (I didn’t ask how they are related), it has been translated into film that’s about to be viewed at the coming Cinemalaya. I’m a sucker for indie films so I just had to know what Maskot was all about. The trailer, I just read online a few days ago, was actually shown at the Komikon, and I missed it. But reading the comics first made me agree that it was definitely movie-material.

macoy-tan-maskot-school-run

Macoy Tang modeling not his works but the ‘freebie’ (LOL!). He’s got loads of work and I must say, his School Run would be great to make a movie out of as well. Sali ako, p’wede ‘ko zombiiieee!!!!

my-friend-sherwin

Sherwin the Kraken enjoying his Slurpee. At his back is the almost-inconspicuous tarp on which are printed, among other things, the events of the day and–hello!!!–the event floormap…pffft…And, oh, found out the other day the map was also included in the first freebies at the event entrance. Toinks!

Fast-forward to us finally moving to the great hall. Yipes! More people! There was a hotdog-eating competition going on onstage and I laughed at how sincere Sherwin sounded when he said he really wanted to join. Just like me, he was hungry already, and he wouldn’t be called ‘The Kraken,’ too, for nothing. He’s got a black hole for a stomach!

Sherwin had a blast catching up, so to speak, with some artists he met at a past Komikon, particularly Pop U band members whose vocalist, Ker Floria, drew comics (Indie) as well and gave away a CD before as freebie (I liked some of the songs).

Sherwin bought copies again, too, of FUM (Filipino Utilized Manga). We got to meet the peeps behind the Filipino Manga mag. I’ve had my clear favorite so far from before, Rui Chan‘s Enguard, plus I was/am waiting for any actual storytelling of Legends of Maya, I think by Doc RaCe.

Meanwhile, I was so thankful for the Komiks Festival for I didn’t have to fall in line anymore (what a line it was and it’s said long lines are always expected with him around) at the Summer Komikon just to have Manix Abrera sign my copy of any of his books.

FUM-mag-team

The FUM Team, from left: Doc RaCe, Rui Chan, (sorry we didn’t catch the name of the next one), Freya Dy, and I think the last one’s Kasamaan, if I’m not mistaken

FUM-mags

From top, clockwise: New issues of FUM mags Breve and Latte versions, Bargitte version and a ‘One Shot’ comics called Anti-Hero as freebies, and cartoonized bookmarks and sticker as freebies as well

I saw Johnny Danganan, too, handling the auction table where various artists donated their masterpieces for a good cause. It was for the annual “Lapis at Papel” (“Pencil and Paper”) Project where proceeds were to go to a charitable cause, to help out underprivileged kids and supply school items to them for the coming school year. Artworks donated by artists were auctioned with bids starting at P500. Kudos for the efforts, guys!

komikon-lapis-papel-auction

Johnny Danganan and Jonas Diego at the auction table. Image from  Jonas’ Facebook account, posted by Mr. Rodrigo T. Andres, Jr. (thanks, Sir!)

I went around and around also looking for Freely Abrigo but I only found him right when we were to go home. My companion had something to do and should’ve left an hour ago, while I was going home to the province, which explains the big bag.

foreign-guest-cartoonists

Singaporean guest artists also graced the event and were interviewed onstage, sharing their thoughts and experiences

We were so busy checking out the wares, we hardly took notice of the stage where a lot more things did happen, like a Moving-Up Graduation Ceremony (moving up meant graduating from the Indie Tiangge level), Singaporean artists Otto Fong and C. T. Lim gracing the event, actor Ketchup Eusebio promoting the Ang Maskot film where he played the title role, Bogart the Explorer also promoting a yet-untitled film in his supposed hero costume, other fun contests and, aaaww, a surprise marriage proposal.

Meanwhile, Freely wasn’t so free but was busy attending to people. I waited for some minutes but it was not enough. I looked at the table and found I already have copies of his comics, except any Kapitan Tog but, by then, no more moolah…Next time, Freely, next time.

Lots more comicbooks broke my heart. The only thing that got me going was the idea that some of those could be bought some other days from bookstores, and that I’d be seeing them again at the next Komikons. So next time, I’ll be on the lookout for them. I’ll make sure I won’t miss them like I did Elmer Damaso and his Cat’s Trail. Well we saw him there so I figured he was participating.

