In the Philippines, we celebrate Buwan ng Wika (Month of Language) every August. During this month, students all over the country celebrate the beauty of our national language. We, as Filipinos, are also reminded to be proud to speak in our native tongue. Our language tells us who we are as a nation, as a country. Just like our flag which represents our country among the nations, so does our language. We should be proud to use in our everyday conversations, in our writings and even in our songs.
Instead of calling off school today because of a typhoon, I decided to introduce Coby and Jianne to OPM, Original Pilipino Music or Original Pinoy Music. Filipino artists including songwriters, musicians, singers collaborated and created a new genre in music which we now call OPM. These songs were originally written by Filipinos and performed by Filipino singers and bands as well. As far as I can remember, artists like Mitch Valdez, Rico Puno, Celeste Legaspi, Basil Valdez, Ryan Cayabyab and the APO Hiking Society were the pioneers in promoting Original Pinoy Music.
My personal favorite among all the OPM artists are Buboy, Jim and Danny, the trio who make The APO Hiking Society. My parents had a stockpile of APO vinyl albums when I was growing up. I would hear them regularly being played at home and through constant listening I became familiar with most of their songs. I even know what some of their album covers looked like 🙂
Unfortunately, the APO have retired from the music industry a few years ago but their music is still very alive in my heart. I wanted my kids to hear their kind of music too. I want to influence them In having an appreciation of Filipino sound and not just listen to Taylor Swift, One Direction, Bruno Mars and other international pop artists.
The APO music is mostly written in Filipino that’s why I love listening to them. I picked two song “Pumapatak na naman ang Ulan” (since it’s raining) and “Lumang Tugtugin” for the kids to listen to and study. Good thing that the CD has a lyric sheet so we could all sing along and understand the message of the music. Reading the lyrics in Filipino was not much of a challenge but understanding the meaning of each word was. But in the end, we had fun interpreting the song.
We also listened to two other Filipino children’s song, Bahay Kubo and Magtanim ay Di Biro 🙂 The first song enumerates the different veggies found in a home. This time I told the kids to write down all the vegetables they hear being sang. I had to pause the CD every so often for them to catch the words. This was a good practice in Filipino language and handwriting especially for Jianne who is in first grade. After enumerating the veggies, I asked them what they eat. Jianne shouted “okra” her favorite but it was not included in the song 🙁 I played the song three more times and they were singing along while reading their veggie list.
“Magtanim ay Di Biro” is famer’s song. It tells about how hard it is work in the field and describes how the body feels after a hard day’s work. After listening to the song, the kids and I talked about how important farmers are and the work that they do. They realized that if the farmer does not plant, we won’t have anything to eat. We won’t have rice, corn and other stuff. They did not only value the importance of hard work but they also had fun learning all of it in Filipino.
What a fun day that was! How about you, how do you encourage your kids to love their own language?