Philippine Web Awards goes Pinoy fantasy
August 22, 2002

Taken from

Fantasy makes Arnold Arre, and Arnold Arre makes fantasy exceedingly well. The 30-year-old Filipino master comic-book artist, the creator of such contemporary Pinoy fantasy milestones as Mythology Class and Trip to Tagaytay, as released under his own company Tala Studios, is at it again. This time, Arre has trained his sight ñ and his pen ñ on creating a cortege of creatures from the netherworld of Philippine mythology. But not for another best-selling comic-book series. It is for a best seller of another kind ñ the 5th Philippine Web Awards.

ìArnold is one of our design associates for the project and our go-to guy for mythology,î explained Ninoy Leyran, head of the new media division of 25by8, a digital-solutions provider that is creating the theme characters for this yearís edition of the much-awaited Web Awards. Last year, 25by8 developed the head-turning animÈ characters that peopled the entrance and stage of the Awards Night, as well as the 2001 Philippine Web Awards site itself.

Unlike last year when the characters had different creators, this yearís characters all come from one fount, Arre, who is something of an icon in the iconic world of fantasy comic books. His creation of the GenX genre that combines Philippine mythology, fantasy illustration and straight narrative all packaged in comic-book format with the release of his four-part comic-book series Mythology Class in 1999, established his reputation among local comic-book enthusiasts, in Philippine pop art, as well as in the local literary circle when it got the nod for Best Comic Book in the 19th Manila Critics Circle National Book Awards.

His idiosyncratic interpretation of Philippine mythology was just what was needed for a Pinoy-inspired 5th Philippine Web Awards. Armie Duartre, the 2002 Philippine Web Awards committee chair, disclosed that, for this year, the committee decided to break with the industry tradition of hewing to foreign leitmotifs, primarily sci-fi, to bring in local color ñ and as it turned out, some fantastic colors. ìNo, it isnít Filipiniana,î Duarte clarified. ìItís Pinoy fantasy.î

The shift from foreign to local genre, Duarte pointed out, dovetails with the prime directive of the Web Awards to recognize and fete outstanding local Web design. As in previous years, 38 awards in 19 categories are at stake.

Both Duarte and Leyran are reasonably tight-lipped about this yearís stage design and characters as preparations go into high gear. Leyran, while not ready to elaborate on the characters, allowed that two popular Philippine mythology mainstays, the tikbalang (a half man-half horse ogre) and the manananggal (a disemboweled winged monster), are shoo-ins ñ but in modern guises. ìTheyíve been citified.î

Duarte, meantime, promised that with organizer WS Computer Publishing Corp. partnering with 25by8 for the Web Awards, this yearís characters will be as intriguing and as fun as those in the 2001 Awards Nights.

25by8 has a reputation for high-quality creative output with major enterprises. Although incorporated only in 2000, its roster of clients is long in heavyweight industry players. It includes NestlÈ Philippines, Petron Corporation, Ayala Land, Unilever Philippines ñ and    since last year, the Philippine Web Awards.

ìThe challenge this year is to come up with an original design for the site, given the tight schedule,î said Leyran. ìIt must be Filipinized, and it must be different.î With 19 categories to develop a character for, he has pressed into service their whole new media division and four design associates, including Arre. The team not only needs to overhaul last yearís Web site to reflect the new theme but also needs to weave in an independent story snippet for each character in each category. But the team is confident and is having fun. ìYou really must have confidence [to execute well],î said team member Joel Bartolome. ìAnd passion,î added Joyce Tai.

Meanwhile, the Web Awards committee announced that the Web site for the nominations is already up.

The nomination period, from Aug. 15 to Sept. 15, allows the public, not just Web developers and Web professionals, to submit their choices for the best locally designed Web sites for the year. All are invited to cast their nominations at