Finally! Alibata may soon be dead….sort of

alibata

Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (Commission of Filipino Language) posted this viral image on their educational FB page Wikapedia. Basically, it says that Alibata isn’t true. It was invented by a teacher who thought it came from the Arabs. Baybayin is the native alphabet of the country. The root is Baybay meaning spelling. It’s ours and not borrowed.

There’s a few issues with image:
1) Hindi totoo ang Alibata (Alibata isn’t true) is a bit weird and misleading because it’s vague. What’s not true? Alibata the word or the writing? Why isn’t it true?
2) Bata isn’t the 2nd character. It’s Ba
3) Baybayin isn’t an alphabet but an alphasyllabary (Abugida)
4) Hindi hiniram (not borrowed) is weird wording as well. Baybayin along with most of South East Asian scripts have roots in India. Is that considered borrowed? Are they insinuating that Baybayin was 100% created in the Philippines without any outside influence?

Virgilio S. Almario, of KWF wrote a blog post with additional details (some incorrect) about why it’s not Alibata along with challenges in changing all the textbooks. What was interesting was that he also mentioned that mass media is also a reason why Alibata spread. The root of that is that they learned it in school through incorrect textbooks.

At the end of the day, if it’s called Alibata, Baybayin or Super Pinoy Power Writing, they haven’t provided any value other than a sense of “cultural pride” to students who want to be lawyers, entertainers or call center agents. It unfortunately is all about economics. That’s the challenge for any endangered writing system/language in the so-called Philippines, Indonesia, Malayasia, etc. So what if DeafEd changes Alibata to Baybayin in textbooks? Will there be new surrounding content to give proper historical, cultural and modern context? What is their value proposition other than passing a test, writing the national anthem and feeling good about yourself for a couple days? Rather than sensationalizing the ancientness of Baybayin and unproven stones, the government should be more focus on living scripts such Surat Mangyan, Kulitan, and save Surat Buhid and Tagbanwa from really becoming extinct.

As expected, there was an ocean of comments about this ranging from stupid, interesting and weird…

Photo Oct 24, 7 01 24 AM Photo Oct 24, 7 00 47 AM Photo Oct 24, 6 59 34 AM Photo Oct 24, 6 58 44 AM Photo Oct 24, 6 59 11 AM Photo Oct 24, 6 57 56 AM Photo Oct 24, 6 57 31 AM Photo Oct 24, 6 56 48 AM Photo Oct 24, 6 55 56 AM Photo Oct 24, 6 55 42 AM

The legacy of Hector Santos & Bayani Mendoza de Leon

Hector Santos

We lost one of the pioneers of Baybayin the other month. Hector Santos passed away July 30, 2014. Hector along with Paul Morrow were one of the firsts to publish legit information about prePhilippine scripts on the internet back in the mid-90’s. I remember the first time I came across Hector’s website. I was living in the Philippines going to school when the internet came out. I used to buy these month old reggae magazines and started to see websites advertised. I wrote all these down and once we got the internet, I looked them all up. I then came across the Yahoo search engine and searched for things like Filipino History, hip hop, buddhism, and the Philippine script. I was surprised to come across “A Philippine Leaf” by Hector. Blew my mind. I didn’t find any of this info in books for years. This kickstarted my deep interest in prePhilippine culture. At that time, he used to have fonts that were on floppy discs for sale. By the time I was able to order them in the US, he advised me that they were sold out and not sure if he would be making another batch. I’ve bugged him about once a year for an interview either in person (he lived in LA) or via email. Never heard from him. Because his website is so invaluable and we don’t know how long it will last, I’ve downloaded the contents and mirrored them at www.bibingka.baybayin.com. Here’s a direct link to his bio.

Bayani Mendoza de Leon past away about a year ago and I actually just heard about his death a few months ago while doing a google search. My first exposure to Bayani was his book, Baybayin, the Ancient Script of the Philippines: A Concise Manual in the 90’s I purchased at a festival. It was the first time I thought about modern ways to write the script. This then lead me to look at his resources and even finding a copy of his uncle’s book, from 1972  “Pinadaling Pag-aaral ng Katutubong Abakadang Pilipino by Ricardo Mendoza. Unlike Hector, Bayani was very open to being interviewed. We exchanged several long emails that culminated in what it looks like is his only interview about Baybayin that can be read here. Too bad I didn’t have the opportunity to go down to San Diego to interview him for my upcoming documentary.

Stay away from this app! It’s wrong and steals work

Photo Jul 30, 12 57 04 PM

A new Baybayin app was released recently but stay away! #1) It’s inaccurate and #2) The developers used fonts by Norman de los Santos (Baybayin Modern Mono and Baybayin Modern Unicode). On his website and Deviant art it states:

© All of Nordenx Baybayin Modern Fonts are for personal and non-commercial use only. Please contact me at nordenx@yahoo.com for any inquiries about commercial use and licensing for branding, printing, publications, and/or other electronic applications.

I don’t mind the programming errors. It’s difficult to make an online translator. My Baybay.in went through many iterations so I understand but the theft part is the bigger issue. The developers are making money or released the app with the intent to make money via serving advertisements. This is the same issue as Walker Underwear Philippines ripping me off.

