UPLB celebrates Bonifacio’s 150th through music

by  Alyssa Kaye S. Mojar

In light of the 150th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, known as the “Father of Philippine Revolution,” Musikaunlaran 2013: Bonifacio @ 150 was held last August 30, 2013 at the Baker Hall of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).

As Andres Bonifacio celebrates his 150th birth year this coming November 30, 2013, UPLB commemorates his heroism through music. Musikaunlaran 2013: Bonifacio @ 150 is a battle-of-the-bands/benefit concert spearheaded by the UP Alliance of Development Communication Students (UP ADS) and the Department of Social Sciences of the College of Arts and Sciences (DSS-CAS).

How it all started

Jeyneth Ann Mariano, one the supervisors of MusiKaunlaran 2013 said that the event was chosen to be a battle-of-the-bands and benefit concert to be able to reach a wider audience. “Trend. Kasi kung symposium, baka kakaunti  yung interesadong pumunta. Edi parang hindi mako-communicateyung message,” she shared.

According to UP ADS, the event originated from one of their annual activities, Stripped to the Extreme, which aims to give UPLB students an avenue to showcase their talents to the UPLB community. As they transformed it to MusiKaunlaran 2013, they focused on the talents of Iskolars who are musically inclined, particularly, those in bands. This made way for the concept of battle of the bands.

The concert will be “rocked” by three guest artists who are Original Pilipino Music (OPM) singers and are recognized advocates of modern heroism. They are Gary Granda, Lolita Carbon of the band Asin, and Ebe Dancel, who is also a performer in the Rock Supremo Concert. The Rock Supremo Concert unites some of the country’s best artists and bands in one stage to celebrate the heroism of Bonifacio. The concert will also be featuring UPLB graduates and new breed recording bands Pathway and Segatron.

Proceeds of the concert will go to the “Off the Street, On the School” campaign of Kairos band, the UPLB Counseling and Testing Division, and the UPLB Gabay Volunteer Corps. The campaign, now on its 9th year, aims to send street children to school by providing school supplies for them and shouldering expenses needed for their schooling. Moreover, the program Is now sending six students to school on full scholarship with the aim of helping them have a degree. The program particularly helps the sampaguita vendors in UPLB.

The campaign (Off the Street, On the School) was chosen as a beneficiary because its promoters are the members of the Kairos band which is also a UPLB-based band who are also advocates of OPM. The band uses their talents and skills in music not for personal benefit, but for a worthy cause. Instead of keeping money earned from performing in events, competitions, fundraising concerts, etc., the band uses the money to promote the Off the School, On to School project.

Also, UP ADS, the co-organizer of the event, holds activities focusing on the use of various media in addressing development and development communication concerns, promotion of different advocacies geared toward social change, promotion of nationalism and modern heroism, youth empowerment, and ultimately, service to the marginalized sector.

Off to Battle

UPLB based bands will be competing in the battle of the bands. They are tasked to compose their original song revolving around the life and works of Andres Bonifacio as a hero, writer, leader of the revolution, brother to his siblings, husband, and a lot more.

The DSS-CAS gave the participants a “handout” which served as a guide to the participants in writing their songs. This handout was reviewed by the professors in the DSS-CAS in which according to them, will help the participants know who Andres Bonifaciois and his works. It equipped them with necessary information to write the heroism of Bonifacio.

After reading the handout and having their own researches about Bonifacio, the six participants namely: Arete, Balance, Coupé, Hard Tension, Lottie, and Paragos, came up with their competing original compositions which are: Sigaw ng Anak, Get up and Give it All you Got, Supremo, Boni-facio, Bayan niBonifacio, and Agapito Bagumbayan, respectively.

Lottie, a five-members band is composed of musicians from different bands and duos. According to Martin Alfred Cedeño, the band’s guitarist and vocalist, their song, “Bayan ni Bonifacio, is inspired by Andres Bonifacio’s famous poem, “Pag-ibig sa tinubuang lupa”. The song also describes Bonifacio’s courage, heroism, and his passion for our country.”

For the four-man band Balance, lead guitarist Carlos Catalan wrote their competition piece entitled Get up and Give it All you Got. He said that the focus of their song is Bonifacio’s outlook towards what was happening around him during his time. Moreover, he believes that Bonifacio’s attitude triggered him to start a revolution. The song revolved around how Bonifacio lived his life before realizing that he needs to step up and fight.

Sigaw ng Anak is Arete’s entry song. The band is composed of five members including Jan Erwin Bulang, the vocals man of the group. According to him, they focused on Andres Bonifacio’s act of starting the uprising when crafting their song. “The event is famously remembered as Cry of Pugadlawin,” he said after explaining how the Katipuneros got up withtheir bolos in hand to fight for freedom of the country.

