Monday, August 11, 2014

Legends & Legacies of Modern Baybayin Fonts and Typography

RIP Hector Santos
We are losing our pioneers. Last year, Bayani Mendoza de Leon passed away (Nov. 24, 1942 - Sept. 13, 2013). Recently, Hector Santos passed away (Sept. 15, 1941 - July 30, 2014). I received the news from another baybayin font pioneer, Paul Morrow.

When I started researching about Philippine culture & history back in the mid 90's, there wasn't much about baybayin & surat Mangyan online until Hector Santos' & Paul Morrow's sites came along.
They were one of the first to publish reliable information about baybayin online. Hector Santos was the first to offer commercial digitized baybayin fonts online. Paul Morrow followed suit and was the first to offer free fonts from historic typefaces and the first modern stylized and uniformed typeface. Bayani Mendoza de Leon's manual introduced me to current modernization attempts. Their collective work inspired me to be more pro-active with my research. Five years later, after catching up with all the foreign language materials borrowed from library archives from all over, I began sharing what I've learned and fonts/typefaces I created to the world. Without Paul & Hector's work, surely my baybayin knowledge & fonts would've been poorer.

I regret not being able to meet the Hector Santos and Bayani Mendoza de Leon in person to thank them. Their legacy will live on through every baybayin font that will ever come along.

Hector Santos' website:


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bane of Baybayin Fonts

Several of my typeface designs has become so popular over the years that people tend to forget to give me credit for the fonts and neglect my copyright restrictions about commercial use. My commercial licensing prices are quite reasonable. And, if you're operating a non-profit or a student/school or just a small group of enthusiast/activists, you'll find me very agreeable and happy to oblige with giving you and your group permission to use any of my font for a short-run low-volume distribution (or even sales). I do appreciate the mention even in small print, but if you ask kindly, you don't even have to credit me or provide a link back to this blog or my site ( ).

This has always been in every download page for my fonts ( especially at ) :
© All of Nordenx Baybayin Modern Fonts are for personal and non-commercial use only. Please contact me at for any inquiries about commercial use and licensing for branding, printing, publications, and/or other electronic applications.
As it stands, I have sold four commercial licenses for my fonts; two for branding, one for specific font sets, and one major license for full use of every typeface I release publicly and privately. I take my role as a licensor seriously and will protect the interests of my licensees. This is why when one points out certain issues, I respond quickly. is my major licensee. I greatly appreciate that he is also pro-active with regards to protecting both his brand and art as well as looking out for people who commits abuses with unlicensed distribution & copyright infringement on my typeface designs. Recently he wrote:
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).  ... The developers are making money or released the app with the intent to make money via serving advertisements.
( I already emailed the company who designed the app. We'll see if they respond and how. )

I guess some folks either ignores or don't read my copyright terms or they just plainly lack ethics. This is not the first time this happened.

A couple of years ago, a popular and respectable Philippine Culture store carried shirts & tote bags that used my fonts prominently in their designs. I'm very happy that the store immediately responded to my email about the matter and promptly dropped the products from the company/designer who sold them the items.

Even Kristian Kabuay of has to battle the big company "Walker Underwear Philippines" for theft of his personal font.

Bottom line: I wish that people respect and value artists' & designers' work and give them the credit (or financial compensation) that they deserve.

For the most part, I wish that the general public would learn how to use the fonts properly and learn how to read & write Baybayin correctly and more proficiently.


UPDATE: [Aug. 20, 2013] After a short disappearance from the Google Play store, the app is back up again. Updated photos suggests that some updates where made. A limited dictionary using Paul Morrow's Tagalog Stylized font shows that the app's author/s seem to know how to properly write in classical & traditional baybayin, even transliterating borrowed Spanish words correctly. Yet, the "translator" part of the app still uses my Baybayin Mono font and can not transliterate properly, it can't even "transliterate" simple words and names that it deems "foreign". *sigh... I sent another legal report of the copyright violation to Google Play.

 [Aug. 6, 2013] After a stern email & report to Google Play, the offending app has been removed from the Google Play store. Since I did not get any response from either company, I'm not sure which one pulled the plug.

Font Law & Licensing


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Noto Bad, Noto Good. Just okay.

I just saw that the Google code project "Noto" font for world's scripts has been made available - Tagalog/Baybayin, Buhid, Tagbanwa, and Hanunoo are included in the Noto Sans font lineup:

As they are right now, when I tested the font (Noto Sans), the Philippine scripts are still mostly useless;  a big chunk of the Surat Mangyan scripts are not mapped and the updated RA are not included. The kudlits and virama still doesn't stack or render correctly, the baybayin characters are a mix of styles and not uniform, the whole collection does not really visually "harmonize" well. And unless you specifically chose Noto Sans as your default browser or mobile font, it still won't show. Also, you still need a custom keyboard layout to type Baybayin.

The project team are still ironing out some issues with the other language's scripts. I'll wait and see how the resolve those issues as well. It's still a little early to tell if the Noto project will be helpful to Baybayin scripts or not. Kulitan is still not included in Unicode. And Noto got most of its language data & sample texts are from the Unicode CLDR project.

I guess it's a big step for Google fonts, but it's barely a microscopic crawl for Baybayin fonts.

Moving on...

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Saving Baybayin through Technology, Typography, and Standardization.

I was in attendance at the International Workshop on Endangered Scripts of Island Southeast Asia last month (Feb. 27 - Mar. 1) in Tokyo, Japan. Hosted by Linguistic Dynamics Science Project (LingDy), a strategic project of the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA), at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS).

