Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Rain and the Filipinos Love for It in Songs

We Filipinos are happy when it rains.  We feel blessed by the heavens above.  We love it, revel in it, welcome it.  How many among us have happy childhood memories of playing in the rain?  How we'd stand under the gutters and take a "shower".  Back then, acid rain or fear of contaminated water was not a serious issue and our childhood was carefree.

We may complain about it; moan something about the hassle of having to bring an umbrella or grumble about the resulting floods in the streets, the longer traffic jams it would cause, and other inconveniences but deep inside we thank the rain for cleansing the mind, the environment, getting it back to green and fresh and removing, even temporarily the grime and dust and wash away the trash.  We bathe in it and hope that we too are cleansed.

My daughter Amber was baffled when I asked her to go jump in the shower AFTER she had a fun bath in the rain.  She asked, "Why do I have to bathe again when I just bathed in the rain?" I had to give her a quick lesson in germs and how bathing in the rain counts more like playing rather than bathing, much like going swimming. 

But I ramble off, so back to rain.  Yes, rain. We fear it, especially when it is angry and pours for days.  We send a silent prayer in the hope to calm it.  We brace ourselves for the worst that it could do to us and our homes: the floods, the power cuts, the destruction of property, even loss of lives.   We try our best to keep dry and warm and wait for the sun to shine again.  We've learned to endure it, because living in our tropical Philippines, we must.

We've written songs about it.  Romanticised how it can influence our loves and lives.  And this is the heart of my blog today.  How we have sung songs that are somewhat ode to rain.  

The classic "Tuwing Umuulan" is one example.  

  • I think the original singer is Basil Valdez during the late 70's.  Here's his version

One of my favorite songs about rain is Joey Ayala's song "Ulan Sa Syudad" which talks about rain and how it relates to us as individuals, workers, society.  I invite you to listen to it.  It is very calming and also deep in meaning.

Another powerful song involving rain is Aegis' "Basang-Basa Sa Ulan" which is often sung in Videoke bars.

Rivermaya, another popular band during the 90's have their own Ulan song.

The Apo Hiking Society has their iconic song "Pumapatak Na Naman Ang Ulan (sa Bubong ng Bahay)." Reminding us of the time when calling on the phone just cost 30 centavos.  This same song was also covered by Parokya ni Edgar updating the 30 centavos into text credits. 

And digging further back, listen to Eddie Peregrina's version of "Have You Ever Seen The Rain."  Although this song was originally writen by Canadian John Fogerty and released as part of the album Pendulum by the Creedence Clearwater Revival Band.  Speaking of Eddie, he's the same person who sang another Rain song, popularised during the 90's by singer Donna Cruz.

Maybe these songs aren't totally about rain, but they are definitely part of the song's appeal.

Haji Alejandro's "Nakapagtataka" mentions a never-ending rain.  Same song but his daughter, Rachel Alenjandro's version came out in the 90's.  Sponge Cola made a more recent cover of the same song giving it a rock twist. 

After Image has the song Tag-Ulan but talks more about friendship.

Rico Bautista has Tag-Ulan too, singing about love which will not change in whatever kinds of weather.

Even hunky actor Jericho Rosales has "Paboritong Tag-Ulan" song.  Another rain inspired song by the same artist is "Bumuhos Man Ang Ulan".  Wow, he must really love the rain! 

There are many songs about rain in English too.  Eurythmics' "Here Comes the Rain Again" always comes to mind.  Many love songs too.  But I love the OPMs (Original Pilipino Music) about rain.  They speak a different love for the rain that we Pinoys love to sing about.

We even have our native bamboo rainmakers or rain-callers, to ask the gods for rain to fall.

Oh how we love the rain.  How we love to celebrate it in songs.  I love that it is raining here in Al Ain...a wet desert is defintely beautiful.