Between the two of us, Sherwin and I brought home enough loot to satisfy us. We share collections so we get to read each other’s comics anyway. In fact, I’m done reading everything from this batch of loot, as well as the other batch he got from a previous Komikon.

It was really a fun experience, something I won’t mind experiencing again. Till the next time, Komikon!

freely-abrigo-kulas

More than a year and still so Free-ly! You haven’t changed, Freely. First photo, taken by me, from Komiks Festival. Second photo from Freely Abrigo‘s Facebook account

nino-balita-espiritista

Ano’ng balita? It’s Nino Balita and the Espiritista! The “package” consisted of his comicbook plus a shortie, Ang Inuuod Kong Puso, and stickers. Not Bad. Got the cutest autograph, too, so far

Ronzkie-Pacho-Vidal-Ikos

Here’s a better look at Ronzkie Pacho-Vidal of Ikos Komiks with a patron (my guess). I would LOVE to have that paper-thingy of Asul! Copyright belongs to Ikos Komiks and the people behind it. Got this from their blog

Neox-Limosinera-Bulda

Half of the guys responsible for Neox, Tico Limosinero accommodated our queries at their table. The other one is Jomar Bulda

drop-dead-dangerous

Happy Lockjaw‘s Drop Dead Dangerous indirectly came highly recommended by a friend so I thought I’d check it out and get a copy myself of the first issue. Thanks to Chad Cabrera for signing on the cover real nice and neat. Didn’t get to meet Mike Banting, though…Can’t wait to get the next ish-es!

successful-komikon

Will you look at that?!! Blockbuster!!! Image copyright belongs to Jonas Diego

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NOTE: Were you there? Anything you can contribute? A blog post by you about it, maybe? Just let me know and I will link to it 🙂

NOTE 2: Just some nice Summer Komikon-related blogposts — Summer Komikon 2013 Report by the great Mr. Gerry Alanguilan (you have GOT to read this and watch the vids, too!)Komikon 2013: Pinoy Comic Artists and Fans Converge at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig (feast your eyes as well on all the audio-visuals here), The Boys of Summer Komikon, Why Summer Komikon 2013 was a blast (the only thing I disagree with it is the Komikon supposedly being quite child-friendly; friendly enough, yes, but there are lots of comic books that do require parental guidance when being read by kids)

NOTE 3: All photos by Sherwin and myself, except when indicated otherwise.

 

(Almost) Komikon Newbie in da Haus

Yesterday, the biggest Philippine comics convention since eight years ago was held at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig City. I had waited for it and was very excited the night before, so naturally I got sick on the day itself. What luck…NOT. Had a friend buy stuff for me, though, so rest assured I’ll be sharing them as soon as I can. Meanwhile…

I’m really proud of our local artists. So just to show my appreciation, I am re-posting a writeup by way of “Press”-ing this (and because I have no new stories to tell about it yet, boo-hoo-hoo). Till next KOMIKON!!!!

(Almost) Komikon Newbie in da Haus.

(Almost) Komikon Newbie in da Haus

Note: This took long because I couldn’t download the pics from my cellphone. And now, finally, it’s done!!! Well, many pics from the festival posted here courtesy of Jonas Diego, Gerry Alanguilan and Johnny Danganan. Some are from the Net, though. Links to sites ongoing (some still undone…). Those in bold are mostly hyperlinks leading to artists’ blogs/websites/information. I uploaded more pics, link at the bottom. Meanwhile visit the three guys’ sites to see more pics.

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KIKOMACHINE? All caps or all small letters? One whole word or two, as in Kiko Machine?” My mind raced two Saturdays ago as I was (already regretting) tearing off the plastic covering of my own copy of the comic book series’  fifth installment. I had never attended a komikon before and I didn’t even know when the next time would be, but that Saturday was my first time to go, taking advantage of the fact that the 3rd San Pablo City Comics Festival was happening in, well, San Pablo. “No day like today,” as a Broadway song goes.

