Baybayin (ᜊᜌ᜔ᜊᜌᜒᜈ᜔,[lower-alpha 1] Tagalog pronunciation: [baɪˈbajɪn]; also formerly known as alibata) is a Philippine script. The script is an abugida belonging to the family of the Brahmic scripts. Geographically, it was widely used in Luzon and other parts of the Philippines prior to and during the 16th and 17th centuries before being replaced by the Latin alphabet during the period of Spanish colonization. It was used in the Tagalog language and, to a lesser extent, Kapampangan-speaking areas; its use spread to the Ilocanos in the early 17th century. In the 19th and 20th centuries, baybayin survived and evolved into multiple forms—the Tagbanwa script of Palawan, and the Hanuno'o and Buhid scripts of Mindoro—and was used to create the constructed modern Kulitan script of the Kapampangan and the Ibalnan script of the Palawan people. Under the Unicode Standard and ISO 15924, the script is encoded as the Tagalog block.

Baybayin written in baybayin (krus-kudlit)
Script type
Time period
13th century (or older)[1][2] – 18th century (revived in modern times)[3]
Print basis
Writing direction (different variants of baybayin):
left-to-right, top-to-bottom
bottom-to-top, left-to-right
top-to-bottom, right-to-left
LanguagesTagalog, Sambali, Ilocano, Kapampangan, Bikolano, Pangasinense, Bisayan languages[4]
Related scripts
Parent systems
Child systems
• Buhid script
• Hanunuo script
• Kulitan Script
• Palaw'an script
• Tagbanwa script
Sister systems
In Indonesia:
• Balinese (Aksara Bali, Hanacaraka)
• Batak (Surat Batak, Surat na sampulu sia)
• Javanese (Aksara Jawa, Dęntawyanjana)
• Lontara (Mandar)
• Makasar
• Sundanese (Aksara Sunda)
• Rencong (Rentjong)
• Rejang (Redjang, Surat Ulu)
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Tglg (370), Tagalog (Baybayin, Alibata)
Unicode alias

The Archives of the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, one of the largest archives in the Philippines, currently possesses the world's biggest collection of ancient writings in baybayin.[5][6][7] The chambers which house the writings are part of a tentative nomination to UNESCO World Heritage List that is still being deliberated on, along with the entire campus of the University of Santo Tomas.

Despite being primarily a historic script, the baybayin script has seen some revival in the modern Philippines. It is often used in the insignia of government agencies and books are frequently published either partially or fully, in baybayin. Bills to require its use in certain cases and instruction in schools have been repeatedly considered by the Congress of the Philippines.[8]

For modern computers and typing, characters are in the Unicode Basic Multilingual Plane (BMP) and were first proposed for encoding in 1998 by Michael Everson together with three other known indigenous scripts of the Philippines.[9]


The term baybayín means "to write" or "to spell (syllabize)" in Tagalog. The entry for "ABC's" (i.e., the alphabet) in San Buenaventura's Vocabulary of the Tagalog language (1613) was translated as baibayin (" baybay, que es deletrear...", transl."from baybay, meaning, to spell").[10]

The word baybayin is also occasionally used to refer to the other indigenous writing systems of the Philippines, such as the Buhid, Hanunó'o, Tagbanwa, and Kulitan scripts, among others. Cultural organizations such as Sanghabi and the Heritage Conservation Society recommend that the collection of distinct scripts used by various indigenous groups in the Philippines, including baybayin, iniskaya, kirim jawi, and batang-arab be called suyat, which is a neutral collective noun for referring to any pre-Hispanic Philippine script.[11]

Baybayin is occasionally referred to as alibata,[12][13] a neologism coined by Paul Rodríguez Verzosa in 1914, after the first three letters of the Arabic script (ʾalif, bāʾ, tāʾ; the f in ʾalif having been dropped for euphony's sake), presumably under the erroneous assumption that baybayin was derived from it.[14] Most modern scholars reject the use of the word alibata as incorrect.[14][15]

In modern times, baybayin has been called badlit, kudlít-kabadlit by the Visayans, kurditan, kur-itan by the Ilocanos, and basahan by the Bicolanos.[15]


The origins of baybayin are disputed and multiple theories exist as to its origin.

Influence of Greater India

Indian cultural extent.

Historically Southeast Asia was under the influence of Ancient India, where numerous Indianized principalities and empires flourished for several centuries in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam. The influence of Indian culture into these areas was given the term Indianization.[16] French archaeologist George Coedes defined it as the expansion of an organized culture that was framed upon Indian originations of royalty, Hinduism and Buddhism and the Sanskrit language.[17] This can be seen in the Indianization of Southeast Asia, Hinduism in Southeast Asia and the spread of Buddhism in Southeast Asia. Indian honorifics also influenced the Malay, Thai, Filipino and Indonesian honorifics.[18] Examples of these include raja, rani, maharlika, and datu, which were transmitted from Indian culture to Philippines via Malays and the Srivijaya empire. Indian Hindu colonists played a key role as professionals, traders, priests and warriors.[19][20][21][22] Inscriptions have proved that the earliest Indian colonists who settled in Champa and the Malay archipelago, came from the Pallava dynasty, as they brought with them their Pallava script. The earliest inscriptions in Java exactly match the Pallava script.[19] In the first stage of adoption of Indian scripts, inscriptions were made locally in Indian languages. In the second stage, the scripts were used to write the local Southeast Asian languages. In the third stage, local varieties of the scripts were developed. By the 8th century, the scripts had diverged and separated into regional scripts.[23]

Isaac Taylor sought to show that baybayin was introduced into the Philippines from the Coast of Bengal sometime before the 8th century. In attempting to show such a relationship, Taylor presented graphic representations of Kistna and Assam letters like g, k, ng, t, m, h, and u, which resemble the same letters in baybayin. Fletcher Gardner argued that the Philippine scripts have "very great similarity" with the Brahmi script,[24] which was supported by T. H. Pardo de Tavera. According to Christopher Miller, evidence seems strong for baybayin to be ultimately of Gujarati origin; however, Philippine and Gujarati languages have final consonants, so it is unlikely that their indication would have been dropped had baybayin been based directly on a Gujarati model.[25]

South Sulawesi scripts

David Diringer, accepting the view that the scripts of the Malay archipelago originate in India, writes that the South Sulawesi scripts derive from the Kawi script, probably through the medium of the Batak script of Sumatra. The Philippine scripts, according to Diringer, were possibly brought to the Philippines through the Buginese characters in Sulawesi.[26] According to Scott, baybayin's immediate ancestor was very likely a South Sulawesi script, probably Old Makassar or a close ancestor.[27] This is because of the lack of final consonants or vowel canceller markers in baybayin. South Sulawesi languages have a restricted inventory of syllable-final consonants and do not represent them in the Bugis and Makassar scripts. The most likely explanation for the absence of final consonant markers in baybayin is therefore that its direct ancestor was a South Sulawesi script. Sulawesi lies directly to the south of the Philippines and there is evidence of trade routes between the two. Baybayin must therefore have been developed in the Philippines in the fifteenth century CE as the Bugis-Makassar script was developed in South Sulawesi no earlier than 1400 CE.[28]

Kawi script

The Laguna Copperplate Inscription.

The Kawi script originated in Java, descending from the Pallava script,[29] and was used across much of Maritime Southeast Asia. The Laguna Copperplate Inscription is the earliest known written document found in the Philippines. It is a legal document with the inscribed date of Saka era 822, corresponding to 21 April 900 AD. It was written in the Kawi script in a variety of Old Malay containing numerous loanwords from Sanskrit and a few non-Malay vocabulary elements whose origin is ambiguous between Old Javanese and Old Tagalog. A second example of Kawi script can be seen on the Butuan Ivory Seal, found in the 1970s and dated between the 9th and 12th century. It is an ancient seal made of ivory that was found in an archaeological site in Butuan. The seal has been declared as a national cultural treasure. The seal is inscribed with the word Butwan in stylized Kawi. The ivory seal is now housed at the National Museum of the Philippines.[30] One hypothesis therefore reasons that, since Kawi is the earliest attestation of writing in the Philippines, then baybayin may have descended from Kawi.

Cham script

The Eastern Cham script.

Baybayin could have been introduced to the Philippines by maritime connections with the Champa Kingdom. Geoff Wade has argued that the baybayin characters "ga", "nga", "pa", "ma", "ya" and "sa" display characteristics that can be best explained by linking them to the Cham script, rather than other Indic abugidas. Baybayin seems to be more related to southeast Asian scripts than to Kawi script. Wade argues that the Laguna Copperplate Inscription is not definitive proof for a Kawi origin of baybayin, as the inscription displays final consonants, which baybayin does not.[31]


From the material that is available, it is clear that baybayin was used in Luzon, Palawan, Mindoro, Pangasinan, Ilocos, Panay, Leyte and Iloilo, but there is no proof supporting that baybayin reached Mindanao. It seems clear that the Luzon and Palawan varieties started to develop in different ways in the 1500s, before the Spaniards conquered what we know today as the Philippines. This puts Luzon and Palawan as the oldest regions where baybayin was and is used. It is also notable that the script used in Pampanga had already developed special shapes for four letters by the early 1600s, different from the ones used elsewhere. There were three somewhat distinct varieties of baybayin in the late 1500s and 1600s, though they could not be described as three different scripts any more than the different styles of Latin script across medieval or modern Europe with their slightly different sets of letters and spelling systems.[4]

Different baybayin handwritten varieties
Script Region Sample
Baybayin Tagalog region
Sambal variety Zambales
Ilocano variety, Ilocano: "Kur-itan" Ilocos
Bicolano variety, Bicolano: "Iskriturang Basahan" Bicol Region
Pangasinense variety Pangasinan
Visayan variety, Visayan: "Badlit" Visayas
Kapampangan variety Central Luzon

Early history

An earthenware burial jar, called the "Calatagan Pot," found in Batangas is inscribed with characters strikingly similar to baybayin, and is claimed to have been inscribed ca. 1300 AD. However, its authenticity has not yet been proven.[1][32]

Although one of Ferdinand Magellan's shipmates, Antonio Pigafetta, wrote that the people of the Visayas were not literate in 1521, the baybayin had already arrived there by 1567 when Miguel López de Legazpi reported from Cebu that, "They [the Visayans] have their letters and characters like those of the Malays, from whom they learned them; they write them on bamboo bark and palm leaves with a pointed tool, but never is any ancient writing found among them nor word of their origin and arrival in these islands, their customs and rites being preserved by traditions handed down from father to son without any other record."[33] A century later, in 1668, Francisco Alcina wrote: "The characters of these natives [Visayans], or, better said, those that have been in use for a few years in these parts, an art which was communicated to them from the Tagalogs, and the latter learned it from the Borneans who came from the great island of Borneo to Manila, with whom they have considerable traffic... From these Borneans the Tagalogs learned their characters, and from them the Visayans, so they call them Moro characters or letters because the Moros taught them... [the Visayans] learned [the Moros'] letters, which many use today, and the women much more than the men, which they write and read more readily than the latter."[14] Francisco de Santa Inés explained in 1676 why writing baybayin was more common among women, as "they do not have any other way to while away the time, for it is not customary for little girls to go to school as boys do, they make better use of their characters than men, and they use them in things of devotion, and in other things that are not of devotion."[34]

Pages of the Doctrina Christiana, an early Christian book in Spanish and Tagalog, both in the Latin script and in baybayin (1593).

