Bayani de Leon, Musician Extraordinaire and Baybayin scholar

Posted on Jul 26, 2010 in people, resources


published 1992
Figure 15. Master Table showing all 
43 letters of the expanded Baybayin
(Page 46, Baybayin: The Ancient 
Script of the Philippines)

One of the available contemporary printed resources on baybayin is Baybayin: The Ancient Script of the Philippines, written by Bayani Mendoza de Leon and published in 1992.

Contrary to any wan internet searches for this book or its unavailability on Amazon.com, this publication is still available for purchase in the U.S. from sources such as Linda Nietes’ Philippine Expressions book store.

Bayani’s book presents the baybayin writing along with some modifications with regards to the consonants  and the glyphs and he also introduces some letters that were not part of the original baybayin in order to attain a versatile Philippine script that can be successfully used in modern times.

There is very little information on Bayani available online except for the one entry in Wikipilipinas. That page is chockful of info on his musical background and also mentions that:

Aside from all his award-winning musical compositions, Mr. de Leon was also named one of the “2008 Most Outstanding Filipino American Achievers of America” and is listed in Grove’s International Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

Outside of his musical career, Bayani Mendoza de Leon had worked at the National Media Production Center where he was the vernacular section chief, and editor of “Pag-asa”, a government-published magazine. His first love, however, had been literature. His short story, “Mga Luha Ni Lela” won a Palanca award in 1965, the Philippines’ highest literature award. He is currently Managing Editor, Higher Division, of Pearson Education Publishing in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

Mr. de Leon was a musical child prodigy. He recently won the 2008 Pamana ng Pilipino Presidential Award conferred by the Philippine President Gloria Macapagal who recognized him for his “genius and artistry for being a distinguished composer, musician, and educator who has tremendous influence in raising awareness and appreciation of traditional and contemporary Philippine music in the US.”

Below find videos of people playing Bayani de Leon compositions:

Bayani is the son of two other Filipino cultural artists Philippine National Artist Felipe P. de Leon and concert-pianist Iluminada Mendoza. As his father Felipe was a close friend of National Artist Guillermo Tolentino, a sculptor of epic talent and prolific works, Bayani became his protegé.

Isn’t it interesting to see how people of various talents and backgrounds have taken a love or enthusiasm to baybayin and of coming up with different ways of sharing it and exploring it?

Bayani’s writes as his dedication in this book:

This manual is dedicated to future generations of Filipinos who will have succeeded in breaking the colonial spell that has kept then from being their proud, authentic selves.
(Baybayin: The Ancient Script of the Philippines)

And so it goes, another Filipino believes that baybayin is a tool for finding one’s Filipino roots and cultivating their love of being Filipino. 

Maraming Salamat, Ginoong Bayani.

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