Earlier this week, the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture passed a bill declaring Baybayin as a national writing system. While the bill only requires Baybayin to be used for local food product labels, street signs, public buildings, and the names of magazine and newspaper publishers, it's interesting to imagine what everyday life look like if Baybayin had been the dominant writing system here and abroad.
Graphic designer Lloyd Zapanta thought about this too—he's been thinking about this for a while, in fact, creating logo mockups since 2015 using Baybayin. His first set includes big local companies like Cebu Pacific, Jollibee, Meralco, and Globe. He’s also reimagined the logos of Filipino news shows and telenovelas, as well as popular international brands.
Zapanta's fascination with the ancient script began during his childhood. He used a watch an ABS-CBN show called Hero, which celebrated all things related to Filipino culture. The program’s opening sequence included the word “bayani” written on an open book, with the Baybayin translation below.
In 2014, he saw graphic artist Vincent Rogel Africa’s Baybayin versions of logos on Deviantart, and became inspired to make his own.
However, Zapanta doesn't think that the country isn't necessarily ready for Baybayin: “Even though I've [been] a Baybayin enthusiast since high school, I think that the bill lacks the proper fundamentals to make it usable for today's use of language, especially [since] we use a lot of foreign words. The bill must start with how it should be taught in schools and a program for transition—from Latin alphabet to Baybayin,” he says.
“However, Baybayin was purposely made for the Tagalog language,” he adds. “Though we can retrofit Baybayin for other Philippine languages, it leaves other native writing systems in the dust. We have also have Kulitan for Kapampangan language, Tagbanwa from Palawan, Hanunó’o and Buhid of the Mangyan people. Personally, if we want a writing system that we can all own as Filipinos, then it must be inclusive to represent all our languages and cultures here in the Philippines.”