The Baybayin
as Written by Filipinos

This chart shows the wide variety of letter shapes as drawn by Filipinos in the 1600s. It is from William Henry Scott's Prehispanic Source Materials for the Study of Philippine History (1984 edition). Scott traced these examples from Alberto Santamaría's El `Baybayin' en archivo de Sto. Tomás (1938) and several other documents - one from Iloilo and the rest from Tagalog speaking regions.

When compared to charts of supposedly distinct regional alphabets (see links below), it can be seen that the variations in letter shapes are not due to regional or linguistic differences among the writers but due merely to individual handwriting styles. As Santamaría wrote in 1938, after an exhaustive study of the baybayin specimens at the Santo Tomás archive,

It has been most interesting, for, despite having been written by Tagalogs, we found greater variations among them than, in general, among the different alphabets represented as coming from different regions.
(From Scott's Barangay, 1994, p. 213)

Main Article     Baybayin Styles     Cuadro Paleografico
Baybayin Handwriting of the 1600s


The Philippine alphabet as written by Filipinos. 17th century variations traced from Santamaría and other documents with "standard" Lopez forms on the left. (Scott 1984 p. 60)

From Prehispanic Source Materials for the Study of Philippine History by William H. Scott (1984, p. 60).