The ancient pre-Spanish Filipino script, Baybayin, is seen in Philippine currency and passports. But do Filipinos know how to read and write it?
Originated in the 16th century, Baybayin came from the word baybay which literally means “to spell” in Tagalog. It consists of 17 characters, 14 of which are consonants (with inherent vowels) and 3 are vowels.
The use of Baybayin and its derivatives has gained more advocates in recent years, even offering some aficionados the privacy of secret codes-like writing. But beyond this attraction, the use of Baybayin promises to bring back Filipinos to their roots.
Filipina Miss Universe Catriona Gray had her pageant national costume inscribed with the lyrics of the Philippine National Anthem written in the ancient Filipino script.
Pixar’s Filipino animator, Bobby Rubio, used the Baybayin script on the weapons of his new comic Filipino superhero.
Ayala Museum introduced the Baybayin-inspired Obra Typeface as logo inspirations in its Filipino National Artist tribute series.
The Cultural Center of the Philippines had recently adopted a Baybayin-like font for its official communication and signages. The Philippine Congress has even proposed its use beyond casual or creative purposes with the introduction of House Bill 1022 which seeks to make Baybayin the national writing system.
To promote greater awareness and foster wider appreciation about Baybayin, different advocacy groups such as Baybayin Buhayin Pilipinas conducts events and activities to reintroduce and teach Baybayin.
With the emergence of modern technology, you can now also learn how to write Baybayin through mobile applications readily available through your smartphones.
These applications allow users to learn how to use Baybayin through modules, translations and even practice how to write the symbols.
There are also educational game applications that offer fun while learning Baybayin.
You can also download mobile keyboard applications that translate the standard alphabet to Baybayin syllables and vice versa.
Here are some of the Baybayin applications that you can download:
- Learn Baybayin by Team Gavin
- Baybayin Pro – Learn Baybayin by GBCApps
- Alamin Baybayin by Time Pressure
- Learn Baybayin by Nogra
- Baybayin by VAIN
- Baybayin (Tagalog) Alphabet by Chaitanya Jyothi Pappu
- Learn Baybayin by Hajime
- BAYBAYIN by Cookhai
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