Do you need more Baybayin characters? We’ve got B17 already!
Yes, B17 is in vogue and it’s trending everywhere. B17 are like living blood cells vital to Baybayin’s survival. Why B17?
B17, actually, is the iconic Baybayin with 3 vowels and 14 consonants. It’s the Tagalog Baybayin. It’s the original Baybayin with an inherent vowel /”A”/. B17 was Chuck Ramon’s proposed name to identify this type of Baybayin script.
Most Baybayinistas use B17 as base graphemes or letters for writing; but B17, from which modern Baybayin versions are built, is still valuable for cultural identity.
Modernizing Baybayin: A Cultural Identity
There is a common impression that the Tagalog Baybayin is oppressive; for some, it’s like a tyrannical ruler wielding its absolute power and influence over other regions. But it doesn’t have that “+” vowel-killer, a reminder and symbol of the Spanish invasion and intrusion perhaps to the virgin abugida of the natives in pre-Philippine period.
Baybayin, much of it now modified [aka Baybayin variants], includes new characters from the English Alphabet and a few diacritic innovation. Here’s a chart showing B17, B18, B19, B20, and B24 typefaces from Nordenx’s Modern Doctrina fonts and my own [Bayani JR & Doktrina TL].
The emergence of Baybayin variants is really a matter of asserting one’s cultural identity. Knowing and using Baybayin is an affinity for the script indeed but it’s an exceptional lifestyle with meaning. Baybayinistas have to live it. It’s not like an artifact just lying to be found, it has to flow in your being.