Baybayin is Alive for Teresita B. Obusan

Posted on Feb 20, 2011 in interpretations, people

Tessie Obusan has been writing and publishing many years on Sikolohiyang Pilipino, Filipino spirituality and mysticism, pamamaraan, pakikipagkapwa, and leadership. She has spoken and done seminars and workshops on these topics on many occasions at universities, seminaries and at the Institute of Filipino Spirituality

She has been a teacher, mentor and inspiration to many modern-day Philippine culture bearers. I have read many of her works, some of which are listed in my other blog posts about her and her work. 

Currently she is the curator of Bahay Nakpil heritage house and community center in Quiapo, Old Manila. I was able to meet her there a few years ago, see other post on my visit

Tess and I were both able to contribute to Leny Strobel’s recent book full of essays from different women, Babaylan: Filipinos and the Call of the Indigenous.  There was a book launching at the museum November 2010 that was a great success.

Tessie sent me this email with tons of images, last summer, and I have finally had time to organize the photos and her letter for you in this post. Please enjoy her experiences and thoughts on baybayin:

Dear Perla,

Thank you for inviting me to contribute to your blog…

Some years back we had an exhibit here on people who are into baybayin and products with baybayin motif. These photos are what remained in my files…

Am not sure whether you got copies of modules where I use baybayin as tool for analysis –
Pamamaraang K which is in my book Mystic or Mistake and Bahay, Buhay, Bathala – an attempt to understand the Filipino concept of sexuality and spirituality.  

[Note from Babayin Alive: I was actually introduced to Tess’ work around 2000 and read the above book, Pamamaraang K and many of her other books since. ]  

This is from the talk I gave in one of the conferences of Sikolohiyang Pilipino. Pamamaraang K also underlines the concept of the ka or relationship – evident on how it is written in baybayin.

Pamamaraang Ka first published in Mystic or Mistake. Click for large view.

The baybayin is also part of Pamanaraan – a kind of crash course on Filipino culture we give to students on field work here, or whenever we are invited to give seminar or talks on Filipino culture. It gives an experiential touch whenever we have to talk about early Filipino culture.

Tess Obusan and Raymond Cosare with exhibit. Includes Urduja at center. And atom and baybayin. Bahay Nakpil.
Tess and Reimon. Bahay Nakpil.

We also give free lessons on baybayin. (Reimon does the teaching. Reimon has Pinuno and Ama, Ina, Anak – ask him about this. [Readers, you can click on the hyperlinks to see these posted here at the BaybayinAlive blog].)

Ang Lakambini ng Katipunan - Gregoria de JesusIt is not only the baybayin that we use – but other symbols like the tambara which you can see in the photo we sent you during the celebration of Oriang’s birthday.  The tambara is used by the Aetas and other ethno-linguistic groups as a kind of altar. It is made out of split bamboo. The opening on the top part is where you put the offerings. During the celebration we dance around it. And of course we use native musical instruments and everybody join in. This is the area of Leo Castro.

We also use baybayin for the liturgy and rituals. You can see this behind me in the photo in the book Mystic or Mistake.

O diba mas [oh isn’t it more] intimate and interesting!

Happy to share with you all these yaman ng ating lahi.[wealth of our inheritence/heritage]

June 14, 2010

Partial Bibliography

  • Katutubong Kaalaman (Indigenous Knowledge)” by Teresita B. O, in Pamamaraan: Indigenous Knowledge and Evolving Research Paradigms, ed. by Teresita B. Obusan, Angelina R. Eniquez. 
  • The Filipino Spiritual Culture, Reprint Series No. 1 by Dr. Teresita B. Obusan and Angelina Enriquez. 1994.
  • Pakikipagkapwa: The Pamathalaan Approach to Leadership. Ed. by Dr. Teresita B. Obusan. 1998. 
  • Roots of Filipino Spirituality, Ed. by Teresita B. Obusan. 1998.


  1. Hi! Where can I get a copy of this book: Mystic Or Mistake: Exploring Filipino Mysticism in Quiapo. Thank you!

    Post a Reply
    • Contact Bahay Nakpil in Quiapo to find out if the author still sells copies. She is a curator there. Good luck!

      Post a Reply
      • Good day! I just want to inquire about all available books of Dr. Teresita Obusan and its prices. I will be doing a research on the culture of peace that emerges from the Tahanan. But I am interested with all her books.


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