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Kanlungan: Celebrations in June

Pana-panahon ang pagkakataon

Maibabalik ba ang kahapon

Ang mga puno’t halaman

Ay kabiyak ng ating gunita

Sa paglipas ng panahon

Bakit kailangan ding lumisan

Kanlungan. The lyrics reverberated as the young students sang the song during the finale of their graduation last June 11 at the Mariners JCJ auditorium with such enthusiasm and feeling as if it belonged to them, their generation. However, the Senior High of 2024 chose Kanlungan, written in the 1990s, as their theme song. Kanlungan was a popular folk song written in collaboration by Noel Cabangon and Rom Dongeto of the group Buklod to promote environmental advocacy.

The song reflected the students’ immediate past as innocent youngsters embracing a life of peace and contentment. The surroundings in the school where they stayed during their Grade 11 and 12 years are part of their life. So, why leave these behind? We will no longer see them, but they are still part of themselves, and they ask, “Bakit kelangan lumisan.”

Twice last week, Senior High Students and TESDA students held their graduation at the Mariners Canaman JCJ auditorium. The 7th graduation ceremony for the SHS last June 11 combined MPC Naga and MPCF Canaman with the theme,” Filipino youth building a stronger future for the new Philippines.” I congratulated the SHS Principal, Ms. Neneth Madronero, for the well-organized graduation rites as she and her faculty prepared their students to march to the platform up to the stage to receive their diplomas in SHS tracks in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; Pre-Baccalaureate Maritime (PBM); Humanities and SocialSciences; Accountancy, Business and Management and the Technical-Vocational-Livelihood Track. The same goes for MPC Naga SHS students who received their certificates of completion in the General Academic Strand; the Accountancy, Business, and Management track includes Custom Administration and Business Entrepreneurship, Basic Hospitality Management, and Basic Tourism Management.

The words in the song may also be valid for reflecting on the celebrations in June. Aside from graduations, there are more fiestas, birthdays, weddings, the June 12 Independence Day, Father’s Day, and, you can add, LGBT Pride Month, a new addition to the June holidays. Kanlungan, in English, is a refuge, sanctuary, and haven of memories that one keeps to oneself for peace of mind.

On Friday, June 14, Madame Eliza Jimenez, co-founder of the Mariners schools in Bicol, will be 100 years old. Her birthday was also her wedding month, which is memorable for the entire Mariners community, which has missed Madame Eliza since her passing in 2017.  Mommy Eliza was a pillar of strength; as the cliche goes, she was the woman behind the Mariners’ success. How can she not be missed? She is always remembered like yesterday.

“Malayang tulad ng mga ibon

Ang gunita ng ating kahapon”

Father’s Day is another June event inspired by the West and celebrated worldwide. The Philippines has celebrated Father’s Day since the 1980s, when former President Cory Aquino declared it a holiday every third Sunday of June. Father’s Day began in the US in the early 20th century to complement Mother’s Day in celebrating fathers, fathering, and fatherhood.  

Ngayon ikaw ay nagbalik

At tulad ko rin ang iyong pananabik

Makita ang dating kanlungan

Tahanan ng ating tula at pangarap

At a young age, I always knew our father as the typical man at work away from home and the family. It is still true today. The typical father who works as OFW whose story of toil day in and day out, sacrifice, and homesickness continue to thug the heart. Do you know that June, also known as Pride Month, is dedicated to celebrating LGBT or lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride? Pride Month is another West-inspired celebration from a series of gay liberation protests in the 60s.

Then, there is June 12. But what is there to celebrate every June 12, many would ask? It is Independence Day, “Araw ng Kalayaan,” a national holiday commemorating the declaration of Philippine independence from Spain in 1898. It used to be celebrated on July 4, alongside Uncle Sam’s Independence Day, until 1962, when former President Diosdado Macapagal declared June 12 the Philippines’ “Day of Freedom.” But are we truly free?

Kanlungan is also our renewal wedding song.

Sa piling ng mga bulaklak at halaman

Doon tayo nagsimulang

Mangarap at tumula


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