I first met Francis when I was about four years old. My kuya, an artist, was busy then painting a portrait of Francis Magalona in a one-eighth illustration board at our old kubo. The face was familiar. He’s the man behind the infectious patriotic song Mga Kababayan Ko. And I have watched him on the movie Mama’s Boys with Ogie Alcasid, Michael V., and Anjo Yllana.
I saw Francis as a revolutionary young face that will achieve great heights. He challenged the conventional music style of his age. His music paved way for the unification of the then-opposing sides of Pinoy hip-hop and rock by experimenting on the merging of rap with rock music. After all, music is the language that should unite us, not divide us.
But more importantly, I saw Francis as a young man, whose heart is united with his beloved land. He redefined patriotism. He made it easier for the youth of this generation to appreciate and understand. And he showed us how great a race and nation we are.
Pride. Identity. Meaning. Perhaps, he saw that before we can shout to the world that we love our country, we must first know what it really means to be a Filipino.
I saw Mga Kababayan Ko then as an anthem which promotes Pinoy pride and identity along with the songs Ako’y Isang Pinoy by Florante and Tayo’y mga Pinoy by Heber Bartolome (and later recorded and reinvented by the Man from Manila himself). These three songs, together with our regular Monday school anthem Ako ay Pilipino, were my first inspirations to love my country, to appreciate my Pinoy identity, and to be proud of my ancestry. And this was long before Pinoy Ako by Orange and Lemons.
But he was gone too soon. Had he not died on that fateful Friday noon of March 6, 2009, he may have personally done greater things for our country and to our countrymen.
But as in all war and tragedy, life continues. He may have gone too soon but his spirit, music, and legacy still continue. Thanks to her wife Pia and the rest of the Magalonas, the Francis Magalona Foundation was born.
The Francis Magalona Foundation was established to realize in each Filipino a true sense of Filipino pride, personal integrity and a commitment to positive change through awareness campaigns and personal development and skills building programs. Its tagline, Finding a Meaning in every Filipino, is an invitation to every Filipino to ask themselves the significance of their identities as a Filipino. How is it to be a Filipino? How do I promote my pride and identity to the whole world?
He may have gone at a young age but what is more important is that he had lived his life with meaning. He has influenced a whole generation. He has inspired many with his music. And with that, he is already immortal.
On his 47th Birthday, let us remember The Man from Manila who have inspired many by his great music, who have been a good father to his children, who have been a good husband to his wife, and who have been a modern example of Filipino Patriotism.
You may have gone Francis but your legacy of music and patriotism will remain in our minds and hearts forever.
Maligayang kaarawan at maraming salamat Kiko!
Kickass photo courtesy of scarypet.deviantart.com