“Bayan Ko”, became the rallying song of protest groups, from particular advocacy organisations to student-led groups. After the proclamation of Martial Law, the song was deemed seditious and was banned from the airwaves.
This would only spur the song’s popularity, and would later be used by the opposition party for their own campaign. Public performances of the song were banned, with violators facing potential arrest and detention.
This quintessential anthem of a suppressed nation was first written in Spanish by the Revolutionary general José Alejandrino in light of the Philippine–American War and subsequent American occupation, and translated into Tagalog some three decades later by the poet José Corazón de Jesús before.
It regained popularity during the Marcos dictatorship by folk singer Freddie Aguilar in the 1970s.
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