Getting reacquainted with the pre-colonial writing script
Buwan ng Wika is coming to a close, but we think now is as good a time as any to revisit one part of our rich heritage: the indigenous writing script Baybayin. Celebrating all things Filipino is a year-round event anyway. And here, we keep the interest in the pre-colonial writing script alive.
Before the Philippines was colonized by Spain, our ancestors had their own vast writing systems in place. Used for official documents, day-to-day communication, and even poetry and the arts, Baybayin reflects how multifaceted Philippine civilization was prior to Spanish rule. It only makes sense to take up the torch and preserve this pre-colonial gem.
Think writing in Baybayin is a lost art? Thankfully there are resources online that can help just about anyone learn the basics.
Take the Lexilogos online Tagalog keyboard. The free online tool guides users through the translation: Baybayin letter by Baybayin letter, from English or Filipino to Baybayin. It also recaps the basics, noting that the vowels “i” and “e” and the vowels “u” and “o” are represented by the same character. When paired with a consonant, these vowels are represented with a diacritic sign. So you can take Baybayin outside its site, Lexilogos also makes available the special Baybayin font “Tagalog Doctrina 1593” for download.
Now, here comes the part where we can get creative. Some have gone on to Baybayin as tattoo inspo; others have immortalized this script through artwork. The city of Manila has even paid it a tribute when it unveiled the new Lagusnilad Underpass. Baybayin is alive and staying put, a lost art but not forgotten.