Monday, May 04, 2009

The Philippine National Anthem is not a pop song!

Martin Nievera, in his rendition of the Philippine National Anthem during the Pacquiao-Hatton fight, violated Republic Act No. 8491 or the Flag Law. Section 37 of the law states: "The rendition of the National Anthem, whether played or sung, shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe."

Singing the first few lines slowly like a ballad, and then repeating the lines again was the first violation. In the last lines, he made a bigger violation by changing the notes of the National Anthem! For what? So that he could wow and impress the crowd with higher notes? He should have followed the example of Tom Jones who sung the British National Anthem solemnly, very straightforward and with fervor. Nievera should issue an apology at the very least!

These commercial singers who are given the task of singing the Philippine National Anthem at international events should be reminded that the main reason they are there is to lead the crowd and the Filipino nation in paying respect to our country and our flag. The Philippine National Anthem is not a pop song! Trying to impress everyone with their voice or how high a note they could hit should be the least of their concerns.

And just a note to the people who watched the fight live, what may be allowed for the U.S. flag may be an act of disrespect for the Philippine flag. Each country has its own way of showing respect. And Section 34 (f) of the Flag Law states that it shall be prohibited "to add any word, figure, mark, picture, design, drawings, advertisement, or imprint of any nature on the flag." So no marks or messages on the Philippine flag please!

Update: Martin Nievera refuses to apologize. His reaction to the criticism is even more appalling. It's outright arrogant and bastos! I guess he's just too full of himself to apologize. Read NHI raps Martin’s version of RP anthem.

Update (05/13/09): A well-written opinion from Ambeth Ocampo on the Martin Nievera issue came out in the Inquirer today. Read Our 'pasaway' culture.


    can't even speak straight Pilipino,
    why ask him to sing our
    National Anthem?

    the most O.A. rendition of
    Lupang Hinirang ever!!!

  2. I'm a Martin Nievera fanatics... But sometimes, I'm irritated everytime he sung with overconfidence...

  3. Yup! I also believe that the national anthem should be sung the way Filipinos all over the world know how it is supposed to be sung. It's interesting to see that the rendition was approved by our country's heritage committee.

  4. Approval? Who gave approval? One need not get approval for any other rendition because obviously, it will be rejected.

  5. repost from pinoyblogsphere mailing list:
    I Read somewhere yesterday that it was a new version of the Philippine National Anthem and was approved by the National Historical Institute.

    I just don't know the veracity of this news report. But i have already sent an email to NHI yesterday.

    to add, according to the law that you mentioned here, it is the NHI who has jurisdiction over the flag and anthem.

    I don't think Martin Nievera would do something as to violate any law just to make the anthem "different".


    any comment on the national anthem being played by ABS-CBN? different din yun. :D

  6. The NHI cannot change the law. Only Congress can do that. The role of the NHI is to implement. And changing the notes is obviously a violation. No one can be given the creative license to alter our National Anthem.

  7. Gian Gianan4.5.09

    parang nagpapa-discover kung kumanta.

  8. Janice Urbina-Manalo4.5.09

    the lupang hinirang is beautiful as it is.. di na kelangan lagyan ng kaartehan pa..

  9. Anonymous4.5.09

    Yes, Van. Everyone who heard him sing cant help but notice the change that was introduced into our national anthem. Changing the holidays was one thing, changing our national song is another. It's just not right, even to a fan of Martin Nievera :)

  10. I agree. This was the reason why that all-star Lupang Hinirang video was pulled from the airwaves after EDSA I. Sure, everyone was eager, but it was misplaced. Martin Nievera doing that was horrible.

    BUT, and here's the thing. How the hell did they get the NHI's seal of approval? They're usually very vigilant with respect to the flag and anthem.

  11. I agree. I was appalled by the rendition Martin sang yesterday at Pacman's fight!

  12. it's martin. i hate martin. it's nothing personal.

  13. @didipusrex, I don't think the NHI gave its approval. They just haven't spoke up to correct it.

  14. We share the same patriotic sentiments, uncle Ivan.

  15. Martin did such a bad job pa, adding insult to injury. Siguro nangatog betlog yun beside THE Tom Jones.

  16. Anonymous4.5.09

    Ivan, your correct. Mr. Martin Nievera had sung the National Anthem not the way it was written by Julian Felipe, and therefore he violated the law.

    The challenge therefore is for the NHI to be able to implement the LAW and prosecute Mr. Martin Nievera.

    Maybe community service and renumeration from his payment should be asked of Mr. Nievera so that these profesional singers would learn their lessons.

    community service can be of any form, part of which could be mandatory study of history for Mr. Nievera.

    Will the NHI prosecute Mr. Nievera for this sad and wanton rendition of our National Anthem? I hope so.

  17. Oliver Py Castro4.5.09

    baka kala nya n'sync sya! hahaha!

  18. Rbee Mallari4.5.09

    ang press release pa naman niya eh kakantahin niya daw in its original tempo.. eh bat ganun ang nangyari! dapat talaga sa mga ito, ma-left hook din eh.

  19. maybe they should just have asked Manny Pacquiao to sing the anthem. :D

    I'm not a fan of M.N., and couldn't care less if he has broken the law (depending on whether the NHI really approved his version or not), but i'm willing to bet no one's gonna prosecute him.

    here's food for thought: Maybe that law spelling out how the anthem is supposed to be sung is antiquated, and maybe we should be open to alternative versions.

  20. The NHI apparently approved the version. In the GMA 7 telecast, NHI's logo appeared immediately after the song was sung, suggesting that the interpretation was prescreened and approved. However, as pointed out by others, Nievera's version does not seem to comply with R.A. 8491. The variations made (the slow beginning and the musical interlude) do not seem to be within the spirit of Julian Felipe's composition and arrangement. Masyado ngang O.A.

