The man behind the Baybayin on the new Peso bills

The Baybayin community is quite excited with the new Peso bills just announced. This isn’t the 1st time Baybayin has been on our money. It’s been on Peso bills in the 1940’s on the Katipunan flag and most recently a microscopic “Pi” on coins. These new bills have an actual word spelled – Pilipino. You can see it partially on the bottom right front of the bills. Too bad it has to be held in the light to be seen.

The moment I saw it, I knew it was one of Paul Morrow‘s fonts. For those that don’t know, Paul is actually not Filipino. He’s a white guy from Canada who knows more about Filipino culture than most Filipinos.

I reached out to him to see how felt about having is work on the new bills. To my surprise, he didn’t even know about it. Here’s his statement:

From what I can see in the photos, it is definitely my “Tagalog Stylized” font, which I created in 1992. I would need to see one of the new bills up close to see if it is my current version or an older one, which has some very minor differences.

Nobody from the Philippine government consulted me about using one of my fonts, but I have always offered them for free on my website, so I can’t complain. It’s definitely in the public domain now. Actually, I feel honoured, even though it was not the government’s intention to honour me.

I assume that whoever designed the bills wanted a modern look and chose this font over my other fonts, which are historical replicas of old typefaces. My website and the information sheet that is part of the font’s download state that my “Tagalog Stylized” font is a modern interpretation of the old baybayin script and is not historically accurate.