Kasadya Ning Taknaa, A Translation of the Bisaya Carol to English

(“Kasadya Ning Taknaa” is a Bisaya carol with lyrics by Mariano Vestil. The immortal melody, composed by Vicente Rubi in 1933 for a drama festival in Cebu called Pili Kanipa-an, was later given Tagalog lyrics by National Artist for Music Levi Celerio, giving it the title “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit.” The usurpation of credit from the original Cebuano composers by a Tagalog remains controversial and continues to spark anti-regionalism and Manila Imperialism accusations.
I translated the lyrics on the request of literary mentor Rowena Torrevillas. Mom Weena wanted to teach her grandson Mikey to sing a Bisaya song. Seeing that the melody is so distinct it could be made international, I aimed the translation, while true to the thought, to also have the same meter as the original that it may be sang with the melody. Here’s to hoping it joins the rostrum of the world’s carols!!)

Kasadya Ning Taknaa

Kasadya ning taknaa
Dapit sa kahimayaan
Mao’y atong makita
Ang panagway nga masanglagon
Bulahan ug bulahan
Ang tagbalay nga giawitan
Awit nga halangdonon ug sa tanang Pasko
Magmalipayon!

(repeat)

Chorus

Bag-ong tuig
Bag-ong kinabuhi
Duyog sa atong mga pagbati
Atong awiton, ug atong laylayon
Aron magmalipayon!

Oh Happy is This Hour

Oh happy is this hour!
This place nearest to the Holy!
Where all that we can witness
are faces brightened up and jolly
Blessed indeed how blessed
Are the houses serenaded
with songs of noble sound and word, and every Christmas day
will be full of bliss!

(repeat)

 Chorus

With the New Year
is new life to live!
Together with all our wishes and hopes
Come let us sing them, oh come let us hum them
To fill our hearts with bliss!

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2 Comments on “Kasadya Ning Taknaa, A Translation of the Bisaya Carol to English”

  1. Rowena Torrevillas says:

    Wow, fantastic, magically wrought like 1001 Arabian Nights… by a wordsmith genie named Karlo! (Reincrnation of your namesake, the Psalmist?) Mikey and I cannot thank you enough. And Mr.Vestilmust must be beaming from the afterlife. And the dispatch – plus versification – with which you accomplished this…you made it look easy, “art concealed.” Outstanding job, Karlo. Standing ovation! Kasadya indeed.

    • Lefthandedsnake says:

      I’m so glad you liked it mom! It was really fun making this translation. The constant thought of “you better make it easy enough for a boy to sing!” made it less serious and therefore easier to do! I hope Mikey likes it!


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