Friday, July 20, 2012

Modern Baybáyin Chart

Conservative Modern Reform:
(as submitted, archived, and published in international linguistic academia)
Modern Baybayin Chart
The image/chart above is my current draft for a standardized modern baybayin script.


The chart below lists the keystrokes for typing baybayin using fonts.

Modern Baybayin Chart


Any other character sets you'll find on your online searches that claims to be traditional or modern baybayin are most likely made-up or misleading. If I haven't linked or talked about them here in my blog, or you can't verify them via respectable baybayin sites like Paul Morrow's or Kristian Kabuay's, then more likely those sets are not accepted by the community of baybayin practitioners & experts.

Any other sets of characters that include special individual characters for C, Q, Ch, Th, Z, J, and or Ñ instead of character combinations are suspect and most likely are made-up (conscript). And unfortunately, we have found out that the use of the word "Alibata" as a name or description of the scripts (without including the correction & acknowledging that the real name of the writing system is actually "baybayin") is more likely to be an indicator that the information or the character set is flawed.

My work on the indigenous Philippine writing system is well researched (for more than two decades). It is academically backed & published, traditionally mindful, typographically sound, and community & expert approved.


Sometimes, forgotten traditions are re-discovered.

Repeating Syllables in Baybayin

We make sure that these forgotten traditions are documented and revived as well as corrected. For example: the double top-down kudlit is being mistakenly used as a vowel cancellation method; there is a precedent that this is used differently by our ancestors. Instead of a vowel-killer, the double top-down kudlits are actually bi-vowel consonantal syllable repeaters: ᜊᜒᜓ = "bobi" ≠ "b"


Traditional Baybayin


Sunday, June 03, 2012

Surat Mangyan UPDATE

Big update for Surat Mangyan fonts!

First off, a brand new font:
  • Buhid Script v.1.0

Download set from:

Next, major updates for existing Mangyan fonts:

Hanunuo Fonts UPDATED to v.2.00
* New kudlit position for Wu assigned to the 9 key
* New keystroke for Di assigned to Ae
* New kudlits assigned & extended to Buhid Unicode range
* Various internal file info & settings cleaned up
* New pakudos symbol assigned to the # key

Download set from:

Download set from:

Download set from:

What's up with kudlits being assigned & extended to the Buhid Unicode range?

When the original proposal to assign blocks of Unicode ranges was sent out to the Unicode Consortium, the people responsible did not ask for 28 more reserved spaces (14 for Buhid, 14 for Hanunuo) that should've covered the 14 unique kudlit positions required by different characters per both Buhid & Hanunuo scripts. Once the ranges were locked in, it has now become next to impossible to request or make drastic changes in the Unicode block.

Working around this limitation, I have devised a Unicode range redistribution plan for all Nordenx Baybayin fonts. -> DOCUMENTATION <-

The first test of this redistribution is underway via a new Surat Mangyan Unicode Typepad:

Please, test drive it and see what you think. :)

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Baybayin Unicode Keyboard Layout for Mac OSX

Your standard "Keyboard Layout" settings can be changed in order to access international language or special characters assigned to Unicode ranges within particular fonts. Most of these Unicode blocks/range contain the characters that you can not normally just type directly nor with a combination of specialized "short-cut" keystrokes or commands.

There are two groups or blocks of characters in Baybayin fonts:
1) Easily accessible characters on a standard western keyboard layout. - they replace the usual Alphabet letters (Basic Latin Characters) so your normal keyboard layout can select & type Baybayin script characters as soon as you install the font in your computer. With this, the font can be used in any word processing or graphic editing software.
2) Characters assigned to their appropriate Unicode range - you need special apps/tools like an online typepad to access these characters or you can also change your keyboard layout to be able to directly type or use Baybayin online. With this, typing Baybayin characters can be viewed by anyone online as long as they have a Unicode compliant Baybayin font and their computer & browser are setup to view Unicode. However, Unicode is not without its own problems:
Characters of Baybayin Fonts as accessed on a Standard Keyboard Layout:
Changing your Standard Keyboard Layout to a Unicode Keyboard Layout:

A couple of years ago, JC John Sese Cuneta (JC) and the Ubuntu Philippines LoCo Team started development of the Philippine National Keyboard Layout. They created a standardized layout for Baybayin (Unicode).