The earliest printed book in a Philippine language, featuring both Tagalog in baybayin and transliterated into the Latin script, is the 1593 Doctrina Christiana en Lengua Española y Tagala. The Tagalog text was based mainly on a manuscript written by Fr. Juan de Placencia. Friars Domingo de Nieva and Juan de San Pedro Martyr supervised the preparation and printing of the book, which was carried out by an unnamed Chinese artisan. This is the earliest example of baybayin that exists today and it is the only example from the 1500s. There is also a series of legal documents containing baybayin, preserved in Spanish and Philippine archives that span more than a century: the three oldest, all in the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, are from 1591 and 1599.[35][4]

Baybayin was noted by the Spanish priest Pedro Chirino in 1604 and Antonio de Morga in 1609 to be known by most Filipinos, and was generally used for personal writings and poetry, among others. However, according to William Henry Scott, there were some datus from the 1590s who could not sign affidavits or oaths, and witnesses who could not sign land deeds in the 1620s.[36]

Amami, a fragment of the Ilocano Lord's Prayer, written in Ilocano baybayin (Kur-itan, Kurdita), the first to use krus-kudlít.[37][38]

In 1620, Libro a naisurátan amin ti bagás ti Doctrina Cristiana was written by Fr. Francisco Lopez, an Ilocano Doctrina the first Ilocano baybayin, based on the catechism written by Cardinal Belarmine.[37] This is an important moment in the history of baybayin, because the krus-kudlít was introduced for the first time, which allowed writing final consonants. He commented the following on his decision:[14] "The reason for putting the text of the Doctrina in Tagalog type... has been to begin the correction of the said Tagalog script, which, as it is, is so defective and confused (because of not having any method until now for expressing final consonants - I mean, those without vowels) that the most learned reader has to stop and ponder over many words to decide on the pronunciation which the writer intended." This krus-kudlít, or virama kudlít, did not catch on among baybayin users, however. Native baybayin experts were consulted about the new invention and were asked to adopt it and use it in all their writings. After praising the invention and showing gratitude for it, they decided that it could not be accepted into their writing because "It went against the intrinsic properties and nature that God had given their writing and that to use it was tantamount to destroy with one blow all the Syntax, Prosody and Orthography of their Tagalog language."[39]

In 1703, baybayin was reported to still be in use in the Comintan (Batangas and Laguna) and other areas of the Philippines.[40]

Among the earliest literature on the orthography of Visayan languages were those of Jesuit priest Ezguerra with his Arte de la lengua bisaya in 1747[41] and of Mentrida with his Arte de la lengua bisaya: Iliguaina de la isla de Panay in 1818 which primarily discussed grammatical structure.[42] Based on the differing sources spanning centuries, the documented syllabaries also differed in form.

The Monreal stone, which is the centerpiece at the baybayin section of the National Museum of Anthropology.

The Ticao stone inscription, also known as the Monreal stone or Rizal stone, is a limestone tablet that contains baybayin characters. Found by pupils of Rizal Elementary School on Ticao Island in Monreal town, Masbate, which had scraped the mud off their shoes and slippers on two irregular shaped limestone tablets before entering their classroom, they are now housed at a section of the National Museum of the Philippines, which weighs 30 kilos, is 11 centimeters thick, 54 cm long and 44 cm wide while the other is 6 cm thick, 20 cm long and 18 cm wide.[43][44]


The confusion over vowels (i/e and o/u) and final consonants, missing letters for Spanish sounds and the prestige of Spanish culture and writing may have contributed to the demise of baybayin over time, as eventually baybayin fell out of use in much of the Philippines. Learning the Latin alphabet also helped Filipinos to make socioeconomic progress under Spanish rule, as they could rise to relatively prestigious positions such as clerks, scribes and secretaries.[14] By 1745, Sebastián de Totanés wrote in his Arte de la lengua tagala that "The Indian [Filipino] who knows how to read [baybayin] is now rare, and rarer still is one who knows how to write [baybayin]. They now all read and write in our Castilian letters [Latin alphabet]."[3] Between 1751 and 1754, Juan José Delgado wrote that "the [native] men devoted themselves to the use of our [Latin] writing".[45]

The complete absence of pre-Hispanic specimens of usage of the baybayin script has led to a common misconception that fanatical Spanish priests must have burned or destroyed massive amounts of native documents. One of the scholars who proposed this theory is the anthropologist and historian H. Otley Beyer who wrote in "The Philippines before Magellan" (1921) that, "one Spanish priest in Southern Luzon boasted of having destroyed more than three hundred scrolls written in the native character". Historians have searched for the source of Beyer's claim, but no one has verified the name of the said priest.[14] There is no direct documentary evidence of substantial destruction of native pre-Hispanic documents by Spanish missionaries, and modern scholars such as Paul Morrow and Hector Santos[46] have accordingly rejected Beyer's suggestions. In particular, Santos suggested that only the occasional short documents of incantations, curses and spells that were deemed evil were possibly burned by the Spanish friars, and that the early missionaries only carried out the destruction of Christian manuscripts that were not acceptable to the Church. Santos rejected the idea that ancient pre-Hispanic manuscripts were systematically burned.[47] Morrow also noted that there are no recorded instances of ancient Filipinos writing on scrolls, and that the most likely reason why no pre-Hispanic documents survived is because they wrote on perishable materials such as leaves and bamboo. He also added that it is also arguable that Spanish friars actually helped to preserve baybayin by documenting and continuing its use even after it had been abandoned by most Filipinos.[14]

