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Heneral Tuna all set to conquer the planet Brings Filipino values, culture globally

CAGAYAN DE ORO (PIA)–Extraterrestrial cats set out on a mission to conquer the Earth and one of its generals landed in Barangay Hiraya – a neighborhood known for their delicious pancit recipe, and bayanihan spirit.  

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is set to launch a new short animated series about the adventures and mischief of a blue alien cat named “Heneral Tuna” that is set to conquer the Filipinos’ online platforms, hearts, and maybe the planet.

Heneral Tuna is produced by Rocketsheep Studio, commissioned by the NCCA for the Filipino Values Program. An initiative that hopes to uphold, instill and promote Filipino values to the new generation of Filipinos.

NCCA held an online media preview and watch party for the pilot episode of the animated series, October 8, 2021.    

NCCA Deputy Executive Director Marichu G. Tellano said, “For us at the NCCA, the values study we conducted and the National Values Program that we are currently developing, are grounded on the intent of fostering common good.”

Tellano said the values study was a platform to listen to people’s input on what they value most. The program on the other hand is a process of revisiting, rediscovering, and recapturing those values with the hope that it will push for honing effective and responsive leaders, “or simply just be productive and concerned members of society.”

In the animated series, Heneral Tuna, the renowned hero of Planet Mingming, is tasked to do a reconnaissance mission on planet Earth – in preparation for their planned invasion. While the “Heneral” has grand plans, an unfortunate spaceship mishap sends him crashing to the Philippines.  

A group of human beings from Barangay Hiraya nurses Heneral Tuna back to health. While recovering, the “heneral” uses this as an opportunity to observe the locals, which leads him to deviate from his original intentions of conquering the planet.

Each of the seven episodes features a core Filipino value that the lead character encounters during his recovery. The animated series aims to delight while teaching Filipino values and culture to young audiences.

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) holds an online media preview and watch party for the pilot episode of the animated series, October 8, 2021 for the new short animated series about the adventures and mischief of a blue alien cat named “Heneral Tuna”. On photo are (from left) Marichu G. Tellano, NCCA Deputy Executive Director; host Binibining Pilipinas 2016, Miss Grand International 2016 Nicole Cordoves; Professor Arvin Villalon, Lead Researcher, NCCA Filipino Values Program; Avid Liongoren, Director of Heneral Tuna, and Scriptwriter Carlo Vergara. (PIA-10)

Professor Arvin Villalon, lead researcher of the NCCA Filipino Values Program, said, “Magagamit ito hindi lang para sa general public (this can be used not only for the general public), ngayon, meron tayong batas (we now have a law) on Good Manners and Right Conduct (GMRC) and values education. That’s with the Department of Education, they can use this material, especially for the graders, in basic education, para gamitin sa curriculum (they can use this for the curriculum).”

An NCCA project brief states that “Heneral Tuna” began August 2020 and completed, August 2021 from creation, concept proposals, story development, creative development, storyboarding, asset development, character animation, voice acting, audio recording, to post-production in adherence to the commission’s objectives.

The mini-series is created by the company behind the hit animated films “Hayop Ka!” and “Saving Sally” with Avid Liongoren at the director’s chair, who worked with a crew of talented writers and artists such as Rob Cham, Charlene Sawit-Esguerra, and Kevin Raymundo to develop the concept, with Carlo Vergara of “Zsazsa Zaturnnah” as scriptwriter. Manny Angeles, co-producer and writer of “Hayop Ka!”, voices the titular character.

Speaking on why the lead character is a cat, Avid Liongoren, director of Heneral Tuna, said, “Since the series is about learning, wala nang iba pang mas curious pa than a cat (since the series is about learning, there is none more curious than a cat).”

Scriptwriter Carlo Vergara said there is certain strangeness about cats and that having a cat for the lead character is appropriate for the project. He also said aside from the cat’s natural curiosity, a cat also has a playful mind.

“It’s great for kids, and the young at heart. We don’t want to have a story na typical values formation video na traditional. May mga surprises, may katatawanan, may mga twists. It gives a fresh face to the stories that we can tell (There are surprises, funny moments, and twists)” Vergara said.

NCCA partners with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and Kumu to bring Heneral Tuna to online audiences throughout the globe.

NCCA Chairman Arsenio J. Lizaso, said Heneral Tuna “presents our cultural values through the engaging and colorful world of animation. Sometimes the simplest message can be most encouraging and the simplest platform can have the most profound effect.”

The young and young-at-heart can watch the series at the FDCP Channel and Kumu, which is a Filipino video sharing and e-commerce social networking service owned and developed by Kumumedia Technologies, Inc., starting October 15, 2021, at 7:00 p.m.

One can learn more about Heneral Tuna and follow his journey on Planet Earth via Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Tiktok. (SAYU/PIA-10)