Bayan Ko (My Dear Country) was written as a protest song by Jose Corazon de Jesus and put to melody by Constancio de Guzman during the Am-erican Period of the Philippines.
This song has accompanied almost every struggle of Filipinos against domination, occupation or ty-ranny since the turn of the 20th century to recap-ture the visions and ideals of the Philippines’ First Republic – from the anti-American protest movement and millenarian revolts of the 1920s and 30s, to the determined and blood-stained resistance against the Imperial Japanese occupation forces in the 40s that kept them from advancing towards Australia and New Zealand, the student revolt of the 70s and more recently in 1986, the world’s first and original “People’s Power” revolt which peacefully toppled a rapacious dictatorship and its cohorts who by then had damaged the core values of Philippine society and its democratic traditions once admired throughout Asia.
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Bayan Ko has often been sung in protest rallies and demonstrations throughout Philippine history, notably during the funeral of Sen. Benigno Aquino, Jr. whose brutal assassination hastened the coming of the People Power Revolution of 1986 and where a popular local musician – Freddie Aguilar, led the crowds gathered in the capital’s main urban highway EDSA to sing the song’s chorus.
Due to the song being used against the Marcos dictatorship, the Martial Law era saw the banning of most public performances of the piece; anyone who dared to sing or play it in public was deemed a dissident and could potentially have been incarcerated. Many were.
This rendition of the song is unique in the sense that it is not sung by Filipinos but rather Koreans who are members of the Gracias Choir group. Even still, it is a beautiful, melan-cholic rendition of the song that still manages to stir the hearts and express the longing of a cultured people who cherish most living independently and free even if the price of doing that sometimes means having to lose one’s own life.
|Original Lyrics||English Translation|
|Ang bayan kong Pilipinas,
Lupain ng ginto’t bulaklak.
Pag-ibig ang sa kaniyang palad
Nag-alay ng ganda’t dilag.
At sa kaniyang yumi at ganda,
Dayuhan ay nahalina.
Bayan ko, binihag ka,
Nasadlak sa dusa. Koro: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,
Makita kang sakdal laya!
|My dear country, the Philippines,
Land of gold and flowers.
Love is in her palms
Offering beauty and splendour.
And to her refinement and beauty,
Foreigners were enticed.
My Dear Country, you were enslaved,
Mired in suffering. Chorus: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 aspiration is,
To see you truly free!