  21. @grumpyurbanslacker, while the law is in effect, every Filipino must follow and respect it. Those who don't agree with it can lobby in Congress to have it changed. But while it's in effect, the law is the law.

  22. "video is no longer available due to HBO copyright claims"

    ... ang palagay ko,
    si Martin Nievera mismo ang nag-abiso sa HBO dahil sa walang tigil
    na panglalait sa kanyang abuso sa
    ating Pambansang Awit ",)

  23. Ken Millan4.5.09

    Nag FLAT tuloy sa dulo... When will we get a proper Lupang Hinirang sung again?

  24. while martin was singing the national anthem, most of the filipinos were singing with him as well. It came up that he was singing it differently while all who knows the song sang it as what they usually know. Parang sya tuloy yung nawala sa tono.

  25. banico albert4.5.09

    In the spirit of patriotism and love for country, we should articulate that the national anthem should be perform according to the original intent and not for personal show fo any artist. It should be given enough respect so that the young will see the value not only the flag but also the anthem as symbolic expression of our nationhood.

  26. Hi Ivan,

    I appreciate your reaction to this "issue". While I agree with you 100% that Martin violated a law and that he probably shouldn't have done that, I could not believe that we are discussing this trivial issue instead of simply celebrating Manny's victory. Well, if you like the Philippine government to look into this "issue" and deter a repeat future performance, you probably should write the authorities. For now, I am simply overwhelmed by our victory as a Filipino people. Cheers!!!

  27. That's why I waited a day after to post this. While I am jubilant with Manny's win, this should not be allowed to pass. Respect for our National Anthem is not a trivial issue. Is it trivial to you?

  28. The issue on the matter of respecting the National Anthem is never trivial but the issue of determining whether such act is a display of disrespect is a trivial thing FOR THE MOMENT and should not be allowed to substantially drown every Filipino's victory. That should be taken care of in the future.

  29. Anonymous4.5.09

    I really don't understand why those who are asked to sing the Lupang Hinirang always, always have to do it in an exagerrated way. Hay.

  30. Manong MJ, I doubt it if what I just posted will substantially drown the Pacquiao victory. Do you expect the millions of Filipino fans (80 percent of them without Internet access) to read my blog? You give me too much credit. But I do know that there's a strong chance Martin Nievera and Ambeth Ocampo of the NHI will get to read it. And that's enough for me :)

  31. In Love pa rin si Martin kay Pops,
    kaya lahat, ginagawa niyang POP.

    Ang kanyang pagkanta ng Lupang Hinirang ay nagmistulang...
    "Be... My.... Country!!!"

    Dahil dito, maituturing na natin
    siya bilang Pambansang Gunggong!

  32. Kyla should sing again :) She sang the Phil. National Anthem just the way it should be sung. :)


  33. agree! when we were watching his performance, I was so disappointed, i was criticizing. I was saying "naku patay to sa NHI" then the logo appeared "approved by NHI" daw. I said 'what????' and we were all laughing. Talagang nagsecure pa ng approval si Mr. Concert King, yun pala according to the news walang approval at humihingi ng public apology ang NHI. Mr Nievera said he will not apologize.

    And yes, sir. For so many years, during Manny's fights, lagi nilalapastangan ang ating watawat. And now they are singing "Filipino, Filipino Ako!" And they are calling themselves Nationalistic? And in the first place I do not support his fights anymore. It has been given a 'political odor'.

    Bad is bad. We must stand up against corruption, we say. Ito, corruption na sa laban ni Pacquiao! Corruption against our flag, our nation and on our identity as Filipino.

  34. Anonymous4.5.09

    I'm all for Heritage Conservation in general, but somehow I think you're over-reacting to this issue. I'm not a fan of Martin Nievera either and I thought Lea Salonga should have been the one to sing the National Anthem (as I like her pure vocal style much more!)

    Oh well, to each his own. I do admire you for being so zealous about this whole thing.

  35. well he must set as an example to the fans and filipino people. When my friend told me about I am disappointed because martin try to impress by doing so.

    I hope this should not be repeated by the future singers who will render the song, National anthem .

  36. 2 thumbs down for martin for that rendition of our national anthem. such a shame! boooo!

  37. ciao!4.5.09

    i agree with Albert. While watching Martin sing the song, my nephews asked me how many versions do we have of the National Anthem. when i told them that we have only one which was written by Jose Felipe, i can see from their faces that they got more confused. maybe because they hear different versions everytime they hear another artist sings it.

    I hope we can do something about it.

  38. >>> anonymous,

    i don't think we're

    a massacre on this scale
    of our national anthem
    hits me on an extremely deep,
    visceral level as a Pinoy.

    i am very deeply offended
    and seriously outraged by martin's
    desecration of our Lupang Hinirang.

  39. martin said he didn't changed any note.. kaya pala, sa dulo ng kanta ay bumirit cya..

  40. Martin was out of line in revising the national anthem. Over and above the flag law is the basic respect we give to a song that represents a country. There is solemnity to this song and it grates to hear it in a pop version. Even worse, Martin's pop version was disastrous, off key at the end and therefore insulting to the song. Some entity must have gotten Martin to sing this rendition. That entity should be the culprit as well. We sort of expected this shenanigan from Martin. But if this had the blessings of the government, or a broadcasting station, or a corporate sponsor, they should be indicted as well.

  41. I totally agree -- on both an aesthetic and a patriotic level. Ugh. I'll share your link ha.

  42. dio rex4.5.09

    i suggest we amend the law..... :D

    i love to hear different renditions of the national anthem... it makes my life less boring

  43. Alain Maniago Algallar4.5.09

    ako po..on National Flag Day..just watch out.