Visit JC's site The Hæven of John to learn how to download and install the Baybayin Keyboard Layout that matches the type of keyboard and operating system available on your machine.
  • The Official Philippine National Keyboard Layout for Linux and Windows: -> click here <-
  •  Modern Baybayin Unicode Keyboard Layout for Mac OS X bundle: -> DOWNLOAD <-
  •  Modern Baybayin Unicode Keyboard Layout for Windows 8 and 10: click here
To install the Baybayin Keyboard Layout for Mac OSX, download and save the bundle file to "/Library/Keyboard Layouts". That is a folder called “Keyboard Layouts” in the "Library" folder at the top level of your startup disk or home folder. You can create the folder if it doesn’t already exist. You need to restart your Mac after saving the file for the keyboard layout to activate.

Note: You must have at least one Unicode compatible Baybayin font installed in your machine for this layout to work properly. If you only see square boxes, download and install a font from -> here <-.

To enable and use a keyboard layout is a two-step process. The first step is accomplished in the System Preferences program:

 In the System Preferences, click on the International Preferences or the Language & Text icon under the Personal group.

In the Language & Text pane, you need to click on the Input Sources or Input Menu tab (at least on 10.4 and 10.5).

In the list that is in the "pane" (what Mac calls a "panel" or window), you should be able to find the keyboard layout that you have installed, in this case it is called Baybayin (it should have a Philippine flag icon).

Once you have found your keyboard layout, you need to ensure that the check box in the first column is checked, which will not be the case when the keyboard layout is first installed. Also ensure that “Show input menu in menu bar” at the bottom of the window is checked.

The second step is to enable the keyboard from the Input menu.

The Input menu is on the right of the menu bar, and usually has a flag there, corresponding to the current input source (keyboard layout or input method). If the Input menu is not shown, it has to be enabled in International Preferences described above. You then can activate your keyboard layout by selecting it from the menu.

Once installed, you can easily switch between your default keyboard layout and the Baybayin keyboard layout any time from the Input menu.

You can even view or check what characters are assigned in each key by opening the Show Keyboard Viewer from the Input menu.

The Unicode characters in the Baybayin Keyboard Layout v.1.00 is shown in the images below:

 Alternate Option:
A Tagalog Keyboard Layout for Mac OS X was developed by Alex Ibrado a couple of years back. Alex's Unicode layout diverted significantly from the normal font characters assigned to the default keyboard layout; it felt disconnected. Alex erroneously also included the RA character in the Unicode range U+172D which is the Hanunuo RA in my Mangyan fonts; all my Baybayin fonts just like Paul Morrow other people's fonts, use U+170D for RA. This is why I developed this new Baybayin Keyboard Layout to match the standard keyboard's flow when using the normal "non-unicode" characters in the fonts. *edit: Alex has since updated his layout.

You can try out Alex Ibrado's setup too. -> click here <- and visit his site.

Caveat Lector:
Keep in mind that Mac's Safari browser has problems displaying Baybayin font's kudlit marks properly. The best web browser for typing & viewing Baybayin Unicode is Firefox.

As for softwares, Baybayin fonts (both normal & Unicode range) works well in Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, etc.), Notepad, and Adobe Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.); the Mac version for these products are fine. Unfortunately it isn't the same for other Mac products; it is even glitches in TextEdit! :(


Try Windows 8:

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Baybayin Acronyms & Initials

An "Acronym" is the term widely used to describe any abbreviation formed from initial letters and in some cases initial syllables. Most dictionaries define acronym to mean "a word" in its original sense, while other dictionaries attributes other senses that make an acronym to have the same meaning as that of initialism.

