Back in college, I discovered about the so called Visayan script when I read the book Suhot by multi-awarded Cebuano artist and writer, Nyor Leonilo Estimo. Such script was called the Kudlit-kabadlit and is similar to the ancient Filipino writing, alibata.
It so happened then that the theme for the magazine where I used to write was “looking back to our roots”. Timely enough, I and another publication writer set an interview with Dr. Warfe Engracia who wrote the Kudlit-kabadlit inscriptions on Nyor Estimo’s book.
Dr. Engracia is a radiologist and Visayan historian who has made extensive researches about the Malay race and Cebuano heritage.
An article about the Cebuano language and featuring the Visayan script was eventually published in the 2006 issue of the magazine. At that time, the study on the accuracy of the kudlit-kabadlit was still on-going.
Just recently, I had a conversation with Ms. Eleanor Valeros, The Freeman editor and fellow member of SineBuano. She is also a writer who specializes in the Cebuano language and from her, I heard of kudlit-kabadlit once again.
She said that she has read the book Suhot too and saw what Dr. Warfe inscribed. She also said that the group Kadangyan taught her the ancient script and it was different from that she had learned from Suhot. This leads me to review and make other researches on the ancient Visayan script.
On the photo is the Kudlit-kabadlit which was taught to us by Dr. Warfe Engracia. The vowel sounds on words are represented by the dots. Without the dot the sound is the normal Visayan pronunciation of “a”. One dot above the letter is the softer “e” and two dots above the prolonged “e” “i”. A dot below the letter is the softer “o” and two dots the harder “o” or the “u”.
Just a disclaimer, this was still based on Dr. Warfe Engracia’s study as of 2006. That’s three years ago and we have not communicated since then.