May Laya

 

The Philippine art song genre, kundiman (which in Tagalog means “if it were not so”), was written in the late 1800’s through the mid 1900’s as a reaction to the Spanish occupation of 333 years. It was later used as propaganda during the American and Japanese occupations and during the time of the People Power Revolution when Ferdinand Marcos was president. 

In the past couple of years, I have felt this intense longing to explore my roots and to define what home means to me. Though I am an American citizen, how is it that I’m also Filipino? How do I make sense of the baggage of instability, the effects of war, corruption, colonization, politics, and religion from the country where I was born? Like many immigrants, it was and it is so much easier to assimilate. 

For people like me who are part of the diaspora, the question of identity or home is challenging to define. Along the way you find little pieces like these songs, you encounter people and places that comfort and inspire and you create this unique collage which makes a home that you never imagined you could have. 

 

Lyrics & Translations

(Translations by Leslie Damaso)

 

If Were Not So

Facing the ever smiling sun,

rising from the East,

the treasured Pearl of the Orient sea

brings joy to my heart.

Land of happiness and tenderness

that my heart aches to see again,

I wish your tears to stop.

This is your song!

Listen to it.

Those ever resilient flowers

will show you how to bloom freely.

From the Eastern sea, fair maiden,

rich but dressed in misery,

Beautiful maiden, maiden!

 

My Home/Country

My country the Philippines,

land of gold and flowers.

Love is in her hands,

offering beauty and splendor.

In her refinement and beauty

they were charmed.

My home! They captured you

and you were plunged into sorrow.

 

A bird has freedom to fly.

Lock it up and it cries.

My home,  perfect beauty,

yearns to be free.

 

Philippines, my treasure,

now a nest of tears and misery.

Ever devoted,

I desire to set you free!

 

Because of You

In this life of sorrow and strife,

There is no heaven for the lonely heart.

You brought me happiness in times of despair,

my darling, my only hope.

 

Because of you, I wish to live.

Because of you, until death.

Realize that there will be no one else more dear.

Ask my heart, it's you and you alone.

 

Because of you, I found happiness.

You gave me love.

If you say  that I belong to you,

then my whole life is worth living because of you.

 

Will You Remember

Don't say that you are not allowed,

If you are poor,

Because true love

will find anyone.

 

What would I do with wealth

when the heart is restless?

I want true love

that will never die.

 

 

Do you remember your promises,

that your love will never fade?

If you open my heart,

your image lives there.

 

I wonder if you might change your mind?

Until death, I hope you don't.

Life is sweeter when there is someone to love.

Happiness, everlasting.

 

Where Are You, My Love

Where are you, my love?

Where are you, my love, that your devotion has quickly faded?

Didn't you promise to love me?

That you would cherish me until death?

Who is it that you are looking at?

 

Where are you, my love that you can stand to leave me?

and I keep searching for you in my memory?

Where is your word, you said I was your joy?

Now I'm heartbroken and unable to find you.

 

My love, remember!

If it is my time to suffer,

all the promises and the love that made us whole

in this life would not be wasted but

will serve as reminders of our joy.

 

Remember, my love,

life is not wasted because we had our moment.

A distant, bittersweet memory.

Where are you my love, where are you my love?

 

In the Fields

In the fields there is no sadness.

Everyday is happiness.

In the fields there is no sadness.

Everyday is happiness.

 

Look at this bounty,

strong and verdant.

And the birds singing are so enchanting to hear.

Oh, my beautiful life.

My heart is so full and satisfied.

 

Oh, my beautiful life.

My heart is so full and satisfied.

And the birds are singing!

 

The Place I Call Home

Under the sky and the hot sun

where the birds sing freely

and the intoxicating flowers bloom

is where life begins.

 

and the intoxicating flowers bloom

is where life begins

 

No one there thirsts for love

because it it overlowing with it.

And the women so graceful and kind

A stream of joyfulness, beauty and tenderness.

