There’s an ongoing effort to make the the province of Rizal the Baybayin capital of the Philippines based on a few items namely: Jose Rizal’s flirtation with the script, the theory that the Angono Petroglyphs are Baybayin and being the site of the 1st Philippine Baybayin Conference.
What do you think? Is that valid? Is that enough?
That made me think of what a “Capital of _________” really is. After 5 seconds of thinking about it…..
I officially declare CALIFORNIA as the Baybayin Capital of America!
Why? We have a nearly 20 year track record of Baybayin artistry, education and promotion since the early 1990’s via colleges, magazines, festivals, museums, clothing, tattoos, etc.
Here’s a short list off the top of my head of Californians involved in Baybayin publicly (not just behind some computer)…..
- Hector Santos
- Ray Haguisan
- Aleks Figueroa
- Norman De Los Santos
- Christine Balza David Lazaro
- Dr. Ben de Lumen of UC Berkeley
- Oscar Peñaranda
- Victor Quimson of Eaglescorner
- Victor Ganata of fatoprofugus.net
- The Kuya
- Michael Dalupo
- Michael Pablo
- Bayani Art
I’m sure I missed a few people…..
- Maganda Magazine in the early 90’s
- The infamous Alibata Yahoo group has it’s roots in Cali
- San Francisco Asian Art Museum has had Baybayin demos the past 3 years
- Various Filipino Festivals for the last 15+ years that have the above people promote Baybayin
Long live the Baybayin capital of America
Personally, I’ll choose between Batangas and Pampanga.
 Batangas – because it is the birthplace of the Tagalog language. And today, Batangueño is the closest Tagalog dialect to the pure/original Tagalog language.
 Pampanga – because Pampango (or Kapampangan) is the language being used by the Empire of Luzon / Kingdom of Tondo.
When the Spaniards came and defeated the Empire, they were pushed back to what is today known as Pampanga province.
As for Jose Rizal’s “flirtation” with the script, my personal view was that he didn’t just play with it (as most do today) but rather he’s actually knowledgeable in it. My interpretation of his famous quote was he referring to the writing script not the Tagalog language. Because when the Spaniards established their own education system, they were teaching Tagalog in what is known today as the “Tagalog region”.
If Dr. Jose Rizal’s quote was referring to the Tagalog language, then it doesn’t make sense at all – because Tagalog was never in the decline – rather, because it was being taught in schools, it was actually in the rise.
Another possibility is that he was referring to the Pampango/Kapampangan language because if we compare the number of speakers of Kapampangan today to the time before the Spaniards arrive, Pampango was in a decline. But this one is hard to prove unless Dr. Jose Rizal knows by heart how to speak and write in Kapampangan.
But we can not dismiss how Baybayin is very much a part of the Kapampangan and Tagalog languages, as compared to the other major languages of the Philippines. Clearly, the roots is in the time before the Spaniards – the time of the Empire of Luzon (aka Kingdom of Tondo [Tondo is the capital of the Empire]), Kingdom of Maynila (youngest and shortest lived), and Kingdom of Namayan.
And Rizal or more specifically the modern day Rizal, is unknown as to its role in our pre-Hispanic history. I still have to encounter information of that time period mentioning the province of Rizal as we know it today.
Then again, if we follow the Hispanic reorganization of the Luzon island, we know for a fact that many parts of today’s Megapolitan Manila was part of Rizal province when the Spaniards conquered us. If we follow that line of thought, then the capital still shouldn’t be modernday Rizal but rather Mega Manila especially if we combine all the information together – the country’s hub has always been in what today is known as the National Capital Region.