Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes


My own ‘True Decalogue’

Posted on October 28, 2018 by jimparedes

SHARESHUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE – Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) – October 28, 2018 – 12:00am

While we may have been too irreverent then for some people, I was in truth an Apolinario Mabini fan. 

I love reading Philippine history. I have a strong affinity for the turn-of-the-century (1900s) Filipinos who fought the war of independence against Spain, and later the Americans. I find many of our heroes quite interesting and remarkable. They were flawed human beings but did their heroic best during their time. Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Macario Sakay, Emilio Jacinto, the Luna brothers were some of them. But I have always kept a special place in my heart for Apolinario Mabini.

APO started with the name Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society which we used in our first real gig in an inter-school competition. It was a surefire way to solicit a double-take from the audience then. We were being cheeky and ironic. We were also defying the norm of the times when most groups had American-sounding names.

While we may have been too irreverent then for some people, I was in truth an Apolinario Mabini fan. 

He was an intellectual of the highest order. And his heart throughout the struggle was always in the right place. While many failed the test of patriotism under tremendous pressure, he felt deeply for his country and remained true and loyal to his principles. 

I remember reading Mabini’s True Decalogue for the first time in high school. I was floored. It was a call and a guide to being a good citizen of the republic he had dreamed and fought for. It was a call to serve God, country, and our fellow human beings with love and integrity. It called for freedom, egalitarianism, reason and the virtue of work. It was also a call against establishing a monarchy which bred dynasties — a form of governance he was particularly against. 

What a magnificent work, I thought.

A little over 19 years ago, I wanted to write a pop song that embodied my personal code of ethics which I wanted to pass on to APO’s audience. I must admit I was inspired by Mabini’s work. However, I wanted something less ambitious in scope and breadth. I wrote something much simpler. I ended up making a recitation of do’s and don’ts that people can practice in everyday life. It’s a song about how to build character. 

APO did record it. You can find it on YouTube and Spotify. It is on APO’s “Mismo” album. It is a lively, danceable song. The title is Tanggapin mo, Tanggihan mo. I hope you have time to actually listen to it online. I would like to share the lyrics with you here. 

(Chorus):

Tanggapin mo kung gusto mo

Tanggihan mo kung ayaw mo

Wag pipilitin ang sarili

Nang matuwa lang ibang tao

(Verse):

Wag gagawin dahil uso lang

Sundan lamang ang katwiran.

Gamitin mong iyong ulo

Nang hindi mag mukhang gago

At habang ang iba’y nagwawala

Habang sila’y nababaliw

Malinaw pa rin ang isip mo

Alam mo pa rin ang ginagawa mo

(Chorus):

Tanggapin mo kung gusto mo

Tanggihan mo kung ayaw mo

Wag pipilitin ang sarili

Nang matuwa lang ibang tao

(Verse 2):

Patibayin ang iyong budhi

Wag na wag kang pabibili

Alagaan ang pagkatao

Mahalaga ang pangalan mo

Pag hindi ka maaasahan

Wala sa iyong magtitiwala

Salita mo’y panindigan

At yayaman ka sa kaibigan

(Chorus):

Tanggapin mo kung gusto mo

Tanggihan mo kung ayaw mo

Wag pipilitin ang sarili

Nang matuwa lang ibang tao

(Verse 3):

Alamin, kilalanin ang sarili

Nang malaman ang sariling kiliti.

“Oo” kung “oo” at “hindi” kung “hindi.”

Mas madaling maintindihan

Ang taong walang pag-aalinlangan.

At sa ganun matitiyak mo

Ang uri ng isang tao

Tunay kang tao

Hindi ka malabo.

(Chorus):

Tanggapin mo kung gusto mo

Tanggihan mo kung ayaw mo

Wag pipilitin ang sarili

Nang matuwa lang ibang tao

Tanggapin mo kung makakatulong

Tanggihan mo kung makakasama

lang sayo

Tanggapin mo kung biyayang tunay

Tanggihan mo kungmasisira ang mundo

It was my personal decalogo then. I still believe in it but I would probably add more verses now. I made this at a time when an election was looming. I wanted people to get serious and think deeply about the values and character they would like to see in their leaders, and hopefully in themselves.  

It is election season once again. It is time to assess the character of those we choose to lead us. 

After all, in practically all endeavors in life, especially politics, character will out and it can determine the outcome of everything.APO HIKING SOCIETYAPOLINARIO MABINI HIKING SOCIETY

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