Filipino cartoon and animation

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Filipino cartoon and animation, also known as Pinoy cartoon and animation, is a body of original cultural and artistic works and styles applied to conventional Filipino storytelling, combined with talent and the appropriate application of classic animation principles, methods, and techniques, which recognizes their relationship with Filipino culture, comics, and films. It also delves into relying on traditional and common Filipino “sense of going about things” or manner of coping with Filipino life and environment.[1]

Historical background

First Filipino cartoon

Kenkoy, one of the earliest Filipino cartoon.

Original Filipino cartoons began with the publication of local comic books, known as komiks. During the late 1920s, Filipino writer Romualdo Ramos and Filipino visual artist Antonio “Tony” Velasquez created the cartoon character named Kenkoy. It appeared in the pages of the Tagalog-language Liwayway magazine as a weekly comic strip entitled Mga Kabalbalan ni Kenkoy or "Kenkoy's antics". Because of its popularity it became a Filipino icon and was translated into other regional languages in the Philippines. Since then, other cartoon characters were created by other Filipino comic book artists. The creation of Kenkoy also influenced the works of Filipino musicians such as Nicanor Abelardo (the product was the libretto Hay Naku Kenkoy or "Oh, My Gosh, Kenkoy!"), and the emergence of a typical Kenkoy-like pronunciation of English words which came to be known as “Kenkoy’s English” and “Carabao English”. This influence of Kenkoy gave birth to original Filipino language vocabulary, such as Barok (also became a stand-alone cartoon character), Jeproks, and Pinoy, the colloquial form of the word Filipino. Kenkoy also survived the arrival of the Japanese during World War II. Kenkoy became a tool of the Japanese occupiers for disseminating health programs.[2] Other Filipinos who excelled in the Philippine komiks and cartoon industry are Francisco Coching, Elito Circa[3] and his Minggan and Alex Niño.[2]

Filipino animation pioneer

The first Filipino-made cartoon for television was Panday, created by Gerry Garcia in the 1980s based on the comic book character of the same name produced by Carlo J. Caparas.[4] RPN-9 began airing in November 1986.[4] Garcia is considered as the pioneer of Filipino animation industry. From 1995 to 1997, Garcia also brought into life Adarna, the first Filipino full-length animation movie, based on the story of the Adarna bird. Garcia wrote the story and directed Adarna under FLT Productions and Guiding Light Productions. Adarna received recognition from the Metro Manila Film Festival on December 27, 1997 as the first animated movie in Philippine cinema. In 1998, it was also included in the Asian Collection of Japan’s 7th Hiroshima Animation Festival.[5]

In 2008, Garcia’s creation was later followed by the second Filipino full-length animated feature film, Urduja, a Philippine animation product using a mixture of digital and traditional animation techniques.[5]

Other Filipino cartoonists

Another known Filipino pioneer cartoonist is Lauro Alcala, more popularly known as Larry Alcala.[4] One more is Alfredo P. Alcala who, apart from creating several comic strips in the Philippines, worked for American comic book firms, namely DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and Marvel Comics.[6] Another recognized Filipino animator is Benedict Carandang, the co-founder of Tuldok Animation Studios and recipient of the United Kingdom’s British Council’s 2008 Young Screen Entrepreneur. Carandang produced the animation of Ramon del Prado's short-film entitled, Libingan or “The Burial”, an animated cartoon inspired by the hanging coffins of Sagada, Mountain Province.[7]

Filipino animation industry


The beginnings of Philippine animation industry began as early as the 1980s. The local Philippine animation industry has been established for twenty years. Among the first animation offices in the country were Burbank Animation, Inc., Asian Animation, Fil-Cartoons, Toei Animation Philippines (formerly EEI-Toei),[8][9] Roadrunner (now a subsidiary of ABS-CBN Corporation), Toon City Animation Inc., and Tuldok Animation Studios[7] among others totaling to greater than 50 animation companies.[10] The clientele of Philippine studios supply the demand coming from the United States and Europe. Today, the said country is regarded as one of the main and “stronger players” in outsourced and global animated cartoon production. The Philippines is second to India in providing services related to business outsourcing.[10]

