Lauro Zarate Alcala [August 18, 1926 – 2002], also known as Larry Alcala, was a well-known editorial cartoonist and illustrator in the Philippines.
He was born on August 18, 1926 to Ernesto Alcala and Elpidia Zarate in Daraga, Albay. Through a scholarship from Manila Times granted by the publisher Ramón Roces, he obtained a degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting at the University of the Philippines [UP] in 1950. He became a professor at the same university from 1951 to 1981. He also received the Australian Cultural Award accompanied by a travel study grant in 1975.
He started his cartooning career in 1946 while still attending school. After World War II, he created his very first comic strip, Siopawman, which was printed on the pages of the Filipino comic book, Halakhak [Laughter]. In 1947, he created the comic strip Kalabog en Bosyo, using Taglish as the medium of communication of his characters. He pioneered animated cartoons for television commercials of products such as Darigold Milk in 1957 and Caltex in 1965. His campaign for the advancement of illustration and commercial art in the Philippines resulted to the establishment of the Visual Communication Department at the UP College of Fine Arts.
In 1997, the Philippine Board on Books for Young People [PBBY] granted him the title Dean of Filipino Cartoonists, an achievement award for his lifetime dedication to the art of capturing humor in the character and everyday life in the Philippines. In 1991, he promoted the formation of a group of young children's book illustrators called Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan [Ang INK].
All in all, he made over 500 cartoon characters, twenty comic strips, six movies, two murals, and 15,000 published pages in his 56 years of professional cartooning career. He believed in the far-reaching role of cartoons in education and value formation.
He died on June 24, 2002 when he was 75.