According to the first definition found in most dictionaries, examples of acronyms are NATO (/ˈneɪtoʊ/), scuba (/ˈskuːbə/), and radar (/ˈreɪdɑr/), while examples of initialisms are FBI (/ˌɛfˌbiːˈaɪ/) and HTML (/ˌeɪtʃˌtiːˌɛmˈɛl/). - source wiki

Initialisms are pronounced letter by letter using the alphabet character's names. Acronyms are read and treated as words.

Since Baybayin is an Abugida and each of its characters are phonetic syllables, Filipino acronyms and initialisms should be written in Baybayin script as they are pronounced by native Filipinos in their native tongue.

Since "acronyms are read and treated as words" and a lot of acronyms are "names" of organizations and technical terminology, we then go back to the "rules of thumb" which are:
  • If the word is an important scientific or technical term and you do not have a direct and official translation to any Philippine language or Spanish - don't Pilipinize the spelling and don't write it in Baybayin Script, use the Latin Alphabet instead.
  • If the word is a name of person (or organization) - don't Pilipinize the spelling and don't write it in Baybayin Script, use the Latin Alphabet instead - unless if that person (or group) made known to you or the public how they write his/her name in Baybayin (or they personally requested you to do so); how one prefers their name spelled & pronounced is a personal issue.
One may argue that the acronym for "Unibersidad ng Pilipinas", UP (/ʊpɪ/) should have been written as ᜂᜉᜒ (characters U and PA with an i-kudlit) which is read as "upi" and not as ᜂᜉ (just U and PA) which is read as "upa", a word that means "rent", as shown in their graduation sash.

However, UP already officially established for several years now that they like to write their acronym/initialism not as ᜂᜉᜒ "upi" nor ᜌᜓᜉᜒ "yupi" but as ᜂᜉ "upa" - we owe it to them to respect that "choice".


"The indigenous letters ᜂ (U) and ᜉ (PA), originating from the indigenous alphabet called baybayin or katitikan, are equivalent to the Roman letters “U” and “P”, respectively."
Note: They used the terms - indigenous "letters", indigenous "alphabet", and "equivalent to Roman letters" to describe Baybayin Script. A clue?

Baybayin is NOT an Alphabet.
Is it possible that they were not aware that Baybayin was already described in detail in numerous publications from earlier on as a "syllabary"? While the terms "abugida" and "alpha-syllabary" distinctions are more recent, nevertheless, Baybayin still is classified linguistically as a syllabary. But as a center and authority for higher learning, this possible failure to recognize the well established details about Baybayin does not sit well with many researchers and practitioners in the Baybayin support community.

A fix?
There is nothing we can do with the UPa issue at the moment, only they can resolve that.

Meanwhile, a couple of Baybayin enthusiasts have suggested to either use a virama or make up a new mark that has the function of changing a baybayin character to its equivalent alphabet letter name.

As far as using a virama; we must bear in mind that if you cancel the inherent /a/ vowel of a Baybayin (Abugida) character, you end up with a consonant 'sound' particle not a consonant letter name. A ᜋ᜔ ('MA' with a virama) or ᜋ᜴ ('MA' with a pamudpud) is not an 'M' pronounced as /ɛm/, it is a /m/ sound. Such is the assigned function of a virama mark.

So with that in mind, why not make up a new mark and instead of calling it a virama, call it something like maybe a "tari" mark, right? The new mark they introduced looks like a mix of an x-virama & a pamudpod. This new mark is assigned the function of changing a Baybayin character to its equivalent Alphabet letter name. It seems like a good idea, but it is a long way from being linguistically or officially recognized or standardized & approved.

Alternatively, I am inclined to reintroduce an old suggestion to frame proper names, acronyms, and initials in bracket marks like the
「 」 Japanese Quotation Marks. Ex. 「ᜂ᜵ᜉ」 (U.P.)

However, none of these "fixes" can render initials with the Latin Alphabets (C, Q, E, O, F, Z, and X) as they don't have direct Baybayin equivalents.

