What commenced last May 2-4 at the Folk Arts Theatre was the Baybayin Buhayin Summit 2.0 and 1st Indigenous Language Conference 2019. Organized by Baybayin Buhayin, co-founded by Jay Enage and John NL Leyson, the goal of this anthro-linguistic and cultural symposium is to proliferate Baybayin and to make it come alive again; hence, buhayin.

Baybayin, the precolonial writing script of the Philippines, is composed of 15 characters (a combination of 15 consonants paired by the vowel A by default: BA, KA, DA, GA, HA, LA, MA, NA, PA, RA, SA, TA, WA, YA) and 3 stand-alone vowels (A, E/I, O/U). This writing system was abolished by the Spanish regime when they colonized the Philippines for 333 years. During those times, much of the Philippine culture were annihilated and destroyed and were replaced by Western ideologies; even the Baybayin was practically ruined in order to introduce the Latin alphabets. While the origin of Baybayin remains unclear, we can only somehow assume that it was not a borrowed script from other culture as variations of Baybayin existed in the various regions/languages of the Philippines. For example, Pampanga region has Kulitan, Jawi for the Greater Sulu, etc. Odyssea: Nature, Culture, People has posted a more in-depth infographic on the many Philippine scripts on its post.

“Baybayin” is called as such because of how it is written and read; from the rootword “baybay” which means “to write/spell how it is pronounced”. Baybayin is perhaps a writing system designed for the syllabicated languages in the Philippines.

Aside from the founders of Baybayin Buhayin, the 3-day event was made happen by the notable speakers and scholars such as:

Dr. Ricardo Nolasco
Dr. Zeus Salazar
Dr. Ed Lapiz
Prof. Aldrin Salipande
Prof. Felipe de Leon
Hon. Leopoldo Bataoil
Sec. Leonor Magtolis Briones
Sec. Prospero de Vera III
Usec. Tonisito Umali
Mr. George Ian Joseph Lucero
Mr. Menan de Leon
Mr. Rocky Brito
Ms. Karen Gamba
Mr. Louward Allen Zubiri

Co-founder John NL Leyson sporting the Baybayin shirt that came with the Baybayin kit/lootbag.

Participants and event speakers took the stage for a groupfie.


L-R: Baybayin Buhayin Founder Jay Enage, Baybayin Buhayin President Jaime Hernandez, EPIK Group Head Dennis Crisostomo, Baybayin Buhayin co-founder John NL Leyson.

Howie Severino also graced the event gave a very warm speech.

Top: Dream Weavers of the T’boli tribe joined the event to showcase their handicrafts and weaving patterns; Bottom: Baybayin paintings by Ian Lucero were also exhibited at the event.

Some woven textiles from Southern Philippines.

Cool Baybayin Shirts can be bought also at the event.



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