Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Bagong Lipunan and Bayan Ko

I had to do a double-take this morning while watching the morning show on TV. One of the show's presenter was talking to one of the field reporters and they were talking about the rallies for today, the 21st of September - The anniversary of Ferdinand Marcos' declaration and imposition of Martial Law. According to the reporter the people would be converging on the corner of Ayala and Paseo de Roxas starting at two in the afternoon to celebrate the anniversary of Martial Law. Say again? Celebrate the imposition of Martial Law? OK, it must have been an error on the reporter's part. Such things happen in live broadcasts. But he may not be so far off the mark. Not all Filipinos were unhappy during Martial Law. I was witness to an argument between a Manilena visitor and my grandfather over Marcos. This was some time after Martial Law. They were heatedly discussing the achievements and crimes of the New Republic of Marcos. My grandfather cited the stabilizing effect of Martial Law and the improvements done by the Marcoses; the Manilena visitor pointed out the political oppression and the corruption. It was the case of the irresistable object meeting an unstopable force. It was a deadlock, neitheir side budge from their position. In the end they had to agree to disagree. During the Presidential Snap Elections between Marcos and Aquino, my grand uncle while heatedly discussing the elections with this nephews stood up and raise his fist and said, "You will never split the Solid North". Marcos was of course the favourite son of Ilocos, Anak ti Batac. My grand uncle like my father was FBI, Full Blooded Ilocano. It is not surprising Marcos did many things for the country and he did many things to the country as well. I guess with Marcos you hate him or love him. Marcos though was a cunning politician and brilliant propagandist. During the early days of Martial Law he used a lot of devices to whip up support for his causes. Stereotyping, waxing dreams and made full use of the devices. One of the things I do remember from the Marcos Era was the song composed by Felipe Padilla De Leon - Bagong Lipunan. A National Artist for music he is best known for his translation of Philippine National Anthem from the original Spanish to Tagalog, during 1900s.

Bagong Lipunan May bagong silang, May bago nang buhay, Bagong bansa, Bagong galaw, Sa Bagong Lipunan. Magbabago ang lahat, Tungo sa pag-unlad, at ating itanghal, Bagong lipunan!

- Felipe Padilla de Leon (1912-1992)

A rough English translation:

New Society A new path, A new life, A new country A new movement In the New Society !

All of us need to change Towards progress And let us proclaim, Our New Society!

It sounds better in Filipino . Most of us Martial Law babies know this song by heart or at least familiar to the tune. We were required to sing this every morning just after singing the National Anthem and saying the pledge of alliegance. Skills and talent though diminish in the end. Marcos reign became increasingly fragile as he aged. The Opposition also became more vocal. Ninoy's assasination became the catalyst the unleashed a series of protest actions that lead to a snap election. And the opposition too had a song. They adapted the song Bayan Ko - the lyrics in Tagalog was written by Jose Corazon de Jesus while the melody was composed by Constancio de Guzman. Bayan Ko was a the favourite songs of Filipino Nationalists struggling against the Colonial powers. I remember some Japanese tourists admiring the song during one of the rallies and their surprise in finding out it was the song of the guerilla and Japanese resistance movement. I have read some sources that state it was even sung during the American colonial period. While the Bagong Lipunan march had an almost Fascistic and Animal Farmesque quality to it while Bayan Ko seems a sad lament of a struggling people.
Bayan Ko Ang bayan kong Pilipinas Lupain ng ginto't bulaklak Pag-ibig ang sa kanyang palad Nag-alay ng ganda't dilag. At sa kanyang yumi at ganda Dayuhan ay nahalina Bayan ko, binihag ka Nasadlak sa dusa. Ibon mang may layang lumipad Kulungin mo at umiiyak Bayan pa kayang sakdal dilag Ang di magnasang makaalpas! Pilipinas kong minumutya Pugad ng luha ko't dalita Aking adhika, Makita kang sakdal laya!
And from the Corrigidor website:
MY COUNTRY My country the Philippines Land of gold and flowers With love in her palms She offers beauty and virtue. And of her modesty and beauty The foreigner was attracted O, my country, you were enslaved Mired in hardship. Even birds that are free to fly Cage them and they cry, Much more a beautiful country Shall long to be free. Philippines my beloved, Cradle of my tears and poverty I'll aspire,To see you truly free
Again, I think the Tagalog version is much better. Bayan Ko eventually won and Bagong Lipunan descended and disappeared into the quick sand of time. Only Martial Law Babies will probably remember the song. Bagong Lipunan was probably pure propaganda but it was catchy march. Today the crowd at the rally will probably sing Bayan Ko again. But the reasons for singing it such events seem to diminish with time. The lines dividing black and whites seem less distinct now... maybe they never were. I see only grey.


Blogger blackshama said...

Martial Law babies are hard to fool, raging when Voltes V was cut from the tube!

9/22/2005 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger juned said...


Someday the sons of light shall
fill all the earth
The morning of justice shall have
come to its birth.
So we'll all wave our banners
high and free through the air
for the love and glory
we then all shall share

Soldiers, boldly unite to fight,
and fight for peace,
hand in hand. Like eagles
through the breeze,
over lands and over seas

Voltes V, we come to you
Flashing through with wings of steel
Fates of foes are what we seal
With swords of laser light
And over lands and over seas
Onwards, victory
Voltes V!

9/22/2005 03:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

please help hear and download BAGONG LIPUNAN MARCH...

2/09/2008 09:43:00 AM  

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