A Sense of Nationality

This is really embarrassing, but in my almost two decades (and counting!) here on Earth, I’ve never really realized just how beautiful the lyrics of our national anthem is.

Yes, I know it by heart. We used to sing it every single day from preschool to high school, yet I don’t think my heart was ever actually in the song. There were some times when I really felt the nationalistic vibes emanating from the anthem, but it’s still embarrassing that for most of the time, it was just another song to me.

That is, until we passed by Camp Aguinaldo earlier, the General Headquarters for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and I saw the national anthem in the form of wall murals.

Lupang Hinirang Lyrics

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 ng dahil sa’yo.

There’s actually an official English version used during the American regime here in the Philippines, but while it does retain the message and even the melody of the song, it’s not quite accurate lyrics-wise. And since I really love the original Tagalog lyrics, I’d love to share them with those who don’t understand Tagalog. Here’s the literal translation of the lyrics which I translated to the best of my abilities. (Please take note that I’m not very fluent in Tagalog, especially if we’re talking deep Tagalog words, so there could be some mistakes.)

Literal English Translation

Beloved nation,
Pearl of the Orient,
The beating of our hearts,
in your chest, is alive

Chosen land,
home of the noble
To your conquerors,
you will never surrender

Over the sea and mountains,
through the breeze and your blue skies,
the splendor of your melody
sings beloved freedom

The shine of your flag
is of sparkling victory
Its stars and its sun
will never ever go dim

Land of light, of glory and of love
Life is paradise with you
It is our joy, if you are wronged,
to die for you

And now, here’s the official English version. This was used during the Commonwealth era in the Philippines around 1938. Former politician Camilo Osias penned this version, which also matches the official melody of the song. Interesting fact: the original song is sung in 2/4 time signature, which is apparently way too fast for live singers so it’s usually done in 4/4 when sung in schools, institutions, or basically live events.

Land of the Morning (Official English Version)

Land of the morning,
Child of the sun returning,
With fervor burning,
Thee do our souls adore.

Land dear and holy,
Cradle of noble heroes,
Never shall invaders
Trample thy sacred shore.

Ever within thy skies and through thy clouds
And over thy hills and sea,
Do we behold the radiance, feel the throb,
Of glorious liberty.

Thy banner, dear to all our hearts,
Its sun and stars alight,
O never shall its shining field
Be dimmed by tyrant’s might!

Beautiful land of love, o land of light,
In thine embrace ’tis rapture to lie,
But it is glory ever, when thou art wronged,
For us, thy sons to suffer and die.

I’m sort of bummed that I didn’t bring my camera with me, but I really wish I had captured all those wonderful murals on the exterior wall.

It was, to say it simply, beautiful. The lyrics of our national anthem, the Lupang Hinirang, were written line by line on the concrete wall, along with the native script, the Baybayin, underneath. Alongside each line was a heartful depiction of the Filipino history, our culture, our people. It was truly a sight to see, even for a teenager like me.

Magnificent.

That’s what it was, at least for me. Maybe because, even though I pass by the camp at least once a month every time I have my dental checkup, I’ve never noticed it until now. Such a shame. Sometimes the most beautiful things are already in front of us, but we’re just too preoccupied with unimportant things that we fail to see it immediately.

The creativity of Filipinos still amaze me, even in the every day situations. The walls of the Camp Aguinaldo are a testament to just how skillful our people are. It’s truly a sight to behold for many Filipinos, something that could instill in us a sense of pride and nationality in our mother home, the Philippines.

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