Puneet Varma (Editor)

Lupang Hinirang

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Julián Felipe, 1898

Lupang Hinirang

José Palma, 1899 Original Spanish lyrics

1899 (Original lyrics) 1963 (Official)

Lupang Hinirang (English: Chosen Land; Spanish: Patria Adorada) is the national anthem of the Philippines. Its music was composed in 1898 by Julian Felipe, and the lyrics were adapted from the Spanish poem Filipinas, written by José Palma in 1899. Originally written it did not have lyrics when it was adopted as the anthem of the revolutionary First Philippine Republic and subsequently played during the proclamation of Philippine independence on June 12, 1898.


Under the American Period, the Flag Act of 1907 prohibited the public display of flags, banners, emblems, or devices used by revolutionaries in the Philippine–American War. Under this law, the colonial government banned the song from being played. The Flag Law was repealed in 1919. Under the Commonwealth, Commonwealth Act № 382, approved on September 5, 1938, officially adopted the musical arrangement and composition by Julián Felipe as the national anthem.

The Spanish lyrics were translated into Tagalog beginning in the 1940s, with the current Filipino version from 1956 undergoing a slight revision in the 1960s. Over the years, several English versions came into use. On February 12, 1998, Republic Act № 8491 codified the Filipino lyrics, abandoning use of the Spanish and English versions.


Lupang Hinirang began as incidental music which President Emilio Aguinaldo commissioned for use in the proclamation of Philippine independence from Spain. This task was given to Julián Felipe and was to replace a march which Aguinaldo had deemed unsatisfactory. The original title of this new march was Marcha Filipina-Magdalo ("Mágdalo Philippine March"), and was later changed to Marcha Nacional Filipina ("Philippine National March") upon its adoption as the national anthem of the First Philippine Republic on 11 June 1898, a day before independence was to be proclaimed.

Felipe said that he had based his composition on three other musical pieces: the Marcha Real, which is the current Spanish national anthem; the Grand March from Giuseppe Verdi's Aïda; and the French national anthem, La Marseillaise. It was played by the Banda San Francisco de Malabón (now called the Banda Matanda, from present-day General Trias) during the proclamation rites on 12 June.

In August 1899, the soldier and writer José Palma penned the Spanish poem Filipinas. The poem was published for the first time in the newspaper La Independencia on 3 September 1899, and was subsequently set to the tune of the Marcha Nacional Filipina.

Philippine law requires that the anthem always be rendered in accordance with Felipe's original musical arrangement and composition, but the original holograph cannot be located. In the 1920s, the time signature was changed to 4/4 to facilitate its singing and the key was changed from the original C major to G.

After the repeal of the Flag Law (which banned the use of all Filipino national symbols) in 1919, the Insular Government decided to translate the hymn from its original Spanish to English. The first translation was written around that time by the renowned poet Paz Marquez Benitez of the University of the Philippines. The most popular translation, called the "Philippine Hymn", was written by Senator Camilo Osías and an American, Mary A. Lane.

Tagalog translations began appearing in the 1940s, with the first known one titled Diwa ng Bayan ("Spirit of the Country"), which was sung during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. The second most popular one was O Sintang Lupa ("O Beloved Land") by Julián Cruz Balmaceda, Ildefonso Santos, and Francisco Caballo; this was adopted as the official version in 1948. Upon the adoption of Diwa ng Bayan, the song Awit sa Paglikha ng Bagong Pilipinas and the Japanese national anthem Kimigayo were replaced.

During the term of President Ramon Magsaysay, Education Secretary Gregorio Hernández formed a commission to revise the lyrics. On 26 May 1956, the Pilipino translation Lupang Hinirang was sung for the first time. Minor revisions were made in the 1960s, and it is this version by Felipe Padilla de León which is presently used. The Filipino lyrics have been confirmed by Republic Act No. 8491 (the "Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines") in 1998, abandoning use of both the Spanish and English versions.

Historian Ambeth Ocampo observed that the Spanish lyrics, which were not intended to be sung when composed, do not flow with the music very well compared to later English and Filipino versions which are smoother. Also, some of the original meanings in Filipinas have been lost in translation; for example, the original Hija del sol de oriente (literally, "Daughter of the Orient (Eastern) Sun") became "Child of the sun returning" in the Philippine Hymn and Perlas ng Silanganan ("Pearl of the Orient") in the present official Tagalog version.

Other anthems

Lupang Hinirang was not the first Filipino national anthem to be conceived. The composer and revolutionist Julio Nakpil penned Marangál na Dalit ng Katagalugan (Honourable Hymn of the Katagalugan), which was later called Salve Patria ("Hail, Fatherland"). It was originally intended to be the official anthem of the Katipunan, the secret society that spearheaded the Revolution. It is considered a national anthem because Andrés Bonifacio, the chief founder and Supremo of the Katipunan, converted the organisation into a revolutionary government—with himself as President—known as the Repúblika ng Katagalugan (Tagalog Republic) just before hostilities erupted. The arrangement was by Julio Nakpil, who reconstructed it from memory after the original score was destroyed in 1945 during the battle for Manila. It would later be reworked and incorporated in the orchestral piece, Salve, Filipinas.

The Katipunan or Republika ng Katagalugan was superseded by Aguinaldo's República Filipina. The anthem, later renamed Himno Nacional, was never adopted by Aguinaldo for unspecified reasons. It should be noted that the term "Katagalugan" in the anthem referred the Philippine Islands as a whole and not just Tagalophone Filipinos.

