Local songs you can use when teaching Filipino: pangungulila edition

Local songs you can use when teaching Filipino: pangungulila edition

The Filipino language takes missing your lovers, friends, and family to a whole new level with pangungulila. Stemming from the root word ulila ('orphan'), it doesn't just define your longing for another. With a bunch of letters strung together, 'pangungulila' captures the feeling of much like being abandoned and totally alone – all because you can't be with that someone.

We've been on quarantine for more than two months now. I'm sure we're all nangungulila not just for the loved ones we're not with at the moment, but also for the places we cannot visit right now, the encounters we won't be able to chance upon, and the moments we won't be able to experience. Nangungulila tayo sa buhay na kinagisnan natin (We are longing for the lives we used to have). Thing is, we may never get it back.

Local indie songs you can use when teaching Filipino: Part 2

This edition of local songs used when teaching Filipino ay para sa mga nangungulila (is for the longing). More than showcasing various grammar points and wide vocabulary, these tunes show different ways of expressing pangungulila that learners of the language are sure to appreciate:

1. Sa May Bintana, Ryan Cayabyab

Napupuyat sa kakaisip. 
Nababato't naiinip."

When Mr. C wrote this more than 20 years ago, I doubt he thought that us looking out our windows longingly, not being able to fall asleep, feeling restless, and overthinking would be because of something other than lovesickness. But here we are today, feeling all these things because of our almost solitary confinement.


Go beyond improving listening comprehension skills with this song. You can give instructions that lead learners to use the language extensively, like ilarawan ang nakikita nila sa labas ng kanilang mga bintana (describe what they see outside their windows) or gumawa ng kwento tungkol sa kung ano ang maaaring inaabangan ng taong nabanggit sa kanta (make a story about what the man in the song might be looking out for).

Lesson hits: Ang pandiwang imperpektibo o pangkasalukuyan , tulad ng 'dumudungaw,' 'naghihintay,' at 'nanalangin' (the present tense of verbs, such as 'looking out (the window),' 'waiting,' and 'praying')

Activity tip: Ask learners to change the aspekto ng pandiwa (tense of the verb) used in the song. Since this topic has been previously discussed through other local indie songs, feel comfortable to use the exercise to review all three tenses than just one. Take note that time words like 'lagi' ('always') and araw-araw ('every day') need to be changed as well.

Listen to 'Sa May Bintana' here:

2. Hanggang Kailan, Orange and Lemons

Kapag naaalala ka, wala naman akong magawa.
Umuwi ka na, baby."

Pretty straightforward in its meaning, this hit from the band's sophomore album is the epitome of pangungulila. It talks about the struggles of a person who is generally restless, discontented and impatient as he waits for his beloved to come home. Probably like the families and loved ones of those displaced, those in quarantine, and even those who are simply at work.

Discuss the sacrifices and challenges our frontliners face today. A good exercise not only to reinforce language use but also to improve empathy is one that allows the learners na ipagpalagay kung sila ang nasa kinalalagyan ng mga frontliners at ng kanilang mga mahal sa buhay (to put themselves in the shoes of the frontliners and their loved ones). Talakayin kung ano ang maaaring nararamdaman nila ngayon at ihambing ito sa sarili nilang damdamin (Discuss what they might be feeling now and compare it to the learners' own feelings). 

Lesson hits: Mga pang-uri, tulad ng 'naiinip,' 'nayayamot,' at 'nakakabalisa' (adjectives, like 'restless,' 'annoyed; discontented' and 'disturbing')

Activity tip: Magsanay sa pagtukoy ng mga salitang magkakahulugan at magkakasalungat. Gamitin ang mga salitang nagpapahayag ng damdamin mula sa kanta. Matapos nito, magbigay ng mga iba pang salitang nagpapahayag ng damdamin. (Practice identifying synonyms and antonyms. Use words that express feelings from the song. After that, introduce even more words that express feelings.)

Watch the lyric video for 'Hanggang Kailan' here:

3. Pag Agos, UDD

Isang umaga muling aahon at sisikat sa mga panahon
Na tayong pang dalawa, masayang nagsasama."

The lyrics of this track from Fragmented might be more poetic and metaphorical than the other songs on this list. However, there are certain phrases that stand out and speak to us, like 'isang umaga muli ng pag-iisa' ('one more morning of being alone'), 'kusang lalayo sayo' ('will willingly distance myself from you'), and  'di na 'ko makapag-antay' (I can't wait). In our everyday pangungulila where we ask 'kailan ang huling unos'  (when will this storm pass), we find hope in 'malayo man, malapit din' (still near, though far) and in 'agos lang, agos lang' (just go with the flow).

Talk about the importance of being hopeful despite feeling desolate in times like these. There is an opportunity for intensive use of the language using this message from the song. Hayaang humingi at magbigay ng payo ang mga mag-aaral ukol sa iba't ibang paraan upang alagaan ang sarili sa panahon ng pandemya (Let learners ask for and give advice about the different ways of practicing self-care during the pandemic).

Lesson hits: Mga bagong salita para sa talasalitaan, tulad ng 'pagkubli,' aahon,' 'unos,' 'kusa,' at 'landas' (new vocabulary, like 'hiding,' 'get out (of water); rise up,' 'willingly,' 'way')

Activity tip: Gumawa ng mapang pangkaisipan para sa bawat bagong salita. Isulat ang isa sa mga bagong salita sa gitna ng mapa at ang mga salitang naiuugnay dito sa iba't ibang sangay ng pangunahing salita. Maaaring gumawa ang mga mag-aaral ng maikling kwento gamit ang mga salita mula sa mga pangkat. (Make a mind map for each of the new words. Write one of the new words in the middle of the map and words you can associate with this word around it. Learners can make short stories using the words from each mind map.) Making mind maps is an activity we also recommended in our previous list.

Listen to 'Pag Agos' here:

4. Hanggang Kailan Kita Mahihintay, Ebe Dancel

Pansamantalang titigil ang aking mundo para sa'yo.
Handang iwanan ang buhay na aking nakasanayan para sa'yo."

A closer look at the words from Ebe Dancel's newest single, and you'd get that it echoes our sentiment today: our world stopped and is now full of uncertainty, our lives have (drastically) changed, and our hearts are swimming in loneliness. We move, adjust, and adapt so that we can feel safer despite the circumstances we're in.

The question is: ano ba talagang hinihintay natin at hanggang kailan nga ba tayong maghihintay (what are we waiting for and until when can we afford to wait)? Is it the vaccine? Is it mass testing? Is it sound and responsible decisions from our leaders to make us feel more protected from this threat that has made millions suffer worldwide? Improve mapanuring pag-iisip at pagbigay ng opinyon (critical thinking and expressing opinions) by discussing these during a lesson.

Lesson hits: Mga pangatnig (conjunctions), tulad ng 'dahil' ('because'), 'ngunit' ('but') at 'hanggang' ('until')

Activity tip: Let students make their own sentences using the pangatnig from the song. You can also introduce other conjunctions like 'at' ('and'), 'o' ('or'), 'subalit' ('but'), etc. Ask learners to sentences using these words as well.

Watch the lyric video for 'Hanggang Kailan Kita Mahihintay' here: