“In time the Rockies may tumble

 Gibraltar may crumble

 They’re only made of clay

 But our love is here to stay.”

 -Our Love Is Here to Stay

 “It’s still the same old story

 A fight for love and glory

 A case of do or die

 The world will always welcome lovers

 As time goes by.”

 -As Time Goes By

 Love songs are universal, they are eternal. They defy time, circumstance, nationality, partisanship and commitments. Friends and enemies sing and admire songs of love in all languages I only know a few words of French but I love to hear Edith Piaf and Cocoy Laurel sing La Vie En Rose. Of course, I can speak Spanish but not as fluently as my late father who is spoke it like a Spaniard. So don’t get surprised when I love to sing Historia de un Amor and Besame Mucho but not with the same passion and verve as Andrea Bocelli and Nat King Cole.

  Since my native tongue is Cebuano Visayan, I can’t help singing songs in that language despite the passage of time. With apologies to the composers as I may have missed a word or two since I am writing them from memory, I wish to share with you, friends and foes alike, four Cebuano Visayan songs worth remembering and singing.

 MATUD NILA: This is phrase which is very familiar to those who speak the Cebuano language. When one wishes to escape responsibility for words or information that is uncertain in either their denotation or implication or both, one seeks refuge in matud nila – which in English means according to them In the inimitable words of my late legendary father of our town for almost twenty years, Pedro Adaza, Jr., “that is to their according” which provokes laughter from his mixed audience.

 Like many love songs in Cebuano, it speaks of simplicity and humility of unrequited love. It also defines love in the most glorious and incandescent lines. It is one of the favorites of First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, which she sings quite well to the delight of her local and international audiences. It is also the most popular love song in many areas in Misamis Oriental and Camiguin, and most probably in other places where Cebuano is the dominant language. Here go the plaintive and nostalgic lines:

 Matud nila ako dili angay

 Nga magmangad sa imong gugma

 Matud nila ikaw dili malipay

 Kay akoy bahandi nga igasa kanimo

 Gugmang putli mao day pasalig 

 Maoy bahanding labaw sa bulawan

 Matud nila kaanogon lamang

 Sa akong gugma ug parayeg

 Nganong dili maluba king pagbati

 Sa bisan sa unsa nga katarungan

 Kay unsay pay bili ning kinabuhi

 Kon sa gugma mo hinikawan

 Ingna ko nga dili ka motoo

 Sa pagtamay kong naangkon

 Ingna ko nga dili mo kawangon

 Damgo ug pasalig sa gugma mo.

 It has been translated into the English language by many. The translation which is most familiar to me, a mixture of the literal and idiomatic, is that of my late younger brother, lawyer Cesilo “Celing” Adaza, with a little editing from me. He sang it in the original Cebuano and translated into English after every line.

 According to them I am unworthy

 To treasure your love

 According to them you’ll not be happy

 Since I have no wealth to offer you

 Pure love is the only promise

 It’s wealth that’ worth more than gold

 According to them what a waste

 Of my love and affection

 Why is this love forever?

 For all imaginable reasons

 And what worth is life?

 If I’m deprived of your love

 Tell me you won’t believe

 The words which belittle me

 Tell me you won’t waste

 The dream and promise for your love.

 LONELINESS: Equally plaintive and nostalgic is KAMINGAW SA PAYAG. It is not a case of unrequited love but a matter of deserted love. It is lovely and popular among politicians in cities and towns they use it as their signature song during the election campaign. One of those politicians in Cagayan de City was Councilor lawyer Alejandro “Celing” Velez, a scion of one of the wealthiest original families of the City. He sang the song like a balladeer, complete with gestures. He was never defeated in his bid for a City Council seat during the time of that iconic brilliant City Mayor Justiniano “Teñing” R. Borja. Celing had a pretty good baritone, though I think his older brother, CFI Judge Puro M. Velez, my classmate in the UP College of Law and my dorm mate in  the South Dorm in Diliman Quezon City, had a better baritone since it skirts the fringes of a tenor. Here is that song whose English translation is HOW LONELY IS THE HUT:

 Kamingaw sa payag

 Kadto atong gipuy-an

 Sa duruha ta ka gugma

 Wala na ang kahayag

 Nga mibanwag kanato

 Sa gabi-ing tanan

 Mag-unsa ako

 Kon wala na ikaw

 Unsay puy-an

 Sa payag nga biya-an mo naman

 Asa ko na ikaw pangita karon

 Kay wala nang pinangga ko

 Manamilit na lang (AI/MTVN)

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