Thursday, January 31, 2008

"Ni Ni"

And another one. If you've seen the other posts about the hats, this one follows a similar story plot. "Ni Ni" is translated, sketched, painted, sent, satisfied. Check:




Glyphs integrated into some freestyled extensions

Her close-up

She knows the rest...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Finally ignited some fresh heat on the mic... Watch out now!


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Jasminum Sambac

Also known as the Sampaguita flower, the national flower of the Philippines. One night, after a game of flippy cup at my friend Roland's old apartment, I discovered that for some reason I had brought my sketch/rhyme book. "Exhausted from drinking", I was struck with a design-epiphany for a shirt/banner/bumper sticker/slap tag. I got to sketching, with help from friends Heathe and Frida, and came out with the following sketch:

This is what college drinking leads you to do, so drink up, kids!

At the time, I was looking to make a girl's shirt design for PFA (the Purdue Filipino Association... if you don't know, you better ask somebody!), but had already designed the unisex shirt last semester and thus this design never took off. I remembered going for something that was native to the Philippines, represented the delicateness and fragility of beauty, yet the tough survival strength as well. The Sampaguita flower is both beautiful, with such fragile petals that bloom after the humid rains, yet rise high as the vine plant from which it roots from. I knew it was a vine, white, and the flowers sprouted from bulbs, but I didn't really remember what it looked like (underage inebriation clouds the memory sometimes). Typically, in the Philippines, vendors sell Sampaguita flowers as dried, necklace-type rings to hang around your rear view mirror:

Sampaguita vendor girl... and her funky smile

But the sketch came out nice anyways, I thought. And thus finished the design as a vector, dropped shadow, and bada-bing, bada-boom:

Not bad for an after-drunken-thought, no?

And as it turns out that I was pretty close too:

Close enough... Sorta...

The moral of the story: Winning a game of flippy cup can lead to great things.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Rest In Paradise

Before I became the philosophizing, culturally-awakened, agnostic Filipino that I am today, I once was a firm believer in the religion that I was raised with, Roman Catholicism; it was to the point where I once aspired to become a priest, as a few of my uncles have become. If it wasn't for my active search for personal answers in history, science and culture, maybe I would've followed their footsteps and adapted the beliefs. And though our beliefs may differ now, it doesn't mean that I don't wish them well in the life-beyond; he suffered throughout his sickness, but he did good throughout before it. He is missed by his peers and his family.

And though I don't know if it exists or not, I hopes he does...

Rests In Paradise...

Saturday, January 26, 2008


The Bathala Project isn't just about revolution, decolonization of minds and hard core intellectual headaches; it's also about my views and reflections of life as a 2nd gen Pinoy. And like many coastal American Filipinos that were raised in the 90's, Hip Hop runs through the veins... and stomachs... like the beats that I eat... the big, fat, CRUNCHY beats... mmmm...


Friday, January 25, 2008


Steady flowing...


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Head nod

Crate and Barrel window display, Old Town Pasadena:

That's wassup.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Video shot in front of Eagle Rock Underground
Open mic tuesday, 1/22/08 (freshhhh)


Monday, January 21, 2008

Under construction...

Prototyping the penmanship...


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fear Them Not

Fear. Oppressors use it to keep the oppressed under their power and influences. The government, gangs, religions, cults, terrorists, The Man; they all use fear to influence you to do their bidding. But to be truly free, one must not be afraid of his fellow man for how can one proliferate freedom if he is afraid of those he is trying to liberate?

Fear Them Not.

no relation...


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Santo Nino, and other such nonsense

"In April 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, in the service of Charles V of Spain, arrived in Cebu during his voyage to find a westward route to the Spice Islands. He persuaded Rajah Humabon and his wife Hara Amihan, to pledge their allegiance with Spain. They were later baptized into the Catholic faith, taking the Christian names Carlos and Juana. Magellan gave Juana the Santo Nino as a symbol of the alliance. However, Magellan died during the Battle of Mactan later that month, and the alliance became more or less moot.

The Spanish returned to the Philippines in February 1565. Cebu was the first stop of Basque explorer Miguel López de Legazpi, who would later found Manila. He defeated Rajah Tupas (nephew to Humabon) on April 27, destroying the village in the process. The Santo Nino was found relatively unscathed in a burnt-out dwelling. This event was quickly acknowledged as miraculous, and a church was later constructed on the site of the discovery. Today, the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño is an important historical and religious landmark in Cebu, with devotees forming long line up to pay their respects to the Holy Child."
~Article quoted from Wikipedia

So... As the Spanish colonizers destroyed the natives' village, they eased the idea of subjugation by alluding that their victory was divine, as deemed by their Christian god. Later on, as the church-state subjugating government would proliferate, Catholicism would be further used to oppress the people of the Philippines by having them reject their native culture, losing heritage and cultural identity, and adopting the new Christian ideology that was trickled down by the almighty Spanish priests... but I digress...

