Bayani by Motzie Dapul
I first heard of Motzie Dapul’s novel during the #StrangeLit launch party, describing the story as “What would happen if Philippine mythological heroes became politicians?”. I was sold. I had to read Bayani if not for that very same reason. I was intrigued at the premise of Philippines in the year 2050 when the likes of “supers” dabbling in politics, specifically Patrick “Paquino” Aquino, or Lastikid in his former life. There were also familiar names like Bernardo Carpio, Adarna, and Lakampati—all familiar mythological personalities with interesting roles to play in the story. Paquino was depicted as the son of a business tycoon, a privileged individual in his own right, but also a man torn by guilt and remorse about his past. He was the president who, in today’s times, did the right thing as expected of his office. But this is the Philippines, the land where the adage “damn if you do, damn if you don’t” is something that happens in the literal sense. I loved Paquino as a flawed character, and I think his actions were justified by the motivations and personal cross he carried.