Outsourcing services

In previous years, cartoons were primarily developed and produced in the United States. Recently, approximately 90 percent of animations are created in Asia,[11] including India, China, Taiwan, South Korea, North Korea, Singapore and the Philippines.[10][12] The current trend is that American animation companies are setting up more animation studios in the Philippines.[11] Many animated cartoons are currently created and subcontracted[1] in studios of Disney, Marvel, Warner Brothers, Hanna Barbera, Cartoon Network[10] and Universal Studios[13] in the Philippines.[11] An example is the Filipino company called Fil-Cartoons, a subsidiary of Hanna Barbera and Turner Broadcasting. Reasons for choosing the Philippines by such American animation producers include the influence of Western humor, nuances,[10] and culture to Filipinos, the existence of talented Filipino artists, an established local animation industry, the emergence of the business process outsourcing industry in the country, and cheaper production costs.[10] Compared with India where outsource studios are supported by India's profitable software industry the Philippines are ahead in 2D animation due to their close ties to the Western mindset.[14] Producing animated cartoons is also cheaper than in other Asian countries.[11] An example of an American comic book superhero for Marvel Comics drawn by a Filipino is Wolverine.[2] The trend in the industry is paving the way for making the Philippines as the world’s “cartoon capital”.[11] Filipino cartoonists are also known illustrators of Japanese-style cartoons called anime[5] and manga.[1][2]

Hanna-Barbera and WB Animation

Hanna-Barbera and WB Animation shows aired on ABS-CBN, GMA, TV5 (Philippines) and RPN (now 9TV and CNN Philippines). Fil-Cartoons, Inc. is Hanna-Barbera's animation industry in the Philippines since 1980s. On 1995, this is the where What A Cartoon! designed and colored. When William Hanna died, Fil-Cartoons Inc. was still on production when Hanna-Barbera folded. Toon City Animation is the WB Animation's designer and colored area for the shows.


Disney cartoons and films shown on theatres in Manila. Disney shows appeared on TV since 1960s. But today, Disney had their international studios named Walt Disney Studios PH. Some movies shown on ABS-CBN and TV5 (One-time only shown).

Animation Council of the Philippines

The Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc. is the industry association and serves as the primary overseer and coordinator for Filipino animators. The Council is a part of a bigger umbrella association coordinated by the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines. (IBPAP)[10]

Filipino animation festival

The First Philippine animation festival was held in Pasay City as an additional program of the 7th Philippine Graphic Expo of 2002 which featured 3D animation entries from De La Salle–College of Saint Benilde, University of the Philippines-Diliman and Philippine Women's University via Artfarm and Animasia. It was College of St. Benilde's entry, Fiesta Karera that won the festival which was authored by Ervin Malicdem, Dante Tiongson, Mark Ylagan, Jonathan Wongkee, Jefferson Lim, Vincent Cheng, Gerard Cruzado, Justin Teh, and Ace Gatdula. [15]

Animahenasyon, a Filipinized contraction of animation and imagination, is a Philippine animation festival established by the Animation Council of the Philippines. Its purpose is to recognize Filipino animators and their original works.[1]

Education and editorial cartoons

In Davao City, a Filipino English teacher named Leonila Liberato incorporated editorial cartoons, such as from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, in her lesson plans for critical reading classes, resulting to her winning Inquirer’s Education (IIE) Lesson Plan Contest. Liberato’s purpose was to acquaint Filipino students with current events and issues happening in the Philippines, and to promote a “higher order of thinking”, through editorial cartoons. [16]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Pinoy animation defined, Animation Council of the Philippines,
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Ardivilla, Chong. Kenkoy kick-started 'komiks',
  3. Elito Circa. 'Minggan komiks',
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Pagsuyuin-Hakim Judith. Animation awards honors Dolphy, FPJ and more,, February 22, 2007
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Reyes, Ted. Filipino Animator Fights for History, Dispute Over The First -Ever Full-Length Filipino Animated Feature Film Rouses NJ–based Pinoy Animation Pioneer,
  6. SF Consulate Hosts Alcala Art Exhibit,
  7. 7.0 7.1 Arevalo, Rica. Tuldok Animation Studios, Pinoy competes for British film prize, Philippine Daily Inquirer,, October 13, 2008
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  9. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 The Philippine Animation Industry Landscape, Tholons,, May 2008
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Ressa, Maria. Filipino Animators in 'toon' with the Times and CNN Showbiz Index, CNN,, October 14, 1995
  12. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  13. Filipino Animators,
  14. Pg 78 - Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.- Total pages: 176
  15. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  16. Teaching with Editorial Cartoons, Philippine Daily Inquirer,, February 23, 2009