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Universal Self – A Multi Media Theater Production

Written & Performed by Kilusan Bautista

International performance artist, humanitarian & entrepreneur, Kilusan Bautista is an emerging voice for Diasporic communities raised within the Hip Hop Generation.  Kilusan means movement in the Philippines and he was given this name in 1999 as a reminder to live as a conscious and caring global citizen. Originally from San Francisco, Ca, and currently based in New York City, Kilusan combines the performance elements of theater, spoken word poetry, martial arts and interpretive movement.

Kilusan was recognized as the 2012 “Outstanding Artist” by the Filipino American National Historical Society of Metro NY.  He has appeared on Showtime as the opening act for Top Rank Boxing Light Weight Champion Nonito Donaire (2008).  Kilusan was published in the Philippine News after winning the Grand prize for a State-wide letter writing contest sponsored by the California Council for the Humanities (2005).  He was awarded the Congressional Community Service Award – Kabataan Komemorative in 2006  by CA Senator Tom Lantos.  Kilusan Bautista’s new work, “Universal Self,” has toured throughout the United States of North America & Bangalore, India with the purpose of building cross cultural unity and personal empowerment through the performance arts.

UNIVERSAL SELF (formerly known as UNIVERSAL FILIPINO) is a new solo Theater Production that is written and performed by Kilusan Bautista. It premiered on June 18th & 20th, 2010 at the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective, Bronx, NY. This play offers a creative and cutting edge presentation of the contemporary struggles for working class, Filipino Americans in the diaspora and the interconnectedness of Hip Hop culture with indigenous, tribal Filipino cultural expressions.

UNIVERSAL SELF has been produced at: Sahabhaga: Festival of Participatory Performance (India); The Actors Fund Arts Center (Brooklyn); Filipino American National Historical Society Conference (Albuquerque, New Mexico); San Francisco War Memorial Performing Arts Center(CA); Sarah Lawrence College (NY); Nuyorican Poets Cafe (NY), Boricua College (Brooklyn), UniPro Summit (NYC); Human Rights Summit (SFSU); CSU Dominguez Hills; UC Santa Cruz; San Quentin State Prison; Watsonville Youth Empowerment Conference; La Pena Cultural Center; Stonehill College (MA); CUNY Law School; Asian American Arts Alliance monthly town hall (NYC); Sulu Series NYC (Bowery Poetry Club); Sulu DC artist collective (Downtown Washington DC); Smithsonian Folklife Festival (Washington DC); Yale University (CT) and Sarah Lawrence College (NY). In May 2010, Kilusan was featured on the Asian Pacific Forum, WBAI 99.5 FM, where he was interviewed and performed excerpts of Universal Filipino.

In the Fall of 2011, Kilusan has created and/or performed original poetry with Jchen Dance company at the Dixon Place (NYC); Male Ego Project via Urbintel Inc. at Clark University (ATL); and Urban Healing Tour at Gallo Center for the Arts (CA).   In Nov 2011, Kilusan delivered the opening speech and performed an excerpt of Universal Filipino for the closing cultural showcase for the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue at Cornell University, NY for over 800 delegates.

In Nov 2010, Kilusan was a finalist and 1st runner up for Hyphen Magazine’s annual leadership, arts and fashion contest for Asian, Pacific American men known as Mr. Hyphen.

Kilusan was a core member of the Bay Area based Filipino American spoken word collective known as 8th Wonder, which toured nationally and was fiscally sponsored by Youth Speaks.

He has worked with a Hip Hop Jazz band known as Soul Searchers Entertainment, as the Poetic Vocalist/ Emcee, where they performed throughout the Bay Area from 2004-2005. Kilusan also toured Northern California with a Hip Hop Theater organization known as Colored Ink, a group of multi-cultural artists dedicated to social justice in 2007.

He has also worn the directorial hat when he became artistic director of a Hip Hop Theater production known as ‘Dream Cypher’ which was sponsored by the Contemporary American Theater Scene and Movimento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana in San Jose, Ca, April 2004. ‘Dream Cypher’ was featured at the 2005 Bay Area Hip Hop Theater festival at the Center for the Arts, Yerba Buena Gardens, SF, CA and at UC Santa Cruz.

After two years of travel and research, Kilusan wrote and directed his first theatrical playwright production entitled, “A Tuyo in the Sun” at the University of California, Santa Cruz in March of 2002. This play reveals the story of three generations of his family’s history of immigration from the Philippines and settling in America.

He has performed on acclaimed stages such as: Power to the Peaceful Festival in San Francisco, 2007 & 2006; Kimball’s East in Oakland, 2005; University of California at Santa Cruz- Rainbow Theater 1999-2002; NuYorican Poets Café in New York, 2000. In 1999, he was blessed to perform in Palawan, Philippines for the graduation ceremony of a study abroad program known as “Tagalog On Site.” In November of 2008, Kilusan opened up for Top Rank boxer Nonito Donaire aka the ‘Filipino Flash’ at Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Kilusan’s written works have been published in Newspapers such as the Philippine News- Art and Culture Section, Listen and Be Heard in Vallejo, Ca. He was a California-Wide grand prize winner for an essay he wrote to the New America Media and California Council for the Humanities in 2005.

He has recorded on CD compilations such as the “Intelligent Movement,” produced by Romedigs of Open Line Media, which brought together Filipino American Hip Hop Emcee’s from across the U.S. and; “The Package,” produced by Chuck Mayes of Namau Records, which comprises an international group of Emcees from Puerto Rico, London and the Bay Area; and a spoken word CD through 8th Wonder. His artistic work and activist commentary has been aired on 94.1 FM (KPFA) and 106.1 FM (KMEL).


Kilusan is constantly using his talents to service the needs of the larger community. He does this by hosting community events as the master of ceremonies: Destiny Arts Center’s Winter Celebration in Oakland 2007; Bayanihan Community Center Hip Hop Showcase in 2008; All Oakland Talent Show sponsored by Oakland Leaf in 2007; Fiesta Filipina in SF, 2005; Asian Heritage Street Festival in SF, 2005 & 2006; Pistahan Festival in SF, 2006.

Kilusan has used his artistic and activist background to empower youth throughout San Francisco public schools through the United Playaz, a gang prevention and violence prevention community organization.   He has organized ‘Silence the Violence’ cultural productions, speak outs, mediations and fundraisers throughout the Bay Area. For over two years, Kilusan has taught Hip Hop theater classes for youth at Destiny Arts Center in Oakland and the Walden House for young women (a foster care facility).

As a Pre-GED Literacy Instructor with the Brooklyn Public Library from 2008 – 2010 (under a generous grant from the Center for Economic Opportunity, NYC Mayor’s office), Kilusan worked with resilient 17-24 year olds in the areas of new and innovative literacy development, poetry, theater and community empowerment.  Kilusan Bautista is currently a teaching artist with the NYC Department of Education where he uses Universal Self as a model to help GED students achieve educational and personal success.


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