Freddie Aguilar

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Freddie Aguilar
Aguilar in Tondo, Manila, Philippines, 1988
Aguilar in Tondo, Manila, Philippines, 1988
Background information
Birth nameFerdinand Pascual Aguilar
Also known asKa Freddie, Abdul Farid
Born (1953-02-05) February 5, 1953 (age 71)
Santo Tomas, Isabela, Philippines
GenresFolk, Manila sound, OPM
Occupation(s)Musician, Singer-songwriter
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar, bass guitar
Years active1973–present
LabelsVicor Music/Sunshine, RCA

Ferdinand Pascual Aguilar (Tagalog: [ˈpaskwɐl ɐgiˈlaɾ]; born February 5, 1953), better known as Freddie Aguilar,[1] Ka Freddie Aguilar, or simply Ka Freddie, is a Filipino folk musician and singer-songwriter regarded as one of the pillars and icons of Original Pilipino Music (OPM). He is best known for his rendition of "Bayan Ko", which became the anthem of the opposition against the regime of Ferdinand Marcos during the 1986 People Power Revolution,[2] and for his song "Anak", the best-selling Philippine music record of all time, selling 33 million copies worldwide.[3][4][5][6] He is heavily associated with Pinoy rock.[7]

He is well known internationally, claiming fame as one of the best musician-songwriters from the Philippines.

Early life[edit]

Aguilar began composing his own songs at age 14.[8] Aguilar studied Electrical Engineering at De Guzman Institute of Technology but did not finish the degree program. Instead he pursued music, became a street musician, and then a folk club and bar musician.[9] At the age of 18, Aguilar parted ways with his family and quit college;[10] he started performing on stage at age 20.[8] After realizing and regretting his mistakes five years after quitting college, he composed the song "Anak."[10]


Freddie Aguilar's influences include British and American folk-rock stars like Cat Stevens and James Taylor.[9] He is also heavily influenced by his Filipino heritage, nationalist feelings, and tries to constitute a musical exploration of the Filipino ethos.[9]


Aguilar first began performing in public in 1973, when he auditioned and was hired to play folk songs at ₱500 per gig at the Hobbit House in Ermita, Manila.[11]

International acclaim[edit]

Aguilar's "Anak" not only broke the Philippine record charts in 1979, but it also hit the no. 1 spot in Japan and achieved considerable popularity in other countries as Angola, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and parts of Western Europe.[12] The song has become so famous that, by some counts, it has been recorded in as many as a hundred versions in 23 languages throughout the world.[13] Billboard reported that the song was the number two world hit of the 1980s. According to Billboard, Aguilar was the second best-selling recording artist of 1981 in Europe.[14] As of 2006, it was unsurpassed as the highest-selling record of Philippine music history.[15]

Political activism[edit]

Even before Aguilar's rendition of "Bayan Ko," Aguilar created and performed songs targeted at social injustices. His album, Magdalena included songs about a girl forced into prostitution as a result of poverty and the Christian-Muslim clashes in his song Mindanao. After the album, Freddie Aguilar also sang about the injustices suffered by the powerless, poverty, and the arrogance of superpowers in a song about the U.S. and Russia.[9]

Five years after the composition of "Anak", Freddie Aguilar joined protests against the Marcos regime and began writing and performing songs that criticized the excesses of the government.[12] Some of the songs that caused him to be banned from mainstream media include: "Kata-rungan" or "Justice" (speaking for the unjustly accused), "Pangako" ("Promise") (a leader's unfulfilled pledges to an abandoned people), and "Luzvi-minda" (an acronym for Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, calling on Filipinos to wake up to the reality of oppression). One of the songs he was most remembered for during that time was his interpretation of "Bayan Ko" ("My Country"), in which he added a verse to the original piece.[16]

"Bayan Ko" (My Country)[edit]

In 1978, Aguilar first recorded "Bayan Ko" in a patriotic effort to, in his words, "jolt back those who were starting to forget who we really are."[12] He also provided a rendition of the song as it is inspiring and gave him excitement and a surge of power.[17] The song was originally composed in 1928 by Constancio de Guzman, with lyrics by poet Jose Corazon de Jesus, during a time of struggle for Philippine independence from US occupation.[18] It emerged once again during the Marcos regime as the unofficial anthem of the emergent "people" of the "People Power", the new democratic nation opposed to authoritarianism that is widely credited with the deposing of Ferdinand Marcos.[12] In 1983, the assassination of Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino triggered massive demonstrations against the Marcos dictatorship, and Aguilar's rendition of "Bayan Ko" was blared on the radio and speakers mounted on jeepneys throughout the streets of Manila and the provinces of the Philippines.[18] At the funeral of Senator Aquino, Freddie Aguilar sang "Bayan Ko" and felt that Aquino was a man of action who even gave his life for the freedom of the Philippines.[19] During the performance, Freddie Aguilar did not feel scared anymore and felt strong and confident.[17] He then decided to join the cause as well.[19] Aguilar, along with APO Hiking Society and other Pinoy pop musicians who took a stand against dictatorship, joined other protest singers in music and street performances as part of the anti-Marcos rallies.[18]

