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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

entry arrow7:59 AM | Favorite Songs No. 3 : Tamis ng Unang Halik

There are other love songs from the Filipino's heartstricken near past that are close to my heart. George Canseco's "Sana'y Wala ng Wakas" is one of them. There's also his "Ikaw" (a love song he wrote supposedly for his dying wife), the sad "Hiram," and the haunting "Kahapon Lamang," and then there is Willy Cruz with "Init sa Magdamag" and "Bituing Walang Ningning," both of which have become part of the Sharon Cuneta legend. But Cruz's "Tamis ng Unang Halik" tugs at my heart more than any other.

Tina Paner sang the definitive cover (embedded above) many years ago, and every time I hear the song, I am reminded of my own lovestruck youth and the follies I've blundered into for the sake of "puppy love." If you must know, I had a long-term crush bordering on obsession with a girl classmate named Deidre. This was when we were both in elementary school in the early 1980s. My crush on her was a daydream that lasted from first grade to sixth, and in a sense provided the foundation for the romantic in me. There was a time when I'd fantasize about marrying Deidre. My mother remembers me coming to her one day to ask permission if I could marry the girl of my dreams. "But you're only a boy," she said. I was 9 years old and my heart broke over the impossibility of it all. I spent some of those pre-adolescent nights crying and hoping that this breathtaking girl would somehow know that my heart throbbed only for her. That obsession went as far as me following her to her house some days when we were both in fourth grade, and I'd hide behind a tree and imagine myself being in the same room with her, taking in the very air she breathed. Psycho stalker.

But of course, there are other first loves and puppy loves to come, loves that would just come right from nowhere and strike me dumb and bewildered with its gravity and immediacy.

"Tamis ng Unang Halik," in many ways, speak of that lovely bewilderment. The first time the song hit the local airwaves many years ago, Philippine showbiz was of a different breed, and the Willy Cruz tune was a song my burgis heart would not touch with a ten-feet pole. And yet today, we look at the same songs and marvel at the way they have captured the sweet, courageous sentimentality of our people. They're now considered classics of Filipino pop music, immortal tunes that define us. Today, no other Filipino composer -- save perhaps Ogie Alcasid in his best days and, more or less, Ryan Cayabyab -- seem able to grasp the pining, the anguished hopes, the lovestruck wonderment of those old songs.

Here are the lyrics to the song...

'Sang saglit ng ubod-tagal
Unang halik ng 'yong mahal
Isang saglit lang nang matikman
Isang saglit lang parang walang hanggan
'Yan ang iyong unang halik

Kailan ba 'yon, kay tagal na
Ngunit tamis naroon pa
Tuwing ang mata'y mapipikit
Bakit tamis kusang nagbabalik
Kukupas pa ngunit hindi
Ang alaala mo ng una mong halik


Puso mo'y maghahanap
Muli at muli kang magmamahal
Lahat ay malilimot mo
Ngunit hindi, ngunit hindi ang...

Iyong unang halik
Unang tibok ng pusong sabik
Isang saglit lang nang matikman
Isang saglit lang, parang walang hanggan
Limutin mo man, mahirap gawin
Dahil damdamin mo sumisigaw
Mapipi man ang 'yong bibig
Kay tamis ng una mong halik

I came back to "Tamis" in college when it was chosen as one of the songs for the choir I had joined in. Perhaps it was in learning the musical nuances of that song that I came to realize how magical it really was, how true its eternal insight about the fleeting nature of first kisses and first loves -- things that blur when we get older, but the essences of which stay with us for the rest of our lives, molding us into the hopeful romantics we always aspire to be.

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