Warehouse 6 productions is your friendly neighborhood group of young inspired folks who create local content to further explore, discover, and acknowledge the Philippine culture in various forms. Or so their bio says. These artists are talented in so many ways from idea creation, writing, illustration and other art-forms, and the occasional stage presence for hosting and appearing in interviews.
In 2017, they launched Dapit Hapon, a short illustrated story about friendship set in the 90s. It follows the steps of a high school trio: Mimay, Nemo, and Rap-Rap as they walk home from school to discover friendship and weather challenges along the way. It was a product of, well, a bunch of 90’s kids who love a serving (or five) of fish balls and other deep fried merienda items after school in some parts of Quezon City.
As “newbie” readers of comic books, we can’t help but appreciate the artistry behind it, and feel nostalgic of the afternoons completely stripped of the Internet and social media where kids have no other means to make the most of their time but to play or talk, maybe over a few plastic cups of sago’t gulaman, and such.
While Tikoy isn’t in the stage of reading this genre yet, we appreciate the talent that exudes in every page, and the story line that teaches readers about being yourself and being a good friend.
Since there’s no better way in shedding light on this passion project, we interviewed some of the creators of Dapit Hapon.
We interviewed three of the the Dapit Hapon team: Bel Panado, writer, Ydunn Lopez, artist, and Chum Balbuena, writer.
What was the compelling idea that moved you to write Dapit Hapon?
“A little back story: we had a bigger project in mind from the get go, but it was too overwhelming whenever we met up to pitch ideas for it. At the time, we just couldn’t tackle it, but thankfully a few years later, when me and a friend (a.k.a the producer/godfather of the group) were walking home, he threw an idea about a story of kids walking home from school. It hit us at that moment. In order for us to tackle a bigger project, why not start smaller? That way, we all could develop our skills in storytelling. Thus, Dapit Hapon was born.
It was supposed to be a collection of 4 paneled comic strips featuring Raprap, Nemo, and Mimay going on these little funny adventures and misadventures, but midway into solidifying the idea, it wasn’t working for us. We wanted to tell a more layered story with our characters growing along the way. The series eventually evolved into a coming of age with some comedy slapped in, but now we also added drama into the mix. We were absolutely fine with the change. Plus, putting our work out there would tremendously help alongside with the feedback we will receive both good and bad to further hone our skills and improve.”
What’s the theme that guided the look of the characters and setting?
“The theme was about friendship, and we made it light with some quirky stuff happening amongst the characters. Japanese and French animation were a huge influence on designing characters.”
“Here’s our one-liner to describe Dapit Hapon, ‘A coming-of-age story of 3 friends and their misadventures as they go home from school’. A nice trivia actually is that the school and its surroundings were based [on] an actual school! It made mapping out the streets, alleys and the neighborhood easier.”
We noticed that there are many 90s references on the illustration and story. Can you tell us more about this?
“I’m not sure if I should reveal this, but initially, the setting [was] supposed to be at the present time. We realized, however, that we know very little about the things that the high schoolers of today do. So we decided to adjust the timeline closer to when we were in high school. Besides, it’s easier to start writing about something you can personally relate to.”
“Well, a big factor is that we draw on our experiences during High School for our stories, and with those experiences come the merienda time, our favorite ice cream, our go-to snack to get at the sari-sari store, and all the other nostalgia gems that you noticed. It made it more relatable to us the writers, and to the readers as well.”
How was the experience?
“The experience is rewarding. Seeing how a simple idea changes over time as more people develop it is inspiring. We’re on to something here, and we can’t wait to see how these kids will grow.”
“It was daunting initially, ‘What am I supposed to write about?’ was what I usually ask myself every time I sit in front of the computer. And quoting Shia Labeouf, you simply have to, ‘Just do it!’, and then you’ll be surprised (well I was) at how natural the words flow in. Process-wise, each chapter completed enhanced how we did things:
‘Ah we didn’t edit enough, let’s give time to do that in the next chapter‘
‘What if I start with an outline, and you fill in the details‘
‘I’ll post per page and you guys comment on it if it needs revision or what‘
And with every improvement, we reach more milestones, we break the wall of our former selves, and stand amazed at how far we have come since we started. “
Who among the characters can you relate to?
“Nemo. Hands down. Unlike Nemo being a transfer from multiple schools, I was a transfer from a different place altogether. I was born here, but most of my life was spent on Saipan and 2 years in Florida. Coming back to the Philippines, I didn’t know anyone aside from my family and relatives. It took time to adjust, and I hope Nemo adjusts just as well.”
“That would be Nemo. Some of the things he went through are written from my own experiences (just guess which parts lol) and I can relate to how heavily he talks to himself inside his head hahahaha! I’m actually excited about how his character will turn out in the coming chapters.”
“Rap-rap! Because of his chill, laid-back and very positive nature. It’s exciting to see how we can further develop him in the succeeding chapters.”
Dapit Hapon is an easy-read comic that dads and moms can enjoy with their older kids. In a parent’s perspective, its illustration is a treat for the eyes (our Tikoy loves flipping through the pages and identifying familiar objects), and its story can be easily processed.
Currently, Warehouse 6 Productions has released the 4th of a 15 or so chapters. Meet the new character, or start reading it all together by ordering through their form: bit.ly/2J940t1 or by sending a message to @wh6productions on Instagram or Facebook. You can also meet the gang and purchase a copy at the Komikon on November 23-23 at Bayanihan Center, Pasig City.
We are giving away a set of Dapit Hapon comic books, postcards and stickers to ONE winner on Facebook.
How to join:
1. Like the pages of Warehouse 6 Productions and Mark X Abi.
2. Like the GIVEAWAY PHOTO, comment an emoji that best describes your reaction if you win, and tag 5 friends.
3. Share the photo with official hashtag: #markxabifordapithapon
Giveaway is open to PHILIPPINE residents only. Winner will be announced via FB stories on September 30!