The Philippines is a country with a very rich and diverse culture. With over 7,000 islands settled in the Pacific ocean in Southeast Asia, it has been a port utilized for trade and a pit stop for countries exploring the open waters. It is the country’s accessible and convenient location that has also subjected it to imperialism, being used as a strategic post for political advances. The US of A, Japan, and Spain are countries who have all had their slices of the Philippine pie, the latter ruling the 3rd world country for nearly 300 years, all of which has contributed to reshaping the culture of Filipinos. The influence of its colonizers can be seen in much of the Philippine culture today – foods have similarities to Spanish dishes, dialects carry the same phonetics as the Spanish and Malay languages, and pop culture is practically a mirror of western media with shows like Pinoy Big Brother and Pinoy Idol.
However, the culture that exists today and has been able to adapt and transform throughout its history of colonization has also left behind significant cultural pieces that once defined and dominated the landscape. One of those artifacts that I have been obsessed with the past few years is the language of Alibata, one of the Philippines’ earliest and original native writing scripts. Also known as Baybayin which literally means “to spell”, this language is believed to be used as early as the 14th century. The introduction of the Spanish in 1521 marked the beginning of Alibata’s decline. The roman alphabet today is the dominant script in the Philippines and is used to write most, if not all of its 170 dialects. Despite the fact that it is vanishing, there are still few who have written about the language and have been able to call attention to the fading language. Luckily, I discovered one of these publications a few years back and have been interested in exploring the history and dynamics of the script ever since. I have studied the language and have experimented with its type in various processes, creating my own interpretations and compositions of the script. Below are a few pieces I have experimented with but please mind that they are in their early stages. I have yet to refine all of them but I wanted to share with you the writing script that is slowly fading away into extinction. I plan to carry this project to completion to serve as a foundation for the existence of Alibata and its future. Hope you enjoy.
For more samples of this project, view it in the Portfolio.