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If Andres Bonifacio Had Won, This Would've Been Our National Anthem

"Mabuhay yaong Kalayaan"
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As you mumble your way through "Lupang Hinirang" every morning (and not, unless you're a proud graduate of the School of Bukol, "Bayang Magiliw"), bear in mind that you could be singing a very different tune, in a very literal sense, had history taken a different turn.

Before Emilio Aguinaldo chose the Julian Felipe composition to be the national anthem for his new republic, another one was already in the works. Julio Nakpil, president of the Northern Council of the Katipunan had already been commissioned by Andres Bonifacio in 1897 to create a national anthem. Nakpil had titled the piece "Marangal na Dalit ng Katagalugan" (note that, in the language of the time, "Katagalugan" meant to include the entire archipelago). 

Some reports state that Bonifacio expressed his desire to have our own national anthem as early as November 1896, when he and the Katipuneros were encamped in the vicinity of Balara; in any case, Bonifacio's request was recorded in a letter where the leader of the Katipunan mentions that he had received a copy of the “Himno Nacional.” 

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Of course, we know that Aguinaldo’s faction won in Tejeros, and the Bonifacio brothers were killed. And so Aguinaldo chose the composition by his buddy Julian Felipe, originally titled "Marcha Filipina Magdalo," to become the official national anthem—the song we know today as "Lupang Hinirang."

Instead of letting a beautiful composition going to waste, Nakpil decided to rework "Marangal na Dalit" into "Salve, Patria." The piece premiered at the Teatro Zorilla in Manila on the eighth anniversary of Rizal’s execution in 1904. In the meantime, in a twist of fate, Nakpil married Gregoria de Jesus, Andres Bonifacio’s widow. They later lived a relatively peaceful life in Quiapo, where they had eight children.

Unfortunately, the original score of Nakpil's composition was lost in the 1945 Battle of Manila of World War II. Nakpil, however, reconstructed the song when he was in his 80s, and it is the version that survives today. The piece is displayed at the Bahay Nakpil Bautista, a heritage house built in the early 1900s where Nakpil and De Jesus lived.

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The lyrics posted in the display reads:

Mabuhay, Mabuhay yaong Kalayaan, Kalayaan

At pasulungin ang puri't kabanalan

Kastila'y mailing ng Katagalugan

At ngayo'y ipagwagi ang kahusayan

Mabuhay, Mabuhay yaong Kalayaan, Kalayaan

At pasulungin ang puri't kabanalan

Kastila'y mailing ng Katagalugan

At ngayo'y ipagwagi ang kahusayan

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Nicai de Guzman
Nicai de Guzman is the Head of Marketing of Rising Tide, one of the fastest-growing mobile and digital advertising technology companies in the Philippines. She also writes for SPOT.ph and Entrepreneur.com.ph.
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