The scholar Isaac Donoso claims that the documents written in the native language and in the native script (particularly baybayin) played a significant role in the judicial and legal life of the colony and noted that many colonial-era documents written in baybayin are still present in some repositories, including the library of the University of Santo Tomas.[48] He also noted that the early Spanish missionaries did not suppress the usage of the baybayin script but instead may have even promoted it as a measure to stop Islamization, since the Tagalog language was moving from baybayin to Jawi, the Arabized script of Islamized Southeast Asian societies.[49]

While there were recorded at least two records of burning of Tagalog booklets of magic formulae during the early Spanish colonial period, scholar Jean Paul-Potet (2017) also commented that these booklets were written in Latin characters and not in the native baybayin script.[50] There are also no reports of Tagalog written scriptures, as they kept their theological knowledge unwritten and in oral form while reserving the use of the baybayin script for secular purposes and talismans.[51]

Modern descendants

The only surviving modern scripts that descended directly from the original baybayin script through natural development are the Tagbanwa script inherited from the Tagbanwa people by the Palawan people and named Ibalnan, the Buhid script and the Hanunóo script in Mindoro. Old Kapampangan, the precolonial Indic script used to write Kapampangan,[52] has been reformed in recent decades into the modern Kulitan script and now employs consonant stacking.

Modern Indic scripts
Script Region Sample
Ibalnan script Palawan
Hanunó'o script Mindoro
Buhid script Mindoro
Tagbanwa script Central and Northern Palawan


A Filipino dha sword inscribed with baybayin characters
Variants of baybayin

Baybayin is an abugida (alphasyllabary), which means that it makes use of consonant-vowel combinations. Each character or titik,[53] written in its basic form, is a consonant ending with the vowel "A". To produce consonants ending with other vowel sounds, a mark called a kudlít[53] is placed either above the character (to produce an "E" or "I" sound) or below the character (to produce an "O" or "U" sound). To write words beginning with a vowel, three characters are used, one each for A, E/I and O/U.


Examples of hand-drawn/decorative style base letters
Independent vowels Base consonants (with implicit vowel a)

















The base characters with all consonant-vowel and virama combinations











Note that the second to last row features the pamudpod virama " ᜕" (U+1715), which was introduced by Antoon Postma to the Hanunuo script. The last row of clusters with the krus-kudlít virama "+", were an addition to the original script, introduced by the Spanish priest Francisco Lopez in 1620.

There is only one symbol or character for Da or Ra as they were allophones in many languages of the Philippines, where Ra occurred in intervocalic positions and Da occurred elsewhere. The grammatical rule has survived in modern Filipino, so that when a d is between two vowels, it becomes an r, as in the words dangál (honour) and marangál (honourable), or dunong (knowledge) and marunong (knowledgeable), and even raw for daw (he said, she said, they said, it was said, allegedly, reportedly, supposedly) and rin for din (also, too) after vowels.[14] However, baybayin script variants like Sambal, Basahan, and Ibalnan, to name a few, have separate symbols for Da and Ra.

The same symbol is also used to represent the Pa and Fa (or Pha), Ba and Va, and Sa and Za which were also allophonic. A single character represented nga. The current version of the Filipino alphabet still retains "ng" as a digraph. Beside these phonetic considerations, the script is monocameral and does not use letter case for distinguishing proper names or initials of words starting sentences.

Virama kudlít (krus-kudlít)

The original writing method was particularly difficult for the Spanish priests who were translating books into the vernaculars, because originally baybayin omitted the final consonant without a vowel. This could cause confusion for readers over which word or pronunciation a writer originally intended. For example, 'bundok' (mountain) would have been spelled as 'bu-du', with the final consonants of each syllable omitted. Because of this, Francisco López introduced his own kudlít in 1620, called a sabat or krus, that cancelled the implicit a vowel sound and which allowed a final consonant to be written. The kudlít was in the form of a "+" sign,[55] in reference to Christianity. This cross-shaped kudlít functions exactly the same as the virama in many other Brahmic scripts. In fact, Unicode calls this kudlít "tagalog sign virama". (U+1714 TAGALOG SIGN VIRAMA)

Virama pamudpod

The Pamudpod sign

The pamudpod (U+1734 HANUNOO SIGN PAMUDPOD) is part of the Hanunuo script and functions as a virama. As of Unicode 14.0, a separate pamudpod for the Baybayin script (U+1715 TAGALOG SIGN PAMUDPOD) is encoded in the Tagalog Unicode block.

Punctuation and spacing

Baybayin originally used only one punctuation mark (), which was called Bantasán.[53][56] Today baybayin uses two punctuation marks, the Philippine single () punctuation, acting as a comma or verse splitter in poetry, and the double punctuation (), acting as a period or end of paragraph. These punctuation marks are similar to single and double danda signs in other Indic Abugidas and may be presented vertically like Indic dandas, or slanted like forward slashes. The signs are unified across Philippines scripts and were encoded by Unicode in the Hanunóo script block.[57] Space separation of words was historically not used as words were written in a continuous flow, but is common today.[14]


  • In the Doctrina Christiana, the letters of baybayin were collated (without any connection with other similar script, except sorting vowels before consonants) as:
    A, U/O, I/E; Ha, Pa, Ka, Sa, La, Ta, Na, Ba, Ma, Ga, Da/Ra, Ya, NGa, Wa.[58]
  • In Unicode the letters are collated in coherence with other Indic scripts, by phonetic proximity for consonants:
    A, I/E, U/O; Ka, Ga, Nga; Ta, Da/Ra, Na; Pa, Ba, Ma; Ya, Ra, La, Wa, Sa, Ha.[59]


