Kudlit And Its Combination

Basahin itó sa
wikang Filipino


Other Related Pages

Baybayin Main Article
How do I write my name?
Baybayin Styles
Old Baybayin Doc's
Free Baybayin Fonts
Baybayin Links


by Paul Morrow

— Albularyo, a general practitioner who treats their patients with various herbs, alum, natural substances or coconut oil, using rituals like “pang-kontra (preventive curant or antidote), bulong (whisper), orasyon (prayer), tapal (poultice), lunas (currants), kudlit ( uses a combination of healing modalities that may include prayers. The logo I used is an iteration of the word “bonsai ko” into “bo/u” and ” ko”, put together it will say “buko”. It is written in ancient Filipino script called Baybayin www.baybayin.com. “bo” is the inverted heart shape with a dot (kudlit) on the bottom. “ko” is like a capital I with a kudlit on the bottom. English words for kudlit include stroke, apostrophe, line movement, tick and scrabble. Find more Filipino words at wordhippo.com!

The baybayin is not hard to write, but reading it is another matter. An earlySpanish writer said that the baybayin 'is as easy to write as it isdifficult to read'. This will be explained later. First, let's learn how towrite.
A mistake people often make is to assume that the baybayin is just a neatlooking alphabet; all you have to do is learn how draw the letters and thenspell out the words in the language of your choice, and substitute each modernletter with a baybayin letter. However, the baybayin doesn't work like that.This is the difference between an alphabet and a syllabic writing system.

One Letter Equals One Syllable

In our modern alphabet, eachletter is a basic sound or phoneme, either a vowel or a consonant. We combinethese letters to make syllables, and combine the syllables to make words. In asyllabic writing system, such as the baybayin, each letter is already asyllable. It may be a combination of sounds or just a vowel, but usually itcannot be reduced to a single consonant. So, a good way to check your baybayin spellingis to make sure that the number of letters in a word always equals thenumber of syllables.

The Baybayin Characters

These are all the letters of the baybayin 'alphabet'. There are many ways to draw each letter (See Baybayin Styles). This example is my own modern composite of many old forms and the letters are arranged in the old abakada sequence. (See the original sequence in the main article.)

The Consonants

Each consonant letter is one syllable that is pronounced with the a vowel. This means, for example, that the letter isnot just a b, it is actually the syllable ba. If wewrite the wordbasa (to read), we only need two letters:

Kulit And Its Combinations

Here are a few more examples: (really,important, and able to do)

The Kudlít

So, what do we do if we want to write something that doesn't rhyme with a? In other syllabaries, like the Katakana or Hiragana of Japan, this would require learning a whole other set of letters for each vowel sound. However, the baybayin is a cross between a syllabary and an alphabet, or what is known as an abugida. We use the same consonant letters shown in the list above and simply combine them with a special mark, called a kudlít, to change the sound of the vowel a.

Theword kudlit means a small cut or incision, which is exactly what it wasback in the days when Filipinos wrote on bamboo. Since we now writewith pen and paper, or a computer, the kudlit mark can be any shape. Usually it isa dot or tick, or sometimes it is shaped like a v or an arrowhead >.The sound of a letter is not changed in any way by the shape of the kudlit;it is changed by the position of the kudlit.

The kudlit is placed above a letter to signify the sound ofI or E.As in the words:
(self, miss as in unmarried woman, and tickle)

And to change the sound of a letter to U or O, the kudlit is placed below. As in the words:
(island,trouble, andopinion)

TheVowel Characters

Although the kudlits do most of the work representing the vowels, thebaybayin also has three special vowel letters:

Naturally, if a syllable doesn't have a consonant, there is no place to putthe kudlit. This is when the vowel characters must be used. For example:
(mercy, to bring with, head, and possible)

There are only three vowels in the baybayinbecause ancient Filipinos of many linguistic groups did not distinguish between the pronunciations ofI and E,and U and O before Spanish words entered their languages. Even today these sounds are interchangeablein words such as lalaki/lalake (man), babae (woman)and kababaihan (women in general),uód/oód (worm),punò(tree trunk) and punung-kahoy (tree), and oyaye/oyayi/uyayi(lullaby). The situation is similar in English; there are only five vowelletters but each one represents several different vowel sounds. (Seethe main article for more information.)

Final Consonants


Kulit And Its Combination Key

Lone vowels have special characters but what about the consonants that have no vowel sound? These are the syllable final consonants and they are the reason why it is much more difficult to read the baybayin than it is to write it. There is no way to write syllable final consonants. For example, in a word like bundok (mountain) we cannot write the letters n and k because they are not followed by a vowel and the baybayin consonants always contain a vowel sound. If we did write the n and the k, the word would be pronounced bu-na-do-ka. So, we simply don't write those letters. The meaning of the word and its pronunciation must be guessed by reading it in context. Bundok is written:


Here are a few more examples:
(peak, riddle, ask)

Special Consonants

The letters d and ng were not special to the ancient Filipinosbut they deserve special attention here to avoid confusion.

