StreeXB Global Talent SearchKnown for his song ‘Bayan Ko’ which became the anthem of the People Power Revolution during the Marcos regime

His song ‘Anak,’ which is Filipino for child or more accurately my son or my daughter, is the best selling Philippine music record of all time.

It became an international hit as well.

He is able to claim fame as one of the best musician-songwriters of the Philippines.

At 18 years of age, Aguilar parted ways with his family and quit school. Five years later he realized his mistake and regretted what he had done. He then composed the legendary song ‘Anak.’ It blew up internationally. The song generated a hundred cover versions, released in 56 countries and in 27 different foreign languages, and has sold 30 million copies.

Read through the rest of the article to know more about Aguilar.


No other song composed by a Filipino has risen to such heights of global appreciation as Freddie Aguilar’s Anak. Now that’s a fact. And an event in Singapore over a week ago proved it once again.

The singer-composer was invited to deliver a talk billed as “Anak: The Untold Story.” Organized by the Wee Kim Centre under its indefatigable director, Dr. Kirpal Singh, who is no stranger to Filipino poets, writers, and academics, the talk was conducted at the Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium of Singapore Management University (SMU). It was the latest edition of a colloquium series that has been going on for 14 years.

Over a month ago, in consultation with Dr. Joe Peters, the first Singaporean to obtain a masters in Music from UP Diliman, Dr. Singh came to Manila to invite Freddie Aguilar to speak in Singapore. Dr. Peters has known the Filipino icon personally since performing in the club Bodega way back in 1978. He still teaches music at the National University of Singapore, and still serves as the founding musical director of the NUS Tremolo Rondalla.

Freddie flew in with his son Jeriko just in time to practice briefly with the rondalla for the climactic number of his presentation that Saturday evening. The moment he stepped into the theater, the full-house audience broke into warm applause. And Freddie kept them mesmerized for over an hour as he stood onstage and told the story of Anak.

It was a wonderful recounting, strengthened by a supreme entertainer’s awareness of the value of dramatic structure as he adroitly unfolded all the twists and turns that led from poignance to sweet success, attended by folksy humor and punctuated by comic punchlines.



He began his story with his family background, how his grandfather had served as a mayor in Isabela, and his father as a police chief. That was at a time, he pointed out wryly, when Filipino politicans were not yet as corrupt. Accused by some rivals of negligence of duty, Freddie’s father simply resigned, out of delicadeza. He felt that the accusation was enough to stain his honor.

His father eventually suffered poor health, so that they had to move to Manila. Freddie narrated how he felt at the time that his father didn’t love him anymore, since from a large house in the province, they had to make do with a small one in Sta. Mesa. They didn’t even celebrate birthdays anymore.

His father remained strict, however, and kept nagging him to pore over his schoolbooks. One time he was delighted to find a newly bought guitar in their house. But as soon as he started playing it, he was told off by his dad. It was for an older sister who had a music project in school.

But he managed to steal hours with that guitar, especially when his sister was done with it. He learned to play by using a songbook, familiarizing himself with the tunes of his idol, Fred Panopio of Pitong Gatang fame. He also taught himself the chords for House of the Rising Sun.

One time, three girls came over to invite him to play at a party, but his dad wouldn’t allow him, telling him in Iloko, or the Ilocano language, that he’d only suffer consequences if he went out with the girls. Freddie also replied in Iloko, that he was defying his father this time. He left the house penniless. But his mother called out from a window and tossed him a P10 bill. He had a good time at the party, but came home ready for his dad’s belt. “It wasn’t for my pants,” he quipped, “but for my behind.”

This was the kind of self-deprecating humor that had the mostly Singaporean audience lapping up the verbal memoir.


StreeXB extends special thanks to philstar for this article that you can read here.

Enter the StreeXB’s Global Music Contest