I know this is kind of late but I can't help but ask. Why do Filipino singers have the habit of changing the musical arrangement of the Philippine National Anthem especially when they're singing in a boxing arena? Is there really something wrong with our National Anthem that our great performers can't help but tweak it?
Martin Nievera, the Philippine's concert king, went under fire after tweaking parts of the Lupang Hinirang during the Pacquio-Hatton bout in Las Vegas. He's now facing possible charges for violating R.A. 8491 which prohibits anyone from singing the national anthem in a different rhythm and melody. The law specifies that Lupang Hinirang "shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe."
No, Martin was not the first one who has done this. In fact, there've been many others way before him who have slaughtered, even decapitated Lupang Hinirang in more ways than one. Remember when singer Christian Bautista skipped a few good lines of the national anthem? It wasn't intentional though. He forgot the lyrics! Sigh.
Honestly I wasn't THAT disappointed nor infuriated by Martin's rendition of the national anthem because I've seen worse by Geneva Cruz, Charize Pempengco, Christian Bautista and many more. They all have good vocal prowess, yes, but Lupang Hinirang is not about that. It's not like any song that an artist could just tweak and make it his own. Lupang Hinirang is not to be altered. That's what the law says. Why alter the tempo and the melody? Doesn't it sound good in its original arrangement? The late great composer Julian Felipe would be flipping in his grave.
Martin did great in singing the middle part in a marching tempo but the beginning and end parts were his own and that caused the outrage.
Glad I found this video by the Himig Singers. This is how Lupang Hinirang should be sung. Isn't this what they're teaching us in school? Compare the two videos.