The 3rd SPC Comics Festival

The 3rd SPC Comics Festival

One trike ride and a short walk away, I was at the open-air venue at the Ultimart Shopping Plaza, looking for Master Raven a.k.a. his actual name Jonas Diego (long story). The Pinoy comics conventions (komikons) have been the brainchild of fellow  artists  and thanks to them, venues for comic book writers and artists have given professionals and amateurs alike the opportunity to show, share, and even earn a bit from their chosen craft. Mainly, these participants do it simply out of  love for their art. This event wasn’t exactly a convention, I think, rather a festival as the event title implied, but since they’re there convening, it’s all the same banana to me. I wanted to be there.

First copies of the original BOJ

First (My) copies of the original “Book of John”

Raven did promise to sign my copies of the original The Book of John (BOJ), printed back when he still used non-glossy cheaper paper for the inside leaves and art paper for the covers.  Pretty much like the many new indie cartoonists’ first outputs. The Master used the pointillism technique (see, Raven? I was paying attention).  I still remember him asking us for comments that indeed landed in the pages of the next issues, but he never did finish the last installment which I have been making kulit to him about for years. I also remember accompanying him to one (maybe even the only, I’m not sure) comic book store in San Pablo City, near Central School…So awesome to have such memories! I guess all artists go through these kinds of stages.

Back to the present.

Comic Odyssey

Comics enthusiasts rummage through hundreds of un-bought issues/editions of comic books. Note to self: Find  out where Comic Odyssey is…Photo c/o Jonas/Gerry/Johnny

I first saw a booth selling un-bought editions of various comic books. Comic Odyssey.  I didn’t try rummaging through them because my main goal was  to  get   Raven  (sorry for calling him this – force  of habit), and Kiko  Machine Komix (KM) creator Manix Abrera’s autographs, view the exhibit they put up,  and check out the different comic books being offered by other artists and collect their autographs  – in that order.  Besides, I was on a tight budget. However, Raven and Manix were both nowhere to be found at the time, so the exhibit at the second floor suddenly came first in my itinerary.

Oh, but not without first buying a copy of Raven’s new output: a glossy, full-colored, 32-paged issue of Pocket Comics. I was so engrossed in various thoughts, though, that the guy taking my payment wondered what the extra P200 was for, ha ha haaa!!!  He was real friendly and I got to share my copy of BOJ. The guy said he owned copies as well, and, borrowing my own, he and some others amused themselves with Raven’s younger mug printed on the pages.

Komiks Festival Exhibit

Komiks Festival Exhibit featuring some of the best Pinoy comic artists then and now…Photo c/o Jonas/Gerry/Johnny

As expected, the exhibit shared previous works of Filipino comic writers/artists, with some from as early as the ‘30s, if I’m not mistaken. Really cool stuff! Some were just “samples” from artists, some were actual drafts, some were original unprinted copies, some were original printed ones, and limited editions, too!  There were even some cool stamp collections featuring works of various cartoonists. I took pics with my non-high-tech phone, so they’re not so good, but anyhoo.

stamps and postcard collections

Cool stamps and postcard collections!

stamps and postcard collections 2

MORE cool stamps and postcard collections!

First covers

There was a time…

There were works from the likes of Larry Alcala, Nonoy Marcelo and Tony Velasquez,  for it wouldn’t be complete without featuring these pioneers of Pinoy comics artistry. So I saw familiar strips like Kalabog en Bosyo, Mga Kabalbalan ni Kenkoy, Tisoy (I wanted to see Ikabod instead but, well, I knew they had to make do with what were available). All of these were born long before I was, but in my lifetime, I saw either old copies from here and there or re-prints in whatever were current publications those times.

Pioneers of Philippine Comics

Tony Velasquez, Larry Alcala and Nonoy Marcelo: Pioneers of Philippine Comics

The Masters' Pieces

The Masters’ Pieces — (I couldn’t find a good “Tisoy” copy so here’s…) Nonoy Marcelo’s more popular “Ikabod”; Larry Alcala’s “Kalabog en Bosyo” (but his “A Slice of Life,” I think, was what MADE Larry Alcala) ; Tony Velasquez’s “Kenkoy” (that has become a popular monicker for people somewhat on the funny side)

Larry Alcala's Face

See Larry here…

Where's Larry

Now see Larry HERE!!! (Goodluck with that!!!)…The best-known cartoon Larry Alcala had drawn was a likeness of himself that people, in ages, had fun looking for in numerous “A Slice of Life” slices like this one

Ikabod Comic Strip

A taste of the “Ikabod” kind of humor 😀 Baby mouse abuse aside, this cracked me up!