Pre-colonial and colonial usage

Baybayin historically was used in Tagalog and to a lesser extent Kapampangan-speaking areas. Its use spread to the Ilocanos when the Spanish promoted its use with the printing of Bibles. Baybayin was noted by the Spanish priest Pedro Chirino in 1604 and Antonio de Morga in 1609 to be known by most Filipinos, stating that there is hardly a man and much less a woman, who does not read and write in the letters used in the "island of Manila".[31] It was noted that they did not write books or keep records, but used baybayin for personal writings like small notes and messages, poetry and signing documents.[36]

Traditionally, baybayin was written upon palm leaves with styli or upon bamboo with knives, the writing tools were called panulat.[60] The curved shape of the letter forms of baybayin is a direct result of this heritage; straight lines would have torn the leaves.[61] Once the letters were carved into the bamboo, it was wiped with ash to make the characters stand out more. An anonymous source from 1590 states:

When they write, it is on some tablets made of the bamboos which they have in those islands, on the bark. In using such a tablet, which is four fingers wide, they do not write with ink, but with some scribers with which they cut the surface and bark of the bamboo, and make the letters.[14]

1613 (Document A) and 1625 (Document B)

During the era of Spanish colonization, most baybayin began being written with ink on paper using a sharpened quill,[62] or printed in books (using the woodcut technique) to facilitate the spread of Christianity.[63] In some parts of the country like Mindoro the traditional writing technique has been retained.[64] Filipinos began keeping paper records of their property and financial transactions, and would write down lessons they were taught in church, all in baybayin.[14] The scholar Isaac Donoso claims that the documents written in the native language and in baybayin played a significant role in the judicial and legal life of the colony.[48] The University of Santo Tomas Baybayin Documents cover two legal real estate transactions in 1613, written in baybayin, (labelled as Document A dated 15 February 1613)[65] and 1625 (labelled as Document B dated 4 December 1625)[66]

Modern usage

Philippine passport (2016 edition) showing the Baybayin script

A number of legislative bills have been proposed periodically aiming to promote the writing system, among them is the "National Writing System Act" (House Bill 1022[67]/Senate Bill 433[68]). It is used in the most current New Generation Currency series of the Philippine peso issued in the last quarter of 2010. The word used on the bills was "Pilipino" (ᜉᜒᜎᜒᜉᜒᜈᜓ).

It is also used in Philippine passports, specifically the latest e-passport edition issued 11 August 2009 onwards. The odd pages of pages 3–43 have "ᜀᜅ᜔ ᜃᜆᜓᜏᜒᜇᜈ᜔ ᜀᜌ᜔ ᜈᜄ᜔ᜉᜉᜇᜃᜒᜎ ᜐ ᜁᜐᜅ᜔ ᜊᜌᜈ᜔" ("Ang katuwiran ay nagpapadakila sa isang bayan"/"Righteousness exalts a nation") in reference to Proverbs 14:34.


The Lord's Prayer (Ama Namin)

Baybayin script Latin script English (1928 BCP)[69]
(current Filipino Catholic version[70])

ᜀᜋ ᜈᜋᜒᜈ᜔᜵ ᜐᜓᜋᜐᜎᜅᜒᜆ᜔ ᜃ᜵
ᜐᜋ᜔ᜊᜑᜒᜈ᜔ ᜀᜅ᜔ ᜅᜎᜈ᜔ ᜋᜓ᜶
ᜋᜉᜐᜀᜋᜒᜈ᜔ ᜀᜅ᜔ ᜃᜑᜇᜒᜀᜈ᜔ ᜋᜓ᜵
ᜐᜓᜈ᜔ᜇᜒᜈ᜔ ᜀᜅ᜔ ᜎᜓᜂᜊ᜔ ᜋᜓ᜵
ᜇᜒᜆᜓ ᜐ ᜎᜓᜉ᜵ ᜉᜇ ᜈᜅ᜔ ᜐ ᜎᜅᜒᜆ᜔᜶

ᜊᜒᜄ᜔ᜌᜈ᜔ ᜋᜓ ᜃᜋᜒ ᜅᜌᜓᜈ᜔ ᜈᜅ᜔ ᜀᜋᜒᜅ᜔ ᜃᜃᜈᜒᜈ᜔ ᜐ ᜀᜇᜏ᜔ ᜀᜇᜏ᜔᜵
ᜀᜆ᜔ ᜉᜆᜏᜇᜒᜈ᜔ ᜋᜓ ᜃᜋᜒ ᜐ ᜀᜋᜒᜅ᜔ ᜋᜅ ᜐᜎ᜵
ᜉᜇ ᜈᜅ᜔ ᜉᜄ᜔ᜉᜉᜆᜏᜇ᜔ ᜈᜋᜒᜈ᜔ ᜐ ᜋᜅ ᜈᜄ᜔ᜃᜃᜐᜎ ᜐ ᜀᜋᜒᜈ᜔᜶

ᜀᜆ᜔ ᜑᜓᜏᜄ᜔ ᜋᜓ ᜃᜋᜒᜅ᜔ ᜁᜉᜑᜒᜈ᜔ᜆᜓᜎᜓᜆ᜔ ᜐ ᜆᜓᜃ᜔ᜐᜓ᜵
ᜀᜆ᜔ ᜁᜀᜇ᜔ᜌ ᜋᜓ ᜃᜋᜒ ᜐ ᜋᜐᜋ᜶ ᜐᜒᜌ ᜈᜏ

Ama namin, sumasalangit ka,
Sambahín ang ngalan mo.
Mapasaamin ang kaharián mo,
Sundín ang loób mo,
Dito sa lupà, para nang sa langit.

Bigyán mo kamí ngayón ng aming kakanin sa arau-arau;
At patawarin mo kamí sa aming mga salà,
Para nang pagpapatawad namin sa mga nagkakasalà sa amin.

