"Bayan Ko" (Spanish: Nuestra Patria, English: My Country) is one of the most recognizable patriotic songs of the Philippines. Originally written in Spanish by Filipino General José Alejandrino, this kundiman is often considered the unofficial second national anthem, and sometimes by Overseas Filipino groups after the Lupang Hinirang or by itself. It sometimes assumed to be a folk song because of its popularity, and has been frequently adopted by various political groups as a protest song at demonstrations due to the nature of the lyrics.
The Spanish lyrics of Bayan Ko were originally written for the Severino Reyes zarzuela, Walang Sugat ("no wound"). Attributed to the propagandista, General José Alejandrino, the song expressed opposition to the ongoing American Occupation. The current and more popular Tagalog version is attributed to José Corazón de Jesús, and the music to Constancio de Guzmán.
Bayan Ko regained cult popularity during the Marcos dictatorship, with the Left singing their own version in protests. After President Marcos imposed Martial Law in 1972, the song was deemed seditious. Public performances of the song were banned, with violators facing potential arrest and detention. People were emboldened to sing it at the 1983 funeral of Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. and the ensuing 1986 People Power Revolution, where Freddie Aguilar led crowds in singing.
Since the 1986 Revolution that toppled the Marcos government and ushered in the Fifth Republic, the song has been associated with the Aquino family and their allies. In July 1987, a cover by pop singer JoAnne Lorenzana was launched as part of a nationalistic campaign by the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, and was aired on radio and television for the first anniversary of the Revolution.
On 1 August 2009, Bayan Ko was sung as the recessional of the noon Mass at EDSA Shrine, ending the quarant'ore for Corazón Aquino. The service, originally intended to pray for the former leader's recovery, was instead done to mourn her sudden death early that morning. Crowds sang it again during the transfer of her remains from La Salle Green Hills to Manila Cathedral on 3 August for the lying-in-state. At the Requiem Mass on 5 August, Lea Salonga sang it as the recessional while Aquino's casket was borne out to the Cathedral steps. A military band repeated it as the flatbed hearse carrying the casket and honour guard began the hours-long funeral procession. Mourners sang Bayan Ko for the last time with several hymns as Aquino's casket was entombed beside her husband at the couple's mausoleum in Parañaque City.
A month later, Libera sang Bayan Ko as an encore to their first Philippine tour in Cebu and Manila. Moved by the performance, the audience sporadically applauded throughout the group's performance. As part of their Summer Philippine tour the following year, Libera gave an encore performance on the hit noontime variety programme, Showtime on 14 April 2010.
Ang bayan kong Pilipinas,
My country, the Philippines,
Nuestra Patria Filipina,
While largely unchanged from the De Guzmán arrangement, the song has renditions by different composers and singers, notably by Lucio San Pedro (National Artist for music), Asin, and Freddie Aguilar. Aguilar's cover is one of the most famous renditions of the song; an often overlooked detail is that the instrumental section of this version is Pilipinas Kong Mahal, another Filipino patriotic song. Asin's rendition included another de Jesús work, Kay Sarap Mabuhay Sa Sariling Bayan, as a preluding stanza to the main lyrics. Sung mostly by Leftist groups, the stanza is included as the bridge replacing Pilipinas Kong Mahal with the prelude of Ang Bayan kong Hirang.
On 7 November 1988, an a capella version by Josephine Roberto, featuring the cast of That's Entertainment, was used for Towering Power: A Musical Dedication, which was for the launching of GMA Network's 777-foot tower.
This song has also been arranged by Robert Prizeman and sung by the vocal group Libera when touring the Philippines.
Domino de Pio Teodosio (with guitar) sang a special arrangement of Bayan Ko by Reginald Vince M. Espíritu (oboe) and Anjo Inacay (cello) at the Harvard Kennedy School on 7 March 2011. The performance, which was for visiting world leaders during the school's International Week, was organised by the Philippine Caucus of the Kennedy School.
In popular culture
- Rodell, Paul A. (2001). Culture and Customs of the Philippines. Greenwood Publishing. p. 187. ISBN 0-313-30415-7. Retrieved 2008-04-05.
- Bayan Ko -ethnic-revival version by JoAnne Lorenzana on YouTube
- 120,000 Show up for Cory - ABS-CBNnews.com
- Lea Salonga's 'Bayan Ko' rendition brings back mourners to EDSA '86 - GMANews.TV
- Libera sings Bayan Ko on YouTube
- Libera sings Bayan Ko on Showtime on YouTube
- "Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 2012-01-15.