Song composers usually have a chest of melodies they keep: rejected ones, unpublished ones, arrangements they happened to have on hand just because.
Saddened by all the news early this week about the threat to ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal and the quo warranto petition versus the network filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, songwriter Louie Ocampo (“Tell Me,” “Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin”) remembered a melody he had once written and realized how aptly it expressed what’s happening in the news—and how perfectly it echoed the heaviness in his heart.
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Inspired too by the Sound of Music anthem, “Edelweiss,” a song of patriotism and devotion to one’s homeland, Louie imagined his song being sung by a group of people—and so he needed lyrics and thought of his friend Ogie Alcasid (“Kung Mawawala Ka,” “Mahal Kita Walang Iba”) an excellent lyricist. “I made a demo,” he tells ANCX. “I texted Ogie, sabi ko, This is how I’m feeling. I have this melody, can you please write lyrics for me?”
Ogie happened to be feeling the same sentiments. And he also fell in love with the melody. Louie intimated to Ogie he wanted it to be a song of gratitude, not about worries or goodbyes. “It’s just like a song of thank you but the sentiment is very cold sa puso.”
In less than an hour, Ogie sent Louie a message: he’s done. “I actually wrote it in like 10 minutes,” Ogie says. “I didn't want it to sound too senti, paaway or paawa kasi its more of really being grateful, thankful to our audience. A thank you for standing up for us and thank you for being there since the very beginning, yun lang naman yung essence nung song.”
The result is “Salamat, Kapamilya,” the thoughts and feelings of two of the most awarded songwriters in the country expressed through a two-minute and 23-second song. Like some of their best hits, it’s melancholy and tugs at the heartstrings.
Here are the lyrics Ogie wrote:
“Kay bilis lumipas ng mga taon
Di natin akalain tayo’y magtatagal
Sa haba ng pagsasama kayo’y di bumitaw
Tunay na kapamilya Luzon hanggang Mindanao
At maging sa buong mundo
Basta’t may Pilipino
Ang lahat nagkakaisa
Ganyan talaga ang kapamilya
Sa Inyong lahat
Hindi malilimutan ang inyong pagmamahal”
Why was Louie so affected by the news that he felt the urge to write a song for it? Well, not many people know this but, while he occasionally works in the network’s entertainment programs—as occasional hurado for Showtime, as guest musician for ASAP—Louie’s attachment to its news programs is stronger. They’re part of his daily life, even when he travels. “May app ako ng Radyo Patrol eh and paggising ko sa umaga ang inaabangan ko sina Ted Failon and sila Amy (Perez). I listen to the current events well. I switch from ANC to Radyo Patrol. Kung mawawala (sila) how will we be informed? ABS-CBN and ANC are what keeps me company when I’m in Manila. When I’m abroad it’s Radyo Patrol. I’m such a big fan.”
The song is vintage Louie and vintage Ogie: the melody almost like a lullaby, the words elegant and sentimental. “I’m a very romantic person and my emotion is always on the soft side,” says Louie. “So it’s really more of a flashback of all the beautiful things.”