Saturday, August 7, 2010

Palma, De Leon and Osias- Philippine Anthem Lyricists

The Philippine National Anthem lyrics has three versions- "Filipinas", the Spanish (original) version, written by Jose Palma, "Lupang Hinirang" the Tagalog version, written by Felipe Padilla de Leon and "Philippine Hymn", the English version, written by Camilo Osias. Presently, only the Tagalog or Filipino version is used.

José Palma (3 June 1876 - 12 February 1903) was a Philippine poet and soldier. He was on the staff of La Independencia at the time he wrote his "Filipinas," a patriotic poem in Spanish. It was published for the first time in the issue of the first anniversary of La Independencia on 3 September 1899. The poem fit the tune of the music of the Marcha Nacional Filipina, and since then became the national anthem of the country.

Palma was born in Tondo, Manila, on 3 June 1876, the youngest child of Don Hermogenes Palma, a clerk at the Intendencia Office, and Hilaria Velasquez. His older brother was Rafael Palma. After finishing his primera enseñanza in Tondo, Palma continued his studies at the Ateneo Municipal. While he was there, he gradually honed his skills by composing verses. One of his earliest works was “La cruz de Sampaguitas” in 1893. In the same year he had a brief romantic relationship with a woman named Florentina Arellano whose parents did not approve of him.

As underground revolutionary activities grew intense, Palma devoted his time to composing more poems. In 1894, he joined the Katipunan but did not join his comrades on the battlefield when the revolution broke out. He eventually joined the revolutionary forces of Colonel Rosendo Simon in 1899 when the Philippine-American War erupted and fought under the command of Colonel Servillano Aquino in the encounters in Angeles and Bambang. Since he could not physically cope with the difficulties of war, he often stayed in camps and entertained the soldiers with kundiman. He eventually joined the staff of the Tagalog section of the revolutionary newspaper, La Independencia, to fight against the Americans as he could not on the battlefield.

Palma and his colleagues in the newspaper often amused themselves with songs and poems while resting in camps or other places during their marches away from the pursuing American forces. It was during one of their breaks in Bautista, Pangasinan when Palma’s poetic spirit produced the poem “Filipinas” that fitted the music of the “Marcha Nacional Filipina” of Julian Felipe. “Filipinas” was published in Spanish in the first anniversary issue of La Independencia on 3 September 1899 as follows:

Felipe Padilla De Leon, Sr. was a major Philippine composer, conductor, and scholar. He was known best for translating the lyrics of the Philippine National Anthem from the original Spanish to Tagalog. A recepient of numerous awards and honors, he was posthumously named National Artist of the Philippines for music in 1997. He was the father of equally gifted and musical children: Bayani, Luningning, Marilag, Tagumpay, and De Leon Jr..

Felipe Padilla de Leon was born in Peñaranda, Nueva Ecija on May 1, 1912. He was educated in Manila and the United States. He taught in various schools in the capital city. He became conductor of Banda Malaya No. 1 of Taytay, Rizal.

He was known for Filipinizing western music forms. He was a prodigious composer: for orchestra, Mariang Makiling Overture (1939), Roca Encantada (1950), Maynila Overture (1976), Orchesterstuk (1981); for choral music, Ako'y Pilipino, Lupang Tinubuan, and Ama Namin. De Leon wrote his famous piece "Payapang Daigdig" the morning after he woke up to the destruction of the city of Manila during World War II. He also wrote the classic songs Bulaklak, Alitaptap, Mutya ng Lahi and the kundiman Sarong Banggi. He also composed the first full-length Filipino opera, Noli Me Tangere Opera. Many Martial Law babies recall singing his patriotic song "Bagong Lipunan" immediately after the national anthem.

De Leon not only took Filipino music seriously. He made every effort to keep music traditions alive, even in small towns. reported: "Sometime in the 1950's, a stranger named Prof. Felipe Padilla de Leon walked in this barrio and formed the Hagonoy Banda Malaya brass band. 'I am walking the history or re-enacting it,' Padilla claimed. 'Next time around, my eyes are on the brass band.'" Thus began his fruitful and happy relationship with the historic town.

De Leon also wrote and lectured extensively on Philippine music and culture. He wrote as a columnist of the Manila Times, Taliba, and others. He toured Himig ng Lahi, which he founded as a performing group with a lecture-concert format throughout the US and the Philippines. He established the Filipino society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (FILSCAP) and united all the bands of the Philippines with Pambansang Samahan ng mga Bandas sa Pilipinas (PASAMBAP).

Camilo Osias (March 23, 1889 – May 20, 1976) was born in Balaoanan, La Union. He was noted as one of the senate presidents of the Philippines, a nationalist leader who worked for Philippine independence and sovereignty, and is remembered as an educator, politician and writer who produced works such as The Filipino Way of Life, the Philippine Readers, and Jose Rizal, His Life and Times – a biographical work on Rizal. He also wrote a wide variety of articles with themes ranging from the nation to personal life and day to day living in the Philippines.

Osias had Maestro Gabriel Lopez as his mentor for primary education. Eventually, his mother influenced him to take up priesthood in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. His study for priesthood was hindered with the outbreak of the Philippine revolution which served as a period for reflection and introspection for Osias. He later resumed his studies by being one of the government funded students to study in the United States of America. In the United States, he studied teaching and was awarded a diploma by the Illinois State Teacher’s College. He also studied administration in Columbia.

A widely read and scholarly man, Osias eventually pursued further studies in Ohio where he received the degree of doctor of laws. Upon his return to the Philippines, he began his career as a politician. He was voted as a senator for the second district. After acting as a senator, he took part in the 1934 Constitutional Convention as the La Union representative. He also served as a panel for the Independence Mission in the U.S., and held a position as resident commissioner for the US congress from 1921 to 1935 where he worked for the passage of the Philippine Independence law. After his work in the United States, he was elected in the National Assembly and became a senator in congress after the war. The height of his career was his term as the senate president.

The stamps above features Julian Felipe, the anthem composer, with Jose Palma. Below is a stamp of Camilo Osias. No stamp, so far, has honored Julian Padilla de Leon.