The First National Hero: Take Two

Lapu-LapuLapu-Lapu by Francisco V. Coching

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Iyan si Lapu-lapu... Ang dakilang kayumangging may pusong kasintigas ng kanyang pananalig, na hanggang siya'y buhay, ang Mactan ay hindi malulupig!

That is how the National Artist ended his series of romanticized episodes of battles and adventures of our first National Hero.

In the 50's Manila where the Television is for the upper classes, the masses considered a 25-centavo komiks as their form of entertainment. This is where the Filipino language is very tagalized, and the colloquial terms are not much rampant. This is where the male are drawn as alpha-male, and women are drawn as very feminine. I loved the sketches, the six-panel conversations per page never fails to amaze me - the ability to convey the conversations in mere six boxes is, for me, one of the best inventions comic book writers ever devised in the old times.

What made me realized is that many of us patronize the romantic element in a plot. There are lots of tandems in the series, unlike the thesis that Tepai Pascual formulated in her Mactan 1521. In addition, the sharp contrast of Lapu-lapu's representation between these two novels only enlightened me how fast the time went by - making the first hero a bit metrosexual in the latter's work (view spoiler).

If you are a curious reader and you want to explore the life of the National Hero, I suggest you start with this one. Start with the oldies style, so that you can see the transition of Coching's work to Pascual's Opus.

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