The 5 Most Famous Filipino Folk Songs (with Tagalog Lyrics) (2023)

Folk songs are reflections of a community’s identity and culture. It connects generations as these are passed on from one to the next. As the name suggests, folk songs are the music of the people. The lyrics and rhythms of these songs mirror the life and culture of its people.

If you were to ask, we’d say that folk songs are one the most important manifestations of a culture’s customs and way of life. For one, it reminds us of the past and keeps it alive. The experiences of those who came before us are recorded in folk songs. In the Philippines, folk songs are the Filipino grandparents’ ways of creatively sharing both of their regular or remarkable experiences when they are gathered around for a get-together paired with bonfires and starry nights. Also, as mentioned above, folk songs are a mirror of culture and tradition. They narrate all of the stories of joys and sorrows, of wins and losses, and of lessons learned of a people in the simplest and the most rhythmic way possible.

The Philippines has a rich conservation of folk music. The Filipinos aremusic lovers. Music is a way for them to express their feelings and aspirations in life. Filipino folks clearly and lucidly express their experiences and dreams through these songs.

Among the most popular traditional folk songs are Bahay Kubo, Magtanim ay Di Biro, Paru-Parong Bukid, Leron-Leron Sinta, Sitsiritsi Alibangbang, and many others. In this article we'll share the complete lyrics of these famous Filipino folk songs, their English language translations, and a dash of discussions and interpretations.

These songs show us how Filipinos look at life in many ways and put most of them in songs. They sing in the fields, in the orchards, or in boats or ships at sea. No matter how hard they work, they always manage to inject humor here and there in their daily activities and with catchy tunes are able to turn the tedious chores into enjoyable ones.

Bahay Kubo

Bahay Kubo is a Tagalog-language folk song from the lowlands ofLuzon, Philippines [1]. In 1924, it was included in a collection of Filipino folk songs compiled by Emilia S. Cavan.

The song is about a bahay kubo (or 'Cube House' in English), a house made of bamboo with a roof of nipa leaves, surrounded by different kind of vegetables, and is usually sang by Filipino school children and as familiar as the A-B-Cs and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star from the west.

Bahay Kubo Lyrics

Bahay kubo, kahit munti,

ang halaman duon ay sari-sari.

Singkamas at talong,

Sigarilyas at mani.

Sitaw, bataw, patani.

Kundol, patola, upo't kalabasa.

At saka meron pa,

Labanos, mustasa.

Sibuyas, kamatis,

Bawang at luya.

Sa paligid-ligid ay puno ng linga.

Bahay Kubo English language translation

Nipa Hut, though very modest

Many plants over there

Jicama and eggplant, winged beans and peanuts,

long beans, lablab, lima beans

Winter melon, sponge gourd, bottle gourds and squash

and also radishes, mustard,

onions, tomatoes, garlic and ginger

and all around the hut are filled with sesame!

Magtanim Ay Di Biro

Magtanim ay Di Biro (translation: Planting Rice is Not a Joke) is a popular Tagalog folk song [2]. This classic song was composed by Felipe De Leon which shares the difficulties of the life of a farmer, how one has to bend over the entire day, with no time to sit and no time to stand. From there, it goes on to summon the listener to join in, to keep the industrious spirit alive, to continue the hard work in the hopes of securing a brighter future. Wonderful how the song reflects the positive, hopeful mentality of the Filipino.

Magtanim ay Di Biro Lyrics

Magtanim ay di biro



Di naman makatayo

Di naman makaupo

Bisig ko’y


Baywang ko’y


Binti ko'y namimintig

Sa pagkababad sa tubig.


Ng inianak sa hirap,

Ang bisig kung di iunat,

Di kumita ng pilak.

Sa umagang pagkagising

Lahat ay iisipin

Kung saan may patanim

May masarap na pagkain.

Halina, halina, mga kaliyag,

Tayo'y magsipag-unat-unat.

Magpanibago tayo ng lakas

Para sa araw ng bukas

(Braso ko'y namamanhid

Baywang ko'y nangangawit.

Binti ko'y namimintig

Sa pagkababad sa tubig.)

Magtanim ay Di Biro English language translation

Planting rice is not a joke

The whole day you’re bent like an ox.

You cannot stand more than one bit;

till you’re done you cannot sit.

Oh, my arms, the feeling’s gone;

and my waist is tired and sore.

My legs feel a thousand pricks,

soaked in water, six to six.

What a cruel destiny

to be born in poverty

If I don’t work with my two arms,

I won’t earn a single dime.

Mornings when I wake and rise;

I tell myself to think, be wise

and pray to find some land to till,

so I can have a tasty meal.

Come, dear fellow stewards of the earth,

stretching muscles is good for the health.

Let us pause so we can catch our breath,

and then tomorrow, back to work!

(Oh, my arms, the feeling’s gone;

and my waist is tired and sore.

My legs feel a thousand pricks,

soaked in water, six to six)

Paru-parong Bukid

Paru-parong Bukid, orThe Field Butterfly, is a humorous song about the likeness of a field butterfly to a 1900 Filipino lady dressed in her glamorous formal dress with tall butterfly sleeves [3]. She struts swaying her hips down the aisle of thechurchas everyone looks on. The Filipino choral arrangements that George Hernandez has written are some of the most popular in the Pavane catalog.

