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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Baybayin Scripts (Alibata)

by Maria Eleanor Elape Valeros
October 4, 2004; posted at www.thefreeman.com

The Alibata moderator of the Ancient Baybayin Scripts Network sent me an invitation for membership the other week which makes me wonder how many people back here had received the same message and are familiar with alibata, ermmm...let me use the appropriate term, baybayin (“to spell” in Tagalog).

The ancient script is often referred to as alibata, a term coined inexplicably to mimic the first two letters of the alphabet of the Maguindanao people - alif and bet - derived from Arabic.

Hope many out there are into the study of the baybayin script, interested to perhaps initiate a forum, discussion, or a conference with assistance from ABSN. The network hopes to encourage new opportunities to interact with enthusiasts on learning the ancient writing scripts and writing systems of the Philippines, and languages with different syllabic, alphabetic, and logographic writing systems, and be able to trace how these had affected the evolution of the baybayin scripts.

On top of it all, ABSN is encouraging new methods on deciphering archaelogical baybayin artifacts, pottery, inscriptions, rock art, petroglyphics, and pictograph characters found throughout the archipelago, so that when this hits bottom every baybayin disciple would know that ABSN is here to promote understanding among different communities.

Now why am I bringing this up? My fascination for baybayin came at such an early age. Though back in grade 4, the lessons were limited, one trivia stuck in my head that other loads of information were not able to overwrite through time. That of knowing that though major languages (yes dear! languages, not dialects!) in the Philippines are now written using the Roman alphabet, these languages were first represented using a script related to and directly or indirectly derived from the Bugis and Makassar scripts of Celebes.

I remember one advertising congress held here in Cebu some years back when George Escalona of Tattoo Museum painted my name in henna using the baybayin script. I went gaga over those pretty fascinating strokes of graceful loops, crooked lines, wavy arrows, cute zigzags, and an inverted fat heart beautifully tattooed in the native script on my left arm. Those spoke so much of the beautiful past of my Tribu Zzubu people, and of the Pintados, as well. It is so sad though that the two forms of these indigenous scripts that still survive to date are not used here in Sugbu. The scripts are used by the Tagbanwa of Palawan and Mangyans of Mindoro today.
It is believed that the Philippine scripts were derived from Kavi script or old Javanese, perhaps indirectly through the Buginese. The Buginese origin of the Philippine scripts best accounts for the fact that the latter cannot represent the final consonants of syllables since Buginese has the same limitation.

With the help of a web baybayin translator - www.eaglescorner.com/baybayin - that could work out well on Tagalog words only, I had “Baybayin (Alibata)” translated which gave the equivalent set of Buginese syllables ba ba ye a le ba ta. Another example, my name maria eleanor elape valeros written in pidgin-style mariya elinor elape baleros when translated gave ma de ya e le no e la pe ba le do as some letters like “r” was replaced with a “d” and the last consont “s” was dropped. When written, there would be 12 symbols to correspondent 12 syllables, meaning to say one symbol for each syllable.

This I brought up in the hope that many of us most especially the young people would take interest in promoting advocacy for linguistic rights, ancestral rights, cultural rights, indigenous rights, and cultural revival.

(For your comments, reactions, suggestions and contributions, crank up my addy: wild_pechay@yahoo.com) -00-

Addy buddies. I was on my usual editing of prayer texts in Philippine languages/dialects when an Ibanag/Itawes word (connected somehow to prayers) entered the scene. The word is MABALLO/MABALLAT = salamat. In Bikol, it is MABALOS. There are other words surprisingly “cognate” among northern Luzon languages & the southern Bikol ones, especially along the Sierra Madre side: ATANAN (Yogad) = TANAN (Sorsogon, Gubat Bikol); NGAMIN (Ibanag/Itawes) = NGAMIN (Iriga Rinconada Bikol); DUMAN (Umirey Dumagat) = DUMAN (Naga Bikol); BITIS (Pampango) = BITIS (Naga Bikol). There are others, I know. Truly, north meets south. - Dante Ferry danteferry@yahoo.com.

“Hi Alibata friends, we have to promote a culture of excellence in the Philippines. I wrote a book entitled “Called to Excel” which seeks to inspire Filipinos to do something to help our country rise again.” Rex Resurreccion of Passion for Perfection-Philippines .

9/23/2005 03:06:00 PM | Blogger alphalpha said....   

hello! dito madadownload yung baybayin fonts http://www.mts.net/~pmorrow/fonts.htm (me kasamang rtf file yung TTF sa zipfile na madadownload, as guide to using baybayin). have fun!!!