Tagalog is is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a quarter of the population of the Philippines. It is the first language of the Philippine region. Tagalog is a Central Philippine language within the Austronesian language family. It is closely related to the languages spoken in the Bicol and Visayas regions such as Bikol and the Visayan group includingHiligaynon and Cebuano. Tagalog has 33 phonemes: 19 of them are consonants and 14 are vowels. Tagalog has ten simple vowels, five long and five short, and four diphthongs. Tagalog was written in an abugida, or alphasyllabary, called Baybayin prior to the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines, in the 16th century. This particular writing system was composed of symbols representing three vowels and 14 consonants.