The Philippine Embassy in London kicked off the 500-day countdown to the 2021 National Quincentennial Commemoration of the circumnavigation of the world with a Baybayin Writing Workshop for the Embassy’s officers and staff at the chancery on 17 December 2019.
The National Quincentennial Commemoration is a celebration of the 1521 circumnavigation of the world as a victory for science and mankind. Furthermore, through the celebration, the National Quincentennial Committee aims to tell a Filipino-centric narrative of the milestone by focusing the celebrations on the victory at Mactan by Lapu-Lapu and his men over Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, and by reigniting people’s interest in pre-colonial Philippine culture.
The workshop, which was led by Baybayin Master John Leyson and London Filipino Language Center Founder and Director Ric Patriarca, aimed to reintroduce the ancient Filipino syllabary to Embassy personnel and to share practical ways on how baybayin can be integrated in the Embassy’s day-to-day operations. Leyson and Patriarca also shared with Embassy personnel previews of how baybayin can be incorporated on the cover of the Philippine passport.
“Baybayin is a tangible evidence of our rich cultural heritage,” said Ambassador Antonio M. Lagdameo. “Learning Baybayin is a step towards ensuring that today’s generation of Filipinos, both at home and abroad, are able to appreciate the depth and breadth of our indigenous culture.”
During the workshop, Embassy personnel learned about the history of baybayin and the basic principles of using the script. Leyson then guided the participants through a series of writing and recoding exercises using the Baybayin Textbook, which was published by the London Filipino Language Center.