Palindromes in Baybáyin

It doesn’t come as a surprise that humans have a fascination on symmetry. A palindrome is a manifestation of this fascination of symmetry in language. Palindromes are a sequence of letters (even in word-level or sentence-level) that read the same backward and forward. Some of the more famous ones in the english language are civic, racecar, madam, and noon.

Our earliest record a palindrome is with a sentence written in Latin: “Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas” (“The sower Arepo holds with effort the wheels”). It dates back as 79 AD, found in the ruins of Pompeii, at Herculaneum (in modern day Italy).


In Filipino (or  Tagalog), we commonly know palindromes as ‘palindromya’ and they are more common in our language than you might think. Examples are torotot, opo, asa, ihi, naupuan, naihian. Well we have the advantage or pairing the unlapi “na” with the hulapi “an” in an existing palindrome to create longer palindromes.

What’s more fascinating is the palindromes we can form from BaybáyinBaliktárin is a Baybáyin equivalent of a palindrome. Some examples are below (from

ᜃᜒ ᜎ ᜎ ᜃᜓ ᜎ ᜎ ᜃᜒ
| ki-la-la-ko(ng)-la-la-ki |
Kilala kong lalaki.

ᜁ ᜊ ᜊ ᜋᜓ ᜊ ᜊ ᜁ
| i-ba-ba-mo-ba-ba-i |
Ibaba mo, babae.

ᜊ ᜅ ᜃᜓ ᜅ ᜊ 
| ba-nga-ko-nga-ba |
Banga ko nga ba?

ᜆ ᜋ ᜐ ᜋ ᜆ 
| ta-ma-sa-ma-ta |
Tama sa mata.

ᜁ ᜃᜓ ᜎᜓ ᜋᜓ ᜎᜓ ᜃᜓ ᜁ 
| i-ku-lo(ng)-mo-lo-ko-i |
Ikulong mo. Loko e!

ᜁ ᜎ ᜋ ᜎᜒ ᜊᜒ ᜎ ᜎ ᜊᜒ ᜎᜒ ᜋ ᜎ ᜁ 
| i-la(ng)-ma-li(ng)-bi-la(ng)-la-bi(ng)-li-ma-la(ng)-i |
Ilang maling bilang? Labinglima lang e!

Since Baybáyin (and most Filipino words) has the syllables as the smallest unit, Baybáyin palindromes can be made by making symmetrical series of Babayin (characters) and see if what you form makes sense 🙂