Music

So, About That Song They Played at the SONA...

“Rape, droga, at mga nakawan, dapat na mapigilan”
ILLUSTRATOR Miguel Escobar
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Yesterday must have been a long day for President Rodrigo Duterte. It can be taxing, after all, to stand in front of millions of people to report the state of a discordant nation, especially if you’re going to follow a serpentine train of thought to wax enraged about drugs and the many other gahd-forsaken ills of the Philippines.

Throughout the entire two hours and 18 seconds of his speech, our fearless leader tackled many important topics, revealing his thoughts, perspectives, and plans for the year to come. Every good citizen would have done well to pay attention.

But there’s one thing we heard in this year’s SONA that stuck out above all the matters of real consequence; one that continues to ring in our heads, keeping all the important topics from truly sinking in: That angelic hymn they played before and after the President’s speech.

It was as if our commander-in-chief were a professional wrestler, with a theme song to bookend his performance of (verbal) brutalities. And if Triple H had Motörhead, and Hulk Hogan had Rick Derringer, Rowdy Rody D has Freddie Aguilar—virtuoso of Filipino music, voice of our generation, and geriatric husband to his 20-year-old wife.

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The song is entitled "Para sa Tunay na Pagbabago,” and is the opening track of Mga Awit Para sa Tunay na Pagbabago, a compilation album that was released sometime last year, after the President took office. And lest you doubt its legitimacy or its musical significance, know that the album also features the iconic singer-songwriter and pop music sensation Cesar Montano, as well as the totally non-partisan song-and-dance ensemble, The Mocha Girls.

“Para sa Tunay na Pagbabago” itself is a retooled version of Aguilar’s “Ipaglalaban Ko,” an era-defining masterpiece that was released in 1990. We suspect that the visitation of an angel with halos on his arms inspired Aguilar to dig up his acoustic opus so that he could rewrite it to honor President Duterte. How else other than divine intervention could you explain such brilliant poetry?

Ikaw ang pangulo

para sa pagbabago

Sawa na ang bayan ko

sa magnanakaw na tao. 

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Madilim na kahapon

ikaw ang makaahon

Ssa piling mo, Digong

mawawala ang korapsyon.

Tayo na Pilipinas

Tayo na at magbago

Hawak kamay tayo

Para sa pag-asenso

Ikaw at ako

tayong lahat kay Rodrigo

Duterte para sa tunay na pagbabago.

Masdan mo ang paligid

Talamak mga krimen

Rape droga at mga nakawan

Dapat na mapigilan. 

Tayo na Pilipinas

Tayo na at magbago

Hawak kamay tayo

Para sa pag-asenso

Ikaw at ako

tayong lahat kay Rodrigo

Duterte para sa tunay na pagbabago.

[Rodrigo Duterte: Why am I here? I am here because I love my country, and I love the people of the Philippines.]

Ikaw at ako

tayong lahat kay Rodrigo

Duterte para sa tunay na pagbabago.

Just listen to that sweet melody, those inspiring lyrics, and the inimitable range of Ka Freddie—how can it not bring you to tears? It’s no wonder they decided to play it SIX TIMES throughout the SONA—twice during his entrance, and four times after he stepped down from the podium to wade through a crowd of barongs who all wanted to shake his hand. It’s the perfect anthem for our President's second address.

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Now if only we could get a Para Sa Tunay Na Pagbabago hip-hop remix. Musically-inclined youths of the Internet, we're counting on you.

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About The Author
Miguel Escobar
Assistant Features Editor for Esquire Philippines
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