 

Tomorrow, the fortune of the foreigners

will be brought.

With full heart, we will drive them away.

I will give my life with honor if it has to be.

Oh, what bitterness is his fate.

 

They will learn to worship our dear one.

Blood will be spilled because of our love.

But life must go on.

Our reputation,

our dream of freedom is within sight.

 

Worship and devotion, our love is everlasting.

But life must go on.

Our reputation,

our dream of freedom is within sight.

 

My precious home/country,

Land of plenty,

needs just one thing,

sweet liberty.

 

The Jewel of Pasig

When at night the moon in the heaven is watching over,

and the South wind awakens the sea from slumber,

There is an immaculate vision of purity,

with hair let loose like flowing water.

 

This is the jewel of the *Pasig! (*a river that connects Manila Bay and Laguna Bay)

This is the jewel of the Pasig!

 

The white bubbles surround her as she moves

with song,  with poetry.

 

I was once a muse in the kingdom of love.

When love died, I vanished and so did the kingdom.

I gave my strength to the hearts of all.

 

If you wish me to live,

give me love.

Kundiman: Pat Mariano

Sa tapat ng laging palangiting araw,

na lumalaganap sa dagat silangan,

may mutyang masuyot libid kayamanan

nagiliw and handog so pusong may damdam.

O, bayang maligaya ng aking paggiliw

Pusong lakanbini kalong sa lamisim,

ang iyong pagluha'y sandaling pigilin.

Ang kundimang ito, Mutya!

Iyong dinggin.

Bulaklak ng aking laging pinithaya

Ang ikaw makitang may sariling laya't.

Sa dagat silanga'y butihing diwata,

Mayama't mapuri bihis sa dalita,

Magandang diwata, diwata!

 

Bayan Ko: Constancio de Guzman

Ang bayan kong Pilipinas,

lupain ng ginto't bulaklak.

Pag-ibig and sa kanyang palad,

nag alay ng ganda't dilag.

At sa kanyang yumi at ganda

dayuhan ang nahalina.

Bayan ko! Binihag ka

nasadlak sa dusa.

 

Ibon man may layang lumipad.

Kulungin mo at umiiyak.

Bayan pa kayang sakdal dilag,

ang di magnasang makaalpas.

 

Pilipinas kong minumutya,

pugad ng luah ko't dalita.

Aking adhika,

makita kang sakdal laya!

 

Dahil Sa Iyo: Dominador Santiago

Sa buhay ko'y labis and hirap at pasakit,

Ng pusong umiibig mandi'y wala ng langit.

At ng lumigaya hinango mo sa dusa,

tanging ikaw sinta and aking pag-asa.

Dahil sa iyo, nais kong mabuhay.

 

Dahil sa iyo, hanggang mamatay.

Dapat mong tantuin wala ng iban giliw.

Puso ko'y tanungin, ikaw at ikaw rin.

 

Dahil sa iyo, ako'y lumigaya.

Pagmamahal ay alayan ka.

Kung tunay man ako ay alipinin mo

Ang lahat sa buhay ko'y dahil sa iyo.

 

Maalaala Mo Kaya: Constancio de Guzman

Huag mong sabihin ika'y hamak,

Kahit na isang mahirap,

Pagka't ang tangi kong pag-ibig

ganyan ang hinahanap.

 

Aanhin ko ang kayamanan

Kung ang puso'y salawahan?

Nais ko'y pag-ibig na tunay

At walang kamatayan.

 

Maalaala mo kaya ang sumpa mo sa akin

Na ang pag-ibig mo ay sadyang di magmamaliw?

Kung nais mong matanto, buksan and aking puso

At tanging larawan mo ay doo'y nakatago.

 

Di ka kaya magbago sa'yong pagmamahal?

Hinding hindi giliw ko, hanggang sa libingan.

O, kay sarap mabuhay, lalo na't may lambingan

Ligaya sa puso ko ay di na mapaparam.

