Filipino Hieroglyph: Update

After a month, I have finally found time to write again. I have been a little bit out of it again because recently I have lost someone very dear to me. And all creativity just went out the window. But now, I am determined to not let this hinder my work and drawing and writing, it’s not how life works. Since I’m still out of ideas, here’s what I’ll talk about:my learning experience with Baybayin.

And now, without further ado, let me share with you (in fat bullet points) what I’ve learned so far from tinkering with this writing system that I’ve talked about 2 months ago.

The most helpful chart I used
  • This is not Alibata. It is originally called Baybayin from the root word “baybay” translated as “to spell”.  Alibata was coined by some guy named Paul Versoza who completely missed the mark. He got the word Alibata from Arabic letters which had nothing to do with it.
  • This writing is more of Indian descent.
  • The reason why it is called Babayin is it is written as the words are pronounced. And it doesn’t really work for the English language since it is based on the alphabet that our parents or grandparents started with — a-ba-ka-da. So to use this Filipino writing system, you have to know how to speak in Tagalog.
  • The dots or lines that I was referring to in my previous entry are called kudlit. As you can see in the chart above they are used differently depending on the vowel that you will pair with the consonant.
  • You don’t have to use x in between every word. You just let the reader figure it out or in some places they use |.
  • The last consonant of the word gets dropped. For some reason, ancient Filipinos were lazy to finish spelling the word. And of course, they had this alien ability of figuring out  if the word spelled bubong or bubog. Or maybe they just guess out of the context of the passage they are reading.
  • So now you know. Baybayin is spelled -ba-y-ba-yi, guhit is gu-hi, sulat is su-la, titik is — got you there.

I learned mostly from copying charts and translating Tagalog poems on my own. Of course I was excited when I could writing some words already, so I posted a picture on instagram hashtag baybayin:

"Ako ang daigdig ng tula, ang tula ng daigdig."
“Ako ang daigdig ng tula, ang tula ng daigdig.”

This was prior to learning what was written in my bullet points because this was also prior to Mr. Christian Cabuay, a Filipino artist who’s an expert on Baybayin, commenting on this picture. He asked me to check out his website where I watched his lecture to learn more about it. So far, I find it the most interesting site about the topic.

As of now, I still don’t have a full grasp of it but at least I can now understand and read it. And it’s actually easy to write (I prefer using a thin calligraphy pen). By the end of the year I want to be writing in Baybayin with ease as if I’m using the alphabet we’ve all been accustomed to. And hopefully in the near future, Filipinos will no longer consider this a dead writing system.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Vicki says:

    Wow! I just saw your page while searching for “Filipino alphabet”. I’ve always been curious about this ever since I saw minuscule chart in my history book back in high school. It was never taught (unfortunately ), but I was fascinated by it.

    Thanks so much for the chart. I’ll try to familiarized &practice using it. God bless!

    1. curiocity says:

      Hi Vicki! Thanks for commenting and for being interested in this. I started studying it after I visited the National Museum and saw a wooden tablet with baybayin carved all over it. It’s a beautiful writing system. I’d love to see your work someday, post a link here when you’ve mastered it. 🙂

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