According to Arneil Sarzeulo, vocalist of the band Hard Tension, their song Boni-facio is a product of their view of Bonifacio’s braveness and strength to lead the Filipinos and fight against the Spaniards. He also said that their song depicts how they see Bonifacio as an “example to the people of the nation today to be brave and fight against the odds that we might face.”

Although each band has their own way of interpreting Bonifacio and his works, each was able to come up with their own compositions. With this, one of the objectives of the event was fulfilled. It is to let people know the life and heroism of Andres Bonifacio.

According to Catalan, what he learned from writing the song is that Bonifacio gave everything. “Absolutely no fear,” he said.

Burang shared that what they learned from writing their songs is that they have come to realize “the greatness and the martyr he had become” to give freedom to the Philippines. He also said that Bonifacio’s life and legacy makes him one of our “unheralded heroes”.

Year-long Celebration

As early as last year, the celebration of the sesquicentennial anniversary of Bonifacio’s birth was being prepared for. President Aquino directed the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to spearhead activities and programs for the celebration.

In partnership with different government and non-government organizations, NHCP released the list of 11 activities and programs in line with the 150th birth of Andres Bonifacio.

The list includes:

  1. the reprinting of the influential works on Andres Bonifacio’s life which includes Isabelodelos Reyes’ Bonifacio the Revolutionist, TeodoroKalaw’sAngHimagsikang Filipino, and El Commercio;
  2. “Bonifacio Para saKabataan” which is a multi-arts learning tour for students from grade 5 to 7;
  3. lecture series for high school and college students in Metro Manila about “BakitMaypagasaang secret name ni Andres Bonifacio?” and “Andres Bonifacio- Sino kasaamingbuhayngayon?”;
  4. commemorative stamp design contest with the them Bonifacio@150;
  5. program tribute to the 117th anniversary of the Cry of Pugadlawin;
  6. opening of the MuseongKatipunanngPinaglabanan Memorial Shrine in San Juan City;
  7. Rock Supremmo, a musical in celebration of the life and works of Bonifacio;
  8. “San Andres B” which is a modern opera showcasing the life and story of Bonifacio;
  9. Rock Supremo Concert;
  10. raising of the Philippine flag and resting of wreaths; and
  11. the Great Boni Fiesta, a day-long celebration full of games and other surprises.

November 29, 2012, the 149th birth year anniversary of Bonifacio, marked the start of the year-long celebration of his 150th year which will be culminated on the exact date of the hero’s birth- November 30, 2013.

During Ebe Dancel’s performance, he sang one of his original compositions for the album which he, together with other artists, recorded as a promotion to the celebration of Bonifacio’s 150th birthday. As the event closed, he personally thanked the organizers of the event, for it did not only allowed him to go back to his first love, Elbi, but he was also able to perform as an advocate of Bonifacio, which he really is.

Battle of the bands winner Paragos as they received their award. Photo courtesy of the UP Alliance of Development Communication Students (UP ADS).

As MusiKaunalaran 2013: Bonifacio  @ 150 ended, Paragos band was announced as the first place in the battle of the bands. They were followed by Hard Tension, and Lottie for the second and third prize, respectively.


Agapito Bagumbayan (Winning Entry)

by Paragos

Sumibol na ang bagong umaga
Akay-akay ang pag-asa
Nag-iisa at lagi nang
Nagtatanong, naghihintay
Tapos na ba ang paglalakbay?
Pinapasan ang mga bituin na
Nag-sasabing tapos na ang delubyo

Dito sa silangan nakilala ang isang pangalan
Pinaglaban, kalayaan na ating naranasan
Isa sa mga nagtatag at naging supremo ng
Kataas-taasang , kagalang-galangang katipunan

Kumapit ka, ‘wag kang bibitaw
Pag-ibig ang tanging sandata
Lumaya ka , lumaya ka
Harapin ang ikot ng mundong
Tuloy, tuloy, tuloy,tuloy

Libo-libong tao sya ay sinamahan
Isang gabing nagtipon-tipon sa Caloocan
Upang mag-aklas laban sa mga Kastila
Tunay na pagkakaisa ng bawat Pilipino
Sabay-sabay pinunit ang sedula
Kanilang sigaw ay “KALAYAAN”

Nakapikit, nagdarasal
Tapos na nga’ng paglalakbay
Nakatingin sa mga bituin
At sinasabing tapos na ang delubyo

Dito sa silangan nakilala ang isang bayani
Binansagang Supremo, ngalan nya ay Bonifacio.

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