The Letter for Da and Ra
There is only one character for both d and r in the baybayin, the . The pronunciation of this letterin Tagalog changes depending on its locationwithin a word. It follows the same Filipino grammatical rule that we have today; when adis between two vowels, it becomes an r. Geofs flight simulator. There are many exceptions to thisrule today, but it was more consistent in pre-Hispanic times. For example, the word dangal (honour) becomes marangal (honourable)and the word dunong (knowledge) becomes marunong (knowledgeable), but thebaybayin letter, does not change.

OtherPhilippine languages had different ways to write the r sound. Some usedthe d/ra character while others used the la character or both. Seethe main article for more information.

The Letter for Nga

The ng is considered a single letter in the modern Filipino alphabet butit requires two characters to write it, n and g. In the baybayinthe ng really is a single character, ,and it must bewritten that way. For example, if the word hanga (admiration) were spelledwith n and g, it would be pronounced ha-na-ga. It should bewritten like this:


The only punctuation for the baybayin is a pair of vertical bars, or asingle vertical bar, depending on the writer's taste. The vertical bar is usedlike a comma and a full stop (period). In fact, it can be used like anypunctuation mark we have today. The ancient Filipinos usually wrote their wordswith no spaces between them but sometimes they would separate a single wordbetween a set of bars. However, most of the time the bars were used in a randommanner, dividing the sentences into word groups of various sizes.

TheSpanish Kudlit +

To solve the problem of writing final consonants, a Spanish Friar named FranciscoLopez invented a new kind of kudlit in 1620. It wasshaped like a cross (which should be no surprise) and it was meant to be placed below a baybayinconsonant letter in order to cancel its vowel sound. For example:
(mountain, peak,riddle, ask)

Filipinos never accepted this way of writing because it was too cumbersome and they were perfectly comfortable reading the old way. However, it is popular today among people who have rediscovered the baybayin but are not aware of the origin of the Spanish kudlit. (See the main article for more about the Spanish kudlit.)
Here's a verse from a modern song.On the left, the Spanish kudlit is used and thewords have been separated to make it easier to read. Thepre-Hispanic Filipino method of writing is on the right.


Filipinos in the pre-Hispanic era mainly used the baybayin for writing poetry and short messages to each other. It was never adapted for commerce or scientific data, so numerals were never developed. Numbers were spelled out the same as words. There is a document with numbers on the page entitled Baybayin Handwriting of the 1600s.

Writing Foreign Words

Writing non-Filipino words in the baybayin script can be difficult. Many soundsdo not have letters in the baybayin and clusters of consonants, especially inEnglish, cannot be written without modifing either the baybayin script or theEnglish words. Strategies for writing non-Filipino words are discussed on thepage entitled, How do I write my name in baybayin?

You can test your baybayin skills with Victor Quimson's online baybayin translator at Ating Baybayin. Just type any word you wish and it will show you how it is written in the baybayin script and provide tips for adapting it to non-Filipino words.

Paul Morrow
06 November 2002
Last updated: 26 January, 2005

From time immemorial, traditional medicine has been practiced in many parts of the world and remains an integral part of human evolution and development. Philippine traditional medicine is not an exception to this practice since until this present writing, Filipino traditional medicine takes place in remote areas of the country and even in big cities, whose traditional beliefs upon the curative proportion of traditional medicine remains intact to a great extent. And the reason is simple. Medical cost of the modern medicine and hospitalization have become out-of-reach to many, and alternative medicine is the best “substitute” because the cost is very much more than affordable.

However, the Philippine traditional medicine is rooted from various types of beliefs like religion, magic, superstition, mysticism, folklores “trust” on herbs and western medicine. They have all been mixed up and used as a sound and effective “cure” for any type of illness, ailment, disorder, infection, etc., and traditional Filipino medicine comes in very “handy” to at least “momentarily” relieve or even get rid of the type of affliction anyone could be suffering from at the moment. It is a common practice for Filipinos, whether one is in the country itself or in a foreign country, Philippine traditional medicine, takes an active part in the Filipinos’ way of life when we talk about easing, curing or mitigating the bodily pain or sickness a Filipino is suffering from.

There are a number of traditional medicine practitioners in the Philippines and even abroad and their presence is well noted among the town people and sometimes in the big cities as well. They are the following:

Kulit And Its Combination Of One

— Hilot or manghihilotHilot – is an ancient Filipino art of healing. It uses manipulation and massage to achieve the treatment outcome, although techniques differ from one practitioner to another it is based on shamanic tradition of the ancient Filipinos with healers considering their practice as derived from their calling from visions or from having been born breech. Hilot could assume supernatural aspects or the philosophy of holism, particularly in cases of practitioners since they claim that their ability comes or is even given by a supernatural source such as the case of manghihilot who most of them assert that they have embarked on pilgrimage to a mountain called Banahaw to gain an essential spiritual component of their healing practice.

