First off, the character style is Tagalog, not Bisaya or Ilokano,
(based on styles recorded by San Agustin in 1703 and de Mas
in 1843). This strongly suggests whatever the tattoo is saying
(outside of names, or gibberish) would also be in Tagalog. No
diacritics are clearly visible, hence the consonants all appear to
end in the short vowel "a" (an exception being if the tattoo is
presenting an acronym of sorts). Anyway...
...there's a large, stylized "E/I" on the deltoid.
The characters running back to front over the trapezius are:
"Da/Ra" - "La" - "E/I" - "Da/Ra" - "Sa"
If the tattoo-artist was following traditional rules, he would've
excluded the terminal syllable or consonant from every word
represented (welcome to the fucked-up world of the baybayin
Treating the deltoid "E/I" as the first character, the sequence
could be thus be interpreted as: IDALA(NG) IDASA(L) meaning
"Pray; Chant", which I've seen before as a preface to animist
incantations or spells.
Obviously (because of the fucked-up rules of baybayin), other
interpretations are possible, especially if you treat the deltoid
"E/I" as totally separate, but the standard opening words of a
spell or curse seem as likely as any.
Again, there's the chance the characters represent an acronym
of modern meaning; or that they're total gibberish --chosen by
the artist only because they looked good.
Last edited by horge; 04-04-2012 at 08:57 AM.