‘Batang Colon’ track released to raise awareness on street kids
Karla Rule (The Freeman) - March 24, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The children were asked: What would hero Leon Kilat do if he saw the street children today? “He would help us!” says one of the kids from the crowd.

If you haven’t at least cruised down the historical Colon Street of Cebu City, then you haven’t truly been in Cebu. An unmistakable stretch along downtown Cebu, the ancient street is home to bustling shops and businesses, the pavement used to the trudging of busy feet.

Yet despite the heritage and the personality of Colon that has endured throughout the years, there is still a part of it that blends in so well with the rest of the picture – street kids.

Instead of hiding them and pretending these kids don’t exist, Palm Grass Hotel sets their eyes on the children of Colon Street. Just this month, the establishment, known as the only heritage hotel in the city, released a track called “Batang Colon,” shedding light on the plight of street children. Sitting along Junquera Street of downtown Cebu, Palm Grass Hotel is all too familiar with the sight of kids who’ve made a home of the city’s streets.

Lyrics by A. Guivelondo, “Batang Colon” paints a picture of the struggles these homeless children face each day, all of them rooted in poverty. It is interpreted by DJ Mae Dente and rapper Asser (who wrote his own verses for the song). The two interpreted “Hugot pas Huot” which won the Grand Prize for the Huni Sa Kasingkasing category of the 39th Cebu Pop Music Festival. Music composed and arranged by Jeff Escarda, with recording and mixing by Kalye Musika, “Batang Colon” also launched its music video online.

Palm Grass Hotel Marketing and Events Coordinator Jane Claire Jamili said that this all part of their advocacy and outreach initiative. To further their concern about the children of Colon, they reached out to the children of Balay Samaritano sa Sugbo, a refuge for abandoned, neglected, abused and exploited children and youth.

Dubbed as “Pakig-ambit sa mga Batang Colon,” the event, held on March 15, saw the music video launch for “Batang Colon,” a talk about the current situation of street children in Cebu, a play about the heroes of Cebu and an art workshop. Later in the evening, a repeat performance was held in Hardin Dagami inside Palm Grass Hotel.

“As part of our heritage campaign, we have released music videos that get in touch with our history. ‘Batang Colon’ is meant to raise awareness on the street kids. Its main theme centers on what would Leon Kilat do if he ever saw the homeless children all over Colon. As the song goes, we have a different enemy now…” Jamili quipped, adding that they made sure to leave the comforts of Palm Grass Hotel to really be with the children of Colon.

Throughout the afternoon, the children learned about Lieutenant-General Pantaleon “Leon Kilat” Villegas, who now has a street named in honor of his heroism as a revolutionary leader in Cebu during the Philippine Revolution against Spain. His imagery is referenced in Palm Grass’ initiative, continuously prodding our minds about what our heroes would think of our present situation, even after all of their sacrifices and even death.

But as days progress, the question changes. Instead of wondering about what Leon Kilat would do, it becomes what can we, as a community, do for the children of Colon?

“I’m happy that we did the community extension. It’s fulfilling. I feel happy listening to the children talk about how Leon Kilat is not only a street,” Jamili said.

This is not the first nor will be Palm Grass Hotel’s last push for heritage and community consciousness. A project of the Guivelondo-Blanco

family, the hotel in itself is a tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of all Cebuano ancestors “who dared to dream, and dared to fight for a free Cebu and free Philippines” and is inspired by the heroes who have had a hand in the life we enjoy today.

Palm Grass incorporates the country’s rich history into both the big and small things about their hotel, which makes it more than a hotel.  It embraces the legacy of Don Isidro Guivelondo, said to have hosted a significant meeting on April 2, 1898 where Katipunan leaders from all over the Cebu province were gathered. It is believed that Leon Kilat himself and other Katipuneros rested, spent the night and had breakfast in the house.

As it celebrates their second anniversary on April 3rd, Palm Grass has also aligned their celebrations with the Battle of Tres de Abril with a talk by National Artist for Literature Dr. Resil Mojares about the “Cebu Freedom Fighters.”

The hotel will also be releasing a 1989 Cebu Katipunan song which will be interpreted and arranged by the band Aggressive Audio. The song is part of the “Abtik pas Kilat” album which will include tracks like “Gugmang Kilat,” which is about a fictional love story about Leon Kilat, “Gugmang Gihandom” inspired by the KKK Cebu leaders and couple C. Padilla and Juliana Revilles, and “Alerta Katipunan.”

“Batang Colon” will also be part of the album alongside other tracks like “Kinasing,” “Kuyogi Ko,” “Panglangyaw” and “Hugot Pas Huot.”



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