Manitoba·Recovering Filipino

Banned bloomers to hoops haven: New comic looks at the history of women's basketball in the Philippines

Celebrated graphic novelist Lorina Mapa looks at the history of women's basketball in the Philippines in an original comic for the new CBC podcast and radio show Recovering Filipino.

Celebrated graphic novelist Lorina Mapa has created a new 3-part comic series for CBC's Recovering Filipino

Lorina Mapa has created a three-part comic series for Recovering Filipino, a new CBC radio show and podcast that follows host Jim Agapito's journey to become a better Filipino. (Lorina Mapa)

When basketball first came to the Philippines in the early 1900s, girls ruled the court. 

That's one of the surprising facts revealed in a new limited comic series by graphic novelist Lorina Mapa. The Hudson, Que., artist reveals other tidbits of women's basketball history in her latest comic for Recovering Filipino, a new CBC Radio summer series and podcast. 

Basketball — a national passion in the Philippines — is the subject of the first episode of the show, which follows host Jim Agapito's journey to become a better Filipino.

Mapa has created a three-part series for Recovering Filipino. Her first comic details the real-life epiphany Agapito had while saying goodbye to his 97-year-old grandmother, as she was on her way to the Philippines in late 2019. 

Her latest comic draws on research by Lou Antolihao for his book Playing with the Big Boys.

LISTEN | Recovering Filipino looks at why basketball is so popular in the Philippines:

Jim grew up playing basketball. He grew out of that passion, but his Filipino friends and family haven't. Why does the sport get his aunts (titas) yelling and flashing fists? Jim discovers the surprising origin of this love affair with basketball. 27:26

Mapa's final comic in the series commissioned by CBC's Creator Network — a guide to Filipino food — will be published July 6.

She is currently at work on her new graphic memoir, 8 Animal Tales. It takes readers back to Mapa's childhood again and 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)

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 anytime on
  • 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 

A self-portrait by Quebec artist Lorina Mapa. (Lorina Mapa)

Lorina Mapa was born in Manila in 1970 and at the age of 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 the CBC's 2018 list of Writers to Watch and nominated for the Joe Schuster award for best writer.