A few years later, Aguilar campaigned for the presidential candidacy of Corazon Aquino in the national election that would lead to the 1986 revolt.[12]

Aguilar mentioned in an interview with ABS-CBN News that the lyrics of the song combines the love the Filipinos have for their country, commemorate the Aquino family, and commitment to the country.[17] Even in this modern time, Filipinos will identify "Bayan Ko" as the nation's protest anthem.[18]

Present day[edit]

On January 18, 2008, Aguilar received the Asia Star Award from the Asia Model Award Festival in Korea.[20]

Aguilar still lives in the Philippines, and continues to perform. He has moved to his own place dubbed "Ka Freddie's".. He still has a strong following in the Philippines and among many Filipinos living overseas.

Aguilar has been advocating for the creation of a new department called "Department of Culture and Arts."[21] During the campaign and the Inauguration of president Rodrigo Duterte, Aguilar performed “Para sa Tunay na Pagbabago”, which is one of Duterte's campaign jingles to the tune of Ipaglalaban Ko.[22] Aguilar is President Duterte's favorite singer.[23]

Aguilar ran for senator in 2019.[24] Though running as an independent candidate, his candidacy was endorsed by President Duterte.[25] However, he lost, placing 30th out of 12 seats up for election.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Aguilar with his sister Marlene, circa 2002

In 1978, he married Josephine Queipo and with her had 4 children: Maegan, Jonan, Isabella, and Jeriko.

On October 17, 2013, Aguilar openly admitted, in spite of the controversy that followed,[27] that he is in a relationship with a 16-year-old girl, Jovi Gatdula Albao (Muslim name Sittie Mariam), with plans to marry and even have children, as his partner insisted that she is willing to have a baby.[28][29][30]

On November 22, 2013, Aguilar, under Islamic rites, married his partner in Buluan, Maguindanao.[31] Aguilar had converted to Islam six months prior to these reports, so that he could marry his then 16-year-old girlfriend.[32] His Muslim name is Abdul Farid.[33][34]

On January 3, 2018, Aguilar's residence in North Fairview, Quezon City was destroyed by a fire, which was reported to have started at his music room.[35] The fire destroyed most of Aguilar's valuables estimated at around ₱15 million, including his art collection, awards, musical instruments, records, and other personal memorabilia. Aguilar was at "Ka Freddie's", his bar & restaurant along Tomas Morato Avenue, during the fire. His wife, son Jonan, and mother-in-law were all inside his residence during the fire, but were able to escape unharmed with the help of their neighbors.[36]


Year Title Record label
1978 Anak Vicor Music/Sunshine
1979 Freddie Aguilar PDU
1980 Diyosa Ugat Tunog ng Lahi/Vicor Music
1980 Freddie Aguilar (US release) RCA Records
1983 Magdalena G. Records International
1987 Freddie Aguilar – Anak – Double "Best Of" Album Panarecord International [37]
1987 EDSA Ivory Music
1988 Sariling Atin Alpha Music
1989 Hala Bira[38] Alpha Music
1990 Heart of Asia[39] OctoArts International
1991 Kumusta Ka AMP
1991 Freddie Aguilar AMP
1992 Pagbabalik Himig Vicor Music
1993 Minamahal Kita Alpha Music
1994 Anak (CD re-issue) Vicor Music
1994 Diwa Ng Pasko Alpha Music
1995 Fifteen Years of Freddie Aguilar (AMP release) Aguilar Music
1995 The Best of Freddie Aguilar Alpha Music
1997 Freddie Aguilar Live! Global Tour (Vols. 1, 2, 3) Aguilar Music / Vicor Music [40]


In chronological order:

  • 1976 "Alaala"
  • 1978 "Anak"
  • 1978 "Bayan Ko"
  • 1980 "Pulubi"
  • 1980 "Bulag, Pipi at Bingi"
  • 1981 "Ang Buhay Nga Naman Ng Tao"
  • 1983 "Magdalena"
  • 1983 "Mindanao"
  • 1984 "Pinoy"
  • 1985 "Mga Bata Sa Negros"
  • 1985 "Ipaglalaban Ko"
  • 1986 "Katarungan"
  • 1987 "'Di Ka Nag-iisa"
  • 1988 "Estudyante Blues"
  • 1989 "Luzviminda"
  • 1989 "Pangako"
  • 1993 "Minamahal Kita"
  • 1994 "Kumusta Ka"
  • 1994 "Pasko Ang Damdamin"
  • 1994 "Mga Pilipino Kong Mahal"
  • 1994 "Ang Bansa Kong Maligaya"

Music videos[edit]

  • Anak (1980 original by Tops Of The Pops TV Variety Program In The Netherlands, new live version recorded by MYX Live in 2005)
  • Sa Ngalan Ng Ama (1980)
  • Magdalena (1984)


