Not the dashing martyr-to-be, but a pensive passerby—that is national hero Jose Rizal’s role in the new music video “Kaninong Anino."
The video begins with Rizal picking up a shiny one-peso coin, noticing his likeness, and looking out into a barren wasteland, a shadow of what Manila used to be. As the song plays on, the hero treks through the ruins of the city he once loved, while grey clouds loom overhead.
"The concept [for the video] came about when I was driving along EDSA and saw all the billboards and dizzying neon signs representing our modern lifestyles and wondered what Rizal might think if he were here today," the animation artist Arnold Arre shared on his blog.
Arre collaborated on the video with writer Gang Badoy and a slew of talented local musicians including composer Francis de Veyra.
The song and its five-minute animated incarnation are a project of alternative education organization RockEd in partnership with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines as part of their celebration of the national hero’s 150th birth anniversary. The song “Kaninong Anino” is part of the RockEd album “Rock Rizal”, which, as the title implies, adds a rock ‘n roll twist to the familiar stories of Rizal’s eventful life.
The lyrics go, "Bagama’t marami na ang nag-alay ng dugo, landas at dunong, ang bayan daw hanggang ngayon ay naliligaw at nalilito," and it begins to rain. Rizal walks on, and we glimpse familiar landmarks that have been broken.
“It’s my way of saying that with all the corruption, our country has deteriorated and because of consumerism, we seem to have forgotten our heroes and what they fought for. However their images are still intact and that’s one thing that should encourage us to go on,” Arre wrote.
As the video continues, Rizal flips the peso coin, a look of resignation on his face. The chorus asks, "Ang kalaban lang ba natin ay anino? Kaninong anino?"
Then the song heightens to crescendo, sunlight breaks through the clouds, and suddenly Rizal's face comes alive with awe at the coming of the light. The voices rise as they sing, "Sa ilaw lang natatalo ang anino…humarap sa ilaw, Pilipino!"
By situating Rizal in a broken landscape of what was once his patria adorada, Arre divorced the hero from the image of him we're used to so that he is no longer the well-traveled intellectual, the noble doctor, the artist, the sophisticate, or the ladies' man but a simple Filipino bearing witness to the destruction of his country, no different from the people who walk down the congested streets every day.
It’s as if “Kaninong Anino” is challenging us to create a Philippines that will make our hero proud, and saying that there is a bit of Jose Rizal in all of us, that we can jump across the broken bridge toward the light, just as he did. –KG/HS, GMA News