West Side


I got the idea from my younger sister's tar shampoo (it's one of them products her hairdresser came up with to sell). It does smell like bacon when you mix it with water and, get this, you'd get the bacon-addict's high without the bad cholesterol. Temptingly appetizing. Yow!

* This strip was published April 20, 2005.

This isn't a put-down comment to the last Vin Diesel movie, he just got tired of doing the tax forms (you know how it gets mentally taxing). I didn't get to watch it, though I'll probably enjoy it if I did.

* This strip was published April 13, 2005.

The fun part in this particular strip is the assembling of props and deciding which should be cartoonized and which should be retained as is. By the way, I changed the original painting hanging in the dining room from Salvador Dali's Last Supper to a more contemporary still-life painting titled, Apples on Silk by Constance Bachmann. This may be trivial but the Last Supper painting reflects something that until some three years ago was totally alien to most of them: a traditional Filipino family background (the kids were born and raised in the US before they emmigrated to their dad's country of origin). Another thing of interest that should be noted is the tag-line wrapped around Ben Sr.'s blue mug. You get a no-prize from me if you figure that one out.

* This strip was published April 6, 2005.

This one was one of the most enjoyable strips I ever did although it still took some time to edit since I can't settle on a few things like the design on the nameless girl's blouse. Also, original plans for the third panel calls for it to be painted but I didn't have the time nor much of the capabilities so back to line-art it went. And yeah, guys beware of those googly anime eyes that could manipulate you to submission. Better men have fallen because of it.

* This strip was published March 30, 2005.

Betcha didn't know there's this other Santa edging on the Easter Bunny's turf during Holy Week don'cha? Me too.

* This strip was published March 23, 2005.

This came out on the eve of St. Paddy's Day celebration in the US. I thought it would be a good time to start explore a bit of their family history in the process. And believe you me, there are a lot of interesting stories in their history prior to their emmigration to the country of Ben Ibarra Sr.'s birth (do you still have to ask where?). The only thing I'm not sure at this point is if I could put down paper the irrepressible Irish accent. Bits and pieces of their family history will be revealed in the upcoming West Side compilations.

* This strip was published March 16, 2005.

This is an alternate strip I did to satisfy my artistic cravings since I wasn't satisfied with the original work I turned in to the paper. As I was that much in a hurry to do that one, this one took the longest time to do. You can see the original strip that saw print here. Oh yeah, I may be one of the few cartoonists who mentioned blogs in their strips. Hehe. Hooray for blogs!

* This strip was published March 9, 2005.

Click to view the strip

Another strip showing Inday in one of her finest moments. This will be part of the storyline that will come out in sequential artform introducing this new character in the planned compilation. another strip about inday in one of her finest moments. another strip about inday in one of her finest moments. The song she's belting out is part of local artist, Kitchie Nadal's accoustic hit "Wag na Wag Mong Sasabihin" (or "Never Ever Say") which I never seem to tire of so far.

* This strip was published March 2, 2005.

I like the shadow in the background turned up so far. I orginally colored tha backwall orange but somehow it didn't come out the way I planned.

* This strip was published Feb. 16, 2005.

I'm introducing a new character that's also based on a real person, a local actress, a sometime comedienne known for her award winning drama roles. I got the idea after watching some old Tagalog movies on cable when one of her old movies came up. I loved her for it. I thought it also appropriate to introduce a maid since it's a.) a common practice to have here in our country and b.) the head of the family has already taken a full-time job so he would need someone to cook and clean for them. There's going to be a back story for this one but I won't be able to tackle these days, for sure in the compiled book.

* This strip was published Feb. 9, 2005.

Click to view the strip

This piece saw print the day this year's American Idol was first telecast. The reaon for its tardiness was because I wasn't really satisfied with how the faces of the three AI judges came out and I was having a hard time making the punchline fly.

* This strip was published Jan. 26, 2005.

Click to view the strip

Although BJ is one of the most well-rounded characters I've ever created, he's also one of the most neglected so I've finally figured out that, heck, I should be rotating the focus on each of them characters so they would have a chance to tell their own story.

* This strip was published Jan. 19, 2005.


This was loosely based on a couple of events that really happened during the last convention. This is the second self-depreciating joke that I did (the first for this series). This time, I thought I'd return the favor to the Master of Self-depreciating Humor himself who taught me that while it's healthy to laugh at one's misfortune it's even healthier if one's laughing on the way to the bank.

