Baybayin – The pre-colonial beautiful ancient writing script of the Islands of the Philippines. Incorrectly known as “Alibata”, baybayin has been a core part of our culture and heritage for centuries. It has been the soul interconnectivity of our ancestors through writing. To spell; rooted from the word Baybay, our ancestors used our very own writing script to sign documents, write poetries, communicate, and write letters to one another. It was a form of communication that we once utilized in our every day lives and was very well respected by the explorers who came to our islands. One account of a Fr. Pedro Chirino, S.J. in 1604, from his book called the Relacion de las Islas Filipinas stated:
“All these islands are much given to reading and writing and there is hardly a man, and much less woman, who does not read or write in the letters used in the island of Manila – which entirely different from those of China, Japan, and India. This will be seen from its alphabets.” – “Our outer beauty is our inner beauty made visible” – Paulo Coehlo
Although I prefer calling them characters rather alphabets, for each character of our script can simply relate to the very own nature of our Inang Bayan. The Ba character can represents a heart written upside down. The La character, I see as a coconut tree or a tree of your presences. The Pa character can be seen as a hook that our fishermen use to catch fish to provide for their families and make a living. It can also be from movements of our body. For example, the La character once again can be visualize as a Kalinga dancer with her Banga on her head while she gracefully sway her arms in motion like the waves of the shore of Mactan.
You see, our spoken language whether it be Tagalog, Ilokano, Kapangpangan, Pangasinan, etc. represents who we are. The language that we speak is that inner beauty that the people that we interact with simply don’t see, but hear and understand. Our very own writing script, baybayin; simply provides that visualization, that outer beauty. The art. To which each character represents our people and our nation. The two are simply inseparable and just like we continue to preserve our spoken languages, and for some of us strives to learn it; we too should learn how to write it.
Baybayin is easy to learn. Learn your ABAKADA’s again and pick up a pen, pencil, or brush and learn our own writing script. There’s a new generation of Bayani that are currently making moves and taking action serving Inang Bayan and helping to spread the rich history of the Philippines. MABUHAY.
Jacob Ira of Bayani Art at Stanford University
For inquiries and design on custom Baybayin script please email Kristian Kabuay at [email protected]