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‘Habilin’ animated series shines light on People Power in the Philippines

By Kara Santos Published Feb 25, 2022 12:30 pm

Various groups are preparing for the 36th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution today, Feb. 25, 2022.

The people-led revolution 36 years ago toppled the tyrant and dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his rule under martial law.

But how do we begin to talk to kids and younger audiences about serious events in history like martial law and the EDSA People Power uprising today?

Habilin is a series of 12 short animated videos that tells stories of heroes who fought for our freedom, released online last July 2021.

The videos, along with educational teaching guides, are just one of the new digital resources available from the Martial Law Museum, free for teachers, educators and parents to use.

The videos, which are recommended for Grades 7-12, or students aged 13 and up, all feature eye-catching animation and music and runs for about two to three minutes each.

The series, produced by The Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines and Sandigan Para sa Mag-aaral at Sambayanan (SAMASA), has also been made available as a podcast by Give a Hoot.

Each episode animated in a different style, tells the stories of nine “Little lights” – ordinary Filipinos who had the strength and courage to hope and act amidst the dark time of martial law under the Marcos regime. 

Each historical figure featured had their own way of fighting for freedom, democracy and justice, and more importantly, their own light inspired more lights.

Check out some of the videos and podcast episodes below.


Liwanag, which serves as an introductory video for the entire set, shows kids that there’s a “little light” in each of us.

The series gives a brief overview on the real-life stories of some of the martial law era heroes you might not have heard of before.

The animated versions of the videos are available on the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines’ Facebook and YouTube pages, while the podcast versions are available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other services.

Each episode in the video and podcast series includes stories of:

  • Armando - Inspired by the story of Armando “Mandrake” Palabay, who used the stage as his protest ground in his early years as an activist

  • Nestor - Inspired by the story of Nestor Principe, an accomplished martial artist who turned into a hero of the movement against the Marcos dictatorship
  • Lazaro - Inspired by the story of Lazaro Silva, who transformed from an easygoing kid to a committed freedom fighter during his college years when he learned of the horrors sweeping his country.

  • Margarita - Inspired by the story of Margarita “Maita” Gomez, who turned away from a life of pageantry to become a leader at the forefront of the women’s liberation movement.
  • Sr. Mariani - Inspired by the story of Sr. Mariani Dimaranan who was no ordinary nun. Her actions were not limited to prayers, but she was a teacher who led by example.
  • Elma - Inspired by the story of Elma Villaron-Tangente-Dalama, a young Visayan noblewoman raised as a "binukot" or “chosen daughter” kept sheltered from the public eye, which separated her from the world outside.
  • Marciano - Inspired by the story of Marciano "Chuck" Anastacio Jr., who turned his life around after a tough adolescence and youth defined by neighborhood brawls, drugs, and booze.

  • Lumbaya - Inspired by the story of Lumbaya Aliga Gayudan, a Butbut tribal leader from Ngibat, Tinglayan, Kalinga who played a crucial role during the fight against the Chico Dam River Project during the Marcos regime.
  • Coronacion - Inspired by the story of Coronacion Chiva, who took on the name Waling-waling (after a rare Philippine orchid). Chiva led a fight that spanned three decades for farmers’ and workers’ rights in Iloilo and Panay as a member of the Hukbalahap during the Japanese occupation, and union organizer after the war and during the Marcos era.

People Power

People Power shows the legacy of the  EDSA People Power uprising that brought together citizens from all walks of life, each calling for change.

While the horrors of the martial law era still haunt the present in many different forms, the video shows how our little lights must prevail over the past.



The video Habilin shows the importance of remembering the stories of our heroes and cherishing them and serves as an inspiring message that invites the audience to be their own light for change.

The video shows viewers that anyone has the ability to bring positive social and political change with their actions and how the spirit of People Power is alive and well, bearing lessons we must carry to the future.

Hopefully, the animated shorts can spark interest among students, as well as serve as a refresher for older audiences who may have forgotten their history lessons regarding what really happened during martial law under the Marcos dictatorship, and the events that led up to the People Power Revolution.

Watch the entire "Habilin" set and download the teaching guides here.