Thursday, October 28, 2010


Download this font from:

I've been contacted by many folks requesting a Japanese style Baybayin font. Here's one inspired by the Japanese syllabary hiragana & katakana. A couple more Asiatic styled fonts are in the works that I plan to release along with other fonts, some updated (fixed) old ones and a whole batch of new ones, hopefully soon.
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Saturday, July 03, 2010

Surat Mangyan Brush Font

New Mangyan Font:

Download this new font set from:

Updated Mangyan Font:

Download the updated file from:

Font updated to v.1.50
  • Unicode ranges transferred from Tagalog to Hanunóo
  • Finished welding and verifying all glyphs
  • Various cleanup and re-alignments

A Brush with Fate (Baybayin Sighting)
During my quick and short visit to my home province of Mindoro last year (May, 2009), I spotted this poster on a wall inside a restaurant in Calapan City.

I don't know who the artist/writer was but I am quite intrigued with his/her use of Hanunoo script. I am not sure if this poster actually is written in the Mangyan language; I can read the script alright, but it only seem like gibberish to me. It does not seem to be written in Tagalog and I don't fully understand Mangyan so I can't truly be sure what it says.

Anyway, it's been a year since and I am going back to the Philippines this July 9, 2010 and will be staying until Aug. 28, 2010. I plan to visit the Mangyan Heritage Center in Calapan City sometime during my stay there. Maybe I can ask someone over there to translate this poster to me.

Anyway, this poster is one of the inspirations for the new brush-style font. I was also looking at other examples of Hanunóo handwriting (not carving).

What's new?
Like the previous Hanunóo font, I included the pamudpod as well as the cross kudlit or virama. To access the pamudpod use the equal key ( = ) and to access the virama use the plus key ( + ).

There is a new kudlit system?
The Nordenx fonts are created so that a standard western keyboard can easily access the baybayin characters. However, please note that the Mangyan script have different kudlit positions depending on what character is used. These different kudlit positions can be accessed by typing the keys for e, i, o, u, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 (see sample image in the download page). Using these keys, you can easily and accurately position your kudlits to write the proper Mangyan syllables. To render kudlit in the classical baybayin i/e & o/u locations, just use the i an o keys respectively.

Hanunóo script is used in writing ambāhan - I think it's time to learn how to write these epic poems.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Baybayin Unicode Converter


Outdated tech, Adobe Flash no longer functions. 


So you saw your Filipino friends using Baybayin (a.k.a. Alibata to the uninformed) characters on Facebook and you wondered how they do that, right? Well, if you're not that tech savvy - here is the secret: it's called Unicode.

This typepad application converts typed text to the Baybayin Unicode character equivalent and vice versa.

If the application below doesn't load, try this link: Baybayin Unicode Converter Typepad Page


  • To type Baybayin Unicode, select the "TYPE Baybayin Unicode" option from the drop-down menu on the top-left of the app.
  • There are 2 Typing modes; the x Mode automatically types a virama below each character making them stand alone consonants, while the a Mode types syllable characters with the default 'a' vowel sound. Depending on which mode you use, typing vowels or kudlit marks after each character alters the default 'a' or cancels an auto-typed virama.
  • The ·· check-box allows double kudlit marks that repeats a same-vowel syllable. It is automatically unchecked after each double kudlit is typed.
  • After typing in Baybayin Unicode characters, you can highlight your characters and copy (simply click on the ⇩ copy button) then paste & post the glyphs in Facebook or forums or anywhere else on the web for that matter.
  • Anyone with a web browser that is set up to view UTF8 and have a Unicode compliant font installed in their computer that has Baybayin characters in the appropriate range (Tagalog range: U+1700–U+171F), would be able to see the Baybayin characters you posted.
  • To configure your browser to view Unicode:
  • To convert Baybayin Unicode to text, select the "READ Baybayin Unicode" option on the drop-down menu, copy then paste the characters you wish to convert onto the text area, then click the "conv" button.
  • You can scroll up or down on the text area using your mouse wheel.
  • To learn more about how to write in baybayin, please visit this - list of pertinent Baybayin links.
  • Unicode compliant Baybayin Fonts:
    Morrow's Fonts - Sarisari etc...
    Baybayin Modern Fonts -
    Download Page

  • Type using your keyboard at a normal speed, not too quick as network lag can slow down processing and will end up skipping characters.
  • The app only converts every text character typed the end of the word/sentence, letters inserted in between other characters will not be converted.

