Tia Dely Magpayoâs 100th birthday & La Bella Filipina
Ignacio Massaguer

Tia Dely Magpayo’s 100th birthday & La Bella Filipina

REMEMBER WHEN? - Danny Dolor (The Philippine Star) - October 25, 2020 - 12:00am

Come Oct. 29, Tia Dely Magpayo, the First Lady of Radio, is celebrating her 100th birthday.

For seven decades, Tia Dely was a household word at a time when radio was the only means of entertainment back then. Tia Dely, in her popular program, Kasaysayan ng mga Liham sa inyong Tia Dely, dispensed pieces of advice to all and sundry with her inimitable wit and homespun wisdom.

Throughout her career, Tia Dely pushed for educating people on the correct and proper usage of the Filipino language. She also worked for the preservation of traditional Filipino values of respect, honor and love.

Besides being a radio personality, Tia Dely co-hosted with Pepe Pimentel a TV program, Hamon sa Kampyon, a variety musical contest that was hugely popular in the ‘60s till the ‘70s.

For 54 years, the theme song of her radio program Ito ang Inyong Tia Dely was La Bella Filipina, composed by Ignacio Massaguer.

Who is the man behind La Bella Filipina?

Massaguer’s great grandchildren provided his biography with ‘the hope our ancestor will continue living in every musician who interprets his works.’

Tia Dely Magpayo

His biography:

‘Ignacio Massaguer Campeny is a pianist and composer. He was born in Igualada, Spain, a city close to Barcelona. During his youth, he emigrated in Manila, Philippines with his brother, who was also a musician. There, he opened a music shop with a French associate. This shop was actually located in a building on Escolta Street. It belonged to Massaguer’s distant relative, Luis Perez de Samanillo. He started getting famous for his piano sheets and compositions. Besides his musical activities, he is in charge of transporting fine wood by sea for piano construction between the Philippines and Spain. Ignacio Massaguer is also a music teacher at the Santa Isabel College in Manila.

‘In Manila, Massaguer married a half-blood Filipina woman called Dolores Sainz Ramirez. We suppose that he could have written La Bella Filipina for her, his most famous work. They had several children together, but some of them died as they were still infants. Two girls survived, Maria and Anita. He dedicated his piano waltz Violeta to them. Even though it is joyful and easy to learn and play, it didn’t get very popular. On December 12, 1878, the first performance of operetta Viaje Redondo took place in Manila Circus Theater. This Spanish style operetta’s music was written by Ignacio Massaguer himself, and the words were from Regino Escalera and Federico Casademunt.

‘In 1898, Spain lost its colony in the Philippines. Therefore, many Spanish immigrants started going back to their homeland. The Massaguer family decided to go back to Spain as well, and left the music shop to their French associate. However, Ignacio Massaguer kept on managing fine wood transporting. During one of his travels in 1906, he got sick and died. Since the boat he was on was closer to the Philippines than Spain, he was buried in Manila, in a Capuchin convent.’ — RKC

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