Folk Song Tuesday - Tao tao po  

Posted by Laya in , ,

For today's Folk Song Tuesday, let me share a song I learned in high school, called "Tao tao po." It refers to the old tradition of harana-- a young man who wanted to court a young woman would go with his friends to serenade her in the evening. Afterwards, they would be invited to come up into the house, maybe have some refreshments, and the young man could talk with the young woman, under the watchful eyes of her parents and family members. In this song, does the young woman dislike the young man... or like him too much?

"Tao po" is what you call out when you go to someone else's house, to get the attention of the people living there. I'm not sure though if it means "someone's here" or "is anyone at home," because "tao" simply means "person" and "po" is an indicator of respect. In my own native language, Hiligaynon, you say "maayo," or "ayo" for short... it simply means "good" as in good morning, good day, good afternoon or good evening.

Tao tao po sa bahay na bato*
buksan ang bintana tayo'y magpandanggo**
kung walang gitara kahit na bilao
makita po lamang ang dalaga ninyo.
Dalaga po ninyo ayaw magpaligaw
pumasok sa kwarto nagsakit-sakitan
tinanong ng ina kung ano ang dahilan
sagot ng dalaga masakit ang tiyan.
Agad nagpatawag dalawang mediko
pinag-tig-isahan ang dalawang pulso
sabi ng mediko, "walang sakit ito
sinta sa pag-ibig umakyat sa ulo."

English translation by Laya

Is there anyone at home at the bahay na bato
open the windows and let's dance the pandanggo
if there are no guitars, baskets will do
if only to see the fair maiden with you.
Your fair maiden doesn't want to be courted,
went into her room and pretended to be sick
her mother asked her what was the matter
the fair maiden answered that her stomach hurt.
Two doctors were immediately called for,
one felt the pulse on one wrist, one on the other
the doctors said, "she isn't sick,
the love in her heart has gone up to her head."

*bahay na bato - literally "house of stone", the traditional Filipino stately home.
**pandanggo - a folk dance similar to the fandango.

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