Cebuano Jai Shane Cañete shares journey from bullied youth to award-winning screenwriter

By: Michelle Joy Padayhag March 11,2019 - 07:00 AM

Jai Shane Cañete | Contributed photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — When he was younger, Inocencio Cañete Raman Jr. or popularly known by his pen name Jai Shane Cañete was bullied since his speech has been affected by a cleft palate condition.

It was through writing that he found a way to make people understand his message better.

“I even got a recorder tape and then record my voice. When I played it back, I was crying because those bullies were true about their description about my speaking voice,” Cañete told Cebu Daily News Digital.

He did not understand why he has to suffer such condition.

“I was in pain one day because imagine in the whole class where I belong, I was the only one who was not called by the teacher to go outside and be in library to practice for a speech choir,” he recalled.

His self-esteem started to get low especially when some of his classmates laughed at him.

Cañete also recalled that he cried when he ran for the Supreme Student Government (SSG) during high school.

“Students were laughing the moment I opened my mouth. Why cannot I live like normal people enjoying the privilege of not experiencing this inhumane treatment?,” he said.

Screenwriter’s journey

His journey as a writer started when he went to Manila from 2011 to 2013.

First, he was hired as writer for a telivision show in a cable channel.

“I did not have any formal education or workshop on writing script at that time. I went to the internet to searched how to format the script. Gitun-an jud nako na ang akoang script will look like those script na sinulat sa mga professional. Didto ko nakalearn ang pagbuak-buak sa parts sa story,” he said.

Cañete then joined the Faigao Drama and Performance playwright workshop and was mentored by Linda Faigao.

Cañete also became an editorial staff for Ricky Lee’s coffee table book titled,  “Sa Puso ng Himala.”

Ricky Lee’s coffee table book, “Sa Puso ng Himala” |Inquirer file photo

He was also part of 2012 movie productions of “Ang mga Kidnaper ni Ronnie Lazaro” and “Huling Biyahe”  directed by Sigfried Barros Sanchez.

“Along my journey, I realized that I needed a diploma as a sort of fallback,” Cañete said.

He then became a Department of Science and Technology (DOST) scholar and enrolled in Central Mindanao University where he finished Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 2018.

“It is too far from what I was used to love. But along the way, I realized that studying Science enhanced my logical thinking, and I applied it in my creative works to have a meaningful form of art,” he told CDN Digital.

Read more: Group in Bantayan Island searching for new theatre artists

Love for theater

The 33-year old screenwriter and playwright is one of the founders of Lusad Teatro and Teatro de Santa Fe in 2013 and 2018, respectively.

He helmed several plays in the town including like “Si Hesu-kristo ug ang Krus sa Kalibutan” (2012), “Nagsilaob Nga Kangitngit” (2013),  “Kataposang Pag-gaab sa Kasingkasing sa Hudiyo” (2014), “Ayaw Ako Gaabi, Damgo sa Ngitngit” (2015), and “Tulo Ka Maria sa Kalbaryo” (2016).

“Since I can write, I think I can direct. So it was experimental on my part to direct a passion play I wrote based on my experience in film production. It was a different kind of fulfillment seeing your work alive on stage. That is how I found love sa teatro,” he said.

He also recently brought pride to his hometown Santa Fe when he was part of the award-winning Sinulog short film, “Usa Ka Libo” directed by Eli Razo.

Cañete was one of the awardees for Best Story and Screenplay along with Razo and Decelle Suarez.

Read more: ‘Usa Ka Libo’ wins Best Short Film in Sinulog Short Film festival

That was not the first time he joined the Sinulog Short Film Festival.

He wrote the short film, “Within the Firing Line” directed by Razo which competed in Sinulog Short Film Festival 2017 and 15th Mindanao Film Festival.


This year, the 33-year old screenwriter and playwright is working for a full-length play that will be toured in Central Visayas.

The team is composed of young artists in Bohol, Dumaguete and Cebu.

”Mintras buhi pa ko, dili nako patyon ang pangandoy nga naa sa akoang kasingkasing! Pasion nako ang pagsulat. Mao ni akong kinabuhi,” he said.

Though, he is a full-time screenwriter and playwright, he still practices his profession.

”Ang pagka-chemist maoy akoang panginabuhi. One of them will feed my stomach and the other will feed my soul (writing), he added.

Since he was a DOST scholar, he will give back as a science specialist in high school.

He will be teaching Science and Mathematics in senior high for two years./dbs

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