Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Friday, March 16, 2007

My Current Soundtrack Is So Old School

For the past month(!) I’ve been tripping on the album The Filipino Classics by Basil Valdez and the San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra with the master conductor and arranger himself, Ryan Cayabyab. I listen to it in the office and in my car. There’s something intrinsically sad with all, as in all, of the songs—Basil’s voice, the arrangement, the lyrics. Maybe we Filipinos are masochistics at heart.

Anyway, I found out early this morning that the album is best played when your car is stopped at a police checkpoint. When I rolled down my window, the song “Bayan Ko” was playing full blast. “Ser, saan po kayo papunta?” the policeman asked. I pretended not to hear him and instead just popped open my glove compartment and opened my bag as well (it was on the passenger seat) to show its contents. He merely flashed his light briefly then paused; he was obviously listening to the music, his head cocked to one side. Then he waved me off with a, “Salamat po, ser.” I guess he thought I was a harmless, boring prude who stays at home with his cats weekday evenings and watches shows at the CCP on weekends. As I drove off, the car in front of me was still being thoroughly checked, with their trunk opened and the contents being examined one by one.

But I digress.

I can listen to the whole album again and again without skipping a track. Of course I have my favorite ones: “Babalik Ka Rin,” “Bituing Marikit,” “Madaling Araw,” “Sa Ugoy Ng Duyan,” “Bakas Ng Lumpias.” I particularly get mental goosebumps when I hear “Sa Ugoy” and makes me long for our house in Bilar, Bohol. “Babalik Ka Rin” sounds like a song I can use as soundtrack for a ghost movie. And of course, “Kami Ay Tao Lamang” is the ultimate “not guilty” plea for love:

Puso, kahit hindi turuan
Nakapagtataka, natututuhan din ang magmahal.
Tunay kami’y nagmamahalan,
Kung kasalanan man ay sapagkat
Kami ay tao lamang.

Kahit Diyos na ang Siyang may utos,
Dahil sa pagsinta
Damdamin din ang siyang nasusunod.

Di ba tayo ay tao lamang?
Ganyan tayong lahat—
O kay saklap ng buhay!

Kahit Diyos na ang Siyang may utos,
Dahil sa pagsinta
Damdamin din ang siyang nasusunod.

At kung iyan man ay kasalanan,
Ay sapagkat kami ay tao lamang.

Recently they announced in the news that San Miguel Corporation has pulled the plug on their orchestra and their master chorale, whose legacy includes the abovementioned album plus several more. I also bought a second album, Great Original Pilipino Music from the Movies which includes a chorale rendition of Gary V’s “Kailangan Kita” as well as Aiza Seguerra’s “Pagdating ng Panahon” (it’s funny when the chorale sounds like they’re singing: “Baka tibo ng puso ko’y maging tibo ng puso mo,” but that’s just me). Regardless of what you feel towards San Miguel for yanking support for the arts, go buy the albums. It may just save you several minutes of checkpoint hassle in the future.


amateur misanthrope said...

I bought the Great Original Pilipino Music from the Movies last week--one for my self and one for my sister. Then I returned my copy and exchanged it for something else. My tenors were bad. Ewan ko ba. Why did they sing that way? Ang prepubescent ng mga boses. They ruined it. The sopranos were singing in full, mature voices. Then the tenors come in. Boses tingga mga totoy. So much for romance in Pilipino music from the movies.

albert said...

Bilar, Bohol? The place is very familiar. I am from there. Where on earth is your house in Bilar?

joelmcvie said...

ALBERT: (sings) "It's a small world after all!"

Our mom's family's "ancestral" house is at 90 Poblacion, Bilar. If you're headed for the Carmen Chocolate Hills, it's the house on the second corner after the church, on the left side of the road. My mom's maiden name is Caverte.

And from where in Bilar are you?

albert said...


i think i know your house. it has green paints on its sides. and located across the maglente's. i remember during my boyhood days that me and my mates regularly passed around your street on our way to watch the ligas every summer in the town centre. i also remember coming to that house to look at the pond teeming with huge fishes one christmas day of years passed. i grew up in zamora. wherever in the world i will be, bilar will always be home to me.

do u have an email? this place is too public for some hometown gossips.


joelmcvie said...

ALBERT: My email is

Hmmm, I have to ask my mom where the Maglente's are, hehehe. Our house is the two-storey one of the late 50s design. If you click on the McMultiply link, check out the "Bohol Pics 1" there's a picture or two of the house. Too bad the pond is waterless and fishless these days. :-)