Warning! This is not a translator application. Do not rely on this tool for correct spelling and transliteration. This is a free-form learning tool. Unless you're already proficient with Filipino languages and Baybayin script, transcribing is best left to professionals.
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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Download Free Modern Baybayin Fonts

Download Free Baybayin Modern Fonts


Download Free Baybayin Modern Fonts

Note: even though the style of these fonts are modern, you can still use it to write in the traditional way.

The updated font files are hosted in deviantART. If you download them from any other font-collective websites, keep in mind that they may not be the most up-to-date version of the file.

In the deviantART page for each font, look for the download link in either the text description or the download arrow button located at the upper-right side of the page.

FAQ: How to install these fonts on your computer? Click Here for Answer

All of Nordenx Baybayin Modern Fonts are for personal and non-commercial use only. Please contact me at for any inquiries about commercial use in publications or electronic applications.

To try-out any of these fonts before you download them, use this typepad: Baybayin Fonts Typepad

Previews & Download Locations of available fonts:

Download this font set from:

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Download this font set from:


Mangyan Fonts:

Download this font set from:

Download this new font set from:

Download this font set from:


Kapampangan Fonts:

Download this font set from:

Watch this video tutorial on "How to type Kapampangan script (Kulitan) vertically in Microsoft Word using the Pamagkulit Font inside a table." Please watch it in Full Screen Mode to see the details:


~How to install these fonts on your computer:

The fonts are in compressed (.zip files). The latest Operating Systems (OS) are now able to open these in their own folders when you click on the file. If your computer is older and unable to open these files, then you will need a utility such as WinZip or WinRar to uncompress them. Download a free evaluation version of WinZip or WinRar.

Each zip file contains the true type font file (.ttf) and a text file (.rtf) that contains aditional info about the font and its use & features; please read it.

You can extract (uncompress) the font file directly to your C:\WINDOWS\Fonts folder if you want or you can extract it to a temporary folder then follow the font installation instructions can be found at or from Paul Morrow's Site.

For Windows 7 / Vista users:
  • Right-click the font file(s) and choose Install.
For users of the previous Windows versions:
  • Copy the included file(s) into a default Windows font folder (usually C:\WINDOWS\FONTS or C:\WINNT\FONTS)
For Mac:
  • Expand any compressed fonts packages.
  • Double-click the icon of the font file you want to install. The Font Book will open and display the font so you can preview it.
  • By default, the application installs the font in the Library folder of your home directory, making it available only to you. To make it available to all users on the computer, from the Font Book menu, select Preferences... , and then change the "Default Install Location:" from User to Computer.
  • Click Install Font.

A Note On Baybayin Styles and Names
Although there are many forms of the baybayin, it must be remembered that they are not unique to the languages that share their names. That is to say, the baybayin, like our modern alphabet, can be written or printed in many ways and each style can be used to write in any language. Just as italic printing is not only for Italian, a so-called Tagalog baybayin is not just for Tagalog or a supposed Ilokano script only for Ilokano etc.
The baybayin is a single writing system. The confusion between the forms of the baybayin and various Filipino languages may be due to historical circumstances or just sloppy reporting on the part of some historians. For example, the typeface chosen by Father Francisco Lopez in 1620 to print the Ilokano version of the Doctrina Christiana looks different to the one used in the Tagalog version of 1593 but they are both just two styles of the one baybayin. However, the Lopez typeface has since come to be mistaken in some circles as the “Ilokano alphabet” simply because it was used most notably in an Ilokano book.
Other forms of the baybayin such as Bikol and Bisaya have similar histories. Their origins can be traced only as far back as certain modern printed documents of the Spanish era that were written in their respective languages – their particular styles originating in the artistry of the authors. – PAUL MORROW


Ukyabít - a Baybayin card game!

This is a radical Filipino alphasyllabary card game where you learn to use Baybayin script characters to build simple two to four syllable Tagalog words. Ukyabít is a revolutionary new and fun approach to word puzzle card games and language learning.

You can purchase your own copy of the First Edition Ukyabít here -

It's not complicated but don't think it's simple. 

  • First, you have to know the Filipino language and Tagalog syllabary.
  • Next, you have to learn how use Baybayin script to build two to four syllable Filipino words.
  • And of course you have to employ some strategy to get those high scores.
Intimidated yet? I hope not. It's challenging but fun to learn with a group of friends and the more you get used to the game, the better and more exciting it becomes. Hopefully, these games that I make for you folks will give you a reason to pick up Baybayin once again


Sunday, June 06, 2010

Baybayin Puzzles

I found that these two popular word puzzle formats are good teaching tools and learning exercises and would work well with Baybayin. Thus, I will  include a bunch of them in my book.

