Jose Palma and Julian Felipe: The Creative Duo Behind the Philippine National Anthem

The Philippine National Anthem, “Lupang Hinirang,” is a symbol of national identity and pride for the Filipino people. However, not many know the origins of this anthem, and how it came to be the patriotic song that it is today. The story of the anthem’s creation can be traced back to August 1899 in a small barrio in Bayambang, where a revolutionary journalist named Jose Palma wrote a poem that would become the lyrics of the national anthem.

Palma was a staff member of La Independencia, the revolutionary government’s newspaper. He was tasked to write a poem that would inspire Filipinos to continue fighting for their freedom against the Spanish colonial rule. In August of 1899, while visiting the house of Doña Romana G. vda de Favis in Bayambang, Palma wrote the poem that would later become the lyrics for the national anthem. The poem was titled “Filipinas,” and it described the beauty of the Philippine archipelago and the bravery of its people in the face of oppression.

The poem caught the attention of Julian Felipe, a musician who was commissioned to create a march for the Philippine revolutionary army. Felipe was so moved by the poem that he decided to set it to music. In just a few hours, he composed the melody for “La Marcha Nacional Filipina,” which would later become known as the Philippine National Anthem.

The anthem’s journey did not stop there. The original lyrics were in Spanish, but in 1956, the Philippine Congress passed Republic Act No. 1425, which required all educational institutions to teach the history of the Philippines and to include the national anthem in their curriculum. As a result, the government decided to translate the anthem into Pilipino, the national language, and give it the title “Lupang Hinirang.” The translation was done by Jose Palma’s son, Felipe Palma.

The house where Jose Palma wrote the poem that became the national anthem served as the “Malacañang” of the Aguinaldo Republic, the short-lived revolutionary government led by Emilio Aguinaldo. The house’s historical significance was recognized by the Philippine government, and in 1956, it was declared a national shrine.

In conclusion, the Philippine National Anthem, “Lupang Hinirang,” is not just a song, but a testament to the struggle and sacrifice of the Filipino people for their freedom. Its origins in a small barrio in Bayambang, and the collaboration between a journalist and a musician, is a testament to the power of art and creativity in inspiring and uniting a nation. Today, the anthem continues to be a symbol of national identity and pride, and a reminder of the values and aspirations that define the Filipino people.