Joey Ayala’s version of ‘Lupang Hinirang’

Ira Agting

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'You'll never sing the national anthem the same way again,' says Joey Ayala

'ANG MAGMAHAL' Joey Ayala proposes a more 'positive' ending to the National Anthem. Screen grab from TEDXTalks YouTube

MANILA, Philippines – In a TEDxDiliman forum held October 13, veteran OPM singer-songwriter Joey Ayala presented what could “possibly” be the “correct way” of singing “Lupang Hinirang,” the Philippine National Anthem.

The video of his performance was uploded November 15, and has since made rounds on social media.

“I tampered with the National Anthem… this is an illegal act we share,” he told the audience.

According to Republic Act No. 8491, “The rendition of the National Anthem, whether played or sung, shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe.”

Ayala, who is former chairman of the music committee of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), said he is interested in “how songs can help people experience themselves in a different way, or catch themselves in habits that are no longer productive.” (Editor’s note: We earlier erroneously reported that Ayala was a former chairman of the NCCA. We regret the error.)

In his speech, he pointed out several mispronunciations in the lyrics and proposed a more “positive” alternative to the song’s final line “ang mamatay nang dahil sa’yo (to die for the country).”

Palagay ko may grave psychological damage na ginagawa yang kantang yan sa atin kaya pag gumagraduate ang tao, gusto niyang mag-abroad, kasi ang implicit belief is kung dito ka, tepok ka,” he jested.

(In my opinion, the song creates grave psychological damage, so when people graduate, they want to go abroad because the implicit belief is if you stay, you die.)


He said a better ending would be the line “ang magmahal nang dahil sa’yo” (to love for the country), coupled with an embrace.

Yung general purpose na positive, ‘ang magmahal.‘ Love your enemies, pag may nang-api, mahalin mo. Dapat ito yung kanta kay Pacquiao ‘pag may laban.”

(A general purpose that is positive is ‘to love.’ Love your enemies, if someone hurts you, love them. This should be the song during Paquiao’s fights.)

“You’ll never sing the national anthem the same way again, because you don’t really wanna die,” he added.

Ayala also noted that “Lupang Hinirang” is a march, in contrast to the “swaying and soft” nature of the Pinoy. With nothing but his guitar and voice, he performed the National Anthem, much like a soothing Filipino love song or kundiman.

Listen to his version here:

TEDx brings together local personalities for a series of talks “designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.”

TEDXDiliman 2013 held in the University of the Philippines Diliman focused on discussions about “books, music, art, science, maps, shadow plays, education, the brain and even lawyers.” –

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