Baybayin Crossed-Scripts Puzzle is a revolutionary new approach to crosswords puzzle solving and language learning. Baybayin Crosswords uses the established crossword puzzle format loved by millions worldwide; however, the clues are given in English whereas the answers must be completed using Filipino words (Tagalog, Ilocano, Bisaya, etc.) written in  Baybayin script's syllabic characters. This puzzle challenges the person's language translation, word knowledge, script handwriting, Filipino phonetics and syllabary skills.

Click on the image to view its actual size.

You may print it using your printer and distribute the copies and share the link back to this blog freely. However, you may not use these images for commercial purposes or publications without prior consent.

Baybayin Script Word-Finder is another radically unique modification to the classic word-finder puzzle that dramatically improves Baybayin character recognition and reading comprehension.  Baybayin Word-Finder has a similar format from the original version of the simple word-finder game that almost every grade-school child in the world is familiar with; however, instead of forming words by finding their corresponding alphabet letters, you have to formulate words using alphasyllabary. This puzzle challenges the person's Baybayin reading, Filipino phonetics, and syllabary skills.

Click on the image to view its actual size.

You may print it using your printer and distribute the copies and share the link back to this blog freely. However, you may not use these images for commercial purposes or publications without prior consent.

As recent research in typography & design came to light, the glyphs for E & I have been switched in all my fonts. The E & I in these puzzles remain as the old glyph assignment above. They will not be the same in future puzzles.

UPDATE: Solutions to the puzzles above are now available.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Alibata vs Baybayin

Regarding Philippine native/indigenous writing systems: the popular name for it, "Alibata", was coined by Paul Verzosa in 1921. The term, "Baybayin", has been mentioned in several publications dating back to just right after the Spanish colonization began and throughout the 17-18th centuries as the word that the native population used to refer to their writing (not necessarily the script itself, but rather the sequence or method of writing letters.)

Most scholars & experts in South East Asian writing systems and the Baybayin practitioners (online) are familiar with the distinction between the two terms; Baybayin vs Alibata. However, we still see & hear a lot of new Filipino script enthusiasts using the misnomer "Alibata"; particularly from folks in the Philippines where Alibata is mentioned briefly in Filipino history & language classes. While those who are internet savvy are familiar with Paul Morrow's work and quite particularly this entry from his "Ang Baybayin" site about Paul Verzosa's reasoning for the term Alibata:

"In 1921 I returned from the United States to give public lectures on Tagalog philology, calligraphy, and linguistics. I introduced the word alibata, which found its way into newsprints and often mentioned by many authors in their writings. I coined this word in 1914 in the New York Public Library, Manuscript Research Division, basing it on the Maguindanao (Moro) arrangement of letters of the alphabet after the Arabic: alif, ba, ta, “f” having been eliminated for euphony's sake." Verzosa

To which Morrow added:

"Verzosa's reasoning for creating this word was unfounded because no evidence of the baybayin was ever found in that part of the Philippines and it has absolutely no relationship to the Arabic language. Furthermore, no ancient script native to Southeast Asia followed the Arabic arrangement of letters, and regardless of Verzosa's connection to the word alibata, its absence from all historical records indicates that it is a totally modern creation." ~ Author (Paul Morrow) does not use this word in reference to any ancient Philippine script.


Yes, Alibata is a misnomer (an improper name). However, it is already a part of the Filipino vernacular and it would be a challenge to completely dismiss the word. The term Alibata has been used in print and was part of academia during the nationalistic era of the Philippines in the mid to late 20th century.

While the word "baybayin" retained its original meaning "to spell or write", its relation to the script & writing system was all but forgotten. It's not until authors like Paul Morrow, Carl Rubino, Hector Santos, et al. began using it again in the 1990s and with the rise of the Internet culture's easy access to information that the term is brought back and slowly regained popular usage; now associating it with the original Philippine script.

An interesting find and observation; author Paul Verzosa and Jose Sevilla, in a 1923 book, used the term "Alibata" not just for the native script but for all forms of writing. He specifically called the Tagalog script "Baybayin" and called the alphabet "Alibatang Romano".

It is quite obvious from the book that Verzosa intended to replace the word Alfabeto (Spanish Alphabet) with a more native sounding word. He also acknowledged that the popular terminology used at the time were Baybayin and Abakada. Basically, to Verzosa, the word Alibata = Alfabeto = Alphabet = Abakada = Abecedario = Kana, etc. etc. not just particularly referring to Baybayin script. Which is why Alibata is actually not the name of the various Baybayin Scripts of the Philippines but just a made-up word for "Alphabet". 

