Bonifacio F. Comandante, Jr.
(Presented at the 1st MLE Conference, “Reclaiming the Right to Learn in One’s Own Language,” Capitol University, Cagayan de Oro City, Feb 18-20, 2010.)
ABSTRACT: Miguel Lopez de Legaspi first experienced the linguistic diversity of the Philippine Archipelago on 1565. In the succeeding years, Catholic missionaries were heaping praises on the excellence of Baybayin Language, not hesitating to compare it even to the Hebrew, Greek and Latin, the prestigious language of the letters and religion during that time.
Fletcher Gardner in 1938 quoted Luyon wife of Yagao (Tribal Mangyan) as saying, “Our writing never changes as it is taught to the children.” Extant Baybayin scripts such as Tagalog, Ilocano, Bisaya, Bohol, Bicol, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Hinunoo, Buhid, Bangon and Tagbanwa have been found very recently to predate the birth of Christ.
While Filipinos lost the ancient art of writing in favor of the Spanish Orthography, the spoken Baybayin language fortunately enough has flourished to this very day. Long before the arrival of the Spaniards, Baybayin has been used in detailing personal and domestic interests, postal scheme, writing poems, art works, healing modalities and in conducting rituals for festivities and spirituality. Higher education back then was conducted by teachers called “Pantas.”
For the complete article, click on Ancient Baybayin.