Revisiting the People Power hit 'Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo' and the anniversary cover it spawned
Two months after the 1986 EDSA People Power ousted a dictator, celebrities and well-known personalities at the time came together a la We Are The World to release a song symbolizing optimism, fearlessness, and what Filipinos could offer to the world.
Unlike the songs Bayan Ko and Magkaisa that were played throughout the bloodless march in EDSA, Handog ng Pilipino Sa Mundo was borne from the optimism after the revolution—a time when Cory Aquino was a few months into her term and the country hoped to continue the democracy it had lost.
Written by Jim Paredes, the song featured prominent artists APO Hiking Society, Gretchen Barretto, Kuh Ledesma, Leah Navarro, Celeste Legaspi, Coritha & Eric, Edru Abraham, Ivy Violan, Inang Laya, Joseph Olfindo, Lester Demetillo, Noel Trinidad, and Subas Herrero.
A teenage Kris Aquino also made an appearance on the Mike de Leon-directed music video, which had been ploaded by Paredes on YouTube in 2007.
With the lyrics such as Magkakapit-bisig libo-libong tao / Kay sarap palang maging Pilipino and Kapit-bisig madre, pari, at sundalo / Naging Langit itong bahagi ng mundo, the soon became a clear testament to the hardships that Filipinos endured leading to the days of EDSA 1986.
It's also no wonder that its lyrics are written on a wall of Our Lady of EDSA Shrine, the epicenter of the revolution.
25 years later, ABS-CBN released a re-recording of the song with their own roster of stars.
Led by the likes of Martin Nievera and Gary Valenciano, the 2011 25th anniversary cover of the Handog ng Pilipino Sa Mundo was retold through a new series of stars such as Vina Morales, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Christian Bautista, Ice Seguerra, Erik Santos, Piolo Pascual, Sam Milby, Juris Fernandez Yeng Constantino, Jovit Baldivino, and Toni Gonzaga.
Handog ng Pilipino Sa Mundo now continues to be a hymn in it and of itself, as it was played during the funeral of Cory Aquino in 2009 and continues to be a favorite in rallies well after the revolution.
Most recently, the song has been taken into a new light this February 2022 through 'Pili-Pino,' a dance interpretation video from the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
We may not have seen a 35th-anniversary release last year, but with many players like Paredes and the original and rerecorded artists still active in the political scene now—regardless of whether or not they still believe in the message—who knows might come to light in the song's future in its 50th anniversary and in the years to come.