Last two weeks ago, as I just woke up at seven in the morning, I checked my Facebook for updates just like I usually do. In my notifications, I noticed I was tagged in a post at the Negros Bloggers Group Page. The post by Atty. Eli Gatanela informed me that my logo entry was chosen as Negros Bloggers’ new logo. To the Negros Bloggers, it was known as the alibata-logo owing to the alibata letters that dominates the logo itself. Someone quipped that the letter on the left of what seems to be an inverted heart was like surfing the waves. There have been many talks about what does this logo mean and why I chose it for my design. I will explain the elements one by one.
Just a refresher on our Basic Filipino History as taught in high school, alibata is the ancient writing script used by our ancestors in transcribing literature. Though practically extinct, a variant of the script is used by the Tagbanua people of Palawan though itself is threatened with extinction. Much of our knowledge with alibata survived was that Spanish friars in the early colonization period transcribed the alphabet in order to write catechism in the native language.
Alibata was almost forgotten during the duration of the Spanish era but the use was revived by Filipino Nationalist as a symbol of unique identity as a nation. Macario Sakay’s Tagalog Republic for example featured the alibata of “K”, an allusion to Katipunan, in his flags and seals. In the contemporary times, alibata has been used in other logos such that of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and as a security in the new edition of Philippine Peso bills.
As alibata is now associated with the heritage and pride of the Filipino people, it is but fit to also incorporate an alibata design to the new Negros Bloggers logo. The two alibata letters in the logo are equivalents of the Greco-Roman “N” and “B” which actually have the sounds “ne” and “ba”, alluding to the transliteration of the Negros Bloggers name in alibata. Though some language experts postulate that alibata should be written from right to left like Chinese, it has been agreed that alibata’s way of writing is more closely related to Sanskrit which writes from left to right.
The Round-Tipped Sun:
When we say sun, it symbolizes the source of life of a land. Certain mythologies relating to life on earth have always been related to the sun. The early Philippine flag featured a mythical sun surrounded by three starts, in contrast to the present depiction of a faceless sun. While the mythical sun is featured in the Philippine flag, it is absent in the flags used by the República Cantonal de Negros. A few years ago, I had a tour of the Negros Museum and the guide pointed to us what looked like a Philippine Flag. She explained that while it looked like the Philippine Flag, it is in fact the flag of the Negros Republic. The round-tipped rays were deliberately placed in order to distinguish it from the Philippine Flag.
Negros gained her freedom from Spain when a blitzkrieg of attacks from North and South had Bacolód, the capital, surrounded on the 5th of December, 1898. Averting the possible massacre of the town’s Loyalist Spanish Residents, the Island’s Spanish Governor surrendered without a fight only to discover later that he was fooled by the Revolucionarios. The multitude of weapons he saw were just rolled sawali mats and painted wooden replicas of rifles. While initially allied to the Revolutionary Government of Emilio Aguinaldo with the Visayas Governance centered in Iloilo, the Negros leaders pronounced independence not just from Spain but from the rest of the Philippines itself. The Negros Republic had its own President, Parliament, Constitution and a flag, in short, it was a fully-functioning democracy. From this history I draw the significance of the round-tipped sun.
From merely a distinguishing figure in the flag, history gives new meaning to the round-tipped sun. It now symbolizes the ingenuity of a Negrénse in times of trouble and distress. The events of Cinco de Noviembre and how the simple Negrénse souls persisted in the troubled times of the Sugar Crisis in the 1980’s proves to us the resilience of the Negrénse. As the sun gives life and illuminates the truth presented to us, Negrénses shine in whichever place where fate places him. Countless Negrénses have proven their worth in the field of arts, academics, sciences and sports. The sun’s postion on the left of the logo recognizes the role of Bacolód, in the western part of the island, as the largest city and the hub of developments in Negros Island.
There also goes the question of why I chose Square as the shape of the logo and Red as the color. If you look closely in the logo itself, it is reminiscent of the Chinese name seals that are oftentimes square and always red. Not only is this true in Chinese culture, it is also a mirror of our close neighbors like Vietnam, Korea and Japan. Philippines is a melting pot of cultures and certainly has been influenced by our closest neighbors. Ancient texts have revealed that we have been trading with our neighbors for thousands of years and have adapted to some of theirs. The Filipino Culture in itself, even with the numerous European influences, is wholly Asian. Asia is a melting pot of diversity and Negros in itself is Asia’s miniature version. In tribute to the Asian values of filial piety, hospitality and respect that we Negrénses value so well, it is but fitting to present the Asian side of our identity in Negros Bloggers new logo. We are not merely bloggers or writers, we are keepers and guardians of heritage.