For better or for worse, the proliferation of Catholicism by the Spanish is a part of not only Filipino culture, but of many other cultures as well. One can take a look at the entire continent of South America and the nations of Central America and see the legacy of the colonial influence.

Before, however, the Filipinos used to worship gods of their cultural standards; gods that reflected themselves. The first man and woman, Malakas and Maganda, were said to have been of beautiful brown skin like polished bronze, black hair as dark as the night, and described within the standards of beauty of an uninfluenced culture. But when the Spaniards came, suddenly women would refrain from the sun to make their skin pale, clothespins would be kept on the noses of children in hopes to create pointier noses, and suddenly the image of beauty and the divine were replaced by the imposing images that the Spaniards left the Filipinos to impossibly aspire to. What was left were people worshiping the ideas of the foreign subjugates.

And there I was, sitting in my auntie's living room, pondering upon her leftover Christmas decoration, a statue of a brown-skinned angel:

And all I could think was, "Well... maybe we're finally getting somewhere."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Off the top

Another Alibata hat for my friend, Gyn.

Her name, pronounced as "Jin", or "Gin" for you beverage fanatics/alcoholics, is phonetically represented as "Dien", as there is no "J" in the Tagalog language. So, if your "American name" is Johnny, then your Filipino name would probably have been along the lines of Dionny or Dionisio...

Dien is phonetically represented by the Di, E, and N glyphs as shown:

So, in my own handstyle, I wrote it out, and then emulated and proliferated (and emancipated, oh my!) it into full characters:

Click for full details. Notice the handstyled characters in bold black ink. Also notice the random characters I was sketching. ^_^

I thought the design would look fly if I put it on the side... and it would have been perfect had I been painting on a fitted hat. However, it was a stretch fit cap, and as I soon came to find out, primer solidifies fabric and thus preventing any stretchability of said stretch fabric. Oh well; it'll be a snug fit. However, it still came out nicely I think. Definitely more legible (well, that is if you read Alibata) than the Nas hat. A compromise between style and comfort I suppose...

Momma thought it looked nice, so she decided to model it for me.

More details

Primer on cotton stretch fit cap. Decco paint markers used for the design. Main fill in of characters is silver, accented by red, outlined in black. Yellow outlined the characters. The hat itself is black, with streaks of white resembling sun rays coming from the characters. It draws attention to the design, pointing it as the subject of the piece. The colors are as bright as can be; the shine of the silver and the imposing brightness of the accents made it really pop methinks...

She received the hat in the mail the other week; said it was fly, but said nothing of fit. I guess it'll be a conversational, decorative piece that would lay about her apartment. Heh...

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Quote of the (Tues)Day

"We can not solve problems with the same thinking that created them." ~Albert Einstein


Monday, January 14, 2008

Reincarnation can be a bitch...

Be nice; not an ass wipe.

This has been a Bathala Project Public Service Announcement for the advocation of tolerance and equality.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

That's what they think we sound like

The first generation's take on what the second generation's music sounds like.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

He went that-a-way...

Why, officer.  I just took the picture...


Friday, January 11, 2008

All you see is...

...crime in the city.

Why, officer.  I just took the picture...


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Alibata - Breaking it Down, Flaring it Out

Alibata, the ancient writing system of the Philippines, has become quite the subject of study and experimentation in recent years. The Alibata system utilizes glyph characters which are derrived from specific parts of the language. One particular example is the word for "god", or "Bathala" (the supreme being, all that is I, etc) in Tagalog.

Bathala may be represented in two phonetic forms:


Although today, "bahala" has become commonplace in the modern Pilipino language in such coliquial phrases as "bahala na", literally meaning "god to you", or in a more connotative sense, "god watch over you" in times of preoccupation.

Now for a more in depth look, as examined by Perla Ramos Paredes Daly in her essay, "Bathala Mediations":


In the shape of ba are the organic feminine forms---breasts, buttocks, vagina, or uterus... and thus the energy/spirit/diwa of the feminine principal, which in Filipino can be expressed as Maganda. Feminine principle qualities/energies are, to name only some, nurturing, sensuality, beauty, spirituality, fertility, compassion, receptiveness and submission to Divine will.


In the shape of la is the organic form of the male sexual organs, that is, the testicles and the penis. "La" conveys the energy/spirit/diwa of the masculine principal, which in Filipino can be expressed as Malakas... Masculine principle qualities/energies are, to name only some, action, dynamism, force, strength, fertilization, challenge, aggression, domination, challenging.