  44. Marianne Dayrit Sison4.5.09

    oo nga, ginawang pop song ang national anthem....ano ba yun?

  45. tutubi4.5.09


    all the past singers of national anthem violated the law except Kyla who sang it with the original marching tune (with french undertones, she said she consulted the NHI on how the national anthem needs to be sang)

    i immediately contacted Prof. Ambeth Ocampo of the NHI after the fight yesterday and hoping to get a reply soon

    but you can't sue them singers for singing it "out of tune" for they were in a foreign country

  46. I think you can. Section 38 states that "The anthem shall not be played and sung for mere recreation, amusement or entertainment purposes except on the following occasions: (a) International competitions where the Philippines is the host or has a representative."

    It seems from section that renditions during international competitions are covered by the law. In fact, if a foreigner signs it wrong, or if the flag is not displayed properly or is disrespected abroad, protocol dictates that we can file a diplomatic protest.

  47. You can sue Martin Nievera even though the violation is done in a foreign country because he is a Filipino citizen, only that you can do it as soon as he set foot in the Philippines, otherwise it is subject to our statute of limitations. But considering the fact that so many singers have flawed in the singing of our national anthem too, I think that suing him is not useful at all. What must be done is to make sure that Filipinos get educated when it comes to respecting our national symbolisms, the NHI in coordination with CHEd and DepEd can do that.

    Ang napapansin ko lang madalas sa mga kumakanta ng pambansang awit ay inuuna pa nila ang pagpapasikat sa sarili than doing the appropriate thing to sanctify our nat`l identifiers. Our national anthem, unlike the Star-Spangled Banner, came from a militaristic origin, hence that legacy of our militaristic founding fathers must be preserved, kaya nananatili pa ring 4/4 ang tempo nyan. The national anthem came late in the 1800s and US was not under military rule.

    Bakit ang hilig natin gumaya sa mga Kano kahit sa pagkanta ng pambansang awit? Kaya kahit wala ako sa MGM Grand ako pa ang nahihiya sa mga singers natin.

  48. Crislyn Dagandan-Nierva4.5.09

    Napansin ko nga yan sa mga naunang laban pa ni Pacquiao at everytime naririnig ko ang slow-mo na pag-awit ng Lupang Hinirang, naiinis ako at nagko-comment talaga ako. Minsan nga, nakipag-argue pa ako sa office (si Sarah ata ang umawit nun) at sabi naman ng isa kong officemate, accapella raw kasi kaya mabagal. Eh parang naging awit na tuloy ng patay kung pakinggan yung Lupang Hinirang na binago ang tempo. Regardless accapella man o may accompaniment, ang alam ko 4/4 ang tempo. Actually, binago na pala, 2/2 na pero ganun pa rin yun kabilis. Marching song pa rin ang tempo. Siguro kelangan i-orient uli ang mga umaawit ng Lupang Hinirang in public. Nakakahiya kasi talaga at nakakainis na nababago yung tamang tempo. Ang nangyayari kasi, pasikatan at pataasan nalang ng boses ang mga singers na umaawit ng pambansang awit sa mga ganung pagtitipon.

  49. Adrian5.5.09

    I understand the uproar, but is the law that apparently dictates how the national anthem should be sung constitutional? It seems to me that it infringes on the artist's freedom of speech and expression. Sabihin na natin na in bad taste yung pagkanta niya, sana naman hindi yun criminal.

  50. The National Anthem is not an ordinary song which any artist can just alter in the name of freedom of expression. It is a national symbol which we must all respect.

    You think it's unconstitutional? Then file a case in the Supreme Court questioning its legality. But while it's in effect, the law is the law.

  51. Martin Nievera sang ‘Lupang Hinirang’ wrong
    Philippine Daily Inquirer (05/03/2009)

    MANILA, Philippines -- The National Historical Institute (NHI) criticized on Sunday singer Martin Nievara's rendition of the Philippine National Anthem at the beginning of the Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton bout in Las Vegas earlier Sunday.

    In a text message, NHI chairman Ambeth Ocampo expressed dissatisfaction with the latest rendition and added that the flashing of the agency's seal was "without our permission."

    Ocampo, who was on a provincial trip on Sunday, said he did not see Nievera's rendition. But he learned from those who watched the bout that the anthem, officially titled “Lupang Hinirang,” was sung with a martial tone but had a slow opening and closing.

    Nievera sang the first stanza softly and slowly; he sang the last line with prolonged, high notes.

    “Despite repeated reminders, some artists continue to make adjustments to the anthem, which is not an ordinary piece of music open to free interpretation,” Ocampo said.


    Republic Act 8341 punishes failure or refusal to observe the provisions of the code with public censure, which shall be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation. The guilty person may be fined up to P5,000 or imprisoned not more than a year, or be meted with both penalties, at the discretion of the court.

    In the past, the NHI criticized the incorrect singing of the anthem during international events such as sporting events that were aired over television and radio. The agency also criticized the renditions of singers Sarah Geronimo, Kyla, Lani Misalucha and Bituin Escalante during previous Pacquiao bouts.