* This strip was published Jan. 12, 2005.

This was created in honor of my good friend's birthday. The real Jorge whom I based this character on, a real good friend of mine from high school. This came out of the actual date of his birthday and he was pleased as a punch when I showed it to him later that day.

* This strip was published Jan. 5, 2005.

This is great! I'm finally getting the hang of doing sitcom humor in the strip! Hehe. Cool!

* This strip was published Dec. 8, 2004.

Click to view the extended strip

Nationalists and other what-have-yous may criticize me for this but I'm seriously entertaining the idea that we Filipinos should adopt and add Thanksgiving Day to the ever growing list of holidays that we celebrate in this country. If we adopted certain customs and foreign traditions in the past and made it into something uniquely our own then I can't see why we can't adopt a holiday that celebrates thankfulness. Instead of getting embroiled in the muck that we always complain we find ourselves (and not doing anything about it) why can't we set aside a day that we could set our down our complaints and start thanking God, our parents, our peers, the government, the church, or anything and anyone to you want to direct your gratitude to for your provisions and conveniences. Isn't it time we counted our blessings instead of curses?

* This strip was published Nov. 24, 2004.

I can't salvage anything funny from this strip and I had a hard time recreating those stairs. Bleh!

* This strip was published Nov. 17, 2004.

I rewrote the dialogue for this strip around maybe 5 times before I settled with this one. I was in a quandary on how Henry would address his older brother. Initially, I had him calling Ben the more respectful "kuya" ("older brother" in Filipino) but they are from Bulacan, Malolos specifically, and in my experience from my mom's side of the family, Bulakeños address their siblings with the prefix "ka" (short for "kapatid" a generic term that doesn't distinguish any gender). I tried that too, but I remembered that Ben lived more than half of his life in the U.S. and I wasn't comfortable with the idea of addressing with the ka-prefix before his name right now. Maybe later.

* Apologies to all who couldn't understand much of what is written in these strips. Much as I would have wanted to translate it into english, the punchline wouldn't have worked as well as I intended it to.

** This strip was published Nov. 10, 2004.

This underwent some really major changes because I wasn't satisfied with the original drawings. I was working against a deadline and I had no choice but to rush the background illustrations somewhat. About those hairstyles that teens sport these days, in between the "bed look" and "wave look" lies what I like to call the "shark look" (no doubt inspired by bands Offspring, Blink 182, et al.). Like a mohawk gone bad it's a probable offspring of the "cobra look" teen girls sported back in the 80s.

* This strip was published Nov. 3, 2004.

This was also an afterthought done sometime after the strip after this. It didn't print in the paper at all.

This wasn't the version that saw print in the paper actually. The reason for which was because I wasn't ready with the storyline and was supposed to do it after office hours in a cafe somewhere but I got a call from my brother from the paper telling me to get my strip ready as early as possible because he's rushing the layout for the whole thing after the regular guy got sick. I tried to work with whatever material that I had on hand. Unfortunately for me it wasn't much.

* This strip was published Oct. 27, 2004.

Yep, she's back! Originally I wanted her to look more like she's into the grassroots level of Filipino culture since she's studying in THE state university. She's packing a lot more surprises than just her looks, I'll be getting to it in the coming weeks and months ahead.

* This strip was published Oct. 20, 2004.

They're not really sweeties but rather share a bond not unlike between two of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream's four protagonists. In this case Joan would be like Hermia and Jason would be in the stead of Demetrius, the latter hates former and chases after the former former but she hates latter and pursues after the former former former (read the short of it see what I'm getting at). It's a complicated issue but this doesn't stop Joan from asking for help from Jason if it serves her purpose and Jason doesn't mind helping Joan if it means scoring brownie points with her... or not.

* This strip was published Oct. 13, 2004.

Here ya go. I tried to approximate the way the characters would talk as best as I could. I did have a bit of trouble with the build-up of the punchline and had to rework and rewrite the dialogue many times before I got happy with it. Not too happy but it's okay. Artwise, this is one of my favorites.

* This strip was published Oct. 6, 2004.