Paru-parong Bukid Lyrics

Paruparong bukid na lilipad-lipad

Sa gitna ng daan papagapagaspas

Isang bara ang tapis

Isang dangkal ang manggas

Ang sayang de kola

Isang piyesa ang sayad

May payneta pa siya — uy!

May suklay pa man din — uy!

Nagwas de-ohetes ang palalabasin

Haharap sa altar at mananalamin

At saka lalakad nang pakendeng-kendeng.

Paru-parong Bukid English language translation

I just saw a butterfly,

flitting and floating by;

waiting by the main trail,

fluttering in the air.

Sari wrapped around her,

sleeves as wide as my palm,

Skirt’s a trifle oversized,

ends dragging on the ground.

Her hair held with a pin


Her hand twirling a comb


Decorated half-slip,

drawing others to peep.

Then she faces the stage,

ogling her own image,

She would come and tease us,

hips swaying like a duck.

Leron, Leron Sinta

Leron, Leron Sinta, or My Dear, Little Leron, is traditionally a work song, representing those who work in the fields harvesting fruits, though the origin is unclear due to the lack of scholarly literature that examines Philippine folk music [4]. Because of its catchy tune, it is often presented as a children's song, though some parts of the text may have been meant for a more mature audience. Some sources also refer to it as a courtship song.

Leron, Leron Sinta Lyrics

Leron, Leron, sinta

Buko ng papaya

Dala dala'y buslo

Sisidlan ng bunga

Pagdating sa dulo'y

Nabali ang sanga,

Kapos kapalaran

Humanap ng iba.

Halika na Neneng, tayo’y manampalok

Dalhin mo ang buslo, sisidlan ng hinog

Pagdating sa dulo’y uunda-undayog

Kumapit ka Neneng, baka ka mahulog.

Halika na Neneng at tayo’y magsimba

At iyong isuot ang baro mo’t saya

Ang baro mo’t sayang pagkaganda-ganda

Kay ganda ng kulay — berde, puti, pula.

Ako’y ibigin mo, lalaking matapang

Ang sundang ko’y pito, ang baril ko’y siyam.

Ang lalakarin ko’y parte ng dinulang.

Isang pinggang pansit, ang aking kalaban!

Leron, Leron Sinta English language translation

Leron, leron my love,

papaya seeds above.

He took a bamboo box

to keep the fruits he’d get.

Then as he neared the top,

the entire branch broke up.

“It’s not my lucky day;

I’ll find another way!”

Come on now Neneng,

Let's pick tamarind, oh!

Carry your basket

To hold the ripe fruit,

Upon reaching the top, oh!

The branch sways

You hold on Neneng,

Lest you fall off.

I offer you my love,

my courage suits you fine.

I’ve got me seven knives,

I’m keeping nine more guns.

A journey, I will make

to distant parts beyond.

A plate of noodles is

the foe I will engage!

Sitsiritsit Alibangbang

Sitsiritsit has a cheerful tune, but when you dig into the lyrics, it describes a flirtatious woman threatening the store owner that ants are going to get him if he is not going to extend credit [5]. When you go further, the third and fourth verses tell us that the speaker has a child and is willing to exchange the child with a doll and a fishy paste. It is said to have originated during the country's Spanish colonization, as its lyrics suggest the ordinary life during that time.

Sitsiritsit Alibangbang Lyrics

Sitsiritsit, alibangbang

Salaginto at salagubang.

Ang babae sa lansangan, Kung gumiri’y parang tandang.

Santo Niño sa Pandakan " Puto seko sa tindahan.

Kung ayaw mong magpautang, Uubusin ka ng langgam.

Mama, mama, namamangka, Pasakayin yaring bata.

Pagdating sa Maynila, Ipagpalit ng manika.

Ale, ale namamayong " Pasukubin yaring sanggol.

Pagdating sa Malabon, Ipagpalit ng bagoong.

Sitsiritsit, alibangbang, Salaginto at salagubang. Ang babae sa lansangan,' Kung gumiri’y parang tandang.

Sitsiritsit Alibangbang English language translation

Hey, hey, butterfly

beetle me, oh, beetle my.

Watch that girl on the block;

she poses like a fighting cock.

Blessed child of Pandacan,

Rice biscuits on a stall.

Why won’t you give me a loan?

The pesky ants will get you soon.

Sir, sir, on the boat,

take this child and go off.

In Manila, at the mall,

trade him for a nicer doll.

Miss, miss, with parasol,

keep this baby in the shade.

When you get to Malabon,

trade him for some fishy paste

(Hey, hey, butterfly

beetle me, oh, beetle my.

Watch that girl on the block;

she poses like a fighting cock.)

Buying Guide

Listen to these songs on theJBLFlip 5 Eco edition. Take these songs on the go with theHidizsAP80 Portable music player.

Or if you want to learn how to play them, invest in the instrument of your choice fromGuitar Center. If you’re more of a singer, check out the Singstation karaoke machine fromHSN.

Want to see the places these songs originated? Book your trip to the Philippines throughTravelocity.


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