  52. Anonymous5.5.09


    I'm in no way as qualified as you are in speaking about conservation, but I read the law and just like ANY law, I think it can be interpreted a million ways...Let me repeat, I DON'T LIKE MARTIN! Nor am I a friend of Martin or any of his children or relative...But when I read the "Flag Law", I got flashes of the Addidas limited edition track jacket in my head. Please enlighten me - -was there any discussion of this magnitude about THAT...If so, kindly leave the link here - -I'd love to see that! If take the law as pure as you would like to interpret it, then imprison everyone who bought that track jacket - -authentic or knock off! Ask the designers of that jacket to issue a public apology and ask all the celebrities who have sported that jacket to issue a public apology. I'm not trying to start an uneducated discussion here like in other blogs...I'm merely giving all of you guys a different, lighter take on this subject. Please don't accuse me of being nonchalant about heritage conservation: I'm an advocate to some degree -- perhaps not as passionate as you all are. I'm just looking it from a more "pragmatic" point of view. Forgive me for my ignorance.

    If Black Eyed Peas made a rap version of it or say Marilyn Manson sang the Lupang Hinirang, then I would join you all in this, but really - - can't you just all enjoy the fact Pacquiao brought so much glory to the Filipino people?

  53. I agree! It sounded like a revival of an old song whereas it should be given utmost respect. I also expected think that a barong tagalog is more appropriate for such event instead of giving honor to francis m and his shirts (i've nothing against francis m.)

    off topic: sir ivan, i'd like to link your site with my blog, i hope it's ok. i'll frequent this site. you're also welcome to drop by my blog. salamat! mabuhay po kayo!

  54. "In the past, the NHI criticized the incorrect singing of the anthem during international events such as sporting events that were aired over television and radio. The agency also criticized the renditions of singers Sarah Geronimo, Kyla, Lani Misalucha and Bituin Escalante during previous Pacquiao bouts."

    Let me guess where this is heading...if the public clamors for M.N.'s neck for his supposedly incorrect and illegal rendition of the anthem, GMA will step in and appoint the NHI as the sole governing body who will put out a list of "accredited" singers who can sing the anthem during international events. So, the likes of Lea S., Ogie A., Regine V., etc. will be on the list.

    Unfortunately, no established singer will want the job, given the risks of being prosecuted. Therefore, NHI will have to:

    a) team up with TESDA, and audition scores of would-be Japayukis for the singing job

    b) team up with ABS-CBN to create an "American Idol"-type singing competition to discover the next local singing sensation, who can sing Lupang Hinirang in an acceptable fashion.


  55. Anonymous5.5.09

    I hated its arrangement. It was so bad and too American Idol. Show colonial mentality.

    But I'm for the revision of the law which should allow it to be sung in different Filipino languages reflecting our multilingual culture. However, the translation must be approved by NHI and the arrangement is still faithful to the official/original version.

  56. Anonymous5.5.09

    Nothing wrong with Ivan opening this discussion on his blog. Ako rin nainis when I heard it. The Lupang Hinirang is our national anthem that has historical value. Martin Nievera is a commercial singer and his songs has no historical relevance. That's the big difference. Be my Lady does not have the same relevance to our heritage as with Lupang Hinirang. Malayo no. Una pa lang... bakit si Martin Nievera ang pinili? Bakit? Bakit? At bakit hindi naka Barong Tagalog? He should have been promoting the Philippines and our culture. Hindi niya yon audition para makakuha siya ng record deal. What's wrong with the arrangement of Julian Felipe? I like it as it is. Its marching tempo makes it grand. We are a third world country that has an anthem na pwede mong isabay sa first world countries. Pakinggan nyo anthems ng other asian countries, ours is way more grand, with notes reflecting pride and dignity.

  57. Mannix Manalo5.5.09

    so aside from butchering the song, he/they also lied about his/their authority to sing it in that manner? wow. labo. unless they simply presumed that the NHI will approve it. mas malabo yon.

  58. He was thinking he could be as popular as Charice by making birit the song.

    What a desperate loser. ==__==

  59. Anonymous5.5.09

    I hated it. Definitely Sacrilegious rendition of the national anthem. There is no excuse to jazz up the original version. Now that I heard, all the more I realize why the big fuss.

  60. greg perez6.5.09

    Thanks for this Ivan. I didn't know there was such a thing as the flag law. But I agree, the National Anthem isn't something that "artists" can take liberties with.

  61. Richard TuasonSanchez Bautista6.5.09

    calling the attention of the right agency, is the right thing to do. this may sound so small. total disrespect of a law is equal to a vandalized shrine. also it is in a much celebrated event that can mislead the rest of the clueless populace of the country, and the world. i agree with Ivan with the issue. and at least he was able to point out the problem.

    worse that agency has not even acted on it. thinking that it is a petty matter.

  62. Anonymous6.5.09

    I agree with my Tokayo. The thing is, this is the right time to call (again) the people's attention (especially to those artists who sing it publicly in world's stage) on the proper way to do certain things. Besides, what ticks me is that those who have the 'privilege' of singing Lupang Hinirang in such high profile events dont seem to learn or perhaps remember how previous incidents of such nature (like Charice Pempengo and Geneva Cruz's rendition) have led to similar admonitions by the NHI. Either we have too short of a memory or we simply disregard the symbolism of our national anthem. I'm sure Martin didnt mean to disrespect the song and he was probablly unaware that he was singing it in the wrong tempo but now that the issue has been raised (and I hope he learns from it too), he could at least acknowledge his accidental misinterpretation and apologize. I dont know about the US national anthem being maligned but the same cant be said about the Chinese national anthem. Every time I hear it on TV, its very consistent in its marching tempo, regardless of whether a band or a singer renders it.

    Ivan Man Dy

  63. Even as a simple rendition, it was not Martin's best. It failed on so many levels....

    Hope it never happens again and on such a global stage.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The national anthem deserves better. The Filipino deserves better.

    If we allow this to happen time and again, it will become habitual.

  64. rachex6.5.09

    what will be more interesting, i guess, is what the nhi/government will do to martin nievera.. ipapataw ba ang batas sa kanya?

