Of Eartha Kitt, Typhoon Haiyan, and Waray Grit

A Waray coconut vendor at Tacloban Public Market, 2010.

A Waray coconut vendor at Tacloban Public Market, 2010.

A month after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged my home town, stories of death, destruction, and survival linger. However, listening to the song “Waray Waray” never fails to snap me back into a positive mode. The popular version is in Tagalog and has been sung by artists of global fame, like the late  Eartha Kitt and Lea Salonga. It extols the grit of the Warays, especially its women.

A wounded Typhoon Haiyan survivor seeks help from Catherine, a Waray midwife.

A wounded Typhoon Haiyan survivor seeks help from Catherine, a Waray midwife.

Eartha Kitt had a saltier translation. In her spiels while performing at Cafe Carlyle she said,  “I suppose you wonder what language this is? It’s the language of the Philippine Islands called Tagalog. And it says, the women of Waray Waray have muscles of steel, and we can fight any battle, but our kisses are as sweet as wine.”

The original version was in Waray language (See rough translation into English below.)It’s poignant in its

Dried Fish Vendor - Tacloban Public Market, 2010

Dried Fish Vendor – Tacloban Public Market, 2010

narrative of abundance, especially these days. It also speaks of the people’s resilience, something that photojournalist David Guttenfeleder of the Associated Press and National Geographic captured in his photographs and shared through his Instagram. With this wealth in spirit, there’s no doubt that the Leyte and Samar region that Haiyan ravaged will recover.

“Waray  Waray “

(Original Version in Lineyte-Samarnon)

1. Waray-Waray, pirme may upay
Mayda lubi, mayda pa humay
Iton dagat damo it isda
Ha bungto han mga Waray.
2. Waray-Waray pirme malipay
Di makuri igkasarangkay
Nag-iinom kon nagkikita
Bas’ kamingaw mawara!

3. Lugar han mga Waray-Waray
Kadto-a naton, pasyadaha
Diri birilngon an kalipay
Labi na gud kon may fiesta.

4. Mga tawo nga Waray-Waray
Basta magkita, mayda upay
Diri kabos hit pakig-angay
Sayod kamo basta Waray.
5. Waray-Waray! Waray-Waray !

     Kabuhi maupay
Waray-Waray! Damo iton lubi pati humay)
Waray-Waray! It mga dagat riko hin isda)
Ha bungto han mga Waray!

6. Waray-Waray! Waray-Waray pirme la malipay
Waray-Waray! Diri makuri igkasarangkay
Waray-Waray! Nag-iirignom kon nagkikita
Bas’ kamingaw mawara!

Waray  Waray

(Translation)

1. Waray Waray, feast is constant

     With coconut and rice

     Its seas teem with fish

     In Waray-Waray land.

2. Waray-Waray, fun loving,

     Friendly,

     They drink when they gather

     Vanishing loneliness.

 

3. To  Waray Waray land

    Let’s go visit

   It’s fun-filled

    Especially during fiestas.

 

4. The Waray-Waray people

    They have a feast when they gather

    Their hospitality never falls short

     You’re certain of this with the Warays.

 

5. Waray-Waray! Waray-Waray

     Life is good

     Waray-Waray! Coconuts and rice abound

     Waray-Waray! Its seas teem with fish

     In  Waray land.

 

6. Waray-Waray! Waray-Waray !Fun-loving

    Waray-Waray! Waray-Waray! Friendly

   Waray-Waray! Waray-Waray !

    They drink when they gather

     Vanishing loneliness.

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