TODAY the country celebrates National Heroes Day. And most Filipinos know who to remember this day: Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Antonio Luna, Emilio Aguinaldo, Gregorio del Pilar and many more. They were the people who shed their lives for Filipinos to enjoy the freedom that they have now.
And while SunStar Show is one with the country in paying tribute to the fallen heroes, there’s also this nagging question: Do Filipinos still know their Pinoy superheroes? There are the obvious: Darna and Panday. But there are actually hundreds out there.
In the spirit of National Heroes Day and Buwan Ng Wika, here is a rundown of some of the Pinoy superheroes.
Captain Philippines & Boy Pinoy
If the US has Captain America, the country also has Captain Philippines. And Just like Batman, he has his own sidekick known as Boy Pinoy.
A 1965 film called “Captain Philippines and Boy Pinoy” was produced by the late Fernando Poe Jr. It starred Bob Soler as Captain Philippines and Lou Salvador Jr. as Boy Pinoy. Soler was also the first to portray Captain Barbell.
Captain Barbell appeared in the publications Pinoy Komiks and Kampeon Komiks. It is about Tengteng, a weakling and an asthmatic person who dreams of becoming strong. He meets a genie who grants him three wishes. His first wish is for fried chicken. His second wish is to have a barbell that he alone can lift and that which makes him superhuman when he shouts “Captain Barbell.” The third wish is for the genie to be small again.
The role has been played through the years by popular actors: Bob Soler (1965), Dolphy (1973), Edu Manzano (1986), Bong Revilla (2003) and Richard Gutierrez (2006).
Batang X is basically the Pinoy and kid version of X-Men. It’s about five children with superhuman abilities. The superkids were played by John Prats (KidLat), Janus del Prado (Control), Anna Larrucea (3-Na), John Ace Zabate (A-Gel) and JC Tizon (G:Boy) in the 1995 movie “Batang X.”
The film spawned “Batang X sa TV.” In 2008, another TV series was commissioned: “Batang X: The Next Generation.”
Alamid, according to the website International Hero, is a supernatural being who lives among men. The character was played by Lito Lapid and Dan Alvaro in the 1998 film “Alamid: Ang Alamat.” Lapid played the original Alamid who asked the gods to let him stay on earth until he could find someone who could take over his superhero duties. He trained Alvaro, who eventually succeeded him as Alamid.
Created in 1947, Hagibis is one of the first superheroes in the country. He was created by Francisco Coching, who is considered the father of Filipino comics. The Tarzan-like superhero is also one of the longest-running serials in Filipino comics, running for at least 15 years.
When Hagibis was adapted into a film, he was personified by the late Fernando Poe Jr.
Budong is a 10-year-old boy who dreams of becoming a superhero. Unbeknownst to him, he possesses special powers because of a superhero father and villain mother.
Makisig Morales played Budong, who eventually became Super Inggo in the eponymous fantaserye on ABS-CBN from 2006 to 2007. During its first season run, it was the second highest-rated show in the country. “Super Inggo” even earned a nomination in the 2007 International Emmy Awards.
Created by Gio Paredes in 2007, Kalayaan is John dela Vega, a young man with no parents and no job. But his fortunes change when he saves geneticist Rhea Calalang, who then offers to help him become superhuman through an experiment called Project Kalayaan.
Gagambino originally appeared in the graphic comics created by director Carlo J. Caparas. Dennis Trillo donned the Spider suit when Caparas adapted the novel to a TV series that aired in GMA 7 in 2008.
It tells the story of Gambino “Bino” Bayani and his giant spider. Together they embark on an adventure fighting crimes and evil forces in a dark Manila.
Created by Berlin Manalaysay, Combatron appeared in Funny Comics in 1990. The story revolves around Empoy, an orphan who met an injured cyborg named Combatron. Knowing that his enemies were headed for Earth, the dying cyborg gave his armor and dog named Askal (asong mekanikal) to Empoy.