Freddie Aguilar’s Song “Anak” and its Relationship to Child Rearing while Working Abroad

One of the most famous, if not the most famous, Filipino songwriters is Freddie Aguilar.

He composed a number of amazing songs that I like playing on the guitar. I am particularly fond of “Sa Kabukiran”, a great song for lovers of fingerpicking guitar style.

The most famous song Freddie Aguilar composed is “Anak” meaning “Son” (or “daughter”), another great fingerpicking style kind of song.

The opening words of the song go like this: “noong isilang ka sa mundong ito laking tuwa ang magulang mo at ang kamay nila ang iyong ilaw“. What this means is: “when you came into this world your parents rejoiced and their hand became your light“.

So the song is talking about well-meaning parents whose firm hand provided guidance and light to their children. However the song continues by saying that the anak eventually rebels and becomes matigas ang ulo or stubborn.

This is really what happens in a lot of families. Despite the diligent efforts of their parents many anak go astray.

The problem with a lot of Filipino families however is that thousands of parents move abroad and leave their children in the Philippines and what can easily happen is that instead of “ang kamay nila ang iyong ilaw” what actually takes place is that “ang internet, ang TV, ang video games ay ang iyong ilaw”.

Actually even many Filipinos who live in my country who have managed to get their children here are, sometimes, so busy working that really what happens is that videogames, TV, social media etc. replace the kamay of their parents. Some Filipino parents are even working live-in with their children living in another apartment.

Raising children while working overseas is really something that might cause Freddie Aguilar to re-write the lyrics of his song and replace the expression “ang kamay nila ang iyong ilaw” with “at ang TV, ang internet at ang mga video game ang iyong ilaw”!

True, many Filipino families manage to balance working abroad with providing excellent guidance to their children but, unfortunately this is not always the case and, sometimes, if the children have grown up in the Philippines thousand of miles away from their parents it gets extremely difficult to make up for those years in which there was no kamay to provide ilaw.

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