Homobono A. Adaza
““In time the Rockies may tumble
Gibraltar may crumble
They’re only made of clay
But our love is here to stay.”
– Our Love Is Here to Stay
“It’s still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by.”
– As Time Goes By
Love songs are universal, they are eternal. They defy time, circumstance, nationality, partisanship and commitments. Friends and enemies sing and admire songs of love in all languages I only know a few words of French but I love to hear Edith Piaf and Cocoy Laurel sing La Vie En Rose. Of course, I can speak Spanish but not as fluently as my late father who is spoke it like a Spaniard. So don’t get surprised when I love to sing Historia de un Amor and Besame Mucho but not with the same passion and verve as Andrea Bocelli and Nat King Cole.
Since my native tongue is Cebuano Visayan, I can’t help singing songs in that language despite the passage of time. With apologies to the composers as I may have missed a word or two since I am writing them from memory, I wish to share with you, friends and foes alike, four Cebuano Visayan songs worth remembering and singing.
MATUD NILA: This is phrase which is very familiar to those who speak the Cebuano language. When one wishes to escape responsibility for words or information that is uncertain in either their denotation or implication or both, one seeks refuge in matud nila – which in English means according to them In the inimitable words of my late legendary father of our town for almost twenty years, Pedro Adaza, Jr., “that is to their according” which provokes laughter from his mixed audience.
Like many love songs in Cebuano, it speaks of simplicity and humility of unrequited love. It also defines love in the most glorious and incandescent lines. It is one of the favorites of First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, which she sings quite well to the delight of her local and international audiences.
It is also the most popular love song in many areas in Misamis Oriental and Camiguin, and most probably in other places where Cebuano is the dominant language. Here go the plaintive and nostalgic lines:
Matud nila ako dili angay
Nga magmangad sa imong gugma
Matud nila ikaw dili malipay
Kay akoy bahandi nga igasa kanimo
Gugmang putli mao day pasalig
Maoy bahanding labaw sa bulawan
Matud nila kaanogon lamang
Sa akong gugma ug parayeg
Nganong dili maluba king pagbati
Sa bisan sa unsa nga katarungan
Kay unsay pay bili ning kinabuhi
Kon sa gugma mo hinikawan
Ingna ko nga dili ka motoo
Sa pagtamay kong naangkon
Ingna ko nga dili mo kawangon
Damgo ug pasalig sa gugma mo.
It has been translated into the English language by many. The translation which is most familiar to me, a mixture of the literal and idiomatic, is that of my late younger brother, lawyer Cesilo “Celing” Adaza, with a little editing from me. He sang it in the original Cebuano and translated into English after every line.
According to them I am unworthy
To treasure your love
According to them you’ll not be happy
Since I have no wealth to offer you
Pure love is the only promise
It’s wealth that’ worth more than gold
According to them what a waste
Of my love and affection
Why is this love forever?
For all imaginable reasons
And what worth is life?
If I’m deprived of your love
Tell me you won’t believe
The words which belittle me
Tell me you won’t waste
The dream and promise for your love.
LONELINESS: Equally plaintive and nostalgic is KAMINGAW SA PAYAG. It is not a case of unrequited love but a matter of deserted love.
It is lovely and popular among politicians in cities and towns they use it as their signature song during the election campaign.
One of those politicians in Cagayan de Oro City was Councilor lawyer Alejandro “Celing” Velez, a scion of one of the wealthiest original families of the City.
He sang the song like a balladeer, complete with gestures. He was never defeated in his bid for a City Council seat during the time of that iconic brilliant City Mayor Justiniano “Teñing” R. Borja.
Celing had a pretty good baritone, though I think his older brother, CFI Judge Puro M. Velez, my classmate in the UP College of Law and my dorm mate in the South Dorm in Diliman Quezon City, had a better baritone since it skirts the fringes of a tenor. Here is that song whose English translation is HOW LONELY IS THE HUT:
Kamingaw sa payag
Kadto atong gipuy-an
Sa duruha ta ka gugma
Wala na ang kahayag
Nga mibanwag kanato
Sa gabi-ing tanan
Kon wala na ikaw
Sa payag nga biya-an mo naman
Asa ko na ikaw pangita karon
Kay wala nang pinangga ko
Manamilit na lang