When I was young, I often heard the songs of ASIN, a legendary folk rock band in the Philippines. Since my father was an avid fan of this band, he used to play their songs every morning. Some of their popular songs include the environmental song “Masdan Mo Ang Kapaligiran” (Observe the Environment), “Ang Bayan Kong Sinilangan” (The Land Where I Was Born), “Pagbabalik” (Return), Itanong mo sa mga bata” (Ask the Children), “Himig ng Pag-ibig” (Melody of Love) and “Balita” (News), this is the song where the tagalog lyrics of Black Eyed Peas’ “The Apl Song” is based.
As someone who loves music, I’ve been captivated with their songs and became an avid fan of ASIN. Most of their songs were based on their experiences. Because of the destructions of nature and violence happening during that time, they wrote lyrics that hoped for peace and a better environment. They even use kulintang and other traditional instruments of the southern Philippines to give their music a more indigenous spirit.
While I was in El Nido, Palawan, a group of artists held an annual arts festival called Kalugtan Arts Festival which is celebrating their 7th year. Kalugtan Arts Festival is a yearly commitment of El Nido artists to bring awareness about protecting the environment to the community.
Me with the Legend (Lolita Carbon)
Based on the banners scattered throughout the town, a concert will take place on the last day of the festival and it will feature Ms. Lolita Carbon, the only female member of ASIN. I was lucky enough that I was there during that time. The concert starts at 7 pm… Excited as it may seem but I was already at the venue by 4 pm to watch their rehearsal.
During the rehearsal
When she started to sing, I just noticed that my tears started to falls from my eyes. A moment that I can’t explain.
I realized that their songs have surpassed three decades and yet the message that each song carries is still as significant and as meaningful to the present times.
Still rockin’ at the age of 53
I want to thank ASIN for their contributions to the Philippine music industry. a music that tells of every Filipino’s dream, aspiration, desires, even heartbreaks or social commentaries that reflect the true Filipino culture.
AT TAYO’Y MGA DAHON
Tayo’y mga dahon lamang
Ng isang matatag na puno
Iisa ang ating pinanggalingan
Hindi pareho sa pagtubo
Maaaring ika’y isang dahong masigla
Ako nama’y dahong nalalanta na
Pareho tayong mahuhulog sa lupa
Kaibigan, ‘wag ikabahala
Dahil nang mabigyan ng buhay
Buhay ng kahoy ay nagkakulay
Kung may lungkot ka, may ligaya
Kulay ng dahon, ‘di iisa
Kung may lungkot ka sa iyong mga mata
Kung may hirap kang nadarama
Kung ang naging pag-ibig mo’y hindi tunay pala
isipin mo rin sa sanga ay may bunga