Learning a language with a script that's different from your native language can be daunting. But learners are typically taught that they must learn the script in the very beginning to become a reader of the language, which vastly improves their chances of reaching a good level in all other skills. Although there are exceptions, most posts that I see from beginners on the internet are in the actual script of the language. Filipinos seem to be an exception to this, so I'd like to know why. Are they afraid to learn them because it will take a great effort? Are they not taught that it's vital to succeeding with the language? Some other reason? I'm interested in your theories.
I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.
In my experience Filipinos do quite well with Hangul, kana and kanji, as well as plain old hanzi. I also know a girl here who keeps her diary in baybayin. Similarly, if a Filipino is a maid, servant, or factory worker in a country like Saudi, Korea, etcetera he or she may rightly focus on speaking. The idea of saving a script for after you can speak the language is not a new one, Old Cortina taught Japanese through romaji and audio recordings and the very popular FSI-style Japanese: The Spoken Language (which was written by a Yale Ph.D holder and published by Yale) was also totally in romaji.
I can't say as to the social background of your filipino speaking language-learners, but my friend here is on a full ride scholarship to a Japanese language school and they have class for about 8 hours a day. Her reading and writing abilities seem normal.
As far as reading and writing being necessary, I do not agree. Especially when the gap between written and spoken registers is vast. A speaker of MSA/al-Fusha is not going to do well in Morocco if they are hyper literate. The same can be said for an Indonesian learner who has never learned any of the regional varieties of Indonesian. On that note, my FB is full of Filipinos who don't adhere to the written standard (and for good reason, Filipino spelling is atrocious and the result of Americans and Spaniards or westernized Filipinos who don't really understand the underlying phonology of the languages here).