Budjette Tan is the Filipino writer of the hour, the week, the month, the year–now that the comics he wrote, Trese, turned into an international anime hit on Netflix. It’s a historic achievement being the first ever Filipino comics to become such.
He wrote the Trese comics back in 2005 at the urging of his friend, artist Kajo Baldisimo. The idea was to write a monthly comic book that they would somehow publish. They both worked full-time at different advertising agencies at the time, so Budjette had a hard time imagining how he could sneak in that comic. Still, Kajo had him commit to writing 20 pages of comics.
Kajo promised to illustrate those 20 pages; he could only do them during his lunch break. So that’s how Trese began. After the two friends began publishing Trese regularly, it earned a niche following among Filipino comics fans. By the years 2009, 2011, and 2012, Trese had won three National Book Awards.
In 2016, Budjette had to move to Denmark because of a new job: he was hired as one of the Creative Directors of LEGO. By that time, he was already married to his wife, Wella and their son, was only three months old. The new work arrangement required that he move to Denmark ahead of them for a few months, after which they would join him. We asked Wella how Budjette is like as a father.
“Budjette is a very hands-on dad. Aside from being the constant playmate and drawing buddy of Seraph, he also picks him up from kindergarten and gets him ready for bed almost every day. And for the past couple of months, Budjette has also been the master chef of our home. We truly appreciate everything that he does for us,” she said.
After residing in Denmark for the last five years, Wella has gathered together quite a few special memories of their family’s life there. However, for her the most special memory she has of Budjette as a father is how he was determined to be a dad to Seraph even though they were thousands of miles apart.
“He moved to Denmark ahead of us, when Seraph was still three months old. To make sure he was still part of Seraph’s first few months, Budjette recorded himself reading children’s books and singing ‘Rubber Ducky’ as Seraph’s bath time song. I would play his videos every single day for Seraph so he continued to be familiar with Budjette even if we were apart for around seven months,” she recalled.
For Father’s Day, Wella has this special message for Budjette: “We’re very proud of you and extremely happy that your passion project, Trese, has reached more people outside the Philippines. Thank you for keeping us your priority, despite how busy your days can get. We love you forever!”
Seraph is five years old now and, in a few years, he’ll be aware of how cool his dad is; how Budjette inspires Trese fans all over the world. Just imagine having the writer of Trese and a creative director of LEGO as your dad! Still, it’s how Budjette puts his family above all else, and cares for them will all his heart and his strength, that makes him such a special dad.