Year Award Giving Body Category Nominated Work Results
1994 NU Rock Awards Rock Achievement Award Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Freddie Aguilar | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  2. ^ "Priestess, Wife, Revolutionary: A new film documents the role of women in Philippine history". Archived from the original on December 15, 2006.
  3. ^ "Freddie gets Senate recognition for his song". April 5, 2018. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  4. ^ Ager, Maila (March 13, 2018). "Aguilar's contributions to PH arts and culture get Senate recognition". Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  5. ^ "Philippines 10 best OPM singers and groups of all time". South China Morning Post. June 12, 2018. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  6. ^ "Senate honors Freddie Aguilar for outstanding lifetime contributions". Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  7. ^ Dorian, Frederick; Simon Broughton; Mark Ellingham; James McConnachie; Richard Trillo; Orla Duane (2000). World Music: The Rough Guide. Rough Guides. p. 216. ISBN 1-85828-636-0. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  8. ^ a b The Freddie Aguilar Story
  9. ^ a b c d Lockard, Craig A. (1998). Dance of life: popular music and politics in Southeast Asia. University of Hawaii. p. 144. ISBN 0-8248-1918-7. Retrieved July 3, 2009. anak freddie.
  10. ^ a b Freddie: I wrote Anak to atone my sins Philstar (June 10, 2017). Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  11. ^ "Freddie Aguilar and his enduring 'Hobbit'". Manila Standard. Kagitingan Publications, Inc. June 29, 1989. p. 26. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  12. ^ a b c d e Tadiar, Neferti X. M. (2009). "Popular Laments". Cultural Studies. 23 (1): 1–26. doi:10.1080/09502380701702482. S2CID 147004919.
  13. ^ Caruncho, Eric S., Eric S. Caruncho
  14. ^ Manila Standard. Manila Standard. 1983. p. 18.
  15. ^ Dot Ramos Balasbas-Gancayco (December 12, 2006). "Still up on his toes (an interview with Freddie Aguilar)". The Philippine Star. Archived from the original on March 10, 2012.
  16. ^ Poblete, Johanna D. (August 7, 2009), "Songs of Freedom", Weekender, pp. S4/1
  17. ^ a b c "'Bayan Ko' has a long history". ABS-CBN News. June 24, 2010.
  18. ^ a b c d Maceda, Teresita Gemenez (2007). "Problematizing the popular: the dynamics of Pinoy pop(ular) music and popular protest music". Inter-Asia Cultural Studies. 8 (3): 390–413. doi:10.1080/14649370701393766. S2CID 143833840.
  19. ^ a b Dancing to the Tune of the Revolution: 5 songs of EDSA
  20. ^ "Iza Calzado bags Asian model award in Korea". GMA News.
  21. ^ Serato, Arniel (July 15, 2016). "Freddie Aguilar appointed as new NCCA commissioner by President Rodrigo Duterte" (in Filipino). Philippine Entertainment Portal. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  22. ^ "Freddie Aguilar at the peak of his career". June 30, 1994. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  23. ^ "At Duterte inauguration, Freddie Aguilar sings about 'tunay na pagbabago'". GMA News. June 30, 2016. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  24. ^ "Freddie Aguilar files Senate candidacy for 2019 polls". October 11, 2018. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
  25. ^ Robles, Pia (November 5, 2018). "Duterte endorses Freddie Aguilar as senator: 'He's exemplary'". Rappler. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
  26. ^ Afinidad-Bernardo, Deni Rose (May 14, 2019). "Freddie Aguilar thanks over 2M voters for trust". Retrieved February 25, 2022.
  27. ^ "Twittterverse slams Freddie Aguilar for relationship with 16-year-old girl". InterAksyon. Archived from the original on October 18, 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  28. ^ "Freddie Aguilar ready to marry 16-year-old GF". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  29. ^ "Freddie Aguilar to Marry 16-Year-Old GF who Wants to Have a Baby | Philippine News". Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  30. ^ "60-year-old legendary singer Freddie Aguilar is helplessly in love with 16-year-old girlfriend". Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  31. ^ Diola, Camille. "Now a Muslim, Freddie Aguilar marries 16-year-old | Entertainment, News, The Philippine Star". Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  32. ^ "Why Freddie, 16-year-old GF can marry as Muslims". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  33. ^ "Freddie Aguilar as Abdul Farid Wedding Photos with 16-Year-Old GF | Philippine News". August 9, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  34. ^ "Teen explains why she married Freddie Aguilar". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  35. ^ Jalea, Mary Gleefer (January 4, 2018). "Singer Freddie Aguilar loses QC home, belongings to fire". The Manila Times. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  36. ^ Enano, Jhesset (January 4, 2018). "Fire guts Freddie Aguilar's QC house". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  37. ^ "Freddie Aguilar – Anak – Double "Best Of" Album (1987, CD)" – via
  38. ^ "Freddie Aguilar releases 'Hala Bira'". Manila Standard. Kagitingan Publications, Inc. August 1, 1989. p. 26. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  39. ^ "Freddie's album released". Manila Standard. Kagitingan Publications, Inc. November 3, 1990. p. 17. Retrieved May 17, 2021.
  40. ^ "Freddie Aguilar – Freddie Aguilar ...Live! Global Tour (1997, CD)" – via

External links[edit]