“…ngunit mayroon awiting iiwanan sa iyong alaala.”

“Handog” by Florante | To close this month’s Great Philippine Song Hits, a song that we’ve actually written about twice before – the first time was a cover by Noel Cabangon, which he did on the occasion of Dolphy’s death; the second was Dolphy’s actual recorded cover of this song for an album of retrospectives he did in his later years. If that does not scream “iconic”, I don’t know what does. Perhaps it’s also because of the universal theme, expressed with that morbid certainty of growing old and death: “tatanda at lilipas rin ako.” There’s an evitability there, the Filipino fatalism captured in one line. Florante was also one of the leaders of the Manila sound of the 1970s, positioning himself at that convenient overlap with the Pinoy rock movement of the same decade. His songs were also of a subtly nationalistic vein (see “Ako’y Pinoy”) but somehow he wrapped them in a pop sheen: polished, accessible, singable. And, again, that universal message that enables a popular comedian in his final years to sing this, giving us a tinge of regret for the inevitable – and a celebration of all that came before. [NB]

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