If ever there was a song that encapsulated colonial angst, patriotism and the yearning for freedom, it is ‘Bayan Ko’.
Ibon mang may layang lumipád,
Kulungín mo at umíiyák!
Bayan pa kayáng sakdál dilág,
Ang ‘dî magnasang makaalpás?
Pilipinas kong minumutya,
Pugad ng luha ko’t dalita,
Makita kang sakdál laya!
The lyrics above are taken from the second half of the song and roughly translates as:
Even birds that are free to fly–
cage them and they shall cry!
How much more for a country so beautiful,
would she not yearn to be free?
My Philippines that I treasure,
cradle of my tears and suffering,
My dream is to see thee truly free!
The song itself was written as a protest song during the American occupation at the turn of the 20th Century and has been used ever since at times of political protest, national anniversaries and patriotic fervour. It is synonymous with Revolution and the Aquino family, it was sung at the funeral of Sen. Benigno Aquino JR, famously by Freddie Aguilar leading the crowd in singing the chorus at the famous People Power Revolution in 1986 helping to sweep Corazon Aquino (widow of Sen. Benigno Aquino JR and mother of current President Benigno Aquino III) in to power and toppling the Marcos dictatorship and then again in 2009 by Lea Salonga at the funeral of former President Corazon Aquino.
After 114 Years since the proclamation of Philippine Independence from Spain, the song’s message still rings true and the Philippines has a distinct feel of positivity both
within the country and from the outside looking in. President Benigno Aquino’s war on corruption and very public impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona have helped, moreover the Philippines is in a far healthier state financially than in recent memory. Filipino’s publicity and involvemnt in the media abroad has also helped, In the last year we’ve seen Bruno Mars, APL, Manny Paquiao and now Jessica Sanchez show the positive face of the Filipino.
In the UK, we have had the successful visit of popular President Benigno Aquino on 5th June
, during the celebrations of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Timed to perfection as typically pro-Royal Filipinos would be in a good mood! Last weekend, 9th and 10th June, we had the Morden Barrio Fiesta, the usual launchpad for the Filipino Fiesta season in the UK. The Philippine Embassy also held the customary Independence Day Mass and Salo Salo on 9th June, followed by a reception in celebration of the Philippines 114 years of official freedom, at the Philippine Embassy.
Philippine Generations was present at the President’s visit, the Salo Salo and Mass and the Independence Day Reception. At the reception, Ambassador Manalo spoke about freedom and the advancement of the Philippines, speeches were also read out from President Benigno Aquino and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert Del Rosario. and joined in the singing of that most famously patriotic Filipino song; ‘Bayan Ko’.
This Saturday, 16th June, Philippine Generations will be celebrating 114 years of Philippine Independence with the Philippine Independence Day World Cup, in association with Philippine FC
and sponsored by Job Connections
By Adrian Williams