For now, it's best we just follow the "rules of thumb" (mentioned above).

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Using Baybayin Fonts

Read & Write Baybayin First:

Baybáyin is NOT an Alphabet.
Baybáyin is NOT Alibata.
Baybáyin is an Abugida.

To avoid embarrassing typographical errors, it is really important to learn how to actually read & write Baybayin Script and know the rules of both Abugida & Filipino orthography (spelling and pronunciation) first.

Visit these pages:

How to write using Baybayin Script: English Instructions <-click & visit
How to write using Baybayin Script: Filipino Instructions <-click & visit
These are thorough tutorials by Paul Morrow on how to write using Baybayin script in the original Filipino and modified Spanish methods. These tutorials are the most reliable and concise instructions online.

How do I write my name in baybayin? <-click & visit
This is the most frequently asked question regarding the script. This page offers strategies for writing difficult non-Filipino words and names in the baybayin script.

"A mistake people often make is to assume that the baybayin is just a neat looking alphabet; all you have to do is learn how draw the letters and then spell out the words in the language of your choice, and substitute each modern letter with a baybayin letter. However, baybayin doesn't work like that. This is the difference between an alphabet and a syllabic writing system." ~ Paul Morrow 

SOURCE: Sarisari etc. -

Typing with Baybayin Fonts:

"Easy Keyboard Access" this is one of the main benefit of Baybayin FONTS; for convenient usage and typing in word processing & graphic editing softwares.

Most Common Mistake - Vowel Characters & Kudlit marks treated as an Alphabet:
Multiple instances of vowel characters and little to no kudlit marks are the usual tell-tale giveaway.


"Easy Keyboard Access" does NOT mean "go ahead and type anything and it will be correct".

When using either Paul Morrow Fonts or Nordenx Fonts, the capital letter keys (shift+) A, E, I, O, and U will type Vowel Characters (ᜀ, ᜁ, ᜂ). Each of these characters represent a stand-alone vowel SYLLABLE not just an alphabet or letter with a vowel sound.

Each Baybayin Consonant Characters are also singular SYLLABLES that already has a default /a/ vowel sound. A kudlit mark is added to the character to change the /a/ vowel sound to the other vowel sounds /e/, /i/, /o/, or /u/. This is done by typing the lower-case vowel letter keys (e, i, o, or u) after the consonant character. The kudlit mark (dot, slash, caret, or chevron, etc.) should appear above or below the character after you typed the lower-case vowel.

A virama mark (x-kudlit or pamudpud) is added to the character to cancel the inherent or default /a/ vowel sound to create a vowel-less consonant character (dead-consonant). The x-kudlit (a modern replacement for the krus-kudlit introduced in the Doctrina Christiana) is recommended for leading or stand-alone dead-consonants, the pamudpud (a virama used by the Mangyan tribes of Mindoro) for trailing dead-consonants.

The Keys to Baybayin Fonts:

When you know the rules and know how to read & write in Baybayin script, install one or a few Baybayin fonts in your computer then familiarize yourself where and in which keyboard key is each character or glyph assigned to (you can use this tool - click here). Typing Baybayin in wordprocessing or graphic editing softwares should be straightforward by then.

The Key to Baybayin Online:

Using Baybayin characters online like typing your status on facebook or in a chat client is a different story. Online, Baybayin fonts requires using the Unicode range which is normally not easily accessed by your regular keyboard. The Unicode range can only be accessed using a specialized program like an online tool/application of by changing your keyboard's settings.

