Ilocanos—their language is spelled out Ilokano—take pride in their folk song Pamulinawen, among other tunes they have in their music chests, a song addressed to, a euphemism, a stone-hearted lady.
Part of the lyrics: Pamulinawen/ Pusok indengam man/ ‘Toy umas-asug/ Agrayo d’ta sadiam/Panunotem man/ Ti inka pagintutul’ngan/ ‘toy agayat/ agrayo d’ta sadiam.//
The loose translation in English by an Ilocano musician: Pamulinawen/ please hearken to my heart/the one appealing/ has been under your spell/ please think of me/ the one you keep ignoring/the one beseeching/ enamored with your charm.//
The Pangasinenses have their Malinak La’y Labi (Peaceful Night): Malinak la’y labi, oras la’y mareen/ Mapalpal na’y dagem katekep to’y linaew/ Samit la’y kogip ko binangonan kon tampol/ lapu’d say linggas mo sikan sika’y amamaywen!//
Loose translation: Peaceful night, quiet hours/ Gentle is the wind mixed with dew/ Sweet was my dream and once I awoke/ My heart insisted that I caress you//
Bicolanos themselves take pride in, apart from “Katurog na Nonoy” and “Sarung Banggi,” the song “Babaeng Taga Bikol: Maogmahon sa Kabicolan (2x)/ Madia kamo sa Kabicolan/ Dae nindo malilingawan/ Babaeng taga-Bicol.
Which means—again loose translation – it’s nice to be in Bicolandia (2x)/ Come on over to the region/ and don’t you ever forget/ a lady from Bicol.//
In the Cordilleras, the Bontocs have a funeral song on Inan Talangey. This is about the life of a dead person and is sung by two or three groups of people during the evening wake, a practice common in northern Philippines.
The Kalingas also have their folk songs, like Banao, a lullaby song which relates the story of a baby sitter – perhaps a sibling or a close relative — while the child’s parents are out there in the farm.
The song says the baby-sitter lulls the baby to sleep by rocking it in a forward-backward movement of the torso and bending the knee a little, while singing: O-wah, o-wah, o-wah-wi-iyi-i/ Nasigab man-tagibi-iyi-i/ Maid suyop no labvi/ Anosan ta’n bvobva-i-i-i/ Siya’t kopyan dji bvo-bva-i/ O-way adjo’t ligatmi-i-iyi/ Man-i-goygoy no labvi/ O-wah, o-wah, o-wah-wi–iyi-i.//
The loose English translation by someone who has gone to the area: O-wah, o-wah, o-wah-wi-iyi-i/ Baby sitting is rather difficult/ No sleep at all at night/ We women can only bear/ That’s what women are born for/ Although there is much to suffer from.//
The Kalingas also have their “Dang-dang-ay,” another traditional song which became popular during the second world war in the 1940s.
Kalingas say the guerrillas sang this song while they bade good-bye to their sweethearts, the women not wanting their lovers to go away while the men were promising they would return.
Part of the lyrics: Ading di ka agsangit/ Agsubliyak mabiit/ Ading di ka agdanag/ Mabiit a mabayag/ Urray innak mabitay/ No diak gasat a matay/ Kastoy gayam ta ayat/ Pangkitaan ti rigat…//
The English loose translation: My young one, don’t weep/ I’ll be back before long/ Don’t worry / It’s not that long/ I might be hanged/ If it’s not my fate to die/ This is love after all/ Mirror of difficulties.//
One is reminded of the “Ballad of the Green Berets, “ a patriotic song in the ballad style about the Green Berets, an elite special force in the US Army.
It is one of the very few songs of the 1960s to cast the military in a positive light, yet it became a major hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard charts for five weeks in 1966.
It was also a crossover smash, reaching No. 1 on Billboard’s Easy Listening chart and No. 2 on Billboard’s Country survey.
The song was written by Robin Moore and Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler, while the latter was recuperating from a leg wound suffered as a medic in the Vietnam War.
The lyrics include: “Back at home a young wife waits/ Her Green Beret has met his fate/ He has died for those oppressed/ Leaving her this last request/ Put silver wings on my son’s chest/ Make him one of America’s best/ He’ll be a man they’ll test one day/ Have him win the Green Beret”//
In the lahar-devastated province of Pampanga north of Manila are several folk songs, but one, according to patriotic minds, particularly stand out.
This is the song titled “Capampangan Cu” whose lyrics include Ing balen cung Capampangan/ Sale ning leguan at dangalan/ Paraiso ne ning cabanalan/ Luclucan ning catuliran/ Mibait la qng candungan na/ Ding bayani ampong biasa/ Balen co uliran ca/ Lalam ning bandera.//
Sources from the province say this is a patriotic song which elevates Pampanga, described as the place of the righteous, religious and law abiding citizens.
Those in the Queen City of the South have their “Usahay” whose lyrics, partly, say: Usahay magadamgo ako/ Nga ikaw ug ako nagka higugmaay/ Nganong damgohon ko ikaw/ Damgohon sa kanunay…//
A loose English translation puts some graphic image: Sometimes I am dreaming/ That you and I love each other/ Why are you the one I dream of/ And always dream of my loneliness…//
The Tausugs of Sulo have their “Unu In Hi Langan” whose lyrics include: Unu in hi langan/ Sin hidlaw kan jungjungan/ Ayir bajanggang/ Sukkal banding di kapasangan/ Hi ula katumbangan/ Bang maisa kulangan/ Dayang in pagngnnan.//
The loose English translation: What can I sing/ (To ease my) yearning for my beloved/ (Her) incomparable presence/ cannot be matched/ (My) dear idol and lover/ When lying in the chamber/ I utter the name of my beloved.//
Culture connoisseurs say there are other regions rich in folk songs which need wider dissemination and appreciation by the younger generations – if only for the message of patriotism, love for kin and what the songs say of the community, the aspirations of the people, their laughter, their grief, and their dreams.
As the Cebuanos say, “Daghan na mga Pilipino ang miuyon,” endorsed by Bicolanos who say “Cadacul an mga Filipino na o yun.”
And the Ilocanos chase that with “Pudno, atanud, adu ti umanamong.”