A month ago, I had a post entitled Baybayin: The Pre-Filipino Writing System. Recently, I was able to get an exclusive interview with the Master of Baybayin, Christian Cabuay.
Christian Cabuay currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area working as a web business analyst for one of the largest clothing retailers in the world during the day. On nights & weekends, Christian is a Baybayin artist, Webprenuer & Ecommerce/Social Media consultant. Basically, Christian helps soloprenuers and small businesses with their business and online marketing strategy. Christian was born in Mandaluyong, raised in Pasig. His dad is originally from Pangasinan and he states that, “I’m pretty much a Manila boy.”
On your website Baybayin.com, you stated that you moved to the Philippines after high school. What made you decide to go home to the Philippines after high school?
I’ve gone back and forth many times as a kid but on a recent trip as a young adult, I was able to see things differently. I went to a semester of junior college but wasn’t feeling it. Seeing no future here at the time, I decided it was time to make a drastic change. Even though I didn’t have any friends or connections, I just blindly went over there with no real idea what I was going to do there. It turned out great because I made it happened. One of the best decisions of my life. I’m actually thinking of moving back again.
Tell us a about Baybayin and how you are reeducating/educating Filipinos and non-Filipinos.
It’s an old writing system that we so-called Filipinos used before no more, no less. It’s quite different than the Roman alphabet as each character has a vowel built in. B would be BA.
As far as education, I run Baybayin.com along with PinoyTattoos.com that teach the basics of the script. On the site, you can find tutorials, download worksheets, fonts, videos and view artwork. I recently wrote a book “An Introduction to Baybayin” available at BaybayinBook.com. I’m also working on an online school at BaybayinSchool.com.
What services/instructions can you give to those who do not live in California and are very anxious to learn Baybayin?
Check out the websites and my book. With the use of technology, I don’t need to travel to your local Filipino festival to “teach”. If one needs my personal attention, I’m developing 1-on-1 services that should be ready by the end of the year.
What does being Filipino-American mean to you?
Honestly, nothing. It’s just a label to me. I consider myself a human first who happened to be born a so-called Filipino who chooses to live in America. While I’m proud of my culture and people, I’m not a Pinoy Power fanatic that looks at things from that single point of view. I feel that pride can cloud judgment and hinder progress.
What do you feel needs to change with Filipinos and how the world views Pinoys?
Change the name of the country. You can’t be mayabang (boastful, cocky) and celebrate Pinoy achievements/freedom while still having your country named after a colonial master. True, the rest of the world doesn’t give a SHIT what we do but if we change the name, we would be sending a message that we are creating our own identity rather than carrying a legacy or using our “ingenuity” to spin it in a positive light. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not under any delusion that simply changing the name of the country will resolve all our ills but I believe it’s a step in the direction of real freedom. Other countries have done it but still have their issues but at least they chose their path. Keeping our country name is like the divorced with keeping her last name for convince and sentimental value after her husband beated her for hundreds of years. She refuses to change it because she likes it, has nicknames around it and it would be a big ass hassle to change her drivers license.
Do you look up to any famous Pinoys or historical Filipino figures as role models?
Lapu Lapu as he was the first to fight against aggressive colonizers. Many Filipinos idolize him but don’t live his legacy. He would be upset that our land is named the Philippines.
What is your favorite Filipino dish?
Arroz caldo & ube ice cream
Is there any additional information you would like to share with us?
Stop using the term Alibata as it’s incorrect. Although it’s just a name, there’s no historical connection to the script. Check out NotAlibata.com for more info.
Please be sure to visit Baybayin.com and support Christian Cabuay in all his efforts to educate/reeducate the world about Baybayin: The Pre-Filipino Script.