As a huge fan of Filipino music I was very thankful to have been invited by Freeway to pay tribute to a National Artist, Levi Celerio. He is the genius who wrote my favorite Christmas Carol “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit“.
His song Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal was a wedding favorite. Sa Ugoy ng Duyan is a classic tribute to all mothers and his folk songs were sang and taught in schools and at home – Ang Pipit, Tinikling, Itik-Itik, Waray-Waray, Pitong Gatang, Ako ay May Singsing and Alibangbang.
Some of his famous songs written were Saan Ka Man Naroroon?, Kahit Konting Pagtingin, , Kapag Puso’y Sinugatan, and Ikaw, O Maliwanag na Buwan, Dahil Sa Isang Bulaklak, , Bagong Pagsilang, Sapagkat Kami’y Tao Lamang, Tunay na Tunay, Itik-Itik, Waray-Waray, Pitong Gatang, Ako ay May Singsing, Alibangbang, Alembong, Galawgaw, Caprichosa, Ang Tapis ni Inday, Dungawin Mo Hirang, Umaga na Neneng, Ikaw Kasi, and Basta’t Mahal Kita. Celerio also wrote nationalistic songs such as Ang Bagong Lipunan, Lupang Pangarap, and Tinig ng Bayan.
On its 7th installment, Freeway continues to pay tribute to our National Artists through its National Artist Collectors’ Series. This June, Freeway honors its first ever National Artist for Music featured in the well-loved series.
In the past years, the series featured National Artists Nick Joaquin (Literature), Ang Kiukok (Visual Arts), Jose Garcia Villa (Literature), Ramon Valera (Fashion Design), F. Sionil José (Literature) and Vicente Manansala (Visual Arts). For Fall 2012 Collection of the National Artist Collectors’ Series, Freeway features the works of National Artist for Music, Levi Celerio.
At the even we were serenaded by musician playing Levi’s song with a classical guitar which has set the mood. I was guessing each song he played since it was only instrumental. It made me want to practice my guitar playing skills again. The event was hosted by the beautiful G. Tongi and a musical performance by Asia’s Queen of Songs, Pilita Corales.
Pilita is known to have worked with Levi Celerio and has recorded his songs. She even came up with a collection of Levi Celerio’s songs in one album. Her favorite was Saan Ka Man Naroroon and Gaano Kita Kamahal. She was joined by a cute little girl when she asked for a dance partner for the song Ang Pipit.
We got to know more about him during the interview, they have invited Dr. Antonio Hila, Cultural Historian and a Music Critic who shared interesting talks and trivia about Celerio and his dedication and intense love for music. He described Levi as a Poet of Philippine Music probably because Levi was a fan of Joseng Batute. Levi also has a fantastic sense of rythm. He wrote the lyrics for Lawiswis ng Kawayan and Pandango sa Ilaw which everyone thought was a folk song but it was actually a composition.
Freeway never fails to awaken my national pride. Seeing Filipino geniuses and understanding how they came to be inspires me and makes me proud to be a Filipino. Good job!