So, the word Alibata is based on letter names from Arabic Abjad, but Filipino Muslims did not adopt or use Baybayin script, and Alibata's actual meaning is "alphabet". While Baybayin is Indic/Bramic in origin (it is not an alphabet nor an abjad, it is a syllabary) the original arrangement of Baybayin characters actually wasn't even in the same sequence as the western a, b, c's or even abakada (more about that in another article).


Alibata means Alphabet.

Alibata does not mean Baybayin Script.

Baybayin Script is not Alibata since it is not an Alphabet.

Baybayin is an Alphasyllabary.

means Alphasyllabary.

is an Abugida.

Yes, Alibata is a made up word, but so is the accepted term Abugida (alphasyllabary) a word that was just coined recently in 1990. Alibata was coined and used in the 1920s and is still in use today; it predates the word Abugida. Therefore it is hard to dismiss Alibata as a legitimate word even though it is a misnomer since it has been established and used for decades (mistakenly exclusively to mean "Baybayin Script", mind you). But being a misnomer it only creates confusion and it is my humble opinion that it is time to retire the word Alibata and leave it as a footnote in Philippine history books.

Reference Pages:
Sevilla-Versosa Book Cover 1
Sevilla-Versosa Book Cover 2
Sevilla-Versosa Book Page 75
Sevilla-Versosa Book Page 76
Sevilla-Versosa Book Page 77
Sevilla-Versosa Book Page 78
Sevilla-Versosa Book Page 79

Other: Difference between Alibata & Baybayin.

Keep in mind that "Baybayin Script" is an umbrella term (used by linguists & academics) for categorizing the Abugida Scripts in the Philippines. There are four main branches of these scripts:

  1. Surat Mangyan - from Mindoro; it has two distinct sub-groups that correspond to their tribal namesake:
    •  Hanunoo Script - from the Hanunuo tribe.
    • Buhid Script - from the Buhid tribe.
  2. Kulitan Script - or the Pamagkulit is used strictly for the Kapampangan language.
  3. Palawan Script - from Palawan; used mainly for the Tagbanwa language. Other groups name the script according to their tribal name but they are the same script, not sub-variants of it:
    • Apurahuano Script
    • Tagbanwa Script
    • Aborlan Script
  4. Baybayin Script - has many names depending on the regional language but in essence share the same basic character forms/shape (any difference are merely stylistic). The names for various styles include:
    • Sulat Tagalog - based on a typeface introduced in the Tagalog version of the Doctrina Christiana.
    • Surat Ilocano - based on a typeface introduced in the Ilocano version of the Doctrina Christiana.
    • Suwat Bisaya - based on typefaces in Austrian and Italian books, particularly the one by Lorenzo Hervas.
    • Guhit, Basahan  - two words used by Bikolanos for Baybayin.
    • ...other native terms for baybayin are: Kurditan, Kinudlitan, Katitikan, Sulat Filipino, and the misnomer Alibata.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

LCI's 1110th anniversary

"April 21st 2010 marked the 1110th anniversary of the oldest known written artifact from the Philippines, the Laguna Copperplate Inscription (LCI). 1110 years ago on this date (April 21st of the year 900 in our era), the original legal document was written that forgave a debt held by a person living in the general area now occupied by metropolitan Manila." ~ Christopher Miller
Learn more about the Laguna Copperplate Inscription [click here]
Did you know that the LCI contains enough glyphs that fills an almost complete chart for old Javanese/Kavi? The image below contains all the deciphered glyphs found in the LCI:

Though a lot of details & characters are still missing, one only needs to take a look at the parent and related writing systems like Sanskrit and Old Javanese to figure out how rich and complex our ancestor's (proto-baybayin) writing system was prior to the emergence of the more simplistic classical baybayin script.

A couple of features that stand out from the LCI is that the Javanese Srivijaya inhabitants of our pre-colonial archipelago used a virama (vowel cancellation mark), the same function as the cross kudlit except that the LCI virama is only used for a final vowel-less trailing consonant. As for a vowel-less leading consonants, the glyphs form syllables by consonant conjuncts or stacked where the initial glyphs' vowel is dropped; quite similar to other Indic/Brahmic scripts of Hindu inhabitants that co-existed with the Javanese society in the islands at the same era.

We can find glyphs for visarga and anusvāra in the LCI.

An anusvāra is a diacritic used to mark a nasalization used in a number of Indic languages. This eliminated the use of a virama on a nga glyph for that final ng sound.

