Interview: Suku, New Sun Artistry

suku art

Christian Cabuay
How and when did get started with Baybayin?

Christine Balza
My father was in the US AirForce, we had been stationed at Clark AFB in 1976-79 where I attended Lily Hill Jr High on the base. We studied Filipino Culture and aside from the general information we were introduced to ancient history. Including a brief description on our ancient script, Baybayin. Over the years I had glimspes of it on tattoos that family and friends proudly adorned. I carried a print out of the script and a deep curiousity of how it worked. With the internet I had been able to teach myself the basics.

Mixing Baybayin with my crafts… I made my sister a pendant for Mother’s Day(which said “Ina”)and it caught the eye of one of the tshirt vendors at a street fair and I followed my heart…

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Interview: Philippine Script Designs


Christian Cabuay
How did you get into baybayin and when?

Michelle Ruschman
In 2007 I was on the internet looking for jewelry celebrating the Philippine culture and came across it then. I instantly fell in love with it and it really became a PASSION to learn it and express it.

My mom and I immigrated from Cebu when I was two. With my mom believing in immersion (learning English to help me in school and embracing our adopted culture) and my American dad (who adopted me), I became more American than Filipino in how I expressed who I was. My dad eventually joined the air force and during an active duty assignment we were stationed at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. It was during this time the ousting of Marcos was going on so we got to witness the revolution first-hand. As a young Filipina who was really being introduced to her culture for the first time, it changed how I would see myself forever. Watching my countrymen fight this oppression was more inspiring than I can express. At one point, when I was 15, I was sitting in a bar in Manila (I wasn’t immune to teenage rebellion) and the elderly bartender, hearing my American accent, said, “No matter what you sound like, you remember the blood that runs through your veins.” It was the moment I knew what it was to KNOW and FEEL Filipino pride. It truly is a tangible thing.

PhilippineScript Designs came about so that my daughter knows this feeling of pride in her heritage. She’s mestiza (half German descent and half Filipina…our little Gerpino, if you will) but I want her to know about being Filipino in a way that I missed as I was growing up. Of course, I’m still finding my own way but this business, my legacy to her, will be a way for us to do it together.

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Baybayin interview


Christine Balza of Suku-Art and I got featured in the Times-Herald.

Even those in the Philippines don’t really know much about it, said Christian Cabuay, a Walnut Creek resident who runs the Web site He attended high school in the United States and college in the Philippines.

But thanks to the Internet, both Cabuay and Balza, who runs the Web site, said they are seeing an explosion of interest in Baybayin.

The interest is particularly sharp among Filipino-Americans like Balza and Cabuay, they said.

“We’re out here trying to find identity,” Cabuay said as immigrants and children of immigrants try to reconcile their old heritage with an American one.

The popularity is especially felt among the tattooing community, said Cabuay, who sports a few Baybayin tattoos and offers tattoo designs at