At huwág mo kamíng ipahintulot sa tuksó,
At iadyâ mo kamí sa masamâ. Siya nawâ.

Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. Amen.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Baybayin script Latin script English translation

ᜀᜅ᜔ ᜎᜑᜆ᜔ ᜈᜅ᜔ ᜆᜂ ᜀᜌ᜔ ᜁᜐᜒᜈᜒᜎᜅ᜔ ᜈ ᜋᜎᜌ
ᜀᜆ᜔ ᜉᜈ᜔ᜆᜌ᜔ᜉᜈ᜔ᜆᜌ᜔ ᜐ ᜃᜇᜅᜎᜈ᜔ ᜀᜆ᜔ ᜋᜅ ᜃᜇᜉᜆᜈ᜔᜶

ᜐᜒᜎ ᜀᜌ᜔ ᜉᜒᜈᜄ᜔ᜃᜎᜓᜂᜊᜈ᜔ ᜈᜅ᜔ ᜃᜆᜓᜏᜒᜇᜈ᜔ ᜀᜆ᜔ ᜊᜓᜇ᜔ᜑᜒ
ᜀᜆ᜔ ᜇᜉᜆ᜔ ᜋᜄ᜔ᜉᜎᜄᜌᜈ᜔ ᜀᜅ᜔ ᜁᜐᜆ᜔ ᜁᜐ ᜐ ᜇᜒᜏ ᜈᜅ᜔ ᜉᜄ᜔ᜃᜃᜉᜆᜒᜇᜈ᜔᜶

Ang lahát ng tao'y isinilang na malayà
at pantáy-pantáy sa karangalan at mga karapatán.

Sila'y pinagkalooban ng katuwiran at budhî
at dapat magpalagayan ang isá't isá sa diwà ng pagkákapatíran.

All human beings are born free
and equal in dignity and rights.

They are endowed with reason and conscience
and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 1 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, handwritten in Filipino Baybayin script.

Motto of the Philippines

Baybayin script Latin script English translation
ᜋᜃᜃᜎᜒᜃᜐᜈ᜔᜵ ᜀᜆ᜔
Makakalikasan, at
For God,
For People,
For Nature, and
For Country.
ᜁᜐᜅ᜔ ᜊᜈ᜔ᜐ᜵
ᜁᜐᜅ᜔ ᜇᜒᜏ᜶
Isáng Bansâ,
Isáng Diwà
One Country,
One Spirit.

National anthem

Below are the first two verses of the Philippine national anthem, Lupang Hinirang, in Baybayin.

Baybayin Latin script IPA transcription English translation

ᜊᜌᜅ᜔ ᜋᜄᜒᜎᜒᜏ᜔᜵
ᜉᜒᜇ᜔ᜎᜐ᜔ ᜈᜅ᜔ ᜐᜒᜎᜅᜈᜈ᜔᜵
ᜀᜎᜊ᜔ ᜈᜅ᜔ ᜉᜓᜐᜓ᜵
ᜐ ᜇᜒᜊ᜔ᜇᜒᜊ᜔ ᜋᜓᜌ᜔ ᜊᜓᜑᜌ᜔᜶

ᜎᜓᜉᜅ᜔ ᜑᜒᜈᜒᜇᜅ᜔᜵
ᜇᜓᜌᜈ᜔ ᜃ ᜈᜅ᜔ ᜋᜄᜒᜆᜒᜅ᜔᜵
ᜐ ᜋᜈ᜔ᜎᜓᜎᜓᜉᜒᜄ᜔᜵
ᜇᜒ ᜃ ᜉᜐᜒᜐᜒᜁᜎ᜔᜶

Bayang magiliw,
Perlas ng silanganan,
Alab ng puso
Sa dibdib mo'y buhay.

Lupang hinirang,
Duyan ka ng magiting,
Sa manlulupig
Di ka pasisiil.

[ˈba.jɐŋ mɐ.ˈɡi.lɪʊ̯]
[ˈpeɾ.lɐs nɐŋ sɪ.lɐ.ˈŋa.nɐn]
[ˈa.lɐb nɐŋ ˈʔ)]
[sa dɪb.ˈdib moɪ̯ ˈbu.haɪ̯]

[ˈlu.pɐŋ hɪ.ˈni.ɾɐŋ]
[ˈdu.jɐn k(x)ɐ nɐŋ mɐ.ˈɡi.tɪŋ]
[sa mɐn.lʊ.ˈlu.pɪg]
[ˈdi(ʔ) k(x)ɐ pɐ.sɪ.sɪ.ˈʔil]

Land of the morning,
Child of the sun returning,
With fervor burning
Thee do our souls adore.

Land dear and holy,
Cradle of noble heroes,
Ne'er shall invaders
Trample thy sacred shores.

Example sentences










ᜋᜄ᜔ ᜉᜃᜑᜒᜈᜑᜓᜈ᜔᜶


ᜌᜋᜅ᜔ ᜇᜒ ᜈᜄ᜔ᜃᜃᜂᜈᜏᜀᜈ᜔᜵ ᜀᜌ᜔ {ᜋᜄ᜔ ᜉᜃᜑᜒᜈᜑᜓᜈ᜔᜶}

Yamang ‘di nagkakaunawaan, ay magpakahinahon.

Remain calm in disagreements.










ᜋᜄ᜔ᜆᜈᜒᜋ᜔ ᜀᜌ᜔ ᜇᜒ ᜊᜒᜇᜓ᜶

Magtaním ay 'di birò.

Planting is not a joke.














ᜀᜅ᜔ ᜃᜊᜆᜀᜈ᜔ ᜀᜅ᜔ ᜉᜄ᜔ᜀᜐ ᜈᜅ᜔ ᜊᜌᜈ᜔᜶

Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan.

