Netizen’s beautiful explanation why Hotdog’s song ‘Manila’ perfect fit to play at SEA Games opening, gets thumbs up from singer-composer himself

Facebook netizen named Alfonso V. Alvarez, a Cebu resident, has given it a shot to help clear up the issue or misunderstanding behind the meaning or the perspective of the song ‘Manila’ when it was written by singer-composer by the 80’s Hotdog band.

Alvarez’s FB post came amid the negative reaction of some people, particularly the people from the South, the Cebuano-speaking Filipinos, led by no less than presidential daughter Sara Duterte who criticized the choice of the song ‘Manila’ as background music in welcoming the grand entrance of Filipino athletes during SEA Games opening.

Alvarez remarked that the song “Manila” composed by his good friend Dennis Garcia, singer-composer of the Hotdog band, has joined the likes of the “cauldron”, kikiam, and the 6,000 peso SEA Games jacket (actually a kit, containing a set of shirts, a cap, jogging pants and a pair of shoes and a backpack) as issues the Opposition tried to discredit the Duterte administration.

But before Alvarez went down to his business, he made it clear he is a pro-probinsyano and he distaste Metro Manila-centric attitude of the residents in the capital that whatever they fancy or want, the entire country must follow.

But as the song of choice at the SEA Games opening, ‘ Alvarez sees nothing wrong with it, and the strongest argument why it was the perfect song was how the Filipino athletes reacted when the song was played during the parade and how it captured the imagination of the audiences watching the opening of the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.

To help put things into its proper context, Alvarez said the composers (Dennis and Rene) wrote the song while they were OFW’s. The song celebrates the OFW returning home after years of absence – to the normally irritating street sounds of congested traffic, which magically transform into music in the ears of a home starved overseas worker.

The song resonated so much with every OFWs or immigrants that it has become the anthem of sorts, specially for those homebound on a PAL plane flying from Dubai, Heathrow, JFK or any other part of the world where they fly to and return.

Although, Alvarez did not write it with Sara Duterte in mind, hopefully his message will reach the presidential daughter and change her mind about the song and perhaps give it a thumbs up so that her supporters will follow her lead.

BTW, Dennis Garcia, the other half of the Hotdog band duo praised his friend whom he fondly called Pancho for putting into words his thoughts on the issue.

You may read original article below.

thank you so much, dear Pancho, you “guessed” everything on my mind and in my heart when I wrote the song in 1976. you have said it all – nothing else i can add. but wait… Hotdog has a song… “O, Cebu” specifically written to express our love for your beautiful favorite place. 🙂

Alfonso V. Alvarez
Sigh.

I have to go on a lengthy tirade and out on a limb to try and help rework the perspectives to help people get the picture here.

Joining the ranks of the “cauldron”, kikiam, and the 6,000 peso SEA Games jacket (actually a kit, containing a set of shirts, a cap, jogging pants and a pair of shoes and a backpack) is the little ditty written by my good friend Dennis Garcia and recorded by Hotdog back in the early 1980’s.

Full disclosure first: people who know me well recognize my unabashedly probinsiyano stance vis-a-vis the dictates of Imperial Manila because of the myopic view of most of the residents of the national capital region, who think that Metro Manila IS the entire Philippines and nothing else.

However, I must take exception when it comes to the galvanizing effect of this catchy song that captured the imagination of the audiences watching the opening of the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.

The entourage of national athletes of games past came in with little Philippine flags waving, while everyone was echoing the lyrics to that song that has been deeply embedded into the recesses of our national culture and not just because of the inviting catchiness of it’s melody.

A little context here – Dennis and Rene wrote the song while they were OFW’s. Dennis, on one of his engagements as a Creative Director somewhere around Asia, penned the lyrics to the melody and they recorded it together – probably in one incarnation of Dennis’ personal studios – when they were home together.

The prelude says it all:

“Maraming beses na kitang nilayasan…
iniwanan at ibang pinuntahan…
parang babaeng ang hirap talagang kalimutan…
Ikaw lamang ang aking laging binabalikan..”

For my non tagalog friends:

I have left you for so many times,
Left and went to various places,
just like a girl that’s difficult to forget
you are the one that I always return to” – my apologies for the reasonable explanation without rhyme, Dennis.

(The recorded song then fades into a cacophony of traffic with jeepney barkers yelling “Quiapo! Quiapo! Before finally rolling into the song.)

This is the setting for the song, which celebrates the OFW finally being able to return home – to the normally irritating street sounds of congested traffic, which magically transform into music in the ears of a home starved overseas worker.

It goes on to snatch the deepest sentiments of the overseas Filipino when the then Lothario in Dennis writes in taglish of having “dated a million girls in Sydney…(but) somehow I feel like I don’t belong…”

The song resonated so much with generations of Filipinos some thirty plus years ago till now, and it’s evolved into an anthem of sorts, specially for those homebound on a PAL plane flying from Dubai, Heathrow, JFK or any other part of the world where they fly to and return.

It is this setting that drew into the hearts and minds of the participants, the legendary athletes present in the parade, and mostly, the audience that got them to their feet, singing and dancing while the song was playing over and over again, until the parade was over.

I truly wish someone had taken his pen and wrote a song extolling Cebu, or Davao, or Baguio or any other place for that matter, but there was none. And simply because of that, we don’t have any other alternative anthem that could sub for Lupang Hinirang in a different, more celebratory fashion.

The closest I can get to an alternative would be “Pinoy Ako” by Oranges and Lemons, but even that is testy as an obscure European band claimed that they ripped off their melody from one of the songs that they wrote and I’ve since wondered what happened to that one.

Nonetheless, “Manila” has the advantage of having been deeply ingrained into the hearts and minds of our music culture, regardless of persuasions, perspectives and preferences and because of that, I would hazard that the brilliant Floy Quintos incorporated it into his sequence for the opening ceremonies of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. And it was quite an appropriate choice. You had no less than the Sultan of Brunei, smiling ear to ear, watching the exuberant joy of the Filipino audience celebrating a moment in our history when we were one (once again, in a positive way), while our President was semi dancing to the beat of the song, waving his hand and clapping. And Philippine Senator Ronald dela Rosa – the favorite whipping boy of the bleeding hearts of the leftists and liberal media – dancing even better while the song was going on.

It was a moment to celebrate and the song led the way.

For that, no matter how I feel about the high handedness of the haughty residents of the NCR, I was one with those who were enjoying the unifying and celebratory moment while singing “Hinahanap, hanap kita, Manila …ang ingay mo’y kay sarap sa tenga…”.

My virtual hugs to Direk Floy Quintos, who managed to magnetize every Filipino watching the opening ceremonies together. Your directing skills are equal to your writing style and it showed magnificently!

And once more, with tremendous feelings – Direk Dennis – daghang salamat for your diligence in crafting that little ditty with your late brother Rene, over thirty years ago.

“Manila” has definitely earned it’s place in the minds of our national psyche.

And so folks, while I have been home to stay in Cebu City for some twenty years now, this was a proud moment for this weakened Bisayan Pinoy heart, while watching what it was like to celebrate being Pinoy again with the many Chabacanos, Warays, Pampanguenos, Ilonggos, Tsinoys and Ilokanos in the audiences in the Philippine Arena and the many great cities around the world, where they could watch the proceedings in real time.

Truly, it has come home to stay.

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Source: Dennis Garcia

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  1. Aphetsky Lasa December 2, 2019

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