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Earlier this week, the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture endorsed the approval of a bill that seeks to declare Baybayin as the national writing system. Before the Spaniards introduced their own alphabet, Filipinos relied on this orthography, which is composed of three vowels (a, i/e, o/u) and 14 consonants. The bill requires manufacturers of food products and newspaper publishers to include a Baybayin translation of their name and local government units (LGUs) are also instructed to include the ancient Suyat script in public signage. Soon enough, we might see these characters used under street names and all over public facilities like hospitals, fire stations, and schools.

Although the bill is yet to be implemented, it is interesting to imagine our city peppered with these translations. Here are some signs of things to come on the streets of Manila:

1. Bawal tumawid, may namatay na dito.

2.  Aling Nena’s Sari-Sari Store

3. Quiapo-España

4. No loading or unloading

5. Intramuros

6. Fire Exit

7. Restroom

8. Bawal umihi dito.

Illustrations by Madel Crudo


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