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: