I’m not a big movie guy.
I’m also not a big superhero guy or superhero movie guy. I haven’t seen the latest [insert any superhero movie name here] movie.
But Julia (and most of the world it seems) is. So here are some Filipino superheros according to Julia my OFS:
I’m excited whenever a new superhero movie comes out. We’re big fans of superheroes here in the Philippines.
Our love for superheroes started during the golden age of Philippine comics, which began in 1946. American GIs stationed here in the Philippines would share or leave behind comic books. We fell in love with superheroes so much that we started creating our own. Some were adapted from American superheroes. Some are uniquely Filipino. Below are just some of them.
Darna. Darna is our biggest and most famous superhero. She’s so popular that she has several movies and TV shows that have been rebooted and played by several actresses. She looks like Wonder Woman and has similar powers like super strength and flight. But unlike Wonder Woman, she wasn’t born with superpowers.
Darna is, in fact, Narda, an orphaned, disabled young woman. Because of her kindness and a strong sense of justice, the deities gifted her with a magic pebble. When she swallows this magic pebble and shouts out “Darna,” she transforms into a superhero. She shouts her name and spits out the rock to change into Narda.
Image By “Darna Art Galleries.” Mars Ravelo’s Darna. Retrieved 2008-11-18., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20270854
Captain Barbell. Captain Barbell is inspired by Superman and Thor but has a similar backstory to Darna. A deity gives Tenteng (nickname for Vincent) a barbel or a medallion (depending on the movie/TV). He turns into a superhero when he shouts, “Captain Barbell.”
Image By http://www.geocities.com/capsulezone/cap-barbell.html, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21204891
Panday. Panday (blacksmith) is one of the first superheroes we have that wasn’t inspired by an American superhero. Panday (alter ego, Flavio) is a blacksmith who gained power when he forged a sword from a magical meteorite. He doesn’t have superhuman abilities, but his sword can emit energy bolts and cut through anything, which is helpful because he usually fights demons and flesh-eating beasts.
Image By Philippine Postal Corporation – From the phlpost.gov.ph website: Archived 2016-06-24 at the Wayback Machine, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80529551
Pedro Penduko. Pedro Penduko is a lot like Spiderman because he’s young, easygoing, and quippy. Pedro started as a cowardly teen. But when he gains an amulet that turns into a magical sword, he’s forced to fight monsters that terrorize his hometown. My daughter is such a big fan of this one.
Batang X. Batang X is like the X-Men if they were all kids. Instead of a kind mentor like Professor X, they were kidnapped by an evil alien (Dr. Axis). I loved this show growing up. It was so popular, McDonald’s helped produce it and gave out Batang-X comics (see below) as part of the Happy Meal.
Trese. This is our most famous superhero, thanks to Netflix turning the graphic novel into a show. (Check it out! It’s terrific!) Alexandra Trese is a healer/warrior responsible for maintaining the peace between humans and elemental creatures. In the world of Trese, elemental creatures live among humans; we’re just unaware of it. The creatures have an uneasy truce for their survival. Alexandra’s family is responsible for investigating and delivering justice for creatures breaking this truce or harming humans.
Image By Netflix/BASE Entertainment – NetflixGeeked Twitter, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67799777
And that’s just off the top of my head! Special mentions include Kumander Bawang (Commander Garlic, he fights vampires), Kapt. Pinoy (our version of Captain America), Pandakekoks (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, except they’re frogs), ZsaZsa Zaturnnah (LGBT Wonder Woman), Super Inday and the Golden Bibe (a goose gives young woman superpowers).
For me, my wife is superhero enough.