Baybayin is Alive for Christian Cabuay

Posted on Feb 20, 2011 in people


Christian Cabuay was one of the presenters at the speaker panel on Baybayin Revival among Filipino Americans.  The purpose of the forum was to bring together Filipino and Filipino Americans, those on the forefront of exploring baybayin through the contexts of history, filipino identity, artistic expression and spirituality, so that they can briefly share their work about baybayin, their findings and the response of their particular audience to baybayin. This event was an opportunity for baybayin enthusiasts to gather, meet and connect with each other and find future opportunities to discuss and collaborate. 


Here are just some personal statements from Cabuay on his baybayin body of work.

Baybayin Alive: Please describe your current work of baybayin.com and baybayin book, tattoos, etc.
Cabuay: I’m currently filming a documentary on the script due out early next year. I’m also planning a book to accompany the film.

Baybayin Alive: Please describe other artistic work, interests or community work that you’d like to share (past and present).
Cabuay: Over the past 6 months, I’ve done more paintings using Baybayin as an element rather than a focal point.
For community work, I took part of the Filipino Heritage Month celebration at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco exhibiting my art and teaching the script.

Baybayin Alive: Please tell us how you became interested in baybayin and when(or provide link to a page with the answer).
Cabuay: Baybayin.com/about has all the answers 🙂

Baybayin Alive: Please tell us about some concepts of baybayin that you have learned from others.
Cabuay: The biggest thing I learned was about the theories of Dr.Bonifacio Commandante. He believes that the script came from clams. When I interviewed him for my documentary, we talked for about 3 hours.

The Babaylan conference earlier this year (2010) was also eye opening.

Baybayin Alive: Please tell us about some concepts of the baybayin that you have discovered on your own and would like to share.
Cabuay: I think my biggest contribution would be in the areas of social media and business. I was one of the 1st to use social media to monitor and spread the script. I’ve been doing commercial events for the past 3 years with the script as the focal point. In order for the script to survive, there has to be some sort of commercial aspect to it. Most of us obsessed with it do not make much if any money from it. Imagine what we can do if we had people focusing on the script full-time?

Baybayin Alive:  Please tell us what inspired you to create baybayin.com and the baybayin book? Kindly include what other influences from around the world or in the Philippines affected the creation of the these things.
Cabuay: I’ve always been a web guy since the mid 90’s with Konshus pages on Geocities while living in the Philippines. I wrote about Filipino society and history. My logo on the site had the Baybayin Ka. That might be the 1st time anyone had Baybayin on the internet. I created Baybayin.com because it was available and nobody was doing it. There were a few sites out there but there was no central hub. I understood how the internet and search engines worked to find information.
[Note from Babaylan Alive: Geocities no longer exists online, but I and Christian connected online way back in 1998 and I had republished one of his Konshus Pages docs on Colonial Mentality at newfilipina.com back in July ’98. Click on the link.]

Baybayin Alive: Describe any stories you want to share about how baybayin.com book/video came about.
Cabuay: The book was put together when I was teaching my young daughter how to write the script. I based it on one of her school spelling books. Even though there was something already like it in the market, it was too complicated for most people. We needed something simple.

The documentary is a logical next step. I don’t like to read books like many people but I would watch a documentary. The young people are the ones who will keep this alive. I want to provide them “candy” so that they will eventually get to the “vegetables.”

Baybayin Alive: Please share with us how baybayin is alive for you today.
Cabuay: I write it everyday. It’s my signature. It’s on my drivers license and credit cards. I have 2-3 art commissions every week and about 1 event a month. I have it tattooed on my arm, so that I see it all the time.

Baybayin Alive: Please share with us how you have witnessed baybayin become alive or more alive for others today because of your work.
Cabuay: When I do events, I get some people who tell me how much my work means to them. It’s very flattering and embarrassing at the same time. The coolest was when I was in Boracay this year filming my film where I noticed these poor kids creating the sand sculptures that say Boracay. The problem is that there were about a dozen of them doing the exact same thing. I approached one kid and taught her the script by tracing what I wrote in the sand. I’m not sure if any of it stuck but I could see the potential…..or maybe it was just my ego 🙂

Baybayin Alive: Please share with us other instances of how you have witnessed baybayin become alive for others beyond your own work.
Cabuay: I work a lot with Ray Haguisan and at our events, I see how stories pour out of people when asking him to create a necklace with the script on it. I see how the script connects people.

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You can read more about Christian Cabuay at SickManofAsia.com.

He also publishes pinoytattoos.combaybayinschool.comChristianCabuay.com, BaybayinFilm.com, PinoyStreetWear.com.

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