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Mark Raywin Tome: A Genuine Writer and Storyteller Promoting Values for Filipino Children

We think it's safe to say that every writer's dream is to have his own book published. This is truly a recognizable achievement and a sure highlight of the dreamer's life.


However, for the writer and author of "Ang Bisita ni Lolo Lino," the "dream" is not limited to having been achieved with one accomplished goal. No, the dream is so much more, and so is he - Mark Raywin Tome.


Hailing from Tondo, Manila, Raywin is currently a Copywriter and Promotion Specialist for Corporate Account at ABS-CBN. On the side, he's writing scripts for short films, digital series, and various other projects, including iWant TV's first animated series for kids, "Jet and The Pet Rangers." Together with Podcast Network Asia, he's also put out a podcast showcasing values for children titled "Kwentong Kalyehero."


With all those mentioned above, he is constantly writing - doing what he has been passionate about since he was a child. So, is he living the dream?


When asked what is his dream, Raywin exhaled, "The dream is to write, anything about writing...is writing. Lahat ng pwedeng output na ang involve ang pagsusulat, sa tingin ko magandang ma-experience ng isang writer."


He believes that a person isn't limited by a single dream alone. "It's hard to articulate kung ano gusto mong gawin, pero maganda siya na pagsikapan na somehow, nag-articulate ka doon sa mga bagay na gusto mong gawin, mga bagay na passionate ka, kaya ako nagsusulat," he added.


"If you want to experience your dream, you need to do something," Raywin aspired to create children's stories, his podcast, and series. True to his words, he tried to do just those and succeeded.


"Hindi ko rin alam kung ano ba talaga hanggang ngayon," Raywin answered honestly, "Pero I think ang hirap din ng magkaroon lang ng isang end goal kasi 'pag nakuha mo na siya, ano nang next? Baka okay din na proseso siya, 'yung pangarap mo ay isang proseso, parang ang ganda - para hindi siya natatapos."


In that event, Raywin shared his dream process, beginning with his humble childhood.



Ang Bisita ni Lolo Lino


Raywin recalled his early memories from his elementary days, "Pang-umaga kasi ako noon. Kapag hapon, bumabalik ako sa school namin para pumunta sa library para magbasa ng mga books, kasi mahirap lang kami. Wala kaming access sa mga librong pambata." With tales about and for kids like he was, he fell fascinated.


Despite limited sources, young Raywin didn't waver. Instead, he let his mind wander and imagined his own stories. In school, his love for children's stories continued to develop as he also joined storytelling contests - one being at Museong Pambata and organized by Alitaptap Storytelling Philippines. As a highschool student, he volunteered in the said organization as a storyteller for children.


"Syempre kapag volunteer storyteller ka, at nagsusulat ka, minsan mararamdaman mo na sana yung kinu-kwento mo ay sarili mong libro din, yung binabahagi mo ay sarili mo ring kwento." With this realization combined with his early love for children's stories, Raywin dreamed.


Being young, he wasn't sure how to do this yet. The opportunity came in 2017 in the form of the Annual Lampara Books Children’s Story Writing Contest.

"Sometimes yung dreams natin ay mas malaki sa fears natin."

In spite of doubts and fears, Raywin grabbed the chance and joined. "Sometimes yung dreams natin ay mas malaki sa fears natin. So, nag-try ako sumali tapos...nanalo ako." The first prize was the publishing of his very own children's book about how a child surprises his grandfather with an unforgettable visit: "Ang Bisita ni Lolo Lino."


Jet and The Pet Rangers


Life continued for Raywin, and so did the process of his dreams, as well of that of couple Patrick Apura (animator) and Dwein Baltazar (director). "Magkakasama kami sa workshop ni sir Ricky (Lee) pero magkaiba kami ng batch," Raywin told The Film Dream, recounting how he met the two from one of the workshops he attended. "Tapos syempre sa workshop nagkaka-visit, nagkaka-kwentuhan, tapos binigyan ko ng children's book 'yung anak nila."


Meanwhile, the couple had been wanting to develop a cartoon for iWant. Seeing Raywin's talent from his book, they messaged him with working on a kid's series and immediately he jumped aboard. The couple's concept was developed with Raywin. "Pinagtulungan namin i-develop yung episode, nag-identify kami ng values na magandang matutunan ng kids and then we assigned characters, arc, and problem na pwedeng umikot dun sa values."


By 2020, the first animated series for iWant TV, "Jet and the Pet Rangers" was released, as well as claiming the title “National Winner for Best Animated Series” at the Asian Academy Creative Awards.


"Most of the time, we borrow cartoons from other countries: Japan, Europe, the US, even the UK. I think deserve ng mga batang pilipino ng sarili nating cartoon," Raywin emphasized why he was so quick to say yes to the project. "Gusto kong maging part ng milestone project na makagawa ng sariling animated series natin, yung makikita mo yung cartoonised world na ang setting ay Filipino, na nagtatagalog yung hayop, na hindi dubbed, hindi translated lang."


Raywin reiterates the importance of having these cartoons that are rooted with our culture and heritage. "Mahalaga pa rin na mayroon tayong sariling programs and cartoons na nakatahi and lubog sa sensibilidad ng mga Pilipino lalo na kung yung content na yun ay para sa bata."


