After slamming Chinese signs, Boracay chiefs back use of Baybayin script

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Baybayin

Officials on Boracay have responded to the rise of Chinese signage by proposing that the ancient Filipino Baybayin script is used instead.

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As we reported yesterday (Friday, April 26), Chinese-run establishments are being warned that they must display their signs in English as well as Mandarin. The move followed complaints that some restaurants even had menus written solely in Mandarin.

However, today local government officials have said they want to revive the pre-Spanish Conquest Baybayin writing system, saying it must be the “main text” for signs on businesses and government offices on the island.

Through Executive Order No. 10, the local government of Malay, which has jurisdiction over the island, has said the use of Baybayin is part of its “tropical design” guidelines.

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The order reads: “Main text must be written in Baybayin (with English subtitle and other languages, as the case may be).” 

It called for its immediate use on government offices and school buildings, and urged commercial establishments such as stores, eateries and restaurants to follow suit.

Becoming foreigners in our land

Speaking to ABS-CBN News today, Alfredo Orolfo, of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Task Force Boracay, said: “With Chinese signages proliferating in Boracay and other foreign signage, it will be contained now because the committee will ensure that the Filipino alphabet or words should be read by the tourists.

“We are not removing the foreign words, but since we are in the Philippines, foreign words should not be prominent in our signs. Right now, we are becoming foreigners in our land because we cannot even read what the name of the establishment is, we cannot even read what products they sell there.”

About Baybayin script

The Baybayin script is derived from the Brahmic scripts of India. Despite being supplanted by European Roman script after the arrival of the Spanish, its survival is thanks to careful documentation by Catholic Clergy during the colonial era. 

“Baybay” means “to spell, to write, to syllabise” in Tagalog.

In April last year, we reported that lawmakers were considering plans to make it the official script of the Philippines.

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