My Child

In 1977, a Filipino musician submitted a song into the first Metro Manila Pop Song Festival.  While it didn’t win, this tune went further than anyone expected—released in fifty-six countries, sung in twenty-seven languages (some by the original artist), and hundreds of covers.  It has become one of the most world renowned songs to come from the Philippines.

But how?  How did this song, “Anak,” become so popular?

Part of it was timing.  The world was ready to hear a song that was a bit more stripped-down and focused on the lyrics.  However, a huge portion of it was the message.  “Anak” conveys the story and life of a child who grows up from loving parents that only wanted the best—even during the times the child rebelled and wanted more independence.

Noong isilang ka sa mundong ito
When you were born in this world,
Laking tuwa ng magulang mo
How delighted your parents were
At ang kamay nila ang iyong ilaw
Their hands were your guiding light

 At ang nanay at tatay mo’y
And your Mama and Papa
Di malaman ang gagawin
Desperately flustered how to please you
Minamasdan pati pagtulog mo
Lovingly gazed while you sleep  


Ngayon nga ay malaki ka na
Now, as you grew up,
Nais mo’y maging malaya,
You wanted to be free
Di man sila payag Walang magagawa
Though they resisted, they could not make you change your mind

Ikaw nga ay biglang nagbago
You suddenly changed
Naging matigas ang iyong ulo
You became a rebel
At ang payo nila’y sinuway mo
You defied their counsel

Di mo man lang inisip na
It didn’t even come to you
Ang kanilang ginagawa’y para sa iyo
That all they cared about was you

The song doesn’t end there.  After the child pursues his/her freedoms, s/he gets caught in a plethora of troubles, becomes emotionally and mentally lost, and returns home and goes to the mother, where she weeps in compassion, and the child realises how wrong s/he was to rebel—all the parents wanted was what was best for him/her.

The song writer Freddie Aguilar wrote this somewhat as an autobiography, but the reason why this song resonates in so many people is because they could apply themselves into the protagonist’s shoes.  Who hasn’t felt that their parents were too restrictive?  Who hasn’t thought that their parents’ ways are archaic or frivolous?  Who hasn’t felt the need to just break away?  And how open armed are parents when you come back in humility to take you back?

Everyone comes from a different family with different dynamics and different problems, so I recognise this may not apply to everyone.  That said, just as Aguilar recognised that his parents only wanted what was best for their child, I implore you to embody that idea.  Whether or not your parents’ restrictions or actions are right, it’s important to remember that (for the most part) they come from pure intentions.  Just as they nursed you when you were a baby and took care of your wounds when you were a toddler, your mother’s and father’s decisions are made because they desire the best for you.

About Jonathan Seligman

Jon is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of NWYT. While his main profession is in education/music/history, he has a deep passion for philosophy, theology, ice cream, and everything else that life has to offer. See All of Jon’s Posts

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