La Paloma Lyrics 2011 Filipino Version Compared

November 1, 2011

Hours after writing my previous post La Paloma Lyrics by El Rey, I received directly from Rey Ventura the copy of the lyrics that I was referring to. I also found the copy that he gave me with the script that we were working on at that time in Pagsanjan. Date: May 31, 2011; another copy with dedication was dated May 26 [to post later].

To compare, I am posting what Rey wrote, and what Ely Buendia sang. [ Please click to read La Paloma]. [Highlighed in yellow are the actual lyrics sang by Ely.] Evidently, Ely who concentrated only on the first three ‘stanzas’ [if we may call them stanzas, like in a poem]— for recall purposes I guess— did use Rey’s lyrics especially the first part with very, very slight change [only some word omissions]. The thought and idea of the second ‘stanza’  in Ely’s, is yes! basically that of Rey’s too despite changes in the texts. It revolves around the same topic. Same goes with the third stanza. Here, I can imagine a writer who submits an article to a newspaper or a magazine publisher, who then passes it to an editor. When published, the byline is still credited to the writer who sent it for publication. In that context, the credit of La Paloma 2011 Filipino version goes to Rey!

Anyhow, credit goes to both Rey and Ely who came up with a wonderful piece of song. And of course to Tikoy Aguiluz, Kingpin Asiong director for pursuing the idea to get Ely Buendia revive “an old song whose popularity over the years,” according to Wikipedia, “has surged and receded periodically, but never subsided.” Above all, to Asiong Salonga himself who was mesmerized by the song and a true-to-life “La Paloma” in his life, and Gov. Jeorge Estregan Jr. for his seeming obsession to remake a film done several times.

Wikipedia further states that La Paloma has “been produced and reinterpreted in diverse cultures, settings, arrangements, and recordings over the last 140 years. The song was composed and written by Spanish composer Sebastián Iradier (later Yradier) after he visited Cuba in 1861. [Take note, it was during the birthyear of Dr. Jose Rizal. Therefore, exactly 150 years ago.] But Iradier may have composed “La Paloma” around 1863, just two years before he died in Spain in obscurity, never to learn how popular his song would become.

The influence of the local Cuban habanera gives the song its characteristic and distinctive rhythm. Very quickly La Paloma became popular in Mexico, and soon spread around the world. In many places, including Afghanistan, Spain, Hawaii, the Philippines, Germany, Romania, Zanzibar, and Goa where it gained the status of a quasi-folk-song…It may be considered one of the first universal popular hits and has appealed to artists of diverse musical backgrounds.

The motif of “La Paloma” (the dove) can be traced back to an episode that occurred in 492 BC preliminary to Darius’ invasion of Greece, a time when the white dovehad not yet been seen in Europe. The Persian fleet under Mardonius was caught in a storm off the shore of Mount Athos and being wrecked when the Greeks observed white doves escaping from the sinking Persian ships. This inspired the notion that such birds bring home a final message of love from a sailor who is lost at sea. This theme that a final link of love overcomes death and separation is reflected in La Paloma. While the lyrics may not always be true to the original, the soul of the song seems to survive all attempts to recast it in whatever new form and shape there may be and is able to express the tension between separation with loneliness, even death, and love.

It’s November 1. All Saint’s Day. I have just readied the flowers and the candles that I’ll take to Manila Memorial Park to offer to our deceased loved ones…thinking of our loved ones every so often especially on this day, is like that of La Paloma’s theme afterall…that a “link of love overcomes death and separation.”  We continue to remember, until we find ourselves six feet below the ground. What a thought!



  1. Salamat, Ate Mirans,
    Sa bagong English-subtitled version ng MTV, sa wakas, iniligay din
    Lyrics: Rey Ventura. A small victory but an important one.
    Mabuhay ka Ate Mirans.
    El Rey

  2. Talaga? Hindi ko pa nakita! Kongrats kung ganon!

  3. […] song went from being a Spanish guitar classic to a beautiful rendition by Ely Buendia, check out this blog post. It explains everything and […]

  4. classic! what a beautiful song.

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