Decentering Manila's underworld: Approaching trese: Murder on Balete drive as a hybrid form

Date of Publication


Document Type

Bachelor's Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Literature


College of Liberal Arts


Literature, Department of


Awarded as best thesis, 2009

Thesis Adviser

Shirley O. Lua

Defense Panel Member

Maria Teresa H. Wright
Oscar P. Solapco, Jr.


This thesis takes on Trese: Murder on Balete Drive, a collection of four short graphic and the recent brainchild of Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo, in a genre study that focuses on its hybridity.

Using Carl Malmgren's concepts of centeredness and decenteredness to study each story, this thesis examines three level of hybridity in Trese: one, the dialogue that comes with the effacement of boundaries between detective, mythological and graphic genres: two, the dialogue that comes with the effacement of boundaries between the urban world and the underworld and three, the resulting dialogue (produced by intertextuality) between the supernatural level in Trese and Philippine folklore.

It accomplishes this by looking at each story's treatment of setting, plot and character, examining the stability or instability of its signs via the text and its visual graphics. Firstly, it studies the setting's two-faced nature, and how certain places in the text hide the actual proximity of the underworld from the urban world. Second, it studies the plot's treatment of the dominant signs of murder fiction, Truth and Justice, particularly in how Truth is disclosed and Justice is perceived and in how innocence and guilt are problematized. Third, it studies the effects of a decentered world towards the detective character and its residents, and how the become destabilized signs when they are used with different signified.

This study also explores the metafictive implications made by the dialogue between the genres towards themselves, as well as their implications towards Philippine culture.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

144 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.


Murder in literature

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