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Over the years, there has been a growing Filipino audience of foreign TV shows in the forms of Korean drama, Japanese anime, Mexican soap opera, and other Western shows. With the continued patronage of Pinoy fans, even the local media networks started to showcase international series as part of their daily program schedule.

Although such programs are dubbed in Tagalog, avid supporters go beyond watching the free-to-air television version, and through watching the non-translated and original series in the hopes of getting familiar with the foreign language, people inevitably deteriorate the dynamics of our own.

Fortunately, not everyone is much interested with Hangul, Nihongo, Spanish, or English, and among those who would rather immerse himself in the originality of the Filipino language is Christopher Castillo, the person who created and developed an application called Baybayin Keyboard for smartphones.

The mobile app was made available in 2015 but it gets more attention now after making its rounds online, being shared by netizens with the purpose of promoting awareness about its existence in the application stores.

As indicated in its description, “Baybayin is the indigenous script of the Philippines that has made a resurgence as a way to express Filipino cultural identity. The Baybayin Keyboard lets you type baybayin characters[…] It functions seamlessly as an alternate system keyboard that can be used within apps such as Messages, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The application allows the users to choose between its two layouts, Baguhan for beginners and Dalubhasa for experts.

Baybayin is the original and earliest writing system of the Philippines. It was used by the ancestors and was passed down from old generation to another. But with the colonization of several oppressors —years under Spanish, American, and Japanese regime the use of Baybayin became stagnant, until it totally disappeared.

Now it resurfaces —not in stones, leaves or bark of the trees but in the screens of our gadgets— and it reminds us of our true identity.

Baybayin Keyboard takes us back to the very roots of our indigenous script.

Speaking foreign languages, or trying to learn them at the very least, does not necessarily neglect our local dialects. But familiarizing oneself in the Filipino language, including the almost-forgotten Baybayin, is also the least we can do to respect the legacy of Filipino culture and individuality.

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