A visarga is a diacritic used to mark a voiceless breath used in a number of Indic languages. Losing this diacritic may explain the lost 'h' on certain words in modern Tagalog orthography.

Instead of adding a diacritic on the final vowel of a word with a final stress, note that LCI uses a diacritic for a long "a" or ā on the leading syllable's glyph.

Along with the long ā, the LCI shows us that the ancient islanders have all of the markers needed for five vowel sounds plus another for "ai" and a simple and modern-like "period" punctuation mark.

Note the characters for "ra", "ja", and "sha"; nevermind the "ca" and "ña" - wonder why these glyphs from Kawi did not carry through to baybayin? Sanskrit (parent script for both baybayin and kawi) also has these phonemes covered. One has to ponder when, how, and why our spoken language changed so much that the letters for these sounds are dropped from our spoken & written language. What happened between the time of the LCI until the re-introduction of letters and matching phonemes after the arrival of westerners? A proto-baybayin script may have been developed by the people for their own social class' usage by emulating features of Old Kawi and Sanskrit (that were propriety to the ruling & religious class). If this is the case, then the disparity and disconnect between social classes already existed in our ancient society even before western corruption entered the scene.

The few examples of alternate or modified sub-scripted and super-scripted character glyphs and those that form character conjuncts are surprisingly varied and complex (like those of "ra" and "ya"), I wouldn't be surprised that there are more letter combinations that are possible but not recorded in the LCI; other artifacts with Kawi from outside of the Philippines could fill in those gaps. For more examples and info, see: Aksara Kawi or Omniglot.


*edit - Additional Info:
Note that the LCI glyphs are Old Javanese Kawi Script with just a few peculiar character variations. This is probably due to the way the characters on the Laguna plate seemed to have been hammered into cold copper instead of the characters being impressed into heated copper which was the norm in Java at the time.

Also, the language used in the Laguna Copperplate Inscription is a variety of Old Malay containing numerous loanwords from Sanskrit and a few non-Malay vocabulary elements from Old Javanese and Old Tagalog (Austronesian).

Other artifacts of interest:
* Kedukan Bukit Inscription
* Tanjong Tanah Code of Law

Many thanks to Antoon Postma, Dr. Johann de Casparis, Hector Santos, Paul Morrow for sharing their translations and research about the LCI.

Thanks to linguist and SEA script expert Christopher Miller (Kiwehtin) for providing additional info (please read comments) and visit Tyro Blog.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Breaking it down

Over the centuries, the western alphabet has been studied, measured, standardized, and its letter shapes broken down to its core components. Modern print even analyzed every stroke and flourish and given them names and terminology as well as cataloged them by style, form, and function.

When it comes to typography, baybayin is still uncharted territory.

Standardization is needed for modern baybayin. However, "Modern" does not mean "bastardizing" the script by adding new characters or modifying existing ones without precise & careful comparative consideration to tangential scripts; (Brahmic/Indic) origin, (Malay/Kavi) related, (Mangyan/Tagbanua) living, and (cataloged/printed) historic. I find that breaking down each baybayin character or glyph to its most basic strokes and forms helps in understanding these origins and relationships.

I have broken down character elements and divided/grouped them by their consistent forms of strokes. Since there are currently no official terminology specific for baybayin typography, I went ahead and labeled them using a naming convention that would be familiar to almost every Filipino. See table/graphic below:

There are 5 main forms, each form is an individually stylized stroke or series of simple strokes. These forms are supported by one or two structural & decorative elements. The structural element determines the direction of the main form (horizontal, vertical, or angled).

These 5 forms and 2 support (structural & decorative) components are the most basic & consistent strokes of baybayin characters. These are based on all the samples (handwriting & print) found in books & manuscripts from 1600s up to the early 1900s and also compared with Brahmic/Indic, Malay, and our living scripts. I have been studying each individual baybayin & related script's characters and found every shape & form correlations. I will publish my findings for each and every letter/glyph and share a few of them with you here soon. The more precise info will be included in my book.

Friday, February 19, 2010

In the works

Font clean up and Unicode updates are slowly coming along.

I'm still have writer's block, but chapters of my baybayin book already got more info (in my head) since I started getting and reading old books and manuscripts from the 1600s to the early 1900s.

I'm studying more about modern Filipino orthography to better understand and create new proposed rules on modern baybayin.

I think I finally broken down every character/glyph to it's basic elements and have a standardization solution. I will write down the proposed rules and theories in my book.

More unfinished fonts are waiting in the sidelines as I prioritize my projects. Here's one sample:

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