FUNNY Komiks

FUNNY characters tickled the funny bones for two to three decades, depending on when you were born. Is it still around??? So far, my research hasn’t led me to that discovery. But apparently, many are missing it and even clamoring for copies because ta-da! There’s a Facebook fan page! Have no idea who created it but anyhoo. Image from tikbaloycube.deviantart.com

I did kind of search for any item from FUNNY Komiks, but *sigh* nada, zilch, zero.  That was a bit of a bummer. What regular kid growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s didn’t know about FUNNY Komiks???

Now, while I love comics, I had not really bought a lot of them, because as a fictionist, I had been more interested in collecting written novels rather than graphic ones. Prior to last Saturday and BOJ issues aside, I only owned a few, most currently, Andoyman Komikero’s first try, FOODCOURT. I had been contenting myself with clippings from the dailies and making cut-and-paste style comic books out of them. If I found any strip funny, interesting and/or witty, then snip-snip-snip.

andoyman komiks

Andoyman Komikero’s (1) first offering, and (2) well, a teaser of his work in progress

Back to the exhibit.

I had to mention that I wasn’t much of a comic-book collector to explain that aside from the great Whilce Portacio of X-Men fame, I wasn’t aware of many comic book writers and  artists’ names. So, many of the names in the exhibit  and the festival itself sounded new to me (no offense to any artist reading this).  I just knew Raven by default. Whilce lent out his stuff. Nice treat for any Marvel and especially X-men fan *insert smiley here*

Some works were very familiar, like The Voodoo Stick by Sonny Trinidad and The Swamp Thing by Nestor Redondo. I remember those particular covers. I know I read some parts of their stories before except I can’t exactly recall perhaps because I was still young (my good memory doesn’t always work). And if you ever rented issues from your friendly neighborhood “renter”,  you’d know that it was nearly impossible to follow stories fully and not in random order. Lucky you to even actually get your hands on brand-new copies.

Komiks of yesteryears

Komiks of yesteryears. Images from the Net, copyrighted by their individual publishers

Sonny Trinidad's Voodoo Stick

An old pic of international comic artist Sonny Trinidad and his “The Voodoo Stick” that was exhibited and that I remember seeing myself. There is a more popular cover for this, though, with a skull and all. Can’t seem to find a background on how the story went 😦 …Photo c/o Jonas/Gerry/Johnny

Nestor Redondo's The Swamp Thing

The famous “The Swamp Thing” by international comic artist Nestor Redondo

Meanwhile, I appreciated the others’ works as well, particularly some that I liked for various reasons.

Francisco V. Coching’s El Indio graphic art interested me. I would have liked to read his story whose protagonist was a “mere” human fighting the evil society back then, which setting was obviously during Spanish times. Maybe Rizal and Bonifacio did some “guesting,” I don’t know, but my guess may not be that far-fetched.

F.V. Coching

Creator of “El Indio,” one of the Top 100 Pinoy graphic arts of all time

Coching's El Indio

The restoration of Francisco V. Coching’s work of art, “El Indio.” After painstaking work by a small team led by Gerry Alanguilan, we now have the chance again to enjoy this wonderful graphic novel. See his big smile below? ;p

Gerry A. with El Indio

I’d be smiling, too, if I were him. Photo from his blog gerry.alanguilan.com.        I claim  no rights, and obviously I have none over it)

Zara Macandili’s art made me smile. I think it’s safe to say she is a Psych show fan – I recognized the characters in her sketch immediately as Shawn and Gus imitating WHAM and Michael Jackson. It was new artwork, too, done last November.  Meanwhile, something about Efren Jay Anacleto’s Aria work of art attracted me to it, don’t ask me what ‘cause I am not sure.

Superheroes were abundant, as any comic-book lover would expect, and Wolverine was a clear favorite, just ask Leinil Yu (the draft for the artwork in this link was what was exhibited) and Gilbert Monsanto.  Great ink work! Me loves your Wolveys! Pinoy artistry at work, definitely.