The youth is the hope of the country.

















ᜋᜋᜑᜎᜒᜈ᜔ ᜃᜒᜆ ᜑᜅ᜔ᜄᜅ᜔ ᜐ ᜉᜓᜋᜓᜆᜒ ᜀᜅ᜔ ᜊᜓᜑᜓᜃ᜔ ᜃᜓ᜶

Mámahalin kitá hanggáng sa pumutî ang buhók ko.

I will love you until my hair turns white.


Baybayin was added to the Unicode Standard in March, 2002 with the release of version 3.2.


Baybayin is included in Unicode under the name 'Tagalog'.

BaybayinTagalog Unicode range: U+1700–U+171F

Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
1.^ As of Unicode version 15.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points



A screenshot image of the baybayin keyboard on Gboard.

The virtual keyboard app Gboard developed by Google for Android and iOS devices was updated on 1 August 2019[71] its list of supported languages. This includes all Unicode suyat blocks. Included are "Buhid", "Hanunuo", baybayin as "Filipino (Baybayin)", and the Tagbanwa script as "Aborlan".[72] The baybayin layout, "Filipino (Baybayin)", is designed such that when the user presses the character, vowel markers (kudlít) for e/i and o/u, as well as the virama (vowel sound cancellation) are selectable.

Philippines Unicode Keyboard Layout with baybayin

It is possible to type baybayin directly from one's keyboard without the need to use web applications which implement an input method. The Philippines Unicode Keyboard Layout[73] includes different sets of baybayin layout for different keyboard users: QWERTY, Capewell-Dvorak, Capewell-QWERF 2006, Colemak, and Dvorak, all of which work in both Microsoft Windows and Linux.

This keyboard layout with baybayin can be downloaded here.

See also


  1. Spelling with the cross-shaped virama (krus-kudlit). The spelling without any virama is ᜊᜊᜌᜒ and with the pamudpod is ᜊᜌ᜕ᜊᜌᜒᜈ᜕.


  1. Borrinaga, Rolando O. (22 September 2010). "In Focus: The Mystery of the Ancient Inscription (An Article on the Calatagan Pot)". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  3. de Totanés, Sebastián (1745). Arte de la lenga tagalog. p. 3. No se trata de los caracteres tagalos, porque es ya raro el indio que los sabe leer, y rarisimo el que los sabe escribir. En los nuestros castellanos leen ya, y escriben todos.
  4. Morrow, Paul (7 April 2011). "Baybayin Styles & Their Sources". Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  5. "UST Archives". University of Santo Tomas. Archived from the original on 24 May 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  6. Lao, Levine (15 January 2012). "UST Collection of Ancient Scripts in 'Baybayin' Syllabary Shown to Public". Lifestyle.Inq. Retrieved 6 March 2022.
  7. Kabuay, Kristian (16 January 2012). "UST Baybayin Collection Shown to Public". Kristian Kabuay. Retrieved 6 March 2022.
  8. "House of Representatives Press Releases". Retrieved 7 May 2020. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  9. Brennan, Fredrick R. (18 July 2018). "The baybayin "ra"—ᜍ its origins and a plea for its formal recognition" (PDF).
  10. San Buenaventura, Pedro (1613). "Vocabulario de Lengua Tagala". Bahay Saliksikan ng Tagalog. Archived from the original on 26 July 2020. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  11. Orejas, Tonette (27 April 2018). "Protect All PH Writing Systems, Heritage Advocates Urge Congress". Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  12. Halili 2004, p. 47.
  13. Duka 2008, pp. 32–33.
  14. Morrow, Paul (2002). "Baybayin: The Ancient Script of the Philippines".
  15. de los Santos, Norman (2015). Philippine Indigenous Writing Systems in the Modern World (PDF). Presented at the "Thirteenth International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics". 13-ICAL – 2015, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan 18 July–23, 2015.
  16. Acharya, Amitav (n.d.). The "Indianization of Southeast Asia" Revisited: Initiative, Adaptation and Transformation in Classical Civilizations (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 January 2020. Retrieved 3 April 2018 via
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  18. Sagar 2002, p. 52.
  19. Diringer 1948, p. 402.
  20. Lukas, Helmut (n.d.). "Theories of Indianization Exemplified by Selected Case Studies from Indonesia (Insular Southeast Asia)". Working Papers: 1 via
  21. Krom, N.J. (1927). Barabudur, Archeological Description. The Hague.
  22. Smith, Monica L. (1999). ""Indianization" from the Indian Point of View: Trade and Cultural Contacts with Southeast Asia in the Early First Millennium C.E". Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient. 42 (11–17): 1–26. doi:10.1163/1568520991445588. JSTOR 3632296.
  23. Court, Christopher (1996). "The Spread of Brahmi Script into Southeast Asia.". In Daniels, Peter T; Bright, William (eds.). The World's Writing Systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 445–449.
  24. Philippine Indic studies: Fletcher Gardner. 2005.
  25. Miller, Christopher (2010). "A Gujarati Origin for Scripts of Sumatra, Sulawesi and the Philippines". In Rolle, Nicholas; Steman, Jeremy; Sylak-Glassman, John (eds.). Proceedings of the Thirty Sixth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, February 6-7, 2010. Berkeley, California: Berkeley Linguistics Society. pp. 276–291. doi:10.3765/bls.v36i1.3917.
  26. Diringer 1948, pp. 421–443.
  27. Scott 1984
  28. Caldwell, Ian (1988). South Sulawesi AD 1300–1600: Ten Bugis Texts (PhD thesis). Australian National University. p. 17.
  29. Diringer 1948, p. 423.
  30. "Butuan Ivory Seal". National Museum Collections. Archived from the original on 24 March 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  31. Wade, Geoff (1993). "On the Possible Cham Origin of the Philippine Scripts". Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. 24 (1): 44–87. doi:10.1017/S0022463400001508. JSTOR 20071506. S2CID 162902640.
  32. Guillermo, Ramon G.; Paluga, Myfel Joseph D. (2011). "Barang king banga: A Visayan language reading of the Calatagan pot inscription (CPI)". Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. 42: 121–159. doi:10.1017/S0022463410000561. S2CID 162984793.
  33. de San Agustin, Caspar (1646). Conquista de las Islas Filipinas 1565-1615. 'Tienen sus letras y caracteres como los malayos, de quien los aprendieron; con ellos escriben con unos punzones en cortezas de caña y hojas de palmas, pero nunca se les halló escritura antinua alguna ni luz de su orgen y venida a estas islas, conservando sus costumbres y ritos por tradición de padres a hijos sin otra noticia alguna.'
  34. de Santa Inés, Francisco (1676). Crónica de la provincia de San Gregorio Magno de religiosos descalzos de N. S. P. San Francisco en las Islas Filipinas, China, Japón, etc. pp. 41–42.
  35. Miller, Christopher (2014). "A survey of indigenous scripts of Indonesia and the Philippines". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  36. Scott 1984, p. 210.
  37. Morrow, Paul (11 November 2002). "Baybayin Styles & Their Sources". Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  38. Morrow, Paul (n.d.). "Amami - A Fragment of the Ilokano Lord's Prayer, 1620". Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  39. Espallargas, Joseph G. (1974). A Study of the Ancient Philippine Syllabary with Particular Attention to Its Tagalog Version (MA thesis). Ateneo de Manila University. p. 98.
  40. de San Agustín, Gaspar (1703). Compendio de la arte de la lengua tagala. p. 142. Por último pondré el modo, que tenían de escribir antiguamente, y al presente lo usan en el Comintan (Provincias de la laguna y Batangas) y otras partes.
  41. P. Domingo Ezguerra (1601–1670) (1747) [c. 1663]. Arte de la lengua bisaya de la provincia de Leyte. apendice por el P. Constantino Bayle. Imp. de la Compañía de Jesús. ISBN 9780080877754.
  42. Pardo de Tavera, T. H. (1884). Contribución para el estudio de los antiguos alfabetos filipinos (in Spanish). Losana: Imprenta de Jaunin Hermanos.
  43. Escandor, Juan Jr (3 July 2014). "Muddied Stones Reveal Ancient Scripts". Retrieved 6 March 2022.
  44. Borrinaga, Rolando O. (n.d.). Romancing the Ticao Stones: Preliminary Transcription, Decipherment, Translation, and Some Notes (PDF). Paper for presentation at The 1st Philippine Conference on the "Baybayin" Stones of Ticao, Masbate, 5–6 August 2011, Monreal, Masbate Province via
  45. Delgado 1892, pp. 331–333.
  46. Santos, Hector (26 October 1996). "Extinction of a Philippine Script". A Philippine Leaf. Retrieved 15 September 2019. However, when I started looking for documents that could confirm it, I couldn't find any. I pored over historians' accounts of burnings (especially Beyer) looking for footnotes that may provide leads as to where their information came from. Sadly, their sources, if they had any, were not documented.
  47. Santos, Hector (26 October 1996). "Extinction of a Philippine Script". A Philippine Leaf. Archived from the original on 15 September 2019. Retrieved 15 September 2019. But if any burnings happened as a result of this order to Fr. Chirino, they would have resulted in destruction of Christian manuscripts that were not acceptable to the Church and not of ancient manuscripts that did not exist in the first place. Short documents burned? Yes. Ancient manuscripts? No.
  48. Donoso 2019, pp. 89–103: "What is important to us is the relevant activity during these centuries to study, write and even print in Baybayin. And this task is not strange in other regions of the Spanish Empire. In fact indigenous documents placed a significant role in the judicial and legal life of the colonies. Documents in other language than Spanish were legally considered, and Pedro de Castro says that "I have seen in the archives of Lipa and Batangas many documents with these characters". Nowadays we can find Baybayin documents in some repositories, including the oldest library in the country, the University of Santo Tomás."
  49. Donoso 2019, p. 92: "Secondly, if Baybayin was not deleted but promoted and we know that Manila was becoming an important Islamic entrepôt, it is feasible to think that Baybayin was in a mutable phase in Manila area at the Spanish advent. This is to say, like in other areas of the Malay world, Jawi script and Islam were replacing Baybayin and Hindu-Buddhist culture. Namely Spaniards might have promoted Baybayin as a way to stop Islamization since the Tagalog language was moving from Baybayin to Jawi script.".
  50. Potet 2017, p. 66.
  51. Potet 2017, pp. 58–59: "the Tagalogs kept their theological knowledge unwritten, and only used their syllabic alphabet (Baybayin) for secular pursuits and, perhaps, talismans.".
  52. " "Christopher Ray Miller's answer to is Baybayin really a writing system in the entire pre-Hispanic Philippines? What's the basis for making it a national writing system if pre-Hispanic kingdoms weren't homogenous? - Quora".
  53. Potet 2018, p. 95.
  54. Casiño, Eric S. (1977). "Reviewed Work: The Mangyans of Mindoro: An Ethnohistory, Violeta B. Lopez; Born Primitive in The Philippines, Severino N. Luna". Philippine Studies. 25 (4): 470–472. JSTOR 42632398.
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  59. Unicode Baybayin Tagalog variant
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  64. Scott 1984.
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  66. Morrow, Paul (n.d.). "Document B". Retrieved 7 March 2022.
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  69. "The 1928 Book of Common Prayer: Family Prayer". The Book of Common Prayer. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
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Works cited

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