The workshop discussed the writing systems and traditions of Southeast Asia, focused on (but was not limited to) the endangered Indic scripts of the Philippines, Sumatra and Sulawesi. We presented our papers which covered topics regarding historical and structural relationships, literature, documentation, revival, modern functions, adaptations and social/cultural meaning.

In addition to the academic component of the workshop, the organizers encouraged participation by culture-bearers, activists, and artists - this is how we got included.

Philippine script representatives:

- Kristian Kabuay (
- Anya Postma (Mangyan Heritage Center)
- Kanakan Balintagos (Solito Arts Productions)
- Norman de los Santos (BHM Publishing House, Inc.)
- Emerennciana Lorenzo Catapang (Mangyan Heritage Center)
- Christopher Miller (Independent Researcher, Montreal, Canada)
- Bruno Tiotuico (Alexandre Dayrit Tiotuico) (Ágúman Súlat Kapampángan)
- Michael Raymon M. Pangilinan (ILCAA, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)

From left to right: Mr. Christian Cabuay (a.k.a. Kristian Kabuay, Baybayin Artist, Calligrapher, Entrepreneur), Mrs. Emily Lorenzo Catapang (Executive Director of the Mangyan Heritage Center), ME: Norman de los Santos (a.k.a. Nordenx, Baybayin Typographer, Graphic Designer), and the young Mr. Bruno Tiotuico (Sulat Kapampangan activist, Photographer).

From left to right: Ms. Anya Postma (Sulat Mangyan advocate and Daughter of anthropologist and linguist Antoon Vreeze Postma), Mr. Christopher Ray Miller (Linguist, scholar, and expert on Philippine and SouthEast Asian scripts), Mr. Auraeus Solito( a.k.a. Kanakan Balintagos, internationally acclaimed and award-winning filmmaker and indigenous peoples rights advocate) and Mr. Michael Raymon Pangilinan (a.k.a. Siuálâ ding Meángûbié, Kapampangan Culture activist, scholar, and author of "Kulitan")

The abstracts and proceedings of everyone who presented can be accessed here:

My well-received handout on Baybayin Typography and Standardization.

My paper and abstract are available at the LyngDy page linked above.

My handout is available here:
Note: You can download and print a copy of the handout image above for your own personal use. However, please don't publish or distribute this image commercially without prior consent or licensing from the author.

The workshop answered a lot of questions regarding the history & relationships of SEA scripts and Philippine scripts. It opened up a lot of ideas and it offered up a lot of insight and exchange between academic and non-academic culture bearers. Expect that my experience and what we've learned in Tokyo will work its way into my font development.

Essential Links:


Saturday, March 29, 2014


Yeah, yeah... Ha ha...

I do not like to create new character forms without merit. I don't like developing new characters and glyphs that has no precedent shape or form from old samples or relative scripts.

I have considered a JA alternative but am still trying to figure out how to deal with SHA and CHA. For now, the phonetic approximated combination of characters ᜐ᜔ᜌ S'YA and ᜆ᜔ᜌ T'YA along with ᜇ᜔ᜌ D'YA should still be our norm.

But if ever a unified reform is seriously being looked at, I reckon this alternative should be considered as a good candidate for a JA character.

Hopefully, it would be as well received as my ᜍ RA.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Baybayin Keyboard Layout for Windows 8

Not too late for Windows 8

Windows 8 makes it easier to switch between multi-language keyboards and custom layouts.

(UNICODE) Baybayin Keyboard Layout for Windows 8

  1. Download the .zip file from here:
    Save the file, then open or unzip the file.
  2. Click Setup.exe and follow the instructions.
    It’ll tell you your keyboard was installed successfully, but you won’t be able to use it until you restart.
  3. Restart the machine.
    Once the machine is restarted, you should be good to go.
  4. On Windows 8, you just have to hit WinKey + Space to switch between two or more keyboard layouts.
  5. To be able to view Baybayin characters on the Windows 8 On-Screen Keyboard & Touch Keyboards, the default font "Segoe UI" needed a custom update. I included the font in the .zip file.

    How to install the Segoe UI font (segoeui.ttf) over the existing one in your machine:

    • Create a backup of your original segoeui.ttf file by copying/moving it to another folder other than the system's "windows/font" folder.
    • Left click or right click to open the segoeui.ttf file that is included in this .zip file and look for the "install font" button/link.
    • Choose "Yes" if prompted to replace or overwrite the old Segoe UI font (if you left a copy in the windows/font folder).

When using Unicode Baybayin Fonts online, only the people who has a Unicode Baybayin compliant font in their machines can view what you typed/posted. And Firefox has been the only browser that displays Baybayin Unicode consistently, other browsers are buggy.

Caveat Lector: I have not fully tested this in mobile tablet PCs and Windows 7. Also, again, please make sure you backed up your machine's original segoeui.ttf file, it is a system font.

UPDATE: [Oct. 18, 2013] If you have upgraded your Windows 8 to 8.1 like I have, you have to re-install the Segoe UI font again and reboot. You now also have to chose Segoe UI as Firefox's default font (options/content/fonts & colors). In the near future, I may have to provide updated versions of Times New Roman & Arial fonts for people who like to use those default typefaces.

UPDATE: [Aug. 6, 2014] Testers report that the keyboard layout works on Windows 7.


 Try the Keyboard Layout for Mac:

Baybayin Unicode Keyboard Layout for Mac