— Albularyo, a general practitioner who treats their patients with various herbs, alum, natural substances or coconut oil, using rituals like “pang-kontra (preventive curant or antidote), bulong (whisper), orasyon (prayer), tapal (poultice), lunas (currants), kudlit ( uses a combination of healing modalities that may include prayers, incantations, mysticism and herbalism. Albularyos claim that they draw healing powers from a supernatural source (shamanism). They combine pagan traditions with some aspects of Christianity. Some say that they are only effective on certain days of the week, like Tuesdays or Fridays, because they coincide with Catholic festivities of the Baby Jesus (Santo Niño) and the Black Nazarene. They claim to be the best in their field of traditional medicine.

— Tawas or mangtatawas, is a ritual to the divine, is considered as pseudo-medicine in Philippine psychology but considered superstition in Western psychology. It attempts to diagnose an affliction or psychological disorder by interpreting shapes produced in water by heated alum or molten wax droppings from a burning candle. It is thus a form of both cleromancy (casting) and oryctomancy (use of minerals). the practitioner uses alum, candles, smoke, paper, eggs and other mediums to diagnose the cause of illness associated by prayers and incantations

Kulit And Its Combination Padlocks

— Medico, a general practitioner similar to an Albularyo but integrates western medicine to promote healing.

— Faith healers, is the practice of prayer and gestures (such as laying on of hands – believed to elicit divine intervention) in spiritual and physical healing, especially the Christian practice. Believers assert that the healing of disease and disability can be brought about by religious faith through prayer and/or other rituals that, according to adherents, can stimulate a divine presence and power. Religious belief in divine intervention does not depend on empirical that faith healing achieves its outcome based on the prayers and gestures. The practitioners cover a wide array of methods and practices that differ from one another. But, on a greater extent and despite the advanced technology in information and science, traditional medicine continues to enjoy a large following most especially in rural areas.

In 1992 in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) through its former Sec. Juan M. Flavier, launched the Traditional Medicine Program which aims to promote an effective and safe use of traditional medicine. Then President Fidel V. Ramos seeing the importance of the traditional medicine program and signed into law Republic Act 8423 (R.A. 8423), otherwise known as the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act (TAMA) of 1997, that gave rise to the creation of Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC) which is tasked to promote and advocate the use of traditional and alternative health care modalities through scientific research and product development to the point that the DOH has endorsed 10 medicinal plants to be used as herbal medicine in Philippines due to its health benefits.

  • Akapulko (Cassia alata) a plant called “ringworm bush or schrub” and “acapulco” in English, this Philippine herbal medicine is used to treat tinea infections, insect bites, ringworms, eczema, scabies and itchiness.

  • Ampalaya (Momordica charantia) or “bitter melon ” or “bitter gourd ” in English. It is found to be effective in the treatment of diabetes (diabetes mellitus), hemofrhoids, coughs, burns and scalds, and being studied for anti-cancer properties.

  • Bawang (Allium sativum) or “Garlic”. Bawang is a used to treat infection with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-hypertensive properties. It is widely used to reduce cholesterol level in blood.

  • Bayabas (Psidium guajava) – or “Guava” in English, it is used as antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, antioxidant, anti-allergy, antimicrobial, anti-plasmodial, anti-cough, anti-diabetic, and anti-genotoxic in folkloric medicine.

  • Lagundi (Vitex negundo) – known as “5-leaved chaste tree” in English. It is used to treat cough, colds and fever. It is also used as a relief for asthma & pharyngitis, rheumatism, dyspepsia, boils, and diarrhea.

  • Niyog-niyogan (Quisqualis indica L.) – is a vine known as “Chinese honey suckle”. It is used to eliminate intestinal parasites.

  • Sambong (Blumea balsamifera)– or “Ngai camphor or Blumea camphor”. It is used to treat kidney stones, wounds and cuts, rheumatism, anti-diarrhea, anti spasms, colds and coughs and hypertension

  • Tsaang Gubat (Ehretia microphylla Lam.) – or “Wild tea” is taken as tea to treat skin allergies including eczema, scabies and itchiness wounds in child birth

  • Ulasimang Bato Pansit-Pansitan (Peperomia pellucida) is a Phillipine herbal medicine known for its effectivity in treating arthritis and gout.

  • Yerba Buena (Clinopodium douglasii) – commonly known as Peppermint, is used in Philippine herbal medicine as analgesic to relive body aches and pain due to rheumatism and gout. It is also used to treat coughs, colds and insect bites

The Philippines continues to remain traditional in more ways than one and at times these traditional “medical” practices could be as effective as the modern day medical practices. However, what counts most is the belief that an individual professes in the effectiveness of these practices which are somewhat based on religion, the occult, the supernatural, or the divine, to which the western world has a lot more to oppose than approve or support. Everything depends on how a person’s level of indulgence and belief to profess to these types of medical practices. But what could be said is that, we continue to live in this world which remains inundated with mysteries upon mysteries. Traditional medicine is one of the mysteries of this planet and they continue to astonish if not bewilder science and scientists themselves. But by-in-largem they are an integral part of our lives and will persist to be so till time immemorial. I rest my case.