Tagbanwa script


Tagbanwa, is one of the scripts indigenous to the Philippines, used by the Tagbanwa people and the Palawan people as their ethnic writing system and script.[1]

Tagbanwa script
Tagbanwa script sample.svg
Script type
Time period
c. 1300–present
Directionleft-to-right Edit this on Wikidata
LanguagesPalawan languages
Related scripts
Parent systems
Sister systems
In the Philippines:
Tagalog script
Buhid script
Hanunó'o script
Kulitan script
In other countries:
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Tagb, 373 Edit this on Wikidata, ​Tagbanwa
Unicode alias

The Tagbanwa languages (Aborlan, Calamian and Central), which are Austronesian languages with about 25,000 total speakers in the central and northern regions of Palawan, are dying out as the younger generations of Tagbanwa are learning and using non-traditional languages, such as Cuyonon and Tagalog, thus becoming less knowledgeable of their own indigenous cultural heritage. There are proposals to revive the script by teaching it in public and private schools with Tagbanwa populations.[2]


The Tagbanwa script was used in the Philippines until the 17th century. Closely related to Baybayin, it is believed to have come from the Kawi script of Java, Bali and Sumatra, which in turn, descended from the Pallava script, one of the southern Indian scripts derived from Brahmi.[3]


Tagbanwa is a syllabic alphabet in which each consonant has an inherent vowel /a/. Other vowels are indicated by a diacritic above (for /i/) or below (for /u/) the consonant.[4] Vowels at the beginning of syllables are represented by their own, independent characters. Syllables ending in a consonant are written without the final consonant.[5] Tagbanwa is distinguished from Baybayin by shapes for several letters, most notably ‹k› and ‹w› that are markedly different from other Baybayin varieties.[1]

Tagbanwa is traditionally written on bamboo in vertical columns from bottom to top and left to right, though it is read from left to right in horizontal lines.[3]



Tagbanwa Vowels[5]
Initial Dependent
transcription a i u i u


Tagbanwa Syllables[5]
transcription k g ng t d n p b m y l w s
consonant + a
consonant + i ᝣᝲ ᝤᝲ ᝥᝲ ᝦᝲ ᝧᝲ ᝨᝲ ᝩᝲ ᝪᝲ ᝫᝲ ᝬᝲ ᝮᝲ ᝯᝲ ᝰᝲ
consonant + u ᝣᝳ ᝤᝳ ᝥᝳ ᝦᝳ ᝧᝳ ᝨᝳ ᝩᝳ ᝪᝳ ᝫᝳ ᝬᝳ ᝮᝳ ᝯᝳ ᝰᝳ

Tagbanwa writing makes use of single () and double () punctuation marks.[5]


The Ibalnan alphabet
Another sample of the Ibalnan script

In the 20th century, this script was adopted from the Tagbanwa people by the Palawan people further south in the island.[1] They call this alphabet 'Ibalnan' and the vowel mark an ulit.[6]


Tagbanwa script was added to the Unicode Standard in March, 2002 with the release of version 3.2.

The Unicode block for Tagbanwa is U+1760–U+177F:

Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
1.^ As of Unicode version 14.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Miller, Christopher (2014). "A survey of indigenous scripts of Indonesia and the Philippines". Retrieved 21 May 2020. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ Orejas, Tonette (2018-04-27). "Protect All PH Writing Systems, Heritage Advocates Urge Congress". Inquirer.net. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  3. ^ a b Omniglot: Tagbanwa. Accessed October 13, 2016.
  4. ^ Everson, Michael (1998-11-23). "N1933 Revised proposal for encoding the Philippine scripts in the UCS" (PDF).
  5. ^ a b c d "Chapter 17: Indonesia and Oceania" (PDF). Unicode Consortium. March 2020.
  6. ^ "Palawano B Dictionary". Retrieved 26 May 2020.

External linksEdit

  • Tagbanwa font