 

Nasaan Ka Irog: Narciso S. Asistio

Nasaan ka irog?

Nasaan ka irog at dagling naparam ang and iyong paggigliw?

Di baga sumpa mong ako'y mamahalin?

Iyong itatangi, iyong itatangi magpahanggang libing?

Subalit nasaan and gayong pagtingin?

 

Nasaan ka irog at natitiis mong ako'y mangulila

At hanaphanapin ikaw sa alaala?

Nasaan ang sabi mong ako'y iyong ligaya't

Ngayo'y nalulungkot, ngayongs nalulungkot ay di ka makita.

 

Irog ko'y tandaan!

Kung ako man ay iyong ngayo'y siniphayo

Manga sumpa't lambing pinaramang boo

Ang lahat sa buhay ko ay hindi maglalaho't

Magsisilbing bakas ng nagdaan tang pagsuyo.

 

Tandaan mo irog, irog ko'y tandaan,

ang lahat sa buhay ko ay hindi maglalaho't

Magsisilbing bakas ng nagdaan tang pagsuyo.

Nasaan ka irog, nasaan ka irog?

 

Sa Kabukiran: Juan Yee Benasa

Sa kabukiran walang kalungkutan.

Lahat ng araw ay kaligayahan.

Sa kabukiran walang kalungkutan.

Lahat ng araw ay kaligayahan.

 

Ang halamanan kung aking masdan,

masiglang lahat ang kaniyang kulay.

Ang manga ibong nagaawitan kawiliwili silang pakinggan.

O, aking buhay na maligaya.

Busog and puso at maginhawa.

 

O, aking buhay na maligaya

Sa kabukiran walang kalungkutan

Ang manga ibong nagaawitan!

 

Ang Aking Bayan: Nicanor Abelardo

Sa silong ng isang langit, sa may sinisikatan ng araw

Doon ang manga ibon ay malayang nagsisipagawitan

Ang manga bulaklak ay humahalimuyak sa kabanguhan

Yaon and sinilanga niyaring katauhan

 

Ang manga bulaklak, humahalimuyak

Yaon and sinilangan, yaon and sinilangan niyaring katauhan.

 

Do'oy walang na uuhaw maging sa paggiliw

Pagkat lubhang sagana sa ikaaliw

At ang manga dalagang lubhang mahihinhin

Ay batis ng tuwa ganda't lambing, ah

 

Dooy bukas ang palad maging sa manga dayuhan

At inihahandog pati and duka.

Ang dukhang tahanan at gayon din ang puso.

buhay dangal datapua't.

O, anong saklap ng kanyang kapalaran

 

Siya'y natutong sumamba't umirog.

Dugo'y nagdanak sa pagsingtang lubos

Ngunit ang lahing mapangamkam

Ay niyurakan ang kanyang dangal

At ang pinapangarap ang kalayaan

 

Sumamba at umirog, sa pagsintang lubos.

Ngunit ang lahing mapangamkam.

Ay niyurakan ang kanyang dangal,

At ang pinapangarap ay ang kalayaan.

 

Yaon ang aking bayan,

Nasagana sa yaman,

At ang kulang na lamang,

Yaong kasarinlan.

 

Mutya Ng Pasig: Deogracias A. Rosario

Kung gabing ang buan sa langit ay nakadungaw,

Tila ginigising ng habagat sa kanyang pagtulog sa tubig,

Ang isang larawang puti at busilak,

na lugayang buhok na animoy agos.

 

Ito ang mutya ng Pasig!

Ito ang mutya ng Pasig!

 

Sa kanyang pagsiklot sa maputing bula

Kasabayang awit, kasabayang tula

 

Dati akong paraluman sa kaharian ng pag-ibig.

Ang pag-ibig ng mamatay naglaho rin ang kaharian.

Ang lakas ko ay nalipat so puso't dibdib ng lahat.

 

Kung nais ninyong ako'y mabuhay,

Pag-ibig and inyong ibigay.