And speaking of Pinoy, I realized that what would a comic book exhibit featuring local artists be without our very own superheroes –   our own superheroine, at that…DARNA!!! Ryan Orosco’s work was a sight for sore eyes. I’d choose Darna over Wonder Woman anytime. There were artworks, too,  featuring more modern Pinoy heroes, a group of bagong bayanis, kind of like our version of the Super Friends a.k a. Justice League and the Avengers. Neat 🙂

Darna!!!

This was the version of Ryan Orosco’s artwork included in the exhibit. Much more powerful, IMO, the original Pinay superheroine “Darna” can put “Wonder Woman” to shame. She made it to many movies already and, even in recent years, she has been “flying” on TV air. An actual oldie now if you count the years, Darna stays young as a true classic

With all those artists featured, young ones tried to test their own talents and joined the art contest. I am not sure if they were all supposed to be there, but where better to be inspired to work on a piece than where the greats were? So they gathered around the exhibit, breathing inspiration. I wish I had the same gifts when I was a child.

Pocket Comics

My copy of Jonas Diego’s “Pocket Comics”

After spending my time soaking in art at the exhibit, I went back down to the festival venue and finally found Raven to twist his arm so he would sign my copy of Pocket Comics and the first-ever original issue of the  BOJ (you do know I was kidding about the arm-twisting, right?).

I got introduced to the great Sir Gerry and I am not just saying “great” for the heck of it. I had wanted to know what it was exactly that people and critics found and raved about in his comic book about intelligent chickens crossing over from fowl to human category.  It felt awkward, I thought, to be introduced and then for me to just buy his book and ask him to sign right there and then. So I didn’t. Then here came Johnny who’d been my Facebook bud and yet I don’t think we ever said a single word online before that. Chances were we had seen each other before, based on Raven’s intro, and we just didn’t know it. I thought it was really nice to meet him.

BOJ Then and Now

Spot the difference (he he)…Inside Raven’s “Book of John,” Then versus Now

comic books for sale

The stars of the event — the comic books!!! Most were of reasonable prices, so reasonable you would have wanted to buy in bulks if you could!…Photo c/o Jonas/Gerry/Johnny

komikon tables

All you had to do was to approach tables and check out their wares a.k.a. comic books then choose what appealed to you…Photo c/o Jonas/Gerry/Johnny

Pol Medina signing a book

Here’s Pol Medina Jr. of “Pugad Baboy” fame. Coolness…Photo c/o Jonas/Gerry/Johnny

Pol Medina & Marivi Hilos-Nepomuceno

PMJ, here with Arhitect and Komiks Illustrator Marivi Hilos-Nepomuceno…Photo c/o Jonas/Gerry/Johnny

artist at work

Artists were at work, doing art commissioned there and then

Not wanting to take too much of Raven’s time, I went around to find myself some comics and get to know some of the artists. Very popular was the section where artists took portrait-sketching orders right there and then. ‘Course, I wanted to know who they were but who to ask without looking like the newbie that I actually was, really? Checked out some of the products on display, but no, I went there for comics and darn if I didn’t buy any.

So I walked around, checking out the scene, pretending to be cool and probably failing at it. Oh, Pol Medina Jr.’s there!!! To be honest, I had seen the event posters but didn’t really look at the names of the featured artists so this was a surprise to me. Hmnn…How to get his autograph….I didn’t. I couldn’t. Because I couldn’t decide which Pugad Baboy book to buy, plus, it would have affected the budget dramatically. So I just contented myself with looking, stealing a pic and moved on to the next tables. Next time, for sure, Pol.

There were the tables for the independent creators. I was so overwhelmed, I wanted to buy everything! But again, tight budget, gotta think of that. I also didn’t want to buy any that were series, ‘cause then I would not be able to follow the stories since I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to attend such an event again  and since I was sure I wouldn’t find those works in any National Bookstore yet, unless I scoured comic book stores and I didn’t. So I got one that had a simple cover, no colors, printed on something that may be a bit better than bond paper, and most importantly, the stories were short and finished.

