Literary Yard

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My favorite hymn originated in the Philippines

By: Mayumi Yamamoto

The Anglican church with Japanese wooden architecture, 1930, Kyoto
 

“My favorite hymn.”
This is the title I was given to write something about
for a quarterly magazine
of our small Anglican church.
But it felt very difficult to choose just one.

I spent my high school days
singing Christian hymns
every morning and evening.
Twice a day at school.
It was a duty for all students and teachers there.

Unconsciously,
it had a profound effect on me:
hymns permeated my body,
circulated through my blood,
and were ingrained in my life.

After leaving high school,
my life’s journey started a new phase, and this time
along with people of different religions:
Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, and
Buddhists of various sects, i.e.,
Tibetans, and
Newars, who are the indigenous people of Kathmandu Valley.

They were/are all my friends.

Therefore,
religion became for me something that
one carries all her life.
I observed my friends, and
came to know what they are.
That is religion for me.
Not doctrine,
nor concept,
but a human.

I selected the hymn originated in the Philippines: No.258.
This might have been included in our hymnal later on because
I don’t remember us singing this during my high school days.

This hymn seems a lullaby in a locality of the Philippines in its local language,
Bicolano.
But for me, the melody sounds very vigorous and rhythmical as if
they enjoy themselves by jumping and skipping by the seaside.

How do Filipinos sing this song?
I just imagine them singing the song.

###

Mayumi Yamamoto is a writer and academic based in Kyoto, Japan. Her works have appeared in Literary Yard, and Indian Periodical. She authored several published books in the Japanese language.

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