Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Patriot named Francis

Last March 6, after coming from Robinson’s Ortigas, I was on my way to the ground elevators of the Medical City Hospital to visit my sister (who was confined on the 11th floor due to dengue fever), when a swarm of reporters blocked my path at the hospital lobby. I asked a security guard standing nearby who told me that Francis Magalona had died at around noon that day.

I was surprised at first because to my recollection, it was only recently that I saw him on television—alive and kicking. I, along with a lot of people apparently-- presumed he was winning his “happy battle” because in all the pictures we saw of him, he was always smiling. There never was a moment that this guy looked glum or in pain. Upon confirmation of this news, I was overwhelmed with sadness, not only in behalf of his beautiful wife and children—but because he was a great loss to the Filipino people as a whole.

I spent my pre-teen and teen years listening to members of my generation mouthing every imaginable version of the lyrics of Mga Kababayan Ko everywhere. When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere--in the streets, at the school grounds, at home. FrancisM inspired and spawned countless young Pinoy hiphoppers from different generations. This was a guy I have never met or seen personally, but in a sense, it was as if I knew him. The rapper, composer, designer, photographer, the artist that he was—but above all—the Patriot.

It is rare to find an artist-patriot in the entertainment industry and FrancisM embodied this enigmatic combination with a compelling sense of integrity, originality and identity. His art was very true to himself and so was his sense of nationalism. Having died at so young an age makes his legacy all the more precious… What a good, great man. What a true Filipino. Disease may have vanquished him but his legacy shall live on for generations to come. His voice and message shall forever ring true. To all Filipinos-- may we never fail the legacy of FrancisM. May we continue it and never let perish…

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