Interview: Bathala Project

Cass, my blogging partner over at interviews David Lazaro, a Baybayin artist based in Los Angeles, California. Look out for another interview next week.

5 thoughts on “Interview: Bathala Project

  1. Mabuhay ka, Christian! Thank you for being part of the mission of reviving and enlivening the Baybayin! Just to clarify about the pronunciation (which is understandable given your being a 2nd-gen Fil-Am) of Bathala… It is Bat-Ha-La, not Ba-tha-la. This is why it has resulted in the word Ba-Ha-La. As you may already know, one of the rules in original Baybayin-writing is that the last consonant of a syllable is not written. For example, Liwanag is written in Baybayin as li-wa-na; or Pag-ibig as pa-i-bi. Hence, the spoken Bat-Ha-La is written as Ba-Ha-La. and that’s how it came to be.

    Hope this helps in clarifying.

    Again, Maraming Salamat po!

  2. Just to clarify a little more – that’s not Christian in the video. It is David Lazaro. Christian has lived in the Philippines, so I think he probably knows how to pronounce “Bat-hala”.

    Also, for those who are unsure about how to pronounce the word “baybayin” it’s like saying “bye-bye” in English with “yin”at the end. The emphasis is on the second syllable: bayBAYin. If we pronounce it with emphasis on the last syllable, baybaYIN, it becomes a verb, which means to spell out, letter by letter or to trace the contour of something. This, combined with the fact that bayBAYin also means “shoreline,” causes some confusion for people who are not familiar with the word as it relates to the ancient script.

    Tagalog people 400 years ago might have pronounced it differently. They might have said it as “bayBAY–in”. There are many examples of words in the 1593 Doctrina Christiana that show a different syllabification in the baybayin script from what we have today. For example: “ngayon” was spelled “nga-o” not “nga-yo.” “Gagawin” was spelled “ga-ga-i” not “ga-ga-wi”.

    Much has been made about a connection between “bathala” and “bahala.” I think it’s just a coincidence. I don’t think Filipinos back then would have misread “bathala” as “bahala” just because the T was not written. Besides, both words probably existed before Filipinos started to write with the baybayin script. The baybayin was still a pretty new phenomenon among the various ethnic groups of the Philippines when the Spaniards arrived.

    There are literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of examples of words that, when written in baybayin could be misinterpreted as other words due to missing consonants. One Spanish writer gave about 20 possible interpretations for a word spelled in baybayin as “Li Li.” This is why it is so difficult for us to read authentic baybayin the 21st century. Similar connections in meaning have not been made with all these other coincidences and nobody has claimed that any other new words were created by misreading baybayin spelling. Bathala and bahala are two distinct words. Non of the major dictionaries show an etymological link between them. The phrase “bahala na” may seem like we’re saying “leave it to Bathala” but that is not the only use for the word bahala. It is the root for many other words that relate to responsibility and management (the opposite of “bahala na”): mabahala, ipabahala, ikabahala, mamahala, pamamahala, pamahalaan, taga-pamahala etc. None of these words are connected to bathala.

    Great web site, by the way.

    Keep it up, Christian!

  3. Pingback: On Some Next Level *ish… | The Bathala Project

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