GMA Artist Center continues its Breakout Room: Master Class Series with broadcast journalist Howie Severino as mentor of the second batch of its virtual workshops held 28 October.
Severino recently retired as GMA Network vice president for professional development but remains as consultant.
He discussed the history and cultural significance of Baybayin, the Philippines’ ancient writing system, to Kapuso artists Sanya Lopez, Bianca Umali, Kyline Alcantara, Lexi Gonzales, Radson Flores, Matt Lozano, Claire Castro, Royce Cabrera, Zonia Mejia, Jamir Zabarte, Joaquin Manansala, Jen Maravilla Jr., Royol, Migs Villasis, Hannah Arguelles, Bryce Eusebio, Gab Yabut, Elias Point, Allen Ansay, Lia Salvador, Dentrix Ponce, Dave Duque, Kirsten Gonzales, Kimson Tan, Lime Aranya, Levince Sotto and Rain Matienzo.
While Baybayin can be seen in street art, on coins, bills and on passports, many still consider the writing system irrelevant.
Severino told the workshop participants: “I’m very happy to meet all of you, primarily because of one reason: Bukod sa pagiging mga artista, kayo rin ay mga tinatawag na culture bearers. You represent not only our network but our culture. Not just popular culture, but our identities as Filipinos. And our identities are a product of what has come before us, including Baybayin.”
He stressed that Baybayin should be taught and passed on: “Maging mabuting ninuno. That’s another reason we should all learn Baybayin. Generations from now, people will look back and say, ’yung generation ni Howie, they tried to keep our ancient writing system alive,’ so that a single generation from now, most of the kids are reading and writing Baybayin. Who knows? But it can’t happen if we don’t keep it alive.”
Baybayin feels empowering because unlike other writing systems, you realize that it speaks to our souls, he continued. “It is both intellectual and soulful.”
Severino suggested including it on mobile keyboards to aid the learning process.