Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bayan Ko

"Bayan Ko (My Country)," a soulful Filipino ballad that sings of love for country (the Philippines) of Filipinos who will always cherish a free, peaceful nation, even if it means sacrificing everything for that freedom and peace. The song was composed in 1928 by Filipinos Mr. Jose Corazon de Jesus and Mr. Constancio de Guzman, while the Philippines was campaigning for independence from America. In mid-198os, the song had a revival of sorts when it became the protest song of Filipinos fighting a dictatorship. It has since become standard fare in rallies and gathering where Filipinos get together to speak up against graft and corruption, and peace and freedom for the country. Modern-day Filipinos have sung it particularly with arms raised, and the index finger and thumb formed into the letter "L," which stood for "laban" or fight.

In Cory Aquino's wake and funeral (see previous blog entry), "Bayan Ko" again gained prominence at it was sung in various days, including most prominently, during the funeral mass, after which her long funeral procession began on Metro Manila's streets, witnessed by multitudes of people. Cory had led many of the protest marches in which the song had been played or sung. During her fight against dictator Marcos in 1986 for the presidency and the ensuing marches after the election marred by vote manipulation, singing the song was a rallying point for the Filipinos, which culminated in people power, the ousting of Marcos, and the installation of Cory as the first female President of the country. Cory's People Power Revolution later became credited with inspiring other peoples and countries in many parts of the world to demand change for the better in their governments.

The video link below (from Dadivas08 YouTube channel) is from Cory's funeral mass, where a soulfoul rendition of "Bayan Ko" is given by Ms Lea Salonga, a Tony-award winning Filipino stage and film singer/actor. The other video link (from tribeofjedTV YouTube channel)shows various Filipino singers also singing at Cory's funeral mass the song "Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo (Gift of the Filipinos to the World)." This song was inspired by the Philippines people power experience in 1986, and how Filipinos will not permit again the loss of its freedom, as it also inspires other countries to value their freedom as well.

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