In the olden days, when the almighty Television had not yet invaded the privacy of our homes, the komiks and the radyo-nobela were the favorite pastimes of the Filipinos.
Komiks had been an influential part of my childhood. My Tatay taught me how to read through komiks, and I learned easily and excitingly because I love the drawings in them, in contrast to my elementary textbooks that are not only hard and boring to read, but its scant drawings were unattractive and amateurish.
I remember that during lazy afternoons, I would be forced to sleep by my strict Lola, but not before we tuned in to our favorite afternoon radio show, Prinsipe Zimatar, aired over DZRH. After that, I would sleep with my eyes half-open, actually pretending to sleep, since I was jealous of the other kids I hear playing outside. Oh those were the days...when my Lolo and Lola were listening to Paeng Yabut's archive of old kundiman songs...
Anyway, back to Prinsipe Zimatar, I later learned from my Lola that it was actually a sequel to a more popular radio-nobela aired also in DZRH during the 1950s. Of course, I was not born yet at that time. This was Prinsipe Amante also by Clodualdo del Mundo, and it was later adapted into a movie starring the debonnair Rogelio dela Rosa in the title role. According to my book on film history, Prinsipe Amante(1951) was the first colored movie in the Philippines. It boasted in its movie poster "Filmed in Eastman Color".
Anyway, no copy of this film has survived to this day, and not even the CCP or the National Commission on Culture and Arts has a copy. Too bad....
I was digging through my collection of old komiks materials and I found an old copy of Aksiyon Komiks from 1950, the main story of which is a komiks adaptation of Prinsipe Amante as drawn by Alfredo Alcala.
Indeed, Prinsipe Amante was that popular! It can be heard over the radio, seen over the silver screen, or read in komiks. Later on, a comedy movie was even made starring Chiquito as "Prinsipe Abante".
Fortunately, I was able to preserve several issues of this Prinsipe Amante komiks, so that even if the movie or radio script-tapes could no longer be found, a future remake of Prinsipe Amante can be possible because of these surviving komik books.
I only deplore that the Philippine government do not make enough efforts to preserve our rich cultural heritage, which can be traced through old materials like films, books, newspapers, magazine, komiks, documents, etc. The problem is that we do not have an archive of films, komiks etc., so that only private collectors only have access to them and not the general public, scholars, and researchers.
Once collected, old Filipiniana materials can provide a fascinating view of our history, a sort of inheritance to us by our great ancestors. I believe that by preserving our culture, we can very well preserve our national identity, which at present, alas, is no longer very much Filipino.