In the curves of the ha baybayin symbol there is the principle and meaning of: air... breath... spirit... and light. You might be able to see what I see in the baybayin of "ha" ---similarities to scientific graphic renderings of light waves... ... you can also definitely see and feel in the shape of "ha" forms of wind and air... Equipped with this new knowledge from unlocking the secrets of baybayin and the meanings in BAHALA, I came to an awareness that for the early Filipinos, Bahala encompassed both Feminine and Masculine energies of the Universe. It was conveyed by the feminine and masculine baybayin symbols and sounds in it---"ba" and "la" --- and most importantly connected in the middle with the "ha" sound symbol.

-Daly, Bahala Mediation pg.3-4

With such meaning behind each character, it's form is analogous to that of the early Chinese glyphs which often visually resembled the words they expressed.

In my take of Alibata, inspired by my experiences with calligraphy, graffiti, and hand style, I'm trying to proliferate into a word art of the writing system. For Christmas, I made a few of my friends some hats, with their name phonetically translated into Alibata, stylized through my vision of what it could be. This would prove as a sample test to experiment on my ideas and to see what I can accomplish...

For my friend Nasser:
"Nasser" is actually four characters long, but for the sake of simplicity and "real-estate" on the hat, I decided to use just his nick name, "Nas." The phonetic translation of this is:

Na S

As with graffiti, what makes a writer's name stand out is their style. Stylizing your letters shows much about one's character and influences. Los Angeles writers typically have sharp letter styles, East Coast have more bubbly-letters, and Philadelphia writers are prone to wild styles. Most artists that use Alibata typically keep the glyphs in their traditional form to ensure that the writing system is being utilized.

However, if the writing system is already a "dead script", then why bother being so formal about the characters? Why not heavily stylize them? It's already being done to some extent with calligraphy and jewelry, but still... it could keep growing.

As seen in this picture of my sketch book is my take on the "NaS" characters that would later go on the hat. On the top right you could see the traditional letter style, then my handstyled version.

After some primer and paint and mess ups and frustration and beers and procrastination and inspiration came out the end result:

If you're new to graffiti, understand that the bubble-background is nothing new hahaha...

In any event, I like how it came out; though it's much more clear on paper and the lines are much more defined, it still came out decently. Also, the glyphs take a very light-hearted look, with bright colors that I felt would reflect a cool yet fun mood. The hat is a stretch-fit cap of cotton, the front has been sprayed by white primer. Decco paint markers were used to color the design. Tip: Don't use the metal fine-tip Decco's; they'll clog up as soon as they touch primered fabric.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008


According to Philippine mythology, Bathalang Maykapal, or Bathala for short, was the Supreme God of the ancient Tagalogs and King of the Diwata.

Legend has it that Bathala fell in love with a mortal woman when he was visiting the Earth. They got married and had three children: Apolaki, Mayari, and Tala.

Many years had passed and the three younglings grew up to become mighty demigods. The time has finally come for them to take their rightful place in Kalualhatian. There was a big feast in the Sky World and both gods and humans were celebrating. After the feast was done, the ceremony of initiation began. Bathala came out of the crowd and summoned his children to stand in front of him. He then appointed them with a task. Apolaki was appointed "God of War" and "Guardian of the Sun". Mayari was appointed to be "Goddess of the Moon". Tala was appointed "Goddess of the Stars". The three offspring of Bathala soon became known to be among the greatest of gods and goddesses.

Sun god Arao and the moon goddess Buan both had large families of stars, but Buan believed her stars could not survive the heat of Arao's. They both agreed to destroy their stars. While Arao devoured his, Buan hid hers in the clouds, where they would occasionally emerge. Upon seeing this, Arao was filled with rage and is eternally in pursuit of the Buan, trying to destroy her. Eclipses are explained by Arao getting closer...

We, as humans, are creatures of rational thought; constantly trying to make sense of the world around us through reason, logic, superstition, religion, association, visualization, explication, motion, emotion, and whatever else that we think we can control. We are the gods of our locale. We are the heroes of our stories. We are the philosophers to our thoughts. We are the silence in our fears. We are the loved in our eyes.

As the gods forgotten are passed off as mythology, at one time, ancient peoples saw reflections of themselves within these stories of magnificent, benevolent beings. They gave these characters unfathomable traits beyond their own comprehension, inspired by their desires, dreams, and inspirations.

These are my thoughts, creations, poems, pictures, songs, rambles, my being, all coming from somewhere within.

The Bathala Project.