“MAGPALAWOD kitang Iyang mga tinun-an

Salig sa patulun-an nga gitudlo sa Amahan

Dili mahadlok sa mga kalisdanan

Kay ang Diyos kanunay nakig-uban. . .”

‘Elsa Apus, St. Paul Parish, Malitbog, Bukidnon’

The song aptly describes how the Diocese of Misamis Oriental, Bukid-non and Cami-guin Iglesia Fili-pina Indepen-diente (MOBUCA) celebrated their Diocesan and Silver Anniversary, highlighted by a Music Festival. For 25 long years, the diocese survived through thick and thin, spreading God’s word as commanded by Jesus: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost!” (Mt. 28:19)

Post your reaction to the Manila hostage crisis

This writer was deeply honored to be part of the celebration, having arranged the ‘Pagpalawod’ composition of Elsa Apus, through the request of Fr. Allan Apus, IFI parish priest of Malitbog, Bukidnon. Arrangement is actually a quite tough job compared to composition, especially if you have no formal music education. All you need is timeless lyrics, appropriate music and bingo, you already have a composition. One problem however, is how to make them better appreciated. To that, a professional arranger would be most welcome. One advantage for me is that I have already produced my own original compositions (Himig Mindanao CD, now in the market, a musical journey of 13 songs lasting one hour and three minutes).

Training the choir for Cluster I of Agusan, Malitbog and Libona finally capped my contribution. Though I had my three teeth extracted and suffered excruciating pain morning and evening thereafter, the joy derived from the final presentation simply outweighs the physical pain. IÆm also looking forward to the inclusion of the song for my second CD project, this time composed of gospel songs.

***

Song composition with the aid of Digital Technology is a better replacement for live band recording, at least for me, because the system is user-friendly and entries can be edited and enhanced. You actually have more than 100 instruments at your disposal from string, piano, percussions to indigenous instruments. All you need is your expertise to write your music into notes. It’s what all the system needs because unless you do it, noteworthy composers for instance, cannot read or play it. The magic is when you have encoded all your music into the system and separate the singing of vocals in a commercial music studio. And there you have it: magic.

My participation in the IFI celebration brought me down the memory laneùmost especially at the time of my conversion to Catholicism. I may be Roman Catholic by religious affiliation but itÆs safe to say IÆm also an IFI by heart. “What’s the difference?” asks my good friend and colleague in media Joe Felicilda. Nothing. The most important thing is to become a better practicing Christian wherever you are and whatever institution you belong. Live by the gospel if you wish, becoming salt, bread and light to the world. Seasons come and go but the essential remains.

Secondly, the celebration opened my appreciation of the initiative of Bp. Bert Calang that seeks to promote Filipino gospel songs. As we all know, music is powerful in that it can transform institutions. In it we of the IFI can express our appreciation for His great mercy, graces and blessings as well as thanks for the strength to survive this far as cohesive Christian Congregation. As the fruit of 1898 Revolution, IFI has never lost steam in its avowed mission to save souls. Music is seen as one of the pillars that keeps the Church spiritually cohesive. That’s how important music is to the Church.

The 15 original religious compositions are indeed another breakthrough for the Church and it is hoped that it would go long, long way. Cheers to you Alden Yanez for keeping the faith alive. Indeed, the most fitting tribute for an IFI Silver Anniversary. May the fruits of the national and patriotic struggle by our heroes with the likes of Rizal, Bonifacio, Aglipay, Isabelo de los Reyes and the rest continue surging on. Let me congratulate you therefore sa inyong 25 anyos nga Pagpalawod! As the last stanza of the song says: “Gitawag kitang tanan Piniling katawhan aron ipadayon ang kaluwasan.”