Is this how 'Lupang Hinirang' ought to be sung?

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 20 2013 06:43 PM | Updated as of Nov 21 2013 02:44 AM

Singer-songwriter Joey Ayala shares his rendition of 'Lupang Hinirang' during a TEDx talk held last month at the University of the Philippines-Diliman. Video grab

MANILA -- The official rendition of the Philippine national anthem could use some updating, at least according to Filipino singer-songwriter and former National Commission for Culture and the Arts chairperson Joey Ayala.

The music veteran, in a video that has gone viral with over 550,000 views as of writing, shared his "illegal" and "softer" rendition of "Lupang Hinirang," which includes "corrections" in pronouncing the lyrics and a switch in words in the closing line.

The performance took place during a TEDx event at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City held last October 13.

Ayala, who was among 10 speakers at the talk with the theme "Things That Matter," delivered a seven-minute on how the national anthem "ought to be sung."

TEDx is part of the international TED (Technology, Entertainment Design) conferences, and is "designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level."

In the video of Ayala's TEDx talk, which was uploaded on November 15 on YouTube, the folk singer explained the changes in his own rendition of "Lupang Hinirang."

"I tampered with the national anthem and I'd like to share that with you. This is an illegal act, which we all share. So we now have a special bond," he said in jest.

Ayala was referring to Republic Act 8941, which prescribes the code of the national anthem, among others. Chapter 2, Section 37 of the act reads: "The rendition of the National Anthem, whether played or sung, shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe."

'Fixing' Lupang Hinirang

Ayala noted that the official arrangement is a march. He then brought up how the national anthem could instead be a kundiman.

"Ang Pilipinas, hindi naman maka-martsa eh, we are not a '1-2-3-4' people. We are a swaying [people], malalambot tayo... Even our martial arts -- paikot tayo eh, we're very accommodating, and very non-confrontational," he said.

Other aspects of the official rendition of "Lupang Hinirang" that should be "fixed," Ayala said, are the supposed mispronunciation of the lyrics.

"We've been singing this song for years, and nobody has really bothered to edit like a songwriter would," he said, as he shared the "possibly correct way" of pronouncing words including "dagat," simoy at," and "dilag ang tula" in the song.

Further, Ayala brought up possible "positive" alternatives to the ending line, "Ang mamatay nang dahil sa iyo."

"Ang dami namang pwedeng positibong gawin, 'di ba? ... 'Yung general purpose na positive 'yung 'magmahal.' 'Di ba 'Love your enemies'? Pag may mang-api, dapat mahalin mo," he said.

Before proceeding to perform his rendition of "Lupang Hinirang," Ayala said, "You'll never sing the national anthem the same way again, because you don't really want to die, right?"