Stories, essays, readings, facts and trivia on Philippine music and the local music industry

Music for National Identity

Being Filipino

These are songs that celebrate or depict our struggles, hopes, and aspirations toward a Filipino identity and sense of nationhood.

The Filipino struggle for freedom identity and dignity has a long and continuous history since the 16th century when Spanish colonization began. The Filipinos were the very first Asian peoples to wage and win a war in 1898 against Western colonialism in Asia. We were also the first Constitutional Republic in Asia. A commitment to one’s country and pride in being Filipino, though only discernible among a minority (thus, a subculture), is as alive today as it was in the past, and this devotion has always been well-served by the musical expressions of the nation, particularly the kundiman, a song of devotion to a selfless and noble cause. It is the kundiman that has always embodied the Filipinos’ intense and lofty patriotism, as in the songs Bayan Ko, Jocelynang Baliwag, and Sariling Bayan.

The kundiman is a tenderly lyrical song in moderately slow triple meter with melodic phrases often ending in quarter and half note values. It is mainly a song of selfless devotion to a loved one, the motherland, a spiritual figure, an infant, a lofty cause or an object of compassion.