  65. Had he apologized or admitted he made an error, the issue would be over. I guess we all know he's just too full of himself to admit he made a mistake. But with his arrogant response to the reprimand, the NHI will vigorously pursue the issue. Next step is a strongly-worded statement from Ambeth Ocampo.

  66. Anonymous6.5.09

    oh please, there are other more relevant issues NHI should address before there - -our National Archives, etc...Then again, that wouldn't give them the 15 minutes of fame they want, do they?


  67. The national archives are managed by THE National Archives. It's a separate government agency! The NHI has its own concerns. And one of those major concerns is the Flag Law.

  68. Anonymous6.5.09

    To ivan man dy,

    re Chinese national anthem, you have to remember things are done differently in mainland China.

    i think if anyone sings their anthem differently, its off to the firing squad or guillotine for that person. Communist sila diba?

  69. Anonymous6.5.09

    marami nang nambaboy ng national anthem at wala lang, pinag-uusapan lang ng 5 minuto, tapos magkakalimutan na. kaya tuloy pa rin ang pambababoy. mainam siguro kung ikulong si martin ng 2 araw, symbolic lang kumbaga, para maipakita na seryoso ang NHI. sa ganitong paraan, magpapakatino na ang mga susunod na aawit. ano sa tingin ninyo?

  70. Anonymous6.5.09


    This whole thing stems much from our lack of respect for our culture, our country and ourselves.


  71. Anonymous6.5.09

    can someone post a video on exactly HOW it must be sung???

    Anyway, if I'm not mistaken, Christianity isn't in its purest form now - -what most of us practice has actually evolved from how it was ORIGINALLY was...several sects,denominations have altered their approach to Christianity to "attract" their "target" audience. We don't consider what we practice now entirely "blasphemous" do we?

    Of course, at the beginning, some were considered heretics or such, but at the end of the day - - that was part of the the Church history - - which MOST if not all of us honor now. Why can't we take the "evolution" of our "culture" as that. Perhaps it's about time to revise the laws. I'm not saying we should ask Parokya ni Edgar make an entirely new arrangement - -what I'm saying is, I think we have to be open to how different people express their patriotism. Singing it like a pop song is not automatically equivalent to "colonial mentality" - - our culture is a myriad of different cultures to begin with - -and to me, that's what makes it exceptional and beautiful.

    Would you rather have a group of nonechalant kids sing the national anthem without feeling it coz they can't ENTIRELY relate to the vibe of the song - - or have a whole bunch of young ones sing it with fervor because one way or the other they "feel" it as they sing the "revised" melody??? Again, that's just me.

  72. All must abide by the laws of their country regardless of status, job, etc. In Martin's case, he is a Filipino artist who should know that singing the national anthem needs to be in accordance with the law of our country. It's simple as that. The issue of the NHI is not about taste. It's about the law. To sing it in a public event and used to represent the nation in that event is the context of that law. Martin can't use Manny as scapegoat. Manny is not the law. If you have beef with the law, the best thing to do is have it changed or removed. This is why many Filipinos are just dramatic and lacking in the understanding of simple things like singing a national anthem. Or Martin fans can stand or sit whenever they want in his concert venues where seat #s are assigned. We follow rules of other nations when we visit abroad, but why can't we follow simple rules where we live? A simple apology would have sufficed but he had to go to press with an immature statement. And, no, Martin's incapability to speak in Tagalog is not the issue, too. I am just being objective.

  73. Anonymous6.5.09

    you are all over acting so what if he sang the way he sang who cares he was hired to do something and he did it well he's overconfident because he has talent and that's he's rendition of the national anthem

    god sobra OA ang mga filipino

  74. Anonymous6.5.09

    I am so sorry to say this, but we must boycott Martin Nievera if he still refuses to accept his mistake and apologize to the Filipino nation.

  75. On the comment about mainland China, I agree. Things are done differently there in the same way that things are done differently here.

    But the problem is, Martin Nievera rendered the Philippine National Anthem the American way. That is not the Filipino way of doing it.

    The way some singers in the U.S. sing the Star Spangled Banner is blasphemy in most countries if their anthem is sung in that manner. Aside from the U.S., what other country allows singers to perform their national anthem as if it were a pop song?

    We are frustrated Americans kasi eh! Just because the Americans do it doesn't mean it's right!

  76. desertstick7.5.09

    terribly tacky, showbiz-y, and no offense to women and LGBTs, but other words, unauthentic and therefore, annoying!

    it wasn't a good symbolic moment for the country...

  77. Anonymous7.5.09

    NHI Happy about Kyla's singing:

  78. Anonymous7.5.09

    babaguhin rin lang pala ang tono ng lupang hinirang sana yung favorite kong si ANDREW E. na lang ang kumanta. Mas masaya pa. take it down... yow!

  79. mj5277.5.09

    di ba ilang beses ng may sinita ang NHI for singing the national anthem the "wrong" way.
    dapat alam na ni Martin yun....e kung rap version kaya ang gawin sa susunod na laban ni Pacman, is it still "artistically" acceptable?

  80. Yup, NHI made it public that Kyla's rendition was alright according to the Philippine law. As for rapping our national anthem, there's really nothing wrong with that unless it's the new national anthem sanctioned by law. But last I checked, it's not, so no excessive effort to say that other versions are better can change the law. Kaya nga, if you want change, change the law. Or suffer the consequence/s...

  81. Anonymous9.5.09

    Artists should leave our national anthem alone. There is nothing wrong with it. It does not require any revision, updating or modernizing. Like the flag, it is a symbol of our country and demands respect.