The translation of Lupang Hinirang was used by Felipe Padilla de León as his inspiration for Awit sa Paglikha ng Bagong Pilipinas, commissioned as a replacement anthem by the Japanese-controlled Second Philippine Republic during World War II, and later adapted during the Martial Law Era under President Ferdinand Marcos.


Some English language sources erroneously translate Lupang Hinirang as "Beloved Land" or "Beloved Country"; the first term is actually a translation of the incipit of the original poem Filipinas (Tierra adorada), while "Beloved Country" is a translation of Bayang Magiliw, the current version's incipit and colloquial name. Some sources assert that an English version of anthem lyrics titled "Philippine Hymn" was legalised by Commonwealth Act № 382. That Act, however, only concerns itself with the instrumental composition by Julián Felipe.


The following Spanish, Filipino and English versions of the national anthem have been given official status throughout Philippine history. However, only the most recent and current Filipino version is officially recognised by law. The Flag and Heraldic Code, approved on 12 February 1998 specifies, "The National Anthem shall always be sung in the national language within or outside the country; violation of the law is punishable by a fine and imprisonment. Several bills have been introduced to amend the Flag and Heraldic Code to highlight the importance of complying, abiding and conforming to the standard expression as prescribed by law. As of 2015, none have been enacted into law.

Misheard lyrics

The Lupang Hinirang is often taught in schools only during the first year of each educational division (e.g., Grade 1 (in elementary), first year of high school). As time passes, however, students may forget the original lyrics, and replace some words with similar-sounding ones. The most common is the replacement of the word niya (third person possessive; "her/his/its") in "Ang bituin at araw niya" ("its stars and sun") with either nang ("so", "in this manner", "that is") or niya't (contracted "and" with "hers/his").

Other common errors include substitution of na ("when") in "Aming ligaya na 'pag may mang-aapi" ("'Tis our joy when there be oppressor") with "ng" ("of"); "alab" ("flame", "passion") in "Alab ng puso" ("Burning of the heart") with "alam" ("know", "knowledge"); and "mong" (contraction of mo and ng, meaning "yours that is") in "Sa langit mong bughaw" ("in the heavens of yours which is blue") with "mo'y" ("yours is").

Music and tempo

R.A. 8491 specifies that Lupang Hinirang "shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julián Felipe." However, when literally followed, this means that the national anthem should only be performed by a pianist or by a brass band, as these were the only versions that were produced by Julián Felipe. Moreover, the original version was composed in duple time (i.e., in a time signature of 2/4) as compared to the present quadruple time (4/4). It cannot be sung according to the original score, because the music would be so fast that singers would be unable keep pace.

During televised boxing matches featuring Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, singers have been both praised and criticized by the National Historical Institute (NHI) for singing too slow or too fast. The NHI says that the proper tempo is a 2/4 and 100 metronomes and that it should last 53 seconds.

Usage and regulation

Article XVI, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution specifies that "The Congress may, by law, adopt a new name for the country, a national anthem, or a national seal, which shall be truly reflective and symbolic of the ideals, history, and traditions of the people. Such law shall take effect only upon its ratification by the people in a national referendum."

Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines

Republic Act № 8491 ("The Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines") regulates usage of the National Anthem, and contains the complete lyrics of Lupang Hinirang. Enacted in 1998, it states that Lupang Hinirang "shall always be sung in the national language" regardless if performed inside or outside the Philippines, and specifies that the singing must be done "with fervor".

The Anthem is usually played during public gatherings in the Philippines or in foreign countries where the Filipino audience is sizable. The Code also provides that it be played at other occasions as may be allowed by the National Historical Institute (now known as the National Historical Commission of the Philippines). It prohibits its playing or singing for mere recreation, amusement, or entertainment except during International competitions where the Philippines is the host or has a representative; local competitions; during the "startup" and "closedown" of radio broadcasting and television stations (especially Jam 88.3, DZXL 558 RMN Manila, DZRH 666, DWWW 774, Radyo Veritas 846, Radyo INQUIRER 990, DZAR Sonshine Radio 1026, DWDD 1134 kHz Ka-Tropa Radio, DWBL 1242, DWXI 1314 kHz, Radyo La Verdad 1350 Ang UNTV Radio, DZME 1530, 99.5 Play FM, RPN, PTV, IBC, Light Network, SBN, S+A, 98.7 DZFE The Masters Touch, 702 DZAS, 105.1 Crossover, DWAD 1098, 104.3 FM2, Radyo ng Bayan 738, DZSR Sports Radio 918, DZRJ Radyo Bandido 810 AM, RJ 100.3 FM, INC TV 49, INC Radio DZEM 954, Net 25, Pinas FM 95.5, DZEC Radyo Agila 1062, GMA News TV, ABS-CBN, DWRR 101.9 FM, ABS-CBN DZMM Radyo Patrol 630, TV5, Radyo5 92.3 News FM, GMA Network and GMA Super Radyo DZBB 594); and before the initial and last screening of films and before the opening of theatre performances.

The Code also specifies the penalties for any entity which violates its provisions. A government official or employee who fails to observe the Flag Code may face administrative sanctions in addition to the penalties imposed by law.


Lupang Hinirang Wikipedia