Known as the ancient Philippine written script, Baybayin is now making a comeback in the society.
These days, the emergence of Baybayin has been popular in the digital generation appearing from tattoos to even t-shirt designs, and other merchandises.
Campaign to revive Baybayin
The advocates of this 17-character indigenous script are pursuing its return in the country. As a form of writing used by ancient Filipinos before the Spanish colonization, it is considered a crucial part of the Philippine identity.
The Baybayin’s critics believe that promoting it is always controversial and impractical given that here are more than 131 recognized languages in the country.
However, its proponents remain firm in their campaign to make this curvilinear text an essential part of Philippine history.
Yet, there is hope as its resurgence has prompted calls from lawmakers to create a law declaring Baybayin as the national script.
Calligraphy and Baybayin
If supported by the government, learning Baybayin here in the country will become easier through the help of dedicated individuals who are ready to impart their knowledge about the scripture.
“It’s bittersweet. It made me proud knowing our ancestors were literate,” said Filipino artist Taipan Lucero, 31, who studied calligraphy in Japan but returned home to apply his skills to reviving Baybayin.
Moreover, Lucero added: “What’s sad about this is what’s being propagated in our education system. It’s like our history started with being colonized by Spain.”
Many historians believe that Baybayin was the form of writing used before the Spanish arrived in 1521. Many missionaries had to learn it at first so they could disseminate the concept of Catholicism.
Hence, before forcing the locals to adopt their Roman alphabet, Filipinos were already using this scripture to communicate with others.
Leo Emmanuel Castro, executive director of cultural group Sanghabi and a Baybayin advocate reiterates that the language is gender-neutral citing that professions and pronouns have no sex, unlike the sexist English language.
Advocates say reviving the language will provide an antidote for our country and makes us appreciate the indigenous history. It is also time to break the chain of the colonial past by learning this ancient scripture.
Filipinos are proficient English speakers as we embraced the language during US colonization, but how about we accept Baybayin this time? After all, learning it is a gem, and we must be proud of it.
Source: South China Morning Post