    Filipinos should remain faithful to the original Julian Felipe musical composition. It's our legacy from our forefathers. It is an embodiment of Filipino history, our struggles and our spirit as a nation. It's what generations of Filipinos learned in school. It's what every Filipino honor and stand at attention to during flag ceremonies. It continues to move us and inspire us. Why would you want to change any part of it? To follow trends?

    We should not imitate the US when it comes to the rendition of their national hymn. They treat it like any ordinary composition subject to the whims of their singers. If Americans want to belt out every word, let them. They treat their national symbols according to their values. They even allow the burning of their flag as a sign of protest - a part of freedom of expression, their courts have decided. That is unthinkable in the Philippines. We prefer to show more respect to the symbols of our nation. The law RA 8491 simply reflects that. I'm certain its the same way in other countries too.

  82. Anonymous9.5.09

    Martin Nievera is a fact, he's indigenous....Igorot diba? Baka ganun sila kumanta sa Mt. Province. =)

  83. Anonymous10.5.09

    All i see is a bunch of haters here.....can't we all just say that it was different and maybe he broke the Philippine Law by singing it different...but that doesn't mean he should be hated on....if you want to get Martin for breaking the law, then get him for that, but don't hate...he's Filipino too.....and those who are commenting here in English....please check your spelling and grammar before posting...your embarrassing....

  84. ^^ To Anonymous above, I throw back your comment about spelling and grammar... it's "you're embarrassing" not "your embarrassing"

    People are angry at Martin because of the arrogant way he reacted after the mistake was pointed out to him by the NHI. A simple, heartfelt apology would have sufficed.

  85. i can't help but comment. i respect martin's views na he has his own interpretation (as well as other artists) of the national anthem. heck. what if all the teachers all over the phils have their own interpretations of the song? the law was written to unify. napakasimple. pinakumplikado ng singer.

  86. "napakasimple. pinakumplikado ng singer."

    Martin may have thought/felt it was his moment. Laos na kasi.

  87. as for my opinion:

    i dont think Martin's rendition of the national anthem is as bad as others think. it was heartfelt and i know in my heart that it was our national anthem. artists are artist, they will try to put in their own style in whatever they do. you cant blame the man even if his intentions were to show off. i dont think martin showed off in terms of his vocal power but more of him being a filipino. we are trying to be proud of all our talents but we ourselves cant wear a piece of our flag to show that we are indeed filipinos and now we cant sing our song in a manner that we feel best? i dont know about that.

    but one thing is for sure: RULES are RULES, LAWS are LAWS.

    if its in the constitution, then we cant do anything about it... sorry martin.. ;)

  88. another two thumbs down for you martin! you are representing not only Pacquiao but the whole country as well. enough of these lazy excuses. you could have done better.

  89. Wow Is this a filipino trait na madaling manghusga sa kapwa. I know laws are laws kaya nga dapat ng palitan yung law na kung pano kantahin ang pambansang awit dapat open ito sa interpretation kaya nga tinawag silang artist dahil may sarili silang interpretasyon sa mga bagay bagay. Yun rin minsan ang mahirap sa pinoy pag naiinjekan ng ibang idea masyadong defensive feeling nila hindi dapat baluktutin ang paniniwala nila kahit alam nila na may mali na dito kasi nga tradition daw. Eh pano magiimprove ang pilipinas nyan kung puro sarado ang utak natin.

  90. The right of others ends, when the right of others of begins. With Mr. Nievera, he believed in his right to free speech, but our right to get respected was violated. Haaay, boycott na nga yang bastos na iyan.

  91. Hmm, I wasn't too pleased with his rendition either. I always hated how americans mess up thier anthem with all the fancy changes...
    However, I do sincerely believe that he sang the song with the best intentions at heart. He may have been ignorant of the rules but I don't think he meant any disrespect, quite the opposite in fact. Right now, I am sure he is saying these things because he is pushed against a wall due to the cirticisms that followed. After all, no singer would want to hear any of these things. I wish that we can all just be happy with the way the fight went and be proud of Manny as well as the efforts of Mr. Nievera himself.

  92. Ish, kultura ng Amerikano yan. We can't hate it if they do that to their anthem. That's their culture. But that's not our culture. That's why we had to raise the issue so that people will know that what Martin did was wrong. All we need from Martin is an apology. It will serve our country well by reminding everyone that the National Anthem is something you just don't interpret the way you want.

  93. or the reason why people are pissed is because it's Martin who sang it. past singers have sung the anthem without following what the law prescribes but they didn't get a lot of flak for their singing. Martin's version just sucked. the last part was very off. plus, his over acting performance is irritating.

  94. The others apologized after the NHI reprimands. Martin did not. And you can see his reaction to it above. So the birit plus his arrogant response added fuel to the fire.

  95. "Yun rin minsan ang mahirap sa pinoy pag naiinjekan ng ibang idea masyadong defensive feeling nila hindi dapat baluktutin ang paniniwala nila kahit alam nila na may mali na dito kasi nga tradition daw. Eh pano magiimprove ang pilipinas nyan kung puro sarado ang utak natin."

    The National Anthem is one of those things you do not change. It is a legacy from our founding fathers which we all must respect and cherish. Don't use the argument that change equals progress here.

  96. Berniemack Arellano III11.5.09

    Yan na nga ba sinasabi ko...I dunno why the national government is so numb regarding the "artist's rendition" of our national anthem as if its "Hit Me Baby One More Time" or "Umbrella" versions?!

    First, the Independence Day celebrations not honored during its day.

    Second, the national anthem treated like some pop song.... Read More

    What's next?

