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The Philippine National Anthem

On September 23, 1943, the National Anthem and National Flag were declared official symbols by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 211. But the development of the Philippine national anthem into what it is today took several years.

It all began in 1898. In preparation for the Proclamation of Independence, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo asked musician Julian Felipe to compose a march befitting the occasion.

Felipe’s composition, titled Marcha Nacional Filipina, otherwise known as the Himno Nacional Filipino, was approved by Aguinaldo and other revolutionary leaders. On June 12, 1898, after the reading of the Proclamation, the band of San Francisco de Malabon played the march for the very first time as the Philippine flag was hoisted.

The national anthem remained without words until Jose Palma, a young poet-soldier thought of writing a poem to accompany the national anthem. The poem, entitled Filipinas, was published for the first time on September 3, 1899 in La Independencia, a revolutionary newspaper where Palma was a staff member. The score of Felipe’s march was published with the poem, Filipinas, as lyrics. The Philippine national anthem was finally complete with words and music.

The playing of the Philippine national anthem was prohibited during the beginnings of the American colonial period. However, the public singing of the national anthem was finally allowed in 1919. In the 1920s, the American colonial government commissioned the translation of the original Spanish lyrics into English, which was the medium of instruction at the time. Camilo Osias, a Filipino writer, and later a Senator, and A.L. Lane, an American, accomplished the task. It was officially adopted by the Philippine Commonwealth in 1934.

It was only during the time of President Ramon Magsaysay that the national anthem was officially sung in Filipino. The Filipino translation by Ildefonso Santos and Julian Cruz Balmaceda was officially proclaimed on May 26, 1956. Some revisions were still made in 1962, the product of which is the version which is now sung publicly.

Below are the lyrics of the three versions of the national anthem:

Himno Nacional Filipino
(Spanish Version)

Tierra adorada,
hija del sol de Oriente,
su fuego ardiente
en ti latiendo esta.

Tierra de amores,
del heroismo cuna,
los invasores
no te hollaran jamas.

En tu azul cielo, en tus auras,
en tus montes y en tu mar
esplende y late el poema
de tu amada libertad.

Tu pabellon que en las lides
la victoria ilumino,
no vera nunca apagados
sus estrellas ni su sol.

Tierra de dichas, de sol y de amores
en tu regazo dulce es vivir;
es una gloria para tus hijos,
cuando te ofenden, por ti morir.

(From Jose Palma’s
Melancolicas: Coleccion de Poesias,
Libreria Manila Filatelica, 1912)

The Philippine National Anthem
(English Version)

Land of the Morning,
Child of the sun returning,
With fervor burning,
Thee do our souls adore.

Land dear and holy,
Cradle of noble heroes,
Ne’er shall invaders
Trample thy sacred shore.

Ever within thy skies and through thy clouds
And o’er thy hills and sea
Do we behold the radiance, feel the throb,
Of glorious liberty.

Thy banner, dear to all our hearts,
Its sun and stars alight,
O, never shall its shining field
Be dimmed by tyrant’s might!

Beautiful land of love,
O land of light,
In thine embrace ‘tis rapture to lie,
But it is glory ever, when thou art wronged,
For us, thy sons, to suffer and die.

(Translated from the Spanish
by Camilo Osias and M.A.L. Lane.
From Camilo Osias,
Manlapaz Publishing Co., 1971)

Lupang Hinirang
(Filipino Version)

Bayang magiliw,
Perlas ng Silanganan.
Alab ng puso
Sa dibdib mo’y buhay.

Lupang hinirang,
Duyan ka ng magiting,
Sa manlulupig
Di ka pasisiil.

Sa dagat at bundok,
Sa simoy at sa langit mong bughaw,
May dilag ang tula
At awit sa paglayang minamahal.

Ang kislap ng watawat mo’y
Tagumpay na nagniningning;
Ang bituin at araw niya,
Kailan pa ma’y di magdidilim.

Lupa ng araw, ng luwalhati’t pagsinta,
Buhay ay langit sa piling mo;
Aming ligaya, na pag may mang-aapi,
Ang mamatay nang dahil sa iyo.

(From Camilo Osias: Educator and Statesman
by Eduardo Bananal, Manlapaz Publishing Co., 1974)

Sample selections from the Himig Collection

Sources:

Zaide, Sonia Magbanua and Lugos, Modesta Grey (1997). The Philippine National Flag and Anthem. Quezon City: All Nations Pub.

Filway’s Philippine almanac (Centennial ed.) (1996). Quezon City: Filway Marketing.