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How can I make lola proud? New comic tracks CBC host’s journey to become a better Filipino

Artist Lorina Mapa knows a thing or two about exploring cultural identity in a very public way.

In her celebrated 2017 graphic memoir Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos and Me, Mapa took readers on her personal journey growing up in the 1980s in the Philippines. 

Now, in her limited web comic series, she is taking on another cultural identity quest. But this time, it’s not hers. 

Recovering Filipino is a three-volume, limited comic series inked by Mapa and based on the new CBC podcast and radio series of the same name. 

The first six-panel comic is based on host Jim Agapito’s quest to become a better Filipino and make his lola (grandma) proud.

“I felt a connection to what [he] was trying to do in helping Filipinos living abroad understand more about our country in a humorous and entertaining way,” Mapa said.

Mapa was born in the Philippines and moved to North America when she was 16. Agapito was born in Canada to immigrant parents. Despite that difference, Mapa feels a kinship with Agapito, whom she met on a video call earlier this year.

“I probably have more in common with Jim in that I am not immersed enough in my own culture.”

Mapa’s first comic is published below. Her second and third comics, based on the history of women’s basketball in the Philippines and an illustrated guide to Filipino food, will be published by CBC on June 29 and July 6, respectively. 

“I hope Filipinos get a sense of the familiar, such as noticing the brands I used in food products. And I hope everyone enjoys the humour and little details, which I had a lot of fun drawing,” Mapa said. 

She is currently at work on her new graphic memoir 8 Animal Tales. It takes readers back to Mapa’s childhood again and it is based on a “menagerie of childhood pets,” including frogs, a dog that keeps running away and a duck named Duke. 

(Lorina Mapa)

(Lorina Mapa)

(Lorina Mapa)

(Lorina Mapa)

(Lorina Mapa)

(Lorina Mapa)

Recovering Filipino2:13Recovering Filipino — What does that even mean?

Meet Jim Agapito. When his lola (grandma) called him a “bad Filipino,” Jim realized she had a point. Now Jim’s on a mission to recover his culture one conversation at a time. His mom Yolanda is his unofficial guide and chief lumpia maker. 2:13

How to find Recovering Filipino

  • Tune in on CBC Radio One starting June 28 at 11:30 a.m. across Canada. New episodes will air Mondays at 11:30 a.m. throughout the summer, and on Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. AT, 8 p.m. NT).
  • Listen any time on cbc.ca/recoveringfilipino.
  • Follow us on Apple Podcasts, Google Play or wherever you get your podcasts.
  • Join the conversation at #recoveringfilipino.
  • Send us an email.


About the artist 

(Daniel Shelton)

Lorina Mapa was born in Manila in 1970 and, when she was 16, moved with her family to Washington, D.C. In 1990, she graduated from the Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in New Jersey, where she met her husband, artist Daniel Shelton (creator of the comic strip Ben). They have four children and live in Hudson, Que. Her graphic novel memoir Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos and Me was nominated by the American Library Association as a great graphic novel for teens. Lorina was featured on CBC’s 2018 list of writers to watch and nominated for the Joe Shuster award for best writer.

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