This was the only time I figured out that after moving out of his brother's house, Ben Ibarra and his brood of three kids moved into a condominium-apartment in Makati City. The idea came to me after reading about these various featured apartment rooms that are considered permanent abodes of couples and families alike. Besides it's becoming more practical to own condo-apartments rather than real estate properties, with the security and comfortable amenities available to tenants who could afford to stay in those places.

* This strip was published Sept. 15, 2004.

Teacher just asks what's the big deal about eating Turkey during Thanksgiving and then asking what it tastes like. This is the start of a very long series that I thought would spill over to 2005.

* This strip was published Sept. 1, 2004.

I had an off week. I rewrote the dialogue for this one four times and I'm came out with something workable but I don't think really flies.

* This strip was published Sept. 8, 2004.

Sorry I can't translate the dialogue to english without losing much of the humor in the process of doing so. I'm just making fun of the local tradition of starting Christmas celebration as soon as September rolls in. Usually stores don't play Christmas songs until the onset of the "-ber" months but why wait? I also like the way the blackboard behind her turned out. I did that from scratch.

* This strip was published Aug. 25, 2004.

It's exam week and Jorge is back! Been a long time since he last appeared and I thought it's about time that he made another appearance. I'm also finally getting the hang of the characters' personality quirks. Ideas for stories and plot twists are coming in like never before. Wow!

* This strip was published Aug. 18, 2004.

I tweaked the 5th panel after noticing that Joan's charms weren't making much of an impact. So I came up with this Japanese anime inspired background of flowers, petals, and bubbles. Plus I tried to do that glowy Hollywood effect that old black and white movies have on gorgeous actresses. The operating word here is "tried" I'm not sure it worked.

* This strip was published Aug. 11, 2004.

I love playing around with the cramped space provided me in the paper. The fun part is figuring if I could go beyond seven irregular panels without sacrificing legibility. All I have to do now is to wait for this week's edition to see if I was successful with my experiment or not.

* This strip was published Aug. 4, 2004.

Anne's three friends surprise her on the second panel thinking Jay's a suitor but she tells them "gently" that he's her cousin. This isn't influenced by Miss Rumiko Takahashi's work in Ran ma 1/2. Not at all. Not one bit. Yup-ph!

* This strip was published July 28, 2004.

Everyone's a comedian. I'm going to explore this more in future "Super-sized" storylines for this strip.

* This strip was published July 21, 2004.

Apologies to all the fans of this Disney film.

* This strip was published July 14, 2004

Those familiar to the popular 80s American comic strip Bloom County would probably find traces of one of them classic strips and pelt me with tomatoes for being so unoriginal. Well, I apologize. I had my back against the wall and I still hadn't fixed the build up and punchline of the strip. I swear on the hairs of Bill the Cat's chinny chin chin it won't happen again. I promise.

* This strip was published June 23, 2004

The whole thing runneth over with utter ludicrousness.

* Balikbayan Boxes are those cardboard boxes used to house extra baggages that goes either with the traveller on their way back to the country or something that can shipped separately if the combined weight and numbers go beyond the prescribed airline limit ("Balibayan" is a Filipino term for those people emmigrating back to the country, it more or less means "return home"). Actually, those clothes were used to cushion fragile materials inside those boxes and besides it wasn't supposed to arrive more than a year after his arrival.

** This strip was published June 30, 2004.

I had a good laugh after I finished the whole thing. Also, if you're meticulous enough to dig up one of the old strips where this girl first came out in the series you'd be asking some pretty interesting questions about the big gap in between that time and this one.

* This strip was published June 23, 2004

One might notice some miniscule difference between this one and the one printed in the newspaper. In any case, I hope y'all accepted my apology for being so indecisive about all these. Also, the issue with the previous strip being late worked for the advantage of this strip in time for Sunday's Father's Day celebration. Click the image to see the first panel from the original strip.

* This strip was published June 16, 2004

I really like this one. It's one of the few strips I did that I really, really like. Check out panel 2, is that an Oscar moment or what? There are two more strips doing goodbyes coming in the next couple of weeks then school starts. Or maybe not. I have one more idea for a strip before school.

* This strip was published May 26, 2004

Computer crashed before I even got the chance to scan this strip some weeks before. So I borrowed my brother's scanner and initially worked the strip on a rickety ol' computer just so I could have something to submit that day to the newspaper. I got the 'puter back 3 days later.

