Award-winning singer and songwriter Noel Cabangon is adding another title to his name—author.
Cabangon has just produced his first book, a children’s title based on his original composition, “Ako’y Isang Mabuting Pilipino” (I Am a Good Filipino).
With illustrations by Jomike Tejido, the slim, 31-page book published by Lampara Publishing House, Inc. seeks to inspire children to perform everyday acts, such as falling in line and throwing their trash properly, that will help make them a good Filipino.
“The book aims to remind every Filipino to be a good citizen. It also challenges everyone to adopt simple ways to show how one can be a good Filipino,” Cabangon tells the Inquirer in an interview. “I really wrote the song in the first person so that when people sing it they will refer to themselves.
“In psychology, if an action is repeated, it gets into the consciousness. Hopefully, this will check the person singing or reading the lyrics. It should encourage internal transformation,” adds Cabangon.
He says he specifically wanted to reach out to children to help start them off on the right foot.
“It is just right to instill these values while in the formative years. The hope is that they will keep these values as they grow old. It is more difficult to teach adults new ways of doing things,” adds Cabangon.
He says he was inspired to write “Ako’y Isang Mabuting Pilipino” by the corruption that he saw during the Arroyo administration.
“At that time, it seemed that corruption was a normal and accepted fact of life, that it is okay to cheat in elections and steal money from the government,” says Cabangon. “I was alarmed. The government then was sending a wrong message to the public. Everybody seemed to have rationalized the wrongdoings.
“The people tended to think that if people in authority were doing these deeds, then it was also okay for ordinary citizens to do the same. This explains why there seemed to be no discipline, from the roads to the highest echelons of government. That was why I felt compelled to write the song.”
“Ako’y Isang Mabuting Pilipino” was released by Jesuit Communications in 2007, but it was only in 2010 that it shot to popularity, primarily because it was extensively used during the presidential campaign of Benigno Aquino III.
When Aquino won by a clear majority, Cabangon himself sang the song during the inauguration.
“I feel that the song was destined to be the President’s anthem,” says Cabangon, who is known to be one of the favorite singers of President Aquino. “It has all the ingredients of a well-written song with a correct social orientation. And, most importantly, it made a mark on our history.”
Thus, when the opportunity arose to translate the song into a children’s book, Cabangon grabbed it, in the hope that the message of everyday heroism could be spread through another form and target another audience.
The book will be formally launched on Sept. 28 during Cabangon’s “Tuloy ang Byahe” concert at the Music Museum.