Over the years, we've featured many comics that showed the different facets of parenting from pregnancy, being a stay-at-home mom, and raising multiple kids. These often-funny comics is not just a source of inspiration — it is also a form of relief. Just the thought that someone else is experiencing the challenges of parenting just like you is so comforting. And our favorite parenting comics at the moment just happens to be the brainchild of a Chinoy (Chinese Filipino) dad!
Meet Anthony “Tony” Cua, 36, a strategic operations analyst for a BPO company whose earliest art memory was drawing a trailer truck on a huge piece of paper in kindergarten. Growing up, he never thought of pursuing art professionally and got an electronics and communications engineer degree instead.
His new role as a husband and father changed his perspective, however. “I got a phone with pen support more than three years ago, and I played around with the idea of going back to drawing. But the thought never really materialized until I drew a single-frame comic for my wife’s birthday in 2018. That single frame kind of ‘re-sparked’ my love for drawing,” he tells SmartParenting.com.phin an email interview.
Before he knew it, Tony was coming up with two to three comic strips per week. His inspiration? His wife’s pregnancy symptoms.
Tony uploaded the comic strips on his personal Facebook account, and his friends found it hilarious. Soon, they were convincing him to put a watermark on the drawings and create a separate Facebook page for it. That’s how “Tokwa Frappe” began, which now houses all of Tony's creations.
When his son, Alvis, was born, most of Tony’s comics revolved around him and his wife Lisette’s experiences as new parents and how fatherhood has changed his life.
“I used to go out cycling and running on Sundays, and I used to play online games for hours daily. I couldn’t do those anymore due to time and energy constraints,” he says. “I made a conscious choice to semi-retire from online gaming and cycling so I can focus on work and family. I did realize that I still needed a hobby to balance out the stress, and that’s where my passion for drawing kicked back in.”
Tony’s comics are funny and so relatable, especially if you’re a parent. There’s Dadee (him), Mamee (his wife) and Bebi (Alvis), whose occupation is “breast milk quality control specialist.”
“My material is 100% inspired by real life with a generous amount of artistic freedom in it,” he shares.
The drawings are also wife-approved. “I make sure my wife reads my work before I publish to confirm if the joke is funny and that I’m not crazy,” he says. “She’s my number one fan, which may or may not be because she stars in most of my work. She actively shares the drawings to parenting Facebook groups including Smart Parenting Village!”
Of course, fellow dads love it, too! “I recently got a private message from a soon-to-be-dad that loved the 'baby’s monthsary Gundam' comic. He had been hearing lots of scary things about parenthood and needed the laugh,” he shares. “Those messages, comments, and feedback do a lot to inspire me to deliver more content.”
Tokwa Frappe has more than 7,000 followers on Facebook, but Tony says he’s always dreamt of reaching a bigger audience. “This just started out as a hobby, and my thoughts are always about how to make more people smile. That’s still where I am right now,” he says.
What his followers can expect, however, are more stories. “Tokwa Frappe will continue to be a reflection of family life. Expect that Bebi will grow, and Mamee and Daddee will have more parenting adventures together!”
This article was updated on March 7, 2019 at 9:53 a.m.