* This strip was published June 10, 2004

This was a last minute idea. I already planned Marie's exit from the strip for a short period of time while I change her appearance into something more likeable. The problem was I only have three ideas for the goodbye and no introduction to where she's going and why. I was stumped the whole week last week and even more so during the weekend. Everything that crossed my mind seemed weak and unsatisfactory. Come Monday, a few hours before deadline, did I finalized the punchline. I'd also like to report a "happy accident" that came out of this strip. While that girl in the yellow nightgown was a last minute idea, I have already come up with further developments for her character and her fear of stalkers. She will be seen again after a couple of months or so.

* This strip was published May 19, 2004

Click to view the extended strip

This is the first time I did something like this and time willing I'll probably be able to do something like it again. Although I do cook on occassion (or even without) I haven't attempted anything like these I've shown here. In the same way I don't live in a fully furnished big studio apartment either. Another thing is I haven't eaten kuhol or escargot to the gourmet sophisticate. Sorry. Am my pants on fire yet? Seriously, I wouldn't even dare to touch the thing.

* This strip was published May 12, 2004

Ahahaha! Hahahaha... ha.

* This strip was published April 28, 2004

Summer's barely started and already it’s getting to be quite unbearable. I originally thought of copying the melting face part from the climax of the movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark" where the Nazis opened the Ark of the Covenant. But some people might lose their breakfast and get riled up over that, so I just went with this one. Of course, now that I think about it, Bloom County had no qualms of showing the effects of "acid snow" to hilarious results. Hmmm… Naaaah!

* This strip was published April 21, 2004

Click to view the entire strip

I had the most fun doing this strip. The idea was borne a couple of weeks prior to its creation, tweaking a script here and there and playing with the layout. Seeing that I myself am getting tired of the usual four panels, I expanded the joke to fit six panels and voila! The box word balloon and "YOW!" reaction were done as a tribute to Berke Breathed's Bloom County whose drawing style and humor inspired me to embark on a career as a comic strip artist. *sob!*

* This strip was published April 14, 2004

Ben Ibarra Sr. drives his kids to the provinces during Holy Week to let let them experience first hand the different fiestas Filipinos do to celebrate one of the most important events in the country.

Shown here is part of the Moriones Festival held down south in the the province of Marinduque. I haven't seen it though.

This one's one of the fastest work I've ever done and though it does include another opportunity for friends to be included in the last panel, I had to forgo with the idea because of time constraints. Plus, during the time I was drawing this I didn't any reference for the palaspas or decorated palm fronds held by the people when celebrating Palm Sunday. So I had to make do with my memory bank for that. I also wish I could have portrayed the infinite variety of palaspas available outside the church parishes today.

* This strip was published March 31, 2004

Click to view the entire strip

I like doing crowd scenes! While I do struggle with creating details that differentiate one person from the other, it's still a perfect excuse for me to put in some friends and myself inside the strip without making it appear out of the ordinary. For this strip though, I just included one friend while the rest were copied from those I observed while waiting for Az and Edgar inside the MiniStop last Sunday. The scene in this strip was also an anticipation of the showing of The Passion of The Christ.

* This strip was published March 24, 2004


This is the final strip for the current storyline. I'm not satisfied with the dialogue but I have no idea to repair it though. I'll try to tighten it in the future. Also, this confrontation between Jay and Jason has long been overdue. I remember me and my brother were talking about the potential humor in the conflicts between the two right after the first few strips were published last 2002. Here's a backgrounder: Jason was and is still is the current Campus Crush for many years. So the appearance of this Fil-Am who got some girls going ga-ga over him poses a threat to his status. That unwanted incident with Joan, who he's been pursuing ever since elementary school, served as a spark igniting a blaze between the two. The war over their turf will continue next schoolyear along with the appearance of other characters from CLASS.

* This strip was published March 10, 2004

This will be the second to the last installment for this storyline. I'm already stretching all possibilities to its limit and I don't think it can hold on much more longer. I've decided to move the introduction of the other characters next schoolyear. There are also plans for storylines for the other regular characters of the strip. I've only got an allowance of ten or maybe eight consecutive strips for that storyline. That is if I don't decide to poke fun on the upcoming elections.

* This strip was published March 4, 2004

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