Here’s a couple of quick answers for you to consider before sending me an email.

1. Will you translate a phrase for me so I can get it as a tattoo?!?!
In short, no. While I have done translations in the past, I am currently no longer accepting tattoo requests.  The reason behind this is that my direction and focus on Baybayin design has led me away from the tattoo and fine art route, and towards graphic design.  While I find tattoos beautiful, and have one myself, I feel that Baybayin is becoming a trend among young Pilipinos to get Baybayin tattoo design; so much so that it’s starting to become synonymous with Filipino-tattoos.  I think that if we want to bring this part of our culture back through the mainstream, more efforts in mainstream avenues should be undertaken, and graphic design is my path.

2. Is Alibata and Baybayin the same thing?
Yes and no. Yes as in, they reference the same writing system, and no because Alibata is the wrong term to use (think of the words “guesstimate” or “ginormous”) Actually, Hector Santos does a great job at explaining this:

In 1914, the newer term alibata was introduced by Dean Paul Versoza of the University of Manila. He claims the term comes from alif, ba, and ta, the first three letters of the Maguindanao arrangement of the Arabic letters. He did not explain why he chose a totally unrelated writing system to name the script.

3. Why “The Bathala Project”?
Bathala was the name of the god that the Filipinos worshiped prior to Spanish Colonization and the spread of Christianity in the Philippines. Before the idea of a light-skinned, foreign god ever entered our mind, the ancient Filipinos used to think that their supreme being, Bathala, shared their own features; brown skin, dark hair, stature and all. This can be seen as a reflection of our culture at the time, when we found a source of divinity within ourselves. A belief in our own greatness, and the greatness of our own people. Baybayin was our writing system, also predating Spanish Colonization. Over time, both Baybayin & Bathala have shared similar fates, in that they were almost lost to time due to the centuries of brainwash and colonization the Philippines has endured. But these artifacts of our culture remain today, and The Bathala Project is an expression of that. I use Baybayin in my design and art to communicate culture, and the idea of a proud people that believed in themselves and each other.

4. Where did you learn about Baybayin?
I discovered Baybayin in 2001, and was formally introduced to the script at a workshop during the 2004 MAFA (Midwest Association of Filipino Americans) conference facilitated by Adam Diaz. Elated at the idea of there being a script that uniquely communicates Filipino culture and identity, I’ve been incorporating Baybayin into my artworks and graphic designs.

5. Were you born in the Philippines/Can you speak Tagalog?
I was born in the states, but I lived in the Philippines for a few years. I’m not fluent in Tagalog, but I understand and can speak a little… pero talagang konti na konti lang…

6. What ever happened to “Free Swag Thursdays”?
Postage and shipping fees ain’t free. I got bills to pay, homie.

7. Didn’t you used to have artwork for sale?
Yes, I used to… but like I mentioned in #1, I’ve diverged from fine art and am now concentrating on graphic design.

8. Are you on twitter/facebook/youtube/myspace?
Yes, yes, yes, and hell no. All of which are accessible on the red bar, underneath the top banner. Those icons? Baybayin social media icons. Yeah. That’s right.

9. What’s the best way to get a hold of you?
If your inquiry is under 140 characters, feel free to tweet me @KuyaCyph otherwise email me at KuyaCyph@thebathalaproject.com

10. What kind of graphic design do you do?
Mostly print and branding/identity collateral work. I do web as well, but I don’t code. To view more of my graphic design work, check out my folio site at CreativeKuya.com

11. What’s your name about?
Kuya means “older brother” in Tagalog. Throughout my travels when presenting Baybayin workshops, I’m always leading the pack, and others look to me for “expertise,” though I hardly would consider myself an expert at all. But for them, I’ll stand up for. Cyph is a shortened version of my stage name, “Cyphaflip”. I used to (and sometimes still do) rap and do spoken word poetry, hence the Spoken Word Sunday and random rap posts you’ll find on this website.