The baybayin, the ancient writing script still used by the Buid to show off their love poems, was discussed recently in an online lecture for Canadian Filipinos. The presentation focused on the history of the baybayin rather than on their role as an important aspect of their cultural heritage. Earlier news reports examined the ways the baybayin fostered the peaceful culture of the Buid.
According to a recent article in a major newspaper from the Philippines, Dr. Edwin V. Antonio, head of the National Committee on Northern Cultural Communities of the National Commission for Culture and Arts, presented a range of facts and graphic illustrations about the baybayin as part of an online lecture series concerning the Philippines.
Dr. Antonio reviewed the history of the baybayin for his viewers. He explained that the baybayin was used throughout the Philippines in pre-colonial times, but it was mostly abandoned by the 17th century. Only a few societies—the Buid and a few others—persisted in using it. For most of the country, the script became a largely forgotten cultural relict. In 1999, the script was inscribed in the Memory of the World Register preserved by Unesco.
The scholar told his viewers that the baybayin has been gaining more recognition in the last few decades. The Baybayin Act of 2013 required government agencies to include examples of indigenous scripts in their logos. Baybayin now appear in the logos of a wide range of Philippine cultural institutions. They also appear on the Philippine passport and on a series of banknotes.
The news story quoted the reaction to Dr. Antonio’s online broadcast by Mr. Zaldy B. Patron, the Consul General for the Philippines in Calgary. He described the presentation as “truly educational and revealing of the Filipinos’ ancient writing system.” He urged younger Filipinos to practice using the baybayin in order to enrich the cultural heritage of the nation.