The developers are Vain Solutions

Here are some screenshots of the incorrect “translations”. Check it out here and feel free to leave reviews letting them know of the theft issue.

Photo Jul 23, 12 40 44 PM

Photo Jul 23, 12 35 48 PM

Photo Jul 23, 12 35 22 PM

Teaching kids Baybayin

kids baybayin

This past 6/30, I was invited to teach Baybayin to kids at the Sama Sama Daycamp. Working with kids is cool as they picked it up pretty fast since it’s syllabic. Adding an art aspect also makes it more interesting. I teach them to use different colors for the kudlits. For advanced studies, I would use different colors for each stroke, vowels, and etc. Interested in a workshop or lecture? Email me info@baybayin.com

Campers will have a unique experience in Tagalog immersion along with an integrated arts and ecology curriculum. The theme this summer is water, tubig! We will explore Philippine myths and lore of water and move our bodies to indigenous dances and music inspired by water. Through hands-on activities and field trips, campers will learn about current water issues both here and in the Philippines

 

Abakadang Rizaleo

rizaleo

I first heard about this modern version of Baybayin in 2008 from my friend Ray Haguisan who showed me a photocopy of one of the pages he got from someone at a Filipino Festival. The book Aklat sanayan ng abakadang Rizaleo (1994) by Marius V Diaz. Since then, I’ve been been looking for a copy of the whole book. While filming my documentary, Sulat ng Malansang Isda (Writing of the Stinky Fish) in Manila in 2012, I learned that there should be a copy at the National Library. In order to visit the Filipiana room, I needed a library card. One of the requirements to register for a card is a 1×1 photo. I walked out the building and searched for the 1st photo booth that I found at the “Seafarers Center”, the epicenter for the Philippine maritime industry. I got in line with applying seamen to get a photo taken. The line was going fast and guys were just putting on the white uniform and grabbing their necessary epaulet. When it was my turn I didn’t feel like explaining my situation so I put on the uniform and picked my shoulder strap. I didn’t want to pick something the previous guys got in case they question me so I randomly picked one. Turned out to be for an engineer. There’s much more to the story but I’ll save it for another time. Basically, it was an ordeal to find it.

396713_10150950040963546_370755120_n

The book itself is 50 pages and starts off with a short introduction then workbook style pages on how to write the strokes.

rizaleo

Also in the book are different styles of the script

rizaleo

It ends with a story about Jose Rizal

Rizaleo

While the script is based on Baybayin, it was heavily modified with extra characters like TH-X-Z. The way its written is like an alphabet rather than an alpha-syllabary as seen in the example below.

rizaleo

In Mount Bahahaw, there are some signs written in the script by Rizalistas. Check out Philippine based photographer, Sydney Snoeck’s website for more photographs.

EVENT: Rebuilding Bayanihan: A Special Post Typhoon Event – Los Angeles

5577_10201984704076851_326668529_n

LA & SF area artists, will be converging in a special event to support post typhoon rebuilding in the Philippines.

This day long event will be a call to the community – to come together in an intentional spirit and to hold sacred space as a way to heal our bodies, our relationships, our souls, our planet.

Our line-up is down below.

This is a family-friendly event and open to all! Vita Coco (http://vitacoco.com/) will be providing our elixir and White Rabbit (http://whiterabbittruck.com/) will be setting up their food truck in the lot – so come, explore, discover, sing, dance, play, and get some yummy pagkain and coconut water! Admission is free!

For more information, please contact Christine Jugueta at cjugueta@gmail.com.

Donations for relief efforts in the Philippines will be collected at the event – You can also donate online at the following sites:

Green ReLeaf Initiative: http://greenreleaf.org/
Banago Typhoon Relief: http://banago.mybigcommerce.com/
Permaculture Aid Yolanda: http://pcaidyolanda.org/

Mabuhay!

THE SCHEDULE/LINE-UP:
11am: Doors open at SIPA
12-12.30: Opening procession, prayers, welcome
12.30-1.20: Act I
1.20-1.45: Break
1.45-2: Ritual
2-3: Act II
3-5: Open jam
5-6: Kulintronica

11-3: Outdoor activities – storytelling, face-painting, Baybayin workshop, live art

Act I artists:
Cristina Golondrina Rose
Joel F Jacinto
Kristian Kabuay – http://www.kabuay.com/

Act II artists:
Alysa Lobo
Rachel Kann – http://rachelkann.com/
Alma Cielo – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bdu_m3g9J5Q,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9XZ0nJBODQ
Christine Jugueta

Post Program/Booth/Outdoor Artists:
RAFFLE
FASHION SHOW
KAPWA JAM (live music)
Ron Quesada – http://kulintronica.wordpress.com/
Nicanor Evans – http://naseek.blogspot.com/
Aicnelav Diyan- http://bukobomba.blogspot.com/
Marybelle Mb, Belle by MB – http://marybellemb.wordpress.com/
Jay Landayan Malvari
Agapito Doronio – http://artbattles.com/artists/agapito-doronio
Jayson Lorenzo – http://funmakerbooth.com/