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      Sa Aking Mga Kababata
(or Wika ni Rizal)
Poem/Kundiman by the young Jose Rizal,  1869, Calamba Laguna





     Sa Aking Mga Kababata is a song of tribute and praise for the Philippine's native tounge. It is a language "ordained by Heaven," it says - a "tounge of angels" equal to any of the great languages of the world. Love of country, it contends, is manifested in the use of one's native language, while failure to love this language makes one "worse than a beast and a putrid fish."

      Strong sentiments and remarkable eloquence indeed particularly since they are attribuited to a child, the eight year old Jose 'Pepe' Rizal.  Even at such a tender age, the boy who was destined to be the Philippine national hero, is said to have grasped the concept of Philippine patriotism as distinct from loyalty to Spain. And he readily saw, as expressed in this childhood poem Sa Aking Mga Kababata, that love and use of one's native tounge was one of the badges of a true patriot.

   The extra ordinary boy-poet of Sa Aking Mga Kababata was born Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado on June 19, 1861, in the small town of Calamba, Laguna.  His father, Francisco Mercado, was a well-to-do sugar planter and landholder. His mother, Teodora Alonzo, was one of the best educated women of the day.

     Until he was 11, most of young Jose's education was received at home, where his mother was his first teacher. He was fortunate that his parents possessed an extensive private library, a rarity in those times.  He also studied at the small town school and under a private tutor in nearby Binan, unti he was sent to Manila to continue his studies.  There he enrolled at the Jesuit-run Ateneo Municipal, where he excelled as a student.

When Rizal was still a boy, his mother became a victim of gross injustice and was imprisoned. The sad event deeply affected him and bolstered his resolve to work for the welfare of his  country. His later studies in Europe exposed him to liberal ideas and different political stuctures, making him even more determined to work for reforms in the Spanish colonial government in the Philippines.

     

    While in Europe, Rizal assiduously studied many languages in his desire to know the wisdom of the ages and to communicate with foreign nations. In the process, he came to know 22 languages. And yet, his reverence for the Philippines' native tounge never wavered.

      Speaking through Simoun,  the principal character in his novel, El Filibusterismo (The Filibuster),  he declared,

"While a people preserves its language, it preserves the marks of its liberty,  as a man preserves his independence... Language is the thought of the people..."

   

   Thus the patriot who had written the stirring poem Sa Aking Mga Kababata as a child held fast to the belief that love of one's language signifies love of one's country.

Music transcription by Pedro Gatmaitan Santos, undated
(Bulacan, Bulacan, circa 1890's)

 

MIDI Sequence by Ian James R. Andres

Informations, Graphics and Music Material
Gathered and Presented by Ian-James R. Andres
(Jubail, KSA, Nov. 2004)




Also available is the music arrangement for this poem composed by Dr. Raul Sunico in September 1996, Manila