  97. Waaah! Finally naa najud nakabadlong aning atong singers nag himo=on og birit fest ang "National Anthem" or "Nasudnong Awit" in Bisaya! They call themselves as artists, musicians, and yet they can't read that this song's measurement! It's a marching song for Pete's sake! That marching tune is enough to pound the heart of a Filipino patriot! Finally the whistle has been blown! Yiheee!

  98. Let's not confuse aesthetics (although, personally, his rendition was terrible -- I still cringe in remembrance) and the breaking of the law. It's not even so much a culture thing (although enough can be said about how we SHOULDN'T keep emulating the Americans, lalo na since culturally, they're so inferior to, well, ALL other cultures countries -- *personal bias alert!*) as much as it is that he broke the law, plainly and simply. And a plain and simple apology would have sufficed, at the very least.

  99. Bruce in Iloilo13.5.09

    Songs are always sung in context and must be judged in context. Given that, Martin Nievera's rendition was a poor choice. I liked his version, but at this occasion it was inappropriate, self-indulgent and arrogant. He made the singing of the Anthem about him and his interpretation. He was a show off.

  100. Bruce in Iloilo13.5.09

    The fact that someone can go to jail for one year for interpreting a song should offend all those who believe in freedom and patriotism.

    Patriotism thrives when people are allowed to express their patriotism in their own way. The singing of the National Anthem should always be emotional and heart-felt, never stale. Forcing people, under the threat of law, to sing it the same way over and over and over again makes it stale. The Anthem should never be stale. It should resonate. Singers should be allowed to sing it the way they feel it, whether such renditions are good or bad, appropriate or inappropriate. That is called freedom.

  101. ang problema is that, pag malalaking events, hindi na sha national anthem kundi vocal solo (ika nga sa elem programs)!

    matagal na ginagawa to, and it;s high time na gawing sample si martin nievera para ipamukhang mali ung ginagawa nila.

    just because some people got away with it dati doesnt mean na tama na yung mga ginawa nila.

  102. Paul Buenconsejo13.5.09

    Ivan I support your stand. The National Anthem represents a core identity of our people. If we take a look at the context when it was written, we get a glimpse of why it was written and delivered in the manner prescribed today. Re-interpreting the singing of the National Anthem speaks of an attitude of redefining our country according to personal preferences. It is sad that people, wanting to ride the Manny Pacquiao, band wagon, finds it convenient to forget that an affront was made.

  103. Anonymous14.5.09

    I certainly agree with you and Ambeth Ocampo's well written response in the Inquirer. It's very very disappointing that we have some lawmakers and people in the executive department who seem to be kowtowing to Pacquiao because of his winning several boxing titles. And just because he has won several titles these people can just say "repeal"/"amend" the existing law

    It's not any wonder that the Philippines lags behind our Asian neighbors with the quality of lawmakers, law implementors we have.

    Verna Alih

  104. Anonymous14.5.09

    I felt disrespected when Martin Nievera sung my country's national anthem in a very callous way. Binastos nya hindi ang Lupang Hinirang, kundi binastos nya ang pakahulugan ng kanta.

    Bruce of Iloilo, may batas tayong dapat sundin. Hindi lang yun, isa itong national symbol - hahayaan mo na lang ba na bastusin ang himig na kumakatawan sa lahi mo?

    Freedom ba sabi mo? Freedom comes with responsibility, I would like to remind you my friend. And it does not come without respect.

    Sa isang laos na kagaya ni Martin Nievera, nakakahiya ang ginawa nya. Ito ay isang malaking pambabastos at kawalang-galang sa ating bansa.

  105. Anonymous15.5.09

    Some of you keep posting erroneous information which I feel compelled to correct. First, you keep singling out the USA as the only country that would allow the freedom to change and re-interpret a national anthem. This is simply not true. In fact, there was a famous Sex Pistols punk rendition of 'God Saves the Queen' in Britain that is still popular today. Most other European countries would also allow for similar expression. Although freedom of speech may be generally less powerful in several Asian countries, a few countries like Japan have MANY variations of their national anthem. Some make political statements and others are just artistic changes for variance. Even despite this, Japan ranks very high in national pride so their freedom of speech does not seem to affect their sense of unity. Here is a punk version of their anthem:

    As an American Pacquiao fan, I find it strange how much of an issue this is for many filipinos. You say it's a cultural thing, but almost every country is taught to respect a national anthem, including the US. It's just that here we believe that minority opinion should be protected by law. Some of you say that laws should be respected just because they are laws, but that is a cop-out. The only law you really need to follow is that of your conscience. If Americans had respected every single law, we'd still have racial segregation among several other stupid immoral laws.

  106. We don't mind you doing whatever you want with your anthem because that is your business, not ours. That Filipinos are making an issue about how our anthem is sung is our business and not yours.

  107. Anonymous15.5.09

    Ivan, you stated that Martin Nievera sang the anthem in the "American way," and when you make such generalities, you will invite criticism from Americans whether you like it or not. I pointed out that such alterations are not solely an American thing and are instead representative of a larger trend including many other industrialized nations. Of course Filipinos can and should do whatever they want with their anthem, but you are clearly concerned about using other countries as points of reference, otherwise you wouldn't have brought them up to begin with!

    The concept of a national anthem is itself a convention brought to Asia through European colonialism. Like Japan, many Asian countries adopted these patriotic songs so as not to be left out of the loop more than anything else. If the point of an anthem is to mark cultural pride and honor soldiers and draw distinction, is it really appropriate to adhere to a standard handed down through Western expansion? I say this because you seem to want to distance yourself as far as possible from "blasphemous" American and European ways.

    Ironically, if it wasn't for Americans your anthem could possibly still be in its original Spanish form, thereby highlighting the colonial origins of the tradition even more. (see below) If you truly believe this topic is none of my business, I will respect your wishes, but please do your research before making generalities about Americans in the future. Other than that, I find your blog really interesting.

