Explore the living beauty of the baybayin and discover how Philippine ancients thought within an indigenous worldview; share how baybayin writing symbols and other writing symbols and symbolism around the world have deeper meaning.

The baybayin is an ancient writing system used in the Philippines before Western colonization. For modern Filipinos, discovering the mere existence of the baybayin is like discovering a missing piece of their cultural identity.

Delving into baybayin meaning is one way that we Filipinos can reclaim the ancient beauty of our ancestors that is deeply embedded within our Filipino identities and our human existence.

Our ancestors believed one could connect with the Earth, Water, Sky, Air and Fire… that you could speak with the moon, sun, trees, river, boat, house… They believed that all things have a spirit… This is the source of how our indigenous ancestors communed with and celebrated All of Life.

Understanding and reconnecting with Life in all creation is somehow related to understanding the metaphors of symbolism. It calls upon your resolve to dig deep and unlock within your Loob and your physical memories stored in your DNA. To remember this way is to shed tears in relief and in joy, to smile and even laugh at how easy it finally all came out. And to celebrate a renewed connection to your ancestors. When we calm and quite our modernized thinking then we can come to know again the wind, the earth and the stars that our ancestors conversed with. Our ancestors whisper to us in our dreams—“We are here, always waiting.”

In this blog, the exploration of the deeper meanings of baybayin symbols can be as simple as the subjective process of interpreting art forms. It can be a discussion on other symbols in the Philippines or around the world or it can be citing written materials or oral experiences. To explore the meanings that the symbols have is to also come upon another dimension of understanding for various Filipino words.

This baybayin blog, just one process among many other baybayin experiences out there in the world, attempts to uncover the beauty of our ancestors’ psyche and the Filipino spirit.

I humbly offer that exploring the baybayin in different ways is a journey deeper into one’s inner most Self(kaloob-looban), and that baybayin meaning can help bring about an awakening… small steps towards pagbabalikloob and decolonization.

Learning how to understand the deeper meanings of baybayin can help us learn how our ancestors thought and about the indigenous mind and worldview. Our ancestors believed that all things have a soul and meaning because of their animist spirituality. Animists believe that trees (and things you make from trees such as bangka(boat), houses, chair), stones, weapons, plants, animals, and people (no matter their color, race, religion or technological advancement), Earth, stars, moon, sun… all things have a spirit…

This is the source of how our indigenous ancestors communed with and celebrated All of Life.

We can thus heal from imperial trauma and programming, shrug our colonial shame and release the dysfunction and pain of suppressing our indigenous heritage.

Delving into baybayin meaning is one way that we Filipinos can reclaim the ancient beauty of our ancestors that is deeply embedded within our Filipino identities and our human existence.

My desire and objective for this blog is to not only connect readers with some of the deeper meanings of baybayin that other Filipinos have discovered but also to hear from readers how they too have found the baybayin to have meaning for them and to also be alive for them in their own lives. This blog will try to be a way to connect with Kapwa and cultivate our collective awareness of pakikipagkapwa, that is, our Sacred Interconnection with each other, with our ancestors, with humanity, our Earthly existence and all of Creation.

Who and when is the original source of the concept of the deeper meanings? There are many Filipinos who find meanings in the baybayin and its individual symbols and these have been mostly shared orally in close-knit circles or in educational settings. How long has this oral knowledge been circulated? No one really knows. It is unfair and inaccurate to date this knowledge only by what has been published in books(or anywhere else). Even when Pedro Paterno or Guillermo Tolentino published their ideas, theories and findings about baybayin within the past century, those publications and their dates are no indicators that they were the first to speak of or even share these concepts.The deeper meanings of baybayin have not been documented before modern times. But what is well documented is that the people of the Philippine islands were animists, that is, they believed that people and all things have a spirit, a Soul (see full post). Animists give all things and occurrences meaning and respect. ()Christians misconstrue animists’ communications with nature as pagan worship, and thus label it idolatry or in extreme cases satanism. But animism is a connection with all of Life and thus the reverence for the existence of all things–earth, minerals, plants, animals, humans, heavenly bodies, and thus the respect and honoring of all Life.Thus baybayin symbols were very well subject to Philippine peoples’ animistic tendencies to give meaning and spiritual value to things. It is in fact historically recorded in other cultures, such as the Hebrew, Tibetan and Nordic writing systems, that symbols have deeper meaning and spiritual significance. We know that American Natives too gave their symbolism deeper meaning too. Although some visitors believe that this practice is european it is in not the case and is rather a universal thing among humans around the world and throughout human existence, and we can believe that is fact, recorded or not.

We also know that when Europeans came to the Philippine Islands and studied local peoples’ sacred objects and practices, they recorded what they observed and saw, but many times were not privy to the deeper, spiritual meanings of local practices, lets say, of tattoo symbols or rituals. They were not shared because of several reasons—they were outsiders, they would not understand or they would not respect their beliefs and rather demean them. We know that even today, the many espiritista groups in the Philippines do not record their prayers or inner workings of their practices and rituals nor do they share with outsiders their activities.

The Internet is still relatively new so even if myself or anyone else publishes the meanings and ideas about baybayin online “first” it is still not an accurate gauge of when these ideas first came out chronologically. Neither is my publishing this blog an indicator of ownership or copyright on the deeper meanings of baybayin. The intention is to share and in the sharing connect with each other in pakikipagkapwa.

As I get to know more and more people who do baybayin work, I see different ways that baybayin is alive for others. Historical knowledge is one way to explore the symbolism. Writing and reading it is yet another. Rendering baybayin in artistic forms another. And finding meaning and richness in baybayin subtleties is yet another.  Baybayin enthusiasts relate to the symbols in overlapping, different and ever evolving new ways.

How is baybayin alive for you? I invite you to post comments or email me to share your own experience and stories.

The basis of animist spirituality is

the belief that all things have a

soul and meaning. To believe that

all things have a spirit is a source

of respect and reverence for all of Life. 

This is also part of the indigenous

mind and worldview.

Ask questions. Seek Answers.

Mabuhay— be filled with Life & Light.