My purchases

I purchased the following (from top left, clockwise): Mel Casipit’s “Balitok”, Gerry Alanguilan’s “Elmer”,  Freely Abrigo’s “Wapak!”, Manix Abrera’s Kiko Machine Book 1

I got Mel Casipit’s Balitok Comics Anthology. Really amateur work, at least when it came to story conception, and I’m not being mean, because he himself said in his intro that the three stories there were his first ones that he’d like to share to the public. It showed. But like “balitok,” that in his native Pangasinense tongue meant “gold,” I believe this work was gold. Artists always go back to where they started. Often, they keep souvenirs. I know I do. I did like “Payt 4 Lab” with its very Naruto-inspired characters. I thought it was tickly-funny. Just the right stuff.  Looking at the covers of more stuff he’s done, the artistry had improved and I hope even the storytelling. I will definitely buy more from him the next time.

Freely Abrigo

Freely Abrigo with his Kulas in WAPAK!

Now I went to the other tables and saw this one that had colored, even glossy, stuff on it. I guess it was the level-up kind of thing. Once you’re past the amateur stage, well, where else do you go?

Very familiar stuff, and some more cute ones thrown in. I gotta admit, I was intimidated by all the artists, envious of their talent. Maybe  Manila Bulletin’s Freely Abrigo saw right through my façade and chatted me up a bit, at first, offering his comics. I promised I’d go back after I’ve checked out all the tables. I did go back and buy one, for P30. I thought I got a P20 with a P10 but gave him a P50 instead. After the first error, that was my double whammy. It was funny though. And we got to talk a bit and I got a new-found FB friend.

Manix Abrera's autograph

Manix Abrera signs his autograph in such cutesy manner such as this one dedicated to me. To borrow a quote from his KM characters, “ASTEEEG!!!”

Minutes after, I was standing in front of Manix, buying his first book and having him sign my copy with this cute li’l artsy autograph. He was showing me his latest book, I think, but I decided to take Book 1 of my favorite local comic strip. Why was simple. I was collecting his stuff and I only had Books 2, 3 and 5. What’s a series collection without the first offering, right? Besides, I was for sure buying more in the future. Now, the reason why I peeled off the safety cover of Book 5 (I mentioned that at the start) was because it was the best cover yet and there were nice spaces to sign on. When I bought Book 1, though, it seemed natural to have THAT one autographed.  I did regret peeling off the protective cover then.

Manix Abrera signing

Manix Abrera: definitely one of the most popular comics artists today…Photo c/o Jonas/Gerry/Johnny

I paid him for the book, handing him P150 rather than P120, so he gave back the extra. I just realized there was a difference in prices between the first and second rows that were on display. Oops. Triple whammy. Sheesh…. I wanted to tell Manix, “Hey, we’re FB buds” but then that would have merited a “HUH?” expression, given just how many fans he had. Besides, I wasn’t after special treatment, if there was even supposed to be any. Meanwhile, I took pictures of him signing other peeps’ copies. Yep, that’s what I do, I steal pics. Coward.

That done, I checked out again that intelligent chicken, Elmer. Oh, it’s really a book! With many pages and all, like, many. No way was that gonna cost just over a hundred. So I checked out my wallet and figured I could still buy one – gotta know what’s inside, gotta not let the opportunity slide (and I am so happy I didn’t!!!). I was too shy to ask for Sir Gerry’s autograph, besides, he was talking to people in the first place, so the miss from whom I bought my copy, having heard me say I was a bit reluctant to ask him to sign it, called him to the desk declaring, “Pa-sign daw; nahihiya daw siya” (“She wants you to sign it; she’s too shy to ask”). Anla! Si Ate naman! Ibuking ba??? I really was just trying to get the proper timing and approach him coolly. Well, that plan was ruined, ha ha ha!!! But I’m thankful to her, really.

Okay, it was soon going to get dark, and I thought I better stop. I searched for Raven but he was somewhere out there getting busy and I didn’t want to bother him. So taking a last look at the place, I left, but definitely NOT never to return again.

I could get used to this.

EXTRAS!!!!

Here are some of the Founding Fathers of the Philippine Comic Book Industry

More photos I took 🙂

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Feedback from Mr. Gerry Alanguilan:

Feedback from Mr. Gerry A.

This landed in my emails and the dashboard, so since this was meant as a comment, I’ve added this screenshot. Thanks, Sir Gerry!!!! 🙂