    "During the 1920s, with the repeal of the Flag Law, which banned the use of all Filipino national symbols, the American colonial government decided to translate the national hymn from Spanish to English. The first translation was written around that time by Paz Marquez Benitez of the University of the Philippines, who was also a famous poet during that time. The most popular translation, called the "Philippine Hymn", was written by Senator Camilo Osías and an American, Mary A. Lane. The "Philippine Hymn" was legalized by an act of the Philippine Congress in 1938."

  108. Noted. But the reason I chose America as a reference was because many of those who are defending the Nievera rendition are Filipino-Americans. You'll have to realize also that Filipino diaspora to the U.S. is very evident. And it is difficult not to mention the context behind those comments.

    In fact, many Fil-Ams are more American than they are Filipino. If my reference to the U.S. offended you, my apologies. But reference to pop, R&B and other renditions of the Star Spangled Banner is important to illustrate why many Fil-Ams think that way.

    I am familiar with all those changes. I, for one, was required to memorize the original version of the anthem for my Spanish class. But it's not correct to use the previous changes to our anthem and Flag Law as an example because these were all done under the vestiges of colonial rule. The Flag Law in its current form is the first undertaken by the Philippine nation as a free country.

  109. Bottom line, if you want to change the law regarding singing the Philippine national anthem, then make the necessary means to do so or at least influence it. The law is not something you can't change therefore it can't be perceived as a stumbling block. As for having it as a law in the Philippines, I am not ashamed that other countries are doing their own thing about their anthems while we have our own because I am Filipino and it's my business. What they do with theirs is theirs. And I will not equate that specific law with other issues such as poverty because we don't have a single law that governs us all.

  110. greg perez16.5.09

    Hi Ivan,

    It seems Martin really wants the last word on this issue. I don't think he will ever apologize. Did you read his letter to Ricky Lo? I saw it on Yahoo News. I pasted part of it below.

    “Don’t worry, Dad. I have already put in the ‘version 1 minus one’ in the sound booth. Come on Dad, this is the version you dreamed of doing and now we are finally here. I know how hard you worked on this song and you got it! I know you want to do this version and not the one we did during sound check so I purposely left that CD in the car. So you can finish what you started. Never mind what others may say, Dad. You get that all the time. Don’t compromise a goal that you yourself set. If you compromise, what will that mean for the next singer? Get up there, Dad, and do it!”

    I think Martin doesn't get the abstraction of the flag as one of our national symbols.

    It's his responsibility as a father and an adult to guide his son. Instead of using his son as an excuse he should have used it as an opportunity to stress the importance of singing the national anthem the proper way. It's not about compromising a goal that you set, because your own goals are subservient to the national interest.

    I strongly feel with or without the law that as Paul says, an affront was made. What will it mean for the next singer indeed? They will think that it's alright to do what they please for the sake of art. A child not knowing the difference is forgivable. An adult condoning that thinking and using it as a reason and excuse for his own actions is unacceptable.

    What's the next step?

  111. Next step is OSG will file a case.

  112. I think he sang the anthem really well. There was passion there. There was a "soul" to the anthem. There was spunk and energy to it. I think that that's how we should sing the anthem. With more energy and pride. Not based on rigid, strict, traditional rules that simply obey laws, but no pride or spirit in it. Mabuti naman yung pagkanta ng ganun kesa naman monotonous ritual lang diba? Yun ang kailangan nating mga Pilipino! Energy and Pride in our own country! Ang dapat pagbigyan ng pansin ay ang pag alis sa puwesto ng mga Kurakot na mga Public Officials na patuloy na nagpapahirap sa bayan.

  113. I'll repost Paul's comment which I most definitely agree with: "Re-interpreting the singing of the National Anthem speaks of an attitude of redefining our country according to personal preferences."

    Some people just don't get it. And calling it a monotonous ritual betrays your own disdain for our National Anthem and how it should be sung.

  114. Deri 200020.5.09

    yeah. he sang it with much irritating overconfidence.

    the end high note was so off and was so inappropriate.

    and to put a "showbizzy" light unto it, ricky lo printed out a letter from martin. dude, do you think Filipinos are really idiots? no one is going to believe that. dinamay nya pa pamilya. and if the letter is really authentic, it goes to show that his whole family has no TASTE and has no ounce of Pinoy blood in them.

    i cringe everytime i see/hear the rendition.

    Senior Bro, I like your patriotism.

    'when i see you in the sun, I shall tell you much'

  115. First of all, the so-called kurakot politicians are a non-issue. The issue is whether or not singing our national anthem should be done according to the law or according to another arrangement not sanctioned by law. For that matter, secondly, the issue of interpretation can only be an issue if vocal techniques like melisma are considered. Interpretation is subjective in that factors like emotions conveyed in the vocals is dependent on the listener. Lastly, as I have stressed in this site, if Filipinos want to change the rendition of the national anthem, then they can do so by first having the law changed.

  116. Paolo6.6.09

    It is outrageously funny to see so many comments on how "wrong" Martin Nievera sang the national anthem. Don't get me wrong I'm no Martin Nievera fan. He just wanted to get the Filipino crowd going! And I agree with him. I'm not in a Manny Paquiao boxing match to respect the flag and the anthem, I'm there to cheer on Manny and shout my lungs out together with other Filipinos. People are just overacting, it's not like he murdered the song, I would actually appreciate it if I was in the venue. TO ALL FILIPINOS, LETS STOP BEING OVER ACTING ALL THE TIME. Be considerate. Not everything is black and white. Haaaaay.

  117. On the National Anthem, it is black or white!


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