“Cuyo Balitaw” is a song among the Cuyonons that was somewhat “elevated” to a folk song status. Unlike most folk music that has been traditionally transmitted to generations, the origin of this song can be traced to recent provenance.
It was actually composed by Fe Tria Fernandez, an educator with roots in Cuyo, with words written by her husband Jose T. Fernandez. “Cuyo Balitaw” is one of the “composed folk songs” of Fernandez. It was a winning contest piece in a regional competition (I do not know when and where).
The music transcription midi below is a choral arrangement of “Cuyo Balitaw” by Peter Ferias, a parish priest in Palawan. The music sheet is available after the player.
Here is the music sheet: Cuyo Balitaw
In Fernandez’s words, “Certain composers are so thoroughly imbued with the spirit of their people and with their creative musical idiom that their own original creation became so beloved and so generally used among the people, that they [the songs] achieve the status of a traditional folk song.”
The Cuyo archipelago is a group of small islands in Sulu Sea off the Palawan mainland.
Balitaw is a dance of courtship or the song that accompanies it. According to the UP Diksiyonaryong Filipino:
ba·lí·taw : sayaw ng panliligaw na may kasamang kantahan o ang awit na ginagamit dito
Nevertheless, balitaw is a form of music or song originally from the Bisaya region.
The following are the words of the song, transcribed without the elisions and slurs. Take note of that the character ë pertains to the schwa sound common in many Philippine minor languages.
Sa kapoporoan maambëng kong masanag ngani ang bolan
Manga bata ig mga malam nagaparasiar sa pantalan
Manga solteros ig daraga nagagitara magkaranta
Kada isara mi isara maambëng anang lëba
Pagkasanag ngani dayong parakon sa oma
Magkaingin, magsaripsip, magpaligid kong mainit
Maloto ron ngani ang paray sa bokid
Dayon sandang parantëk maglëlëbëk-lëbëk
Amos kamo mga tangay, masaraot-saot kita anay
Lipatan ta atëng kapilay, magpanari anay
Dading loto ro(n) ang paray kita magkalipay
Indi ta y panombalien ang atëng kabëdlay
Below is the translation provided in the reference I have:
It’s a happy time in the islands
When the moon is shining bright
Young and old alike go strolling to the wharf
Young men and women play the guitar and sing
Everyone is happy!
When morning comes they go to the fields
To cut trees, clean the fields and burn them
when the day is hot
When the grains ripen on the mountain
They harvest them and make pinipig.
Come, my friend, let’s dance awhile
Let’s forget our weariness, let’s rest awhile
Now that the rice is ripe let us rejoice!’
Let us not mind our efforts.
You can listen to the composer singing her song here. Forward to [11:11].
Almario, Virgilio, ed. UP Diksiyonaryong Filipino. 2nd ed. Quezon City: Sentro ng Wikang Filipino, 2009.
“Baragatan sa Palawan & the songs of old.” YouTube. Video, 20:44. Uploaded on 3 February 2013 by Living Asia Channel. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bg1BEM0STSw>
Fernandez, Fe Tria, and Jose T. Fernandez. Mga Karantaen sa Palawan. Puerto Princesa City: n.p., 1988.