When I was about to give up, I found this newly-added video that was directed by a certain Mae Paner, and sung exquisitely by the Loboc Children's Choir. The musical arrangement by Lutgardo Labad, however, does not strictly follow the national anthem's original arrangement (and I thought it's illegal to tinker with the national anthem... whatevs).
Still, I like the simplicity of the video, which enhances its message, resonating loudly what Dr Jose Rizal said: ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan.
This is RP's 110th Independence Day celebration, however, some people would still contest if independence was actually achieved in 1898 when in fact we were handed over (or sold!) by the Spanish to the Americans, who colonized the Philippines for another 50 (?) years. (Check this article by Leonor Briones called Saan Nagtatago si Independence.)
In Southeast Asia, Past and Present, the author, D. R. SarDesai, notes that "the Filipinos carry the distinction of being the first people in Asia to successfully launch an anti-colonial nationalist movement for independence... despite the numerous handicaps that hampered their quest for unity," such as its archipelagic make-up, no common language, and the absence of a strong historical tradition.
A source of pride that fact may be, it is still worthwhile to ask where that independence has brought us. God, this topic has been discussed over and over again through the years, and the arguments stay the same; that despite one of the bastions of democracy in Asia, we have yet to strengthen our institutions to achieve a more equitable society. The Philippines has one of the highest income disparity in the region. We are still ruled by the same oligarchs that have squeezed the masses dry over the years; and the same oligarchs perpetuate the patronage system. That is definitely not what independence is all about.
When my friends in BKK talk about current issues back home, we cannot help but wonder why every other country in the region seems to be overtaking us (at least economically). After throwing around a bevy of our thoughts on the matter, we always end the conversation with heavy sighs. Time to throw in some optimism somewhere, shall we?
(Honestly, I don't know how to end this post.)