(Since I cannot find this online I decided to make it available here. I cannot ascertain yet if the Kidapawan hymn – this song I’ve known since I was in elementary – predated Kidapawan’s cityhood, or like the seal it was commissioned in 1998. The song was composed, and its lyrics written, by Mary Jane Dizon, with Wilson Dizon providing the arrangement.)
Ating Lungsod na pinagpala,
Kidapawan naming mutya,
Sa bawat hagupit ng pagsubok
Ikaw at di nalulugmok
Natatangi ang iyong kasaysayan,
Pati ang iyong mamamayan,
Taglay mo ang yaman ng kalikasan,
mahal naming Kidapawan.
Sama-sama kaming nagpupugay.
Maging buhay man ay iaalay,
Sa ‘yo lungsod naming minamahal,
Kidapawan, o! Kidapawan!
Ika’y sagisag ng pag-asa
Kristyano’t muslim sama-sama,
Mga katutubo ay nakikiisa
sa layuning ika’y mapaganda.
Simbahan, gobyerno, kasama
Mga tao’y nagkakaisa
Kidapawan, tunay kang pinagpala
translated by Karlo Antonio Galay David
Our blessed city,
Kidapawan our treasure,
As each challenge hits you
You do not crumble
How unique is your history
and your people,
You possess the abundance of nature
our beloved Kidapawan
Together we celebrate you.
Even offering our lives for you,
For you, our beloved city
Kidapawan, oh Kidapawan!
You are a sign of hope
of Christians and Muslims together,
The tribes are one with us
in the desire to make you glorious.
The church, the government together
The people are all united
Kidapawan, how blessed you are.
This 12 February, my hometown of Kidapawan will celebrate its 19th anniversary as a city. Festivities begin on the eighth, and many events are being organized to celebrate the occasion.
The city government has been calling this day ‘Foundation Anniversary,’ with posters and tarpaulins labeling it so.
Make no mistake, the process of cityhood that built up to the 12 February 1998 Executive Order was a very colourful one, several decades in the making.
But to call this day the Foundation Day of Kidapawan would be being grossly inaccurate. Kidapawanons must not make the mistake of thinking their hometown has only existed for 19 years.
Because Kidapawan’s real Foundation Day was on 18 August 1947.
On this date the district of Kidapawan, then part of Pikit, was declared a separate municipality by President Manuel Roxas. It is this date when Kidapawan as a separate entity starting existing – before this date there was no Kidapawan as we know it.
And that would make the city 70 years old this year!
What I think this misuse of term reveals is Kidapawan’s tendency to neglect its past – there is an underlying tension in my hometown between the desire to be a modern, progressive city, and staying true to its roots as a small old town. As early as the moment Kidapawan was declared a city in 1998, there was local opposition. Not everybody wanted Kidapawan to be a city.
Unbridled progress, however, is winning and at the expense of Kidapawan’s soul. This could not be demonstrated better than with the Municipio.
A building dating back to the days of Alfonso Angeles Sr., the Municipal Hall was as old as Kidapawan. In the mid-2000s, it was short of demolished, to be replaced by a pastel yellow faux-Neoclassical dome.
The old Municipio had been the hall not only of local governance but of Kidapawan’s collective memory as well. It was not a pretty building, but it was our building.
The subsequent local governments’ decision to tear it down and replace it with something completely meaningless to the Kidapawanon was a callous thing to do. What we now have is an empty and fake facade – literally, the dome isn’t even a complete dome, if one looked at the city hall from the Pilot Elementary School, the dome is only half a dome, a facade that almost seems to be made of cardboard.
There are many other instances that show how little Kidapawan and its authorities care for its history. My own family has seen this – my great grandfather Eugenio Galay Sr. planted a Mango tree in Crossing Lanao, a tree which has stood there for much of Kidapawan’s existence. But because the city is becoming more urbanized – and as a consequence the national highway needed to be further widened – the DPWH had the tree cut.
If Kidapawan is to progress it cannot do so with a fake and shallow identity installed after felling its more established and more authentic roots. Progress need not be at the expense of heritage and historical identity. As a matter of fact progress without heritage is shallow, ultimately you will be building a generic modern city, with nothing more than artefacts of kitschy cultural imitation to showcase as your identity.
Kidapawan is older than 19 years. And if we can forget entire decades of our town’s history, how can we expect future generations to remember the history we are now making?