Learn: "How to type Baybayin using Unicode." <- click here & visit

ᜀ Type uppercase 'A' = syllable character "A" (traditional) 
- Type lowercase 'a' = none * 
ᜁ Type uppercase 'I' = syllable character "I" (traditional) 
 Type lowercase 'i' = kudlit mark "i" (traditional) 
ᜂ Type uppercase 'U' = syllable character "U" (traditional) 
 Type lowercase 'u' = kudlit mark "u" (traditional) 

Type '=' or '+' for a krus or x kidlit virama (reformed)

ᜅ Type uppercase 'N' = syllable character "NGA" (traditional)
ᜈ Type lowercase 'n' = syllable character "NA" (traditional) 

ᜊ Type 'b' or 'B' = syllable character "BA" or "VA" (traditional)
ᜃ Type 'c', 'k', 'K' = syllable character "KA" or "CA" (traditional)
ᜇ Type 'd' or 'D' = syllable character "DA" or "RA" (traditional)
ᜄ Type 'g' or 'G' = syllable character "GA" (traditional)
ᜑ Type 'h' or 'H' = syllable character "HA" (traditional)
ᜎ Type 'l' or 'L' = syllable character "LA" or "RA" (traditional)
ᜋ Type 'm' or 'M' = syllable character "MA" (traditional)
ᜉ Type 'f' or 'F' = syllable character "PA" or "FA" (traditional)
ᜐ Type 's' or 'S' = syllable character "SA" (traditional)
ᜆ Type 't' or 'T' = syllable character "TA" (traditional)
ᜏ Type 'w' or 'W' = syllable character "WA" (traditional)
ᜌ Type 'y' or 'Y' = syllable character "YA" (traditional)

ᜍ Type 'r' or 'R' = syllable character "RA" (modern alternative)
ᜉ Type 'p' or 'P' = syllable character "PA" or "YA" (archaic)
ᜊ Type 'v' or 'V' = syllable character "VA" (alternative)
ᜐ Type 'z' or 'Z' = syllable character "ZA" (alternative)

ᜁ Type uppercase 'E' = syllable character "E" (alternative)
 Type lowercase 'e' = kudlit mark "e" (modern alternative)
ᜂ Type uppercase 'O' = syllable character "O" (alternative)
Type lowercase 'o' = kudlit mark "o" (modern alternative)

ᜐ Type 'C' = character combo "TSA" for 'cha' (reformed)*
ᜃ Type 'q' = character combo "KUWA" for 'qua' (traditional)
ᜃ Type 'Q' = character combo "KWA" for 'qua' (reformed)
ᜇ Type 'j' = character combo "DIYA" for 'ja' (traditional)
ᜇ Type 'J' = character combo "DYA" for 'ja' (reformed)
ᜃ Type 'x' or 'X' = character combo "KSA" for 'xa' (reformed)
ᜈ Type '~' = character combo "NYA" for 'ña' (reformed)

 * may differ or not be available (yet) in some fonts.

Mind What You Type:

Common Mistake - mixing methods: 
There are several modes of writing Baybayin, don't mix them together in one composition. Don't confuse your readers.

Common Mistake - not translating to a Filipino language or forcing foreign pronunciation & spelling:
Ideally, Babayin should be used primarily for Philippine languages. However, Baybayin has been known to be used by natives to write some Spanish and English (in "Pilipinized" spelling) words.  

Rules of thumb:
  • Use borrowed words sparingly and only if there are no available equivalent words for them in any Philippine language or even Spanish. If you have to use the word as it is, you should follow the official rules on how to Pilipinize the spelling & pronunciation of foreign or borrowed words and how to break-it-down into syllables as laid out by the  Philippine National Language Commission in the Balarila (Rules of Orthography).
  • If the word is an important scientific or technical term and you do not have a direct and official translation to any Philippine language or Spanish - don't Pilipinize the spelling and don't write it in Baybayin Script, use the Latin Alphabet instead.
  • If the word is a name of person (or organization) - don't Pilipinize the spelling and don't write it in Baybayin Script, use the Latin Alphabet instead - unless that person (or group) made known to you or the public how they write his/her name in Baybayin (or they personally requested you to do so); how one prefers their name spelled & pronounced is a personal issue.
Common Mistake - tackling acronyms & initials:

-> CLICK HERE <- for more info about using Baybayin Script in Acronyms & Initialism.

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