Kwentong Kalyehero


From the same workshop, Raywin also met Inna Salazar, a director and wife to Atty. Josef Acuna, the Chief Content and Operating Officer of Podcast Network Asia. In what seems to be a fortunate deja-vu, this connection together with Raywin's skills being further recognized and valued, led to an invitation for him to pitch a concept for a podcast. While he presented two different ideas, one targeted for young adults and the other for children, the latter was chosen.


"Inuna namin yung children's content kasi nakita namin yung urgency to create a podcast like that," Raywin explained. They did consider it a gamble, as the podcast isn't normally a medium for kids.


Raywin felt the worries rise within himself too, "Hindi naman ako sikat sa social media. Mababa yung online presence ko, hindi ako influencer. Bakit ako magkaka-podcast? Ang worry ko is: may makikinig ba?"


However, Josef firmly believed it was possible. With his encouragement and Raywin's own passion for storytelling, they were able to produce the show.


"Nakaka-proud naman na kahit pandemic we were able to produce something relevant and essential para sa mga teachers and kids and also parents." Raywin shared, worries faded and pride in its place.


"Kwentong Kalyehero" is a podcast with original children's stories for Filipino kids, mainly aiming to be an aid for teachers and parents alike. The interactive stories being told by Raywin himself will serve as a fun way for children to learn the unique Filipino values essential for their growth.


While each project is an achievement, the steps leading to them aren't without flaws. Raywin shared his feeling that among writers, the problem comes in the form of self-doubts. In his case, there seemed to be an added weight of responsibility.


"Kapag children's book author ka, children's content writer ka, medyo dangerous siya na pagsusulat kasi ang kausap mo ay bata. Paano kung mali yung sinasabi mo?" Raywin's what if's included sharing the wrong information, or worst, incorrect values. With careful considerations in mind, he always makes sure to do proper research and appropriate consultations. "Pwede ka maging malikhain pero kailangan tama pa rin 'yung ibabahagi mo,"


The writer's dreams, despite the challenges, continued its process. With this, we asked which so far does he feel the most proud of.


"Proud ako sa lahat," he answered, citing the Tagalog cartoons, and the Children's story podcast hitting the Spotify charts.


"To be able to create projects na nag-a-advocate ng values ng children's welfare, parang isa siyang malaking karangalan for a writer."

"Pinaka-bagay na proud ako ay makagawa ako ng makabuluhan na content, at yung content na yon ay hindi lang siya natatapos sa pagbabahagi, but doon sa kung paano tinatanggap ng gusto kong makausap."


At the present, Raywin's dreams are ongoing. "Nasa proseso pa ako ng pagpaplano at pangarap na bumuo pa ng maraming projects," he shared with The Film Dream. While open to all and any possibilities, he's confident with confirming this: "Hindi ko nililimitahan yung sarili ko sa kung ano yung genre na gusto kong gawin at isulat, marami akong gustong i-try pero tingin ko yung constant sa'kin ay yung pagsusulat ng kwento para sa mga bata, hindi siya pagsusulat ng kwentong pambata pero pagsusulat para sa mga bata."


Most recently, he's also started teaching Narrative Film at Assumption College in Makati. "Nasa phase ako ngayon na gusto ko naman din ibahagi yung mga natutunan ko sa proseso ng pagsusulat at pagkekwento."


For aspiring writers, here's what Raywin has to impart:


"Laging alalahanin kung sino yung pinapag-alayan. Laging itanong, para kanino ung sinusulat natin? Sino ang makikinabang? Sino yung matutulungan ng sinusulat natin?" Raywin urges you as a writer to keep these important questions in mind.


"Magkaroon ng respeto doon sa mga taong pinang-gagalingan ng kwento, o kung saan mo nakukuha yung kwento," he added.


Over the years and as one ages, Raywin believes his point of view with writing deepens. With meeting children who experienced abuse, farmers who were robbed of their lands, victims of calamities - he realized that there is more that needs to be done than write about them.


"Maganda yung proseso ng pagsusulat pero kailangan mayroon ka ring gawin sa mga kinekwento mo," Raywin encourages to volunteer, to lend help towards the community, stand with them with defending their rights, telling the public their needs.


"Tumatanda ako, lumalalim din yung pagtingin ko sa pagsusulat. Hindi na siya tungkol sa sarili, pero pagpapaheram na siya ng boses para sa boses ng iba."


Incorporating this, Raywin is looking forward to continuing using his writing and his literal voice with the next season of the podcast "Kwentong Kalyehero."


"Habang na-de-develop yung internet at yung espasyo na yun, ang tanong ko lagi: nasaan yung espasyo ng mga bata? Saan sila pwede tumayo o lumugar?" Raywin observed that there are so many contents for adults, but he worries for the children, who are presently and actively using the internet, to have no meaningful content for their own. "Kailangan natin mag-develop ng maraming content na para rin sa mga bata."


With a full-time job in media, working on several other projects, and a new one in education, Raywin has no intentions to stop pursuing his dreams. For now, we can anticipate and watch out for his plans to unfold and translate into our screens, and maybe even on our hands.






Raywin's book, "Ang Bisita ni Lolo Lino" is available at Precious Pages Bookshops physical stores, and online on Lazada and Shopee. "Jet and the Pet Rangers" can also be viewed at iWantTFC.com, and "Kwentong Kalyehero" can be streamed on Spotify.



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