15 Jun Featured Song: Jocelynang Baliwag
During the 1896 Philippine Revolution, our valiant forebears also made use of music as a means of expressing their love of country and dreams for a free Philippines. They also wrote songs to inspire them in their mission. Perhaps the most popular song during the revolution against Spain was the kundiman “Jocelynang Baliwag,” also known as the “Kundiman ng Himagsikan.”
There are two known “Jocelynang Baliwag” songs. One is by an unknown composer, and another one discovered by Jose Zulueta and with different lyrics (Dery 2003). “Jocelynang Baliwag” is said to be about Josefa “Pepita” Tiiongson y Lara, a lady from the town of Baliwag in the province of Bulacan. Such was their admiration and reverence for Pepita that there were three other kundimans apart from “Jocelynang Baliwag” that were composed in her honor: “Liwayway” by Isabelo de los Reyes, “El Anillo de la Dalaga de Marmol, by Dr. Domingo Enrile, and “Pepita” by Pascual H. Poblete. These songs demonstrate that women like Pepita also played a key role during the revolution by being the source of joy and compassion during times of conflict and by serving as an inspiration in the fight for freedom and independence.
Although the kundiman “Jocelynang Baliwag” is clearly dedicated to a lady, it could also be associated with love of country. “…the image of the forlorn lover pleading to the beloved finds perfect parallel in the downtrodden Filipino soldiers risking their lives in the battlefield and pleading the cause of liberation from the oppressive role of Spanish colonialism at the end of the 19th century.” (Hila 1994)
Dery, L.C. (2003). Awit kay Inang Bayan: Ang Larawan ng Pilipinas Ayon sa Mga Tula’t Kundiman na Kinatha Noong Panahon ng Himagsikan. Manila: De La Salle University Press.
Hila, A.C. (1994). Jocelynang Baliwag. In CCP Encyclopedia of Art, vol. 6: Philippine music. (p. 242). Manila: Cultural Center of the Philippines