Bebot, Adobo and Filipinos

The Allan Pineda ( penned and BEP sung 'Bebot' has been a prominent sound in Malaysian clubs since it debuted and despite not having a single clue as to what the song is all about, Malaysians greet the song with enthusiasm as they groove on the dance floor whenever it is played.

And why not? Music, they say, is a universal language and one can't really help but groove to the catchy beat that made 'Bebot' such a club-favorite all over Asia. Actually, it is better that majority of those who love the song do not understand the lyrics. Don't get me wrong, the intention and concept behind the lyrics are noble but the nobility is lost with the execution.

Contrary to what many people think, actually captured the essence of what Filipinos are all about, irrespective of where they are. There are millions of Filipinos who live outside the Philippines, mostly to work so as to help elevate their respective families from poverty. He started the song with the following:

"Hoy pare pakinggan niyo ako
Ito ang tunay na Filipino
Galing sa baryo Sapang Bato
Pumunta ng LA nagtrabaho
Para makatulong sa nanay
Dahil sa hirap ng buhay
Pero masaya parin ang kulay"

Loosely translated as:

Hey, man, all of you listen to me
This is the real Filipino
Came from the barrio - Sapang Bato
Went to L.A. and labored
In order to help my mother
Because life is so hard
But the disposition’s still bright.

Even if the above lyrics are deemed plain for a rap rhyme, the message is clear and it resonates well with any foreign-based Filipinos. The sacrifices they have to make - both those who are leaving and those who are left behind - are common occurrences in Filipinos lives. Even when the video for the particular song was being conceptualized, mooted the idea of having two different videos - one to portray the hardship the older Filipino generation had to go through (the official one, if I may add) and the one that we see right now on MTV.

But what I love most about this song is the message that is directed towards the Filipino youths born outside the Philippines. More often than not, the youths shy away from their Filipino past and heritage; at times, even embarrassed to be known as one... tsk, tsk, tsk.

I have met a lot of these kinds of Filipinos, especially those who are living in the States. They forget the sacrifices their parents or grand parents had to endure in the past to enable them to live the way they are living now. I also don't buy the idea of these people not knowing how to speak Tagalog at all. I was brought up in the States as well and I am not even a full Filipino and yet, I speak Tagalog quite fluently. It doesn't make any sense at all to me why these full-blooded Pinoys do not know how to speak the language...

But this is the reality of the present Filipinos nowadays; they just don't take the effort at all to learn where they came from and this, to be perfectly honest, makes me sick!


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