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Filipino Legends

Exponent of the Kundiman
(Feb 7, 1893 -March 21, 1934)

Nicanor Abelardo was born in San Miguel de Mayumo, Bulacan, the eldest of eight children of Valentin Abelardo and Placida Santa Ana. His formal Education was desultorily obtained. He attended the town school in San Miguel and later on attended several scholls in Manila, finishing his primary course in 1905 at the Quiapo Primary School. He enrolled at the Conservatory of Music, University of the Philippines when it opened in 1916, receiving his teacher's certificate in Science and Composition in 1921. The following year, he finished a post graduate course. In 1931, he received a grant from the University of the Philippines which enabled him to go abroad and pursue advanced musical studies at the Chicago Musical College. He returned to his native country in 1932 and was granted the Master's Degree in absentia after fulfilling academic requirements at the National University.

Throughout his life, Abelardo had to work to support himself and his own family. He also supported his younger sisters. He held all types of odd jobs-first as pianist in small and low class theaters, then as orchestra conductor of bigger and better class theaters. During his students days, he held assistantship in solfeggio and harmony and in his junior year in 1919, he was appointed instructor "based solely on merit and recognition of ability." At the same time, he had to supplement his income and worked as a pianist and orchestra director of the Lerma Cabaret. After his graduation he directed a Jazz band at the Manila Hotel.

In 1924, he was appointed head of the Department of Composition at the U.P. Conservatory. For financial reasons he took in pupils outside of teaching hours and became director of the Sta. Ana Cabaret. This strenous schedule took a heavy toll on his health. Abelardo died on March 21, 1934, leaving six children and a wife, Sixta Naguiat.

E. Arsenio Manuel lists 149 musical compositions by Abelardo. As a composer he was conscious of the wealth of native elements that were waiting for the artists hand to transmute into more subtle expressions. But it was his kundiman text and music were so perfectly matched-the melodies so successfully conveyed his fame, however will not rest solely on his achievement as a composer but also of his great ability as a teacher.

Francisco Santiago

Francisco Santiago is mostly identified with the kundiman because he was the first one to compose the art song. His piece "Kundiman, Anak-Dalita" was sung upon the request of King Alfonso III before the Royal Court of Spain.

Santiago's masterpiece was the "Concerto in B flat minor" for pianoforte and orchestra. This was composed at the Chicago Music School, where Santiago earned his doctorate.

His other compositions are the kundiman "Sakali Man", "Hibik ng Filipinas", "Pakiusap", "Ang Pag-ibig", "Suyuan", "Alaala Kita", "Ikaw at Ako", "Ano Kaya ang Kapalaran?", "Hatol Hari Kaya?", "Sakali't Mamatay", "Dalit ng Pag-ibig", "Aking Buituin" and "Pagsikat ng Araw".


In the bloodless EDSA Revolution of 1986 (i.e the "EDSA 1 People Power"), one song played in the background capturing the sentiments of thousands of thousands of people eager to be released from the dominion of a dictator.

Instantly popular was the melody of "Bayan Ko", it's composer - Constancio "Tanchoong" de Guzman. The piece however was written much earlier to express the similar dispositions of the Filipinos during the height of their bloodless campaign for independence from America under the leadership of then President Manuel L. Quezon. This is just one more proof of why Constancio de Guzman's music is among the most versatile in capturing and airing out the passionate drifts of the Filipino people.

Constancio de Guzman SR, is one of the chosen few who is naturally endowed with tyhe talent fro writting melodious ang memorable songs.

"Maalaala Mo Kaya" is one of that's not easy to forget. "Ang Tangi Kong Pag-ibig," "Babalik Ka Rin," :Kung Kitay Kapiling," "Pamaypay ng Maynila," are but a few of his more than a thousand published and unpublished musical compositions.

De Guzman used the cinema to promote his music. He started working in the movies in 1931, becoming thus the first Filipino Musical Director. He has wroked for then LVN, EXOTIC, LEA, ROYAL, EXCELSIOR, CRISANTEMO, CHARLATONE, VERA-PEREZ, NATIONAL and SAMPAGUITA Pictures Production. Movie tittles have long been forgotten and the production companies gone but the musical scoring of the themesongs he created still linger and haunt the heart.

In 1960 he received a most deserved best musical score in the FAMAS awards and in 1969 was the best composer and lyricist of the AWIT Awards. He likewise receiced the gold medal at the Paris exposition for "And Bayan Ko," and "Kung Kita'y Kapiling." Now that "Bakan Ko" is very much a part of Philippine History, Constancio de Guzman truly deserves to be in the Filipino Music Hall of Fame


Music by Ressureccion Bunyi
Lyrics by Jose Corazon de Jesus

Nararamdaman ko hirang
Na ang aking kawawang buhay
Unti-unti ng pumapanaw
Nawawalan na ng ilaw.

Lumapit kang dahan-dahan
Damhin mo ang kalagayan
At bago ako pumanaw
Mamasdan ka man lamang.

Lagi kang tinatawag
Sa laot ng hirap
Nabibilang ko ang araw
Ay walang lumingap.

Kung mabalitaan mo
Na ako ay namatay
Idalangin mo sa Diyos
Paalam hirang!


Magandang Diwata
Music by Bonifacio Abdon
Lyrics by Pat. Mariano

Sa tapat ng laging palangiting araw;
Na lumalaganap sa dagat Silangan,
May Mutyang masuyo't libid kayamanan,
Na Giliw ang hangdog sa pusong may damdam;

O bayang maligaya ng aking pag-giliw,
Pusong lakanbini kalong salamisim.
Ang iyong pag-luha'y sandaling pigilin,
Ang kundimang ito Mutya, iyong dinggin.

Bulaklak ng aking laging pinithaya,
Ang ikaw makitang may sariling laya!
Sa dagat Silanga'y, butihing Diwata,
Mayama't mapuri bihis sa Dalita!
Magandang Diwata!

Julian Felipe

Julian Felipe composed the Marcha Nacional Filipina upon the request of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo to compose something stirring ang majestic which can inspire Filipinos to fight the enemy - something which embodes the noble ideas of the Filipino race. It was played officially for the first time by the San Francisco de Malabon band while the Philippine Independence on Kawit, Cavite, on June 12, 1938.
The composition was adopted as the Philippine National Anthem by the National Assembly on September 5,1938.
The youngest of twelve children, Felipe was born in Cavite (Cavite City now) on January 28, 1861. His parents were Justo Felipe , and Vcitoria Reyes. He died on October 2, 1944 in Sampaloc, Manila.