It’s exactly a month before Christmas and Cebuanos are in high spirits as they get ready to celebrate this most joyous of season. One of the ways that marks a Cebuano Pasko is the singing of classic Cebuano and Visayan Christmas Carols like ‘Kasadya (Ning Takna-a)’, ‘Maglipay Kita’, even the sad souls will croon the lonely but popular Christmas song ‘Pasko Sa Usa Ka Binilanggo’
But in a piece in Inquirer published last November 23, 2014, the author attributed the song ‘Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit’ by Josefino “Pepe” Cenizal as the latter’s original creation. LOL. Obviously this author is not a Cebuano for true blooded Cebuano knows that ‘Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit’ is a spin-off, a version, an adaptation of “Kasadya”, a dearly beloved Visayan Christmas song.
We do not have anything againts the composer Josefino Cenizal nor of National Artist Levi Celerio, who penned the words to ‘Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit”. But we wish that Philippine Daily Inquirer had checked their facts first before publishing and attributing ‘Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit’ as an original creation of the two.
Here’s the PDI Article Title,
The PDI article is here .
‘Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit’ was copied, adapted from the most popular song of Vicente Rubi, a Cebuano composer of ‘daygon’ and ‘kundiman’. Yep! That upbeat, fun Christmas song has its tune patterned after Rubi’s very own ‘Kasadya’ and the Cebuano words were loosely translated into Tagalog.
Back in 1933 when drama roadshow were the norms and television was not yet widespread and definitely no internet where we can just google songs and shows, there was a light musical play headed by Cebuano playwright Rafael Policarptio, in one of its scenes the drama calls for a new upbeat daygon or pangpasko song. Then enter Vicente Rubi who composed the song with lyricist Mariano Vestil, another Cebuano.
Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit started airing in 1937. Kasadya is 1933.
It was in a show staged in Opon when the song Kasadya was first sung and heard by the multitudes of people. From the Cebuano drama-goers to visitors from neighboring provinces like Negros and Bohol who came all the way to watch Cebu’s famous live drama shows.
The scene was a group of carollers singing their heart out at the gate of a rich family, the song they sung for their daygon was ‘Kasadya’. Because of its melodic, upbeat tempo and positive meaning it became an instant hit!
Unfortunately, a tagalog copied the song’s tempo, loosely translate the words from Cebuano to Tagalog and titled it ‘Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit’ which became a big hit in the capital. These tagalog composer failed to give credit to Mr Rubi which the latter rightfully deserves. Mr Vicente Rubi’s composition was the original, the Tagalog version only a spin-off but it was the version that got really popular nationwide. You know how it is when something is popular in Manila, it snakes through the islands of the country.
In 1950, almost two decades since Kasadya was conceptualized, Mr Rubi sold Kasadya to a Manila based record company.
Cebuanos and Visayas and those who love Kasadya were quick to defend the song by leaving their comments in the PDI article, sample here:
To read the rest of the Kasadya story please check out The Freeman’s original piece back in 2007 “Vicente Rubi and the story of “Kasadya” by author Gerry Lao.
This is also an article by Ricky Lo that sets the record straight, and that indeed Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit is NOT an original: The true story behind Ang Pasko ay Sumapit, other Filipino songs
In the #KMJS10 Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho Christmas episode December 14,2014 the daughter of Cenizal was interviewed, lol, she evade the question of authenticity by saying she doesn’t even know if Kasadya is a Christmas song or contains Christmas lyrics. Are you kidding? Hahaha This song is the most popular Bisaya Christmas song being sung in Visayas and Mindanao! Do Google please or better yet, come here in Cebu. 😀
Listen and sing with the lyrics of Kasadya (Ning Takna-a) 😀
Dapit sa kahimayaan
Mao ray akong nakita
Ang panagway nga masanagon
Bulahan ug bulahan
Ang tagbalay nga giawitan
Awit nga halangdonon ug sa tanang Pasko
Duyog sa atong mga pagbati
Atong awiton ug atong laylayon
To Cebuanos and Cebuanos-at-heart, be proud of our pinalanggang Kasadya!
Karong Pasko Mag Sadya Kita! Let’s all be merry! Malipayong Pasko Sa Tanan!
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