‘Pilipinas Kong Mahal’ played at Xi Jinping’s wreath-laying at Rizal Park

November 20, 2018 - 7:27 PM
China's President Xi Jinping waves to the crowd upon his arrival at Ninoy Aquino International airport during a state visit in Manila
China's President Xi Jinping waves to the crowd upon his arrival at Ninoy Aquino International airport during a state visit in Manila, Philippines, November 20, 2018. (Reuters/Erik De Castro)

The tune of the patriotic song “Pilipinas Kong Mahal” was played by a band when Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a wreath-laying ceremony in Rizal Park during his state visit in the Philippines.

The irony of the situation was not lost on a social media user who described the scene as “eerie” in Filipino.

Xi walked towards the monument of Jose Rizal while two ceremonial guards holding the wreath led the way.

The Chinese president was accompanied by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.

The meaning of the song 

“Pilipinas Kong Mahal” is a patriotic song that was composed by Francisco Santiago and written by Ildefonso Santos in 1931.

Santiago was a Kundiman composer while Santos was an educator and poet.

The song became popular during the American colonial period from 1898 to 1946.

Its complete lyrics are as follows:

Ang bayan ko’y tanging ikaw,
Pilipinas kong mahal.
Ang puso ko at buhay man,
sa iyo’y ibibigay.
Tungkulin ko’y gagampanan,
na lagi kang paglingkuran.
Ang laya mo’y babantayan,
Pilipinas kong hirang.

Bayan sa silanga’y hiyas,
Pilipinas kong mahal.
Kami’y iyo hanggang wakas,
Pilipinas kong mahal.
Mga ninuno naming lahat,
Sa iyo’y naglingkod ng tapat.
Ligaya mo’y aming hangad,
Pilipinas kong mahal.

The song is usually sung in political rallies, demonstrations and protests. It is also performed as a song or a dance number in Independence Day celebrations, particularly in schools.

“Pilipinas Kong Mahal” is also sung in flag retreats or when the flag is being lowered from its pole.

Tensions between China and the Philippines 

Philippines and China are involved in a maritime dispute over the South China Sea including the West Philippine Sea.

China has conducted massive land reclamation activities in the Spratly Islands by turning submerged reefs into artificial islands that can support military bases, airstrips and naval ports.

The International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) has ruled in favor of the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and dismissed China’s nine-dash-line claim that was found to have no basis.

China has refused to participate in the proceedings in the Arbitral Tribunal and has also refused to recognize the ruling.

President Rodrigo Duterte, however, has not insisted on enforcing the ruling and has instead sought to improve relations with the country.

Critics have repeatedly slammed him, saying that he has given up asserting the Philippines’ sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea.

The country is also availing loans from China for the government’s infrastructure program despite criticism that the Philippines could fall into a debt trap.

READ: Philippines ‘very careful’ with China loans