A List of Philippine Folk Songs With English Translations


Riddles and fables along with folk dances and folk songs are some of the activities Filipinos enjoy. All mentioned can be seen performed in school activities and even as a past time for families specially the kids.

Making this hub just reminds me of grade school days on my Filipino subject where the class teachers would tackle folk dances and folk songs with everyone in the class enjoy the time spent practicing the folk dances and folk songs specially when a school event is near. This means more fun for students than lectures, oral recitations and quizzes as wearing colorful costumes performing these folk dances and songs only comes during these school events.

So what are some Filipino folk songs? Here are some Philippine folk songs that mirrors life in the Philippines. I did read other English translation of these Filipino folk songs and used it as guide, translating the songs in the following English versions that for me, seems more closer and rhymes with the Tagalog version. Well, except for the “Planting Rice Is Never Fun” which already had an English translation available.

Paru-Parong Bukid is a favorite Philippine folk song amongst kids. Along with other Philippine/Filipino folk songs, Paru-parong Bukid would be seen played in school events.

So have fun singing along with the Filipino folk song’s Tagalog version and try to sing along using the English translation for fun.

Paru-Parong Bukid (Farm Butterfly)

Farm butterfly, flying and flitting by,

In the middle of the road

Flapping and floating by

Thirty inches of wrap-around skirt

And an inch of sleeve

The colorful skirt

One foot dragging on the ground

And she has a hairnet

Oh!

And also has a comb

Oh!

Decorated underskirt

She’s trying to show off

She’s facing the altar

Looking at her reflections

Then she would walk teasingly

With her hips swaying

Bahay-Kubo (Nipa Hut)

The Bahay kubo Filipino folk song describes the typical farm life in the country and all the kinds of vegetables planted around the hut.

Cheer yourself up or a kid with this song while getting to know your vegetables in Filipino.

Bahay Kubo (Nipa Hut)

Bahay-kubo, kahit munti

Nipa hut although it is small

Ang halaman doon ay sari-sari

The vegetables in there are of many kinds

Singkamas at talong, sigarilyas at mani

Jicama and eggplant, winged bean and peanut

Sitaw, bataw, patani

Long beans, hyacinth beans, lima beans

Kundol, patola

Ash gourd , sponge gourd

Upo at kalabasa

Bottle gourd and squash

At saka meron pa

And still there’s some more

Labanos at mustasa

Radish and mustard

Sibuyas, kamatis, bawang at luya

Onions , tomatoes, garlic and ginger.

At sa paligid ligid at puno ng linga.

And all around are lots of sesame plants.

Have you experienced planting rice?

If you have, surely, rice planting is such a hard work. It will give you backache too if you’re new to it as you would be in a stoop position for the whole day! That is what this next Filipino folk song is all about, rice planting.

Rice is the Philippines staple food and it isn’t an easy task as rice planting requires a lot of work to successfully plant and harvest the grains. Rice planting season also serves as a source of work for many farmers from making the field ready to planting, maintaining the field and later on, harvesting.

Here is an English version of the folk song I found online. Have fun singing along with it.

Planting Rice Is Never Fun in Filipino

Magtanim Ay Di Biro

Magtanim ay di biro

Maghapong nakayuko

Di naman makatayo, di naman maka upo

Bisig ko’y namamanhid

Baywang ko’y nangangawit

Binto ko’y namimintig

Sa pagkababad sa tubig

Sa umaga pag gising

Lahat ay iisipin

Kung saan may patanim

May masarap na pagkain

Ay pagka sawimpalad

Nang inianak sa hirap

Ang bisig kong di iunat

Di kikita ng pilak.

Planting Rice Is Never Fun (The English Version)

Planting rice is never fun

Bent from morn ’til the set of sun

Cannot stand

Cannot sit

Cannot rest for a little bit.

Oh my arms, they are numb

And my waist was tired and hurt

And my legs are numb and set

From all that soaking in the wet.

When the early sun does break

You will wonder as you wake

In the muddy neighborhood

There is work and pleasant food

It is hard to be so poor

And such sorry pain endure

If two hands wont do some work

I won’t earn a single dime.

Planting rice is never fun

Bent from morn ’til the set of sun

Cannot stand

Cannot sit

Cannot rest for a little bit.

And here’s the fourth Philippine folk song that kids enjoy singing in school or while playing around. This folk song is about two lovers, Leron is the guy and Neneng, the girl. The song is about the two picking up papaya and tamarind fruits with a box made of bamboo or coconut leaves that is called buslo in Tagalog.

Fruit picking is such an enjoyable activity for sweethearts in the country, in which the guy would climb the tree while the lady is waiting under the tree catching or picking up the fruits.

And since the Tagalog version is already in the video, let’s have the English translation.

Leron, Leron My Love

Leron, Leron my love

Young papaya fruit above

Carrying bamboo basket

To keep the fruits in it

Then as he neared the end

The entire branch broke up

What an unlucky day

Better find another one.

Wake up Neneng

We will go climb a tamarind

Carry the bamboo box

And fill it with ripe fruits

At the end of the branch

It started on swaying

Hold on tight Neneng

You might fall off the tree

Leron, Leron my love

Young papaya fruit above

Carrying bamboo basket

To keep the fruits in it

Then as he neared the end

The entire branch broke up

What an unlucky day

Better find another one.

A guy that I would love

Is a courageous man

Who has seven knives

And daggers which is nine

A journey he will take

Distant parts beyond

One plate of noodles that is

The foe he will engage!

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