By Mary Michelle M. Bonifacio
In an unprecedented unique salute to a great poet and composer that died 86 years ago, former senator and now President and General Manager of Manila Hotel Joey Lina and Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo performed at the Manila North Cemetery by singing three immortal songs.
The three classic songs were all written and composed into songs by Jose Corazon De Jesus popularly known as Huseng Batute. Sen. Lina in heartbreaking rendition of Bayan Ko sing in reverberating tone the song considered as the 2nd National Anthem of the country.
While Secretary Panelo with the accompaniment of blind pianist-organist Rogelio Jabagat sings Pakiusap and Anak ng Dalita, songs considered not just immortal but very Filipino and comparable to other world famous songs.
Bayan Ko is almost a part and parcel of my entire political and public service career, Joey Lina muse after the thunderous applause he received. Singing in the cemetery was not an ordinary experience, he added, but at the same time unforgettable.
I hope that many people will remember Tanghalang Banyuhay by Prof. Roderick Alo for initiating project of this magnitude.
Pakiusap and Anak ng Dalita written in 1920’s were both soul and heart searching pieces specially with the way Sec. Panelo sings the two songs with all his energy and feelings.
He thanks the public for appreciating his rendition of the songs.
I am an avid fan and admirer of Huseng Batute, Sec. said. In honoring him, I am also honored by giving me the opportunity to sing the compositions of a great genius.
Sen. Lina, Sec. Panelo and former Press Secretary Mike Toledo will have a concert entitle Bagyo ng Kantahan to be held at the Manila Hotel on June 12.
The tribute at the cemetery became an early preview on how people can hear songs beyond compare from people known not as singers but as public servants.
Cultural Center of the Philippines President Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso, nephew of Huseng Batute, made a return salute to both Lina and Panelo.
Unforgettable and worthy of emulation the honor Sen. Lina and Sec. Panelo gave to a Filipino poet.
Other guests at the North Cemetery in the program held on May 26 were Sen. Heherson T. Alvarez with wife Cecile, Atty. Principe, DG Harold Clavite of PIA, Renato Atong Balatong Dilig, Jose Rafael Santos, elegates of the Manila City Hall, Valenzuela City Government, Sta. Maria Municipal Hall and many others.