Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Top 100 Cebuano Personalities: Ben Zubiri

The Freeman
Top 100 Cebuano Personalities: Ben Zubiri
Ben Zubiri

Matud nila ako dili angay

Nga magmanggad sa imong gugma,

Matud nila ikaw dili malipay

Kay wa akoy bahandi nga kanimo igasa;

Gugmang putli mao day pasalig,

Maoy bahanding labaw sa bulawan…

CEBU, Philippines — A melancholic melody that speaks of romantic idealism – that promise and offering of a love more precious than gold – “Matud Nila” has been christened as an immortal Cebuano song and labeled by some as a cultural anthem of Cebuanos.

Penning the lyrics and music of this classic in 1941 was Wenceslao “Ben” Zubiri, also known as Iyo Karpo, a Cebuano composer, actor and media personality.

Born in 1911 in Cebu, Zubiri studied at the San Nicolas Elementary School where early on, he manifested a talent for singing and music. He joined singing contests and loved the stage so much that he abandoned the idea of going to college.

Zubiri, who had a role in the first Cebuano film ever released, “Bertoldo-Balodoy,” also composed other classics like “Ikaduhang Bathala,” “Katulog Na Inday,” “Nganong Mipakita Ka,” “Tuhoi,” “Mitu-o Ako,” “Ang Gugmang Gibati Ko” and “Pasayawa ko Day.”

He married Luz Butalid, a Boholana he met while in Bohol as a guerilla fighter during the World War II. After the war, he appeared in more films and was also amassing a huge following as a radio comedian for KZRC and for offering advice on the program “Purico Amateur Hour.”

Zubiri passed away in 1969. A street in Barangay Labangon, Cebu City is named B. Zubiri St. in his honor.

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