Arts & Entertainment

Listen to 'Bagong Silang,' the Most Famous of Marcos-Era Propaganda Songs

This used to be played right after "Lupang Hinirang."
ILLUSTRATOR Sasha Martinez
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When we talk about political songs, we mostly remember protest songs, because it's in the nature of art and artists to fight against The Man and the oppression he brings.

On the other hand, politicians have always known how to use music for their own ends. Ferdinand Marcos was a master at using music as propanganda: Under his rule, the government commissioned songs to help create the new society that he envisioned, trumpeting everything from hope, beauty, and peace, to patriotism, discipline, and obedience. TV and radio stations ran jingles to remind Filipinos to save resources, be good Filipinos, or to obey the government. Like all good propaganda, these songs were stirring calls to unity and nationalism which often hid the true state of affairs in the country. 

Marcos' great vision for the country was to lead, ahem, a cultural revolution to create the Bagong Lipunan of his dreams. This society—and Marcos' political party, not-coicidentally named the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL)—of course had an anthem extolling the virtues of Marcos' vision and exhorting everyone to goose-step in solidarity.

"Bagong Silang," also known as "Martsa ng Bagong Lipunan," was broadcast every day on every TV and radio station, often following the Philippine national anthem. Its music was composed by National Artist Felipe Padilla de Leon, with lyrics by Levi Celerio. 

The video can still be found in all its grainy glory online (check out all that pro-worker imagery!), but we'd like to point out that this version, complete with lyrics and an English-language translation, is found on this particular Youtube channel called The United States of Fascism, right alongside songs like Iraq's "Hymn of the Bayonets" and "Stukelied," the song of Hitler's Luftwaffe. The channel preserves the anthems of scary fascist regimes, which of course includes Marcos' long reign. (So who's going to break it to these guys that unfettered use of the internet isn't allowed under fascist regimes?)

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"Bagong Silang" (also known as "Martsa ng Bagong Lipunan")

May bagong silang, 
May bago nang buhay,
Bagong bansa, bagong galaw,
Sa bagong lipunan.
Nagbabago ang lahat, tungo sa pag-unlad, 
at ating itanghal, bagong lipunan!

May bagong silang, 
May bago nang buhay,
Bagong bansa, bagong galaw,
Sa bagong lipunan.
Nagbabago ang lahat, tungo sa pag-unlad, 
at ating itanghal, bagong lipunan!

Ang gabi nagmaliw ng ganap,
at lumipas na ang magdamag.
Madaling araw ay nagdiriwang,
may umagang namasdan
Ngumiti na ang pag-asa
sa umagang anong ganda.

May bagong silang, 
May bago nang buhay,
Bagong bansa, bagong galaw,
Sa bagong lipunan.
Nagbabago ang lahat, tungo sa pag-unlad, 
at ating itanghal, bagong lipunan!

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