Published: July 24, 2010
There were several alphabets in the ancient Philippines as used in various linguistic regions in the archipelago. All were in the form of syllables called baybayin or alibata by the Tagalogs. These alphabets were derivatives from the old Indonesian script, which was based on Sanskrit. They were called syllables because every letter was pronounced as a syllable.
The Tagalog alphabet, for one, consisted of seventeen letters–three vowels and fourteen consonants. The vowels were a, e (or i), and o (or u). The consonants were b, d, g, h, k, l, m, n, ng, p, s, t, w, and y.
The ancient Filipino wrote on barks of trees, on the leaves of certain plants, and on the inner surface of bamboos. They used pointed sticks or pointed pieces of iron called sipol as pens. For ink they used the colored sap of certain forest plants. They wrote from top to bottom and from left to right.