MA-I: A Filipino Manga that Promotes History, Culture and Values

Have you remembered Panday, Pedro Penduko, Flash Bomba, Kenkoy and other famous Filipino comics? Adventure stories in comics form used to occupy a secure niche in Pinoy literature. But for decades now, Filipino comic readers have been more fascinated with foreign publications - both western and asian - rather than indigenous ones, and our original Pinoy comics have been relegated to the background, that most of the young adults these days are not familiar with the Filipino Comic Titles before anymore.

But with this emerging book written in a uniquely Pinoy manga style, MA-I aims to recapture the interest of today’s generation and to reintroduce Filipino youth to the richness of our own culture and history while promoting positive values using Filipino mythology and legends—which puts the material on a par with mainstream comics series that feature Western or Japanese culture.

About MA-I

MA-I is about a fictional world called MA-I, where harmony among the land and its mystical creatures had been marred by a dark being named Ka’lila, and a young boy named Lakan, together with his friends, must take on the quest to defeat this darkness which is larger than themselves.

The initial release has five books (chapters) entitled “1 - Si Lakan,” “2 - Palaboy,” “3 - Si Malakas at Si Maganda,” “4- Ang Alitaptap,” and “5 - Aman at Makaka,” focusing on the main characters in the series and their initial forays into the epic struggle between good and evil. Each book also features a trivia page about the Filipino culture and items (such as crafts and weapons) common during the Philippine pre-colonial era.

Authors Arya Chelabian and Faye Villanueva-Chelabian during the official launch of MA-I.
(Photo from CSM Publishing Facebook Page).

MA-I was officially launched at the 36th Manila International Book Fair last September 17, 2015 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia. There have been an “Araw ng MA-I” last September 20 at CSM Booth Nos. 1-5 where cosplayers from Naruto Cosplayers PH gave an appearance by cosplaying some of the lead characters for MA-I.

The authors with Naruto Cosplayers PH during the "Araw ng MA-I."

MA-I is published under Kawangis Komiks, an imprint of CSM Publishing. Each book contains more than 50 pages and will be sold for less than P100. The whole series is planned to have 60 books when completed, and will be available at leading bookstores nationwide.

About the authors:

Arya Chelabian grew up learning valuable lessons from local folklore and novels as well as Eastern (manga) and Western comics. He is a graduate of Industrial Engineering at Mapua Institute of Technology where he spent his vacant time at the fire exit with friends, playing Hunter and Legend of the Five Rings, and sharing stories written by both famous and unknown authors. His love for values found in the Bible and the beauty of the Filipino ethnic culture drove him to write this story. He believes that stories can influence the next generation with important life lessons the way stories of old have influenced him. He is an engineer by profession.

Faye Villanueva has been creating stories and drawing since she was a toddler. Her influences are classic and Christian novels, Japanese and Western comics. She attended intensive story writing workshops (mostly for film) during her college and working years (as a Communications graduate and practitioner). For the past decade, she has contributed her designs and illustrations to various published books in the Philippines. She now desires to bridge the gap between otakus (manga and anime fans) and God. Follow her at Instagram @spatialchild.

Follow MA-I on their official Facebook page for more updates:

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