Monday, December 15, 2008


Lea Salonga's version of Paraiso, Ryan Cayabyab's favorite rendition of his original composition which was originally performed by a group in the Philippines called Smokey Mountain.

PARAISO (Lyrics)

Return to a land called Paraiso,
a place where a dying river ends.
No birds there fly over Paraiso,
no space allows them to endure.
The smoke that screens the air,
the grass that's never there.

And if I could see a single bird, what a joy.
I try to write some words and create
a simple song to be heard
by the rest of the world.

I live in this land called Paraiso,
in a house made of cardboard floors and walls.
I learned to be free in Paraiso,
free to claim anything I see.
Matching rags for my clothes,
plastic bags for the cold.

And if empty cans were all I have, what a joy.
I never fight to take someone
else's coins and live with fear
like the rest of the boys.

Paraiso, help me make a stand.
Paraiso, take me by the hand
Paraiso, make the world understand
that if I could see a single bird, what a joy.
This tired and hungry land could expect
some truth and hope and respect
from the rest of the world


Anonymous said...

That home sounds awful! How can he praise such a land? If it is an image of the land of his thought is sounds dreadful. :-)

Maybe I will try to write a poem about my own land. I am not very successful materially speaking but the land of my soul is surely fertile. I want to praise her, my mother, not condemn her.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

It's a hauntingly beautiful song sang and popularized by Smokey Mountain of the Geneva Cruz fame. Now, it's given a new version by Lea Salonga. Beautiful music, beautiful song sang by an equally beautiful Lea Salonga. Thanks for the post. God bless you always.

Anonymous said...

That land is Hell, not a paradise. It deserves no "respect". The people living there should all have been moved out and given aid.

penlighted said...

Mr. C, as he is fondly called volunteers some facts about the song: “Paraiso was the very first song I composed for the group Smokey Mountain. This is the very theme song of that group – named after what used to be a garbage dump in Tondo,” The lyrics speak of a dark and dreary environment where scavengers are free to make what they get from the garbage pile. But that does not make them any less free to imagine, any less free to hope, and any less free to dream. Mr C adds: “It is an inspirational song that I had dedicated not only to marginalized folks but especially to young people who have hopes and dreams of a better future. Now it will be doubly memorable because now I can say that I have contributed something to the GK project, a movement that has made Filipinos proud and the whole world take notice. “