i’ve been telling my friends for a few years now that this is one of the best-made lyrics ever. it talks about love of country (and perhaps of another person) but not just any ordinary love…

it is the kind of love that sees beauty in every way. the kind that endures. the kind that makes one free. the kind of love that conquers all but is ultimately conquered back.

lupang hinirang

bayang magiliw
perlas ng silanganan,
alab ng puso
sa dibdib mo’y buhay.

lupang hinirang,
duyan ka ng magiting,
sa manlulupig,
‘di ka pasisiil.

sa dagat at bundok,
sa simoy at sa langit mong bughaw,
may dilag ang tula at awit
sa paglayang minamahal.

ang kislap ng watawat mo’y
tagumpay na nagniningning,
ang bituin at araw niya
kailan pa ma’y ‘di magdidilim.

lupa ng araw, ng luwalhati’t pagsinta,
buhay ay langit sa piling mo;
aming ligaya, na ‘pag may mang-aapi
ang mamatay nang dahil sa ‘yo.

FYI¹. the philippine national anthem is from the poem “filipinas” written in spanish by josé palma in august of 1899. the music was done by julian felipe. the official translation which is in use today and made familiar to all of us was by felipe padilla de leon.

FYI². usage and legal regulation… yes, there is a ‘legal’ way of singing our national anthem. (this bit is taken mostly from wikipedia)

article XVI, section 2 of the present philippine constitution specifies that “the congress may, by law, adopt a new name for the country, a national anthem, or a national seal, which shall be truly reflective and symbolic of the ideals, history, and traditions of the people. such law shall take effect only upon its ratification by the people in a national referendum.”

at present, the 1998 republic act 8491 (the flag and heraldic code of the philippines) regulates the usage of the philippine national anthem. it also contains the complete lyrics of lupang hinirang.

RA 8491 specifies that lupang hinirang “shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of julian felipe.” however, when literally followed, this means that the national anthem should only be performed by a pianist or by a brass band, as these were the only versions that were produced by julian felipe. moreover, because the original version was composed in duple time (i.e. in a time signature of 2/4) as compared to the present quadruple time (4/4), it is uncertain if this will either slow down or even double the music’s speed, making it difficult for singers to keep up with the music. regardless of this, the national anthem is still sung with the lyrics. RA 8491 also states that lupang hinirang “shall always be sung in the national language” regardless if performed inside or outside the Philippines, and specifies that the singing must be done with fervor.

the national anthem is usually played during public gatherings in the philippines or in foreign countries where the filipino audience is sizable. RA 8491 also provides that it be played at other occasions as may be allowed by the national historical institute. RA 8491 prohibits its playing or singing for mere recreation, amusement, or entertainment except during the following occasions:

  1. international competitions where the philippines is the host or has a representative;
  2. local competitions;
  3. during the “signing off” and “signing on” of radio broadcasting and television stations; and
  4. before the initial and last screening of films and before the opening of theater performances.

RA 8491 specifies fine or imprisonment penalties for any person or juridical entity which violates its provisions. public or government official or employee who fail to observe the regulations of RA 8491 may face administrative sanctions, besides the penalties imposed by the same law. this warning also applies to persons connected with government-held corporations, public schools, and state colleges and universities.

so the next time you sing it, be careful. or better yet, sing with fervor. sing from the heart. you can never go wrong.