Today is is an important day for Baybayin. Why? Because one of the most visible people with Baybayin tattoos will be on the main UFC event tonight. Ever since Brandon Vera made is UFC debut, people have been curious as to what his tattoos mean. I won’t go in to that in this post but you can read about it here and here.
During the pre-fight feature, Brandon Vera’s wife specifically mentions “Filipino Culture” in her interview. The world knows that he’s Filipino and his tattoos are of Filipino origin. When his photo showed on the big screen at the LA Staples Center, it had his Baybayin script as his background. That is a big deal!
Even though Vera ultimately lost, the world wide spotlight he brought to Filipinos and Baybayin was unprecedented.
1st of all, I think it’s cool that Baybayin is on a MAJOR clothing company like Affliction but unfortunately, there are a few issues. Here’s Affliction’s Signature Series shirt of Brandon Vera. The front has an eagle and “The Truth”. The back is where it get’s interesting where there are 4 Baybayin words that are tattooed on Brandon’s back. They represent the 4 elements Earth (Mundo), Wind (Hangin), Water (Tubig) and Fire (Apoy). Starting with the tattoo, Earth should probably be “Lupa” as in dirt. Mundo while conversational Tagalog (Spanish rooted) for world/earth. When your speaking about the element earth, I believe one means dirt not the planet Earth. Also the Ma character in Mundo is missing a kudlit that would make it Mu. The tattoo actually says Mando. Easy fix though.
Now to the shirt. The graphic below is a screenshot of the back. Besides being out of order as it s on Brandon’s back, there are some inconsistencies in kudlit writing. I think it’s fine in handwriting and even in art but for a commercial shirt, it should be uniform.
The characters written are Tu-Bi-G. Notice the cancellation kudlit under the last character. Without the + kudlit, it would read as Tubiga.
Looks like the characters written are A-Po-Yo. It should have a + just like the Ga character in Tubig. If using cancellation + kudlits, it’s important that you make sure they look different than your traditional kudlits.
Besides the Lupa and Ma tattoo issue I mentioned earlier, this also has the + issue but this time for the 2nd character Na. The last character looks like it was combined with the kudlit. With the + kudlit and DA errors, it looks like it says Manoda or Manade.
Again, the last character is missing the + kudlit. Now it looks like Hangino.
What sucks is that some people will probably get those wrong words tattooed. How did this happened? Probably the designer found a photo of Brandon’s back online and just reworked it and didn’t bother to research or ask around it it was correct or not.
Check it out at Affliction Clothing