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Reclaiming Maria Clara

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A SCREENSHOT from the video of Abby Asistio’s new song, “Maria Clara.’

SINGER-SONGWRITER Abby Asistio is back with a new song about reclaiming the meaning of the term “Maria Clara” for the Filipinas of today.

“I wrote this song for a full year before releasing it. It’s a song about my experiences and how I view myself as a woman who is not into a relationship just for the sake of it. I have values and I have standards,” Ms. Asistio said during a press conference on Nov. 6 at the Mecca Aesthetic Center in Quezon City.

“Maria Clara” is a term used to represent the “ideal” Filipina woman — demure, religious, gentle. It is the name of the character who embodied those traits in Jose P. Rizal’s ground-breaking novel Noli Me Tangere.

For her new song, which comes two years after her last song, “Darating Ka Rin,” Ms. Asistio combines the pop sound with the traditional kundiman (serenade). She sings in whispers and trills accompanied by claps and strings. She called her song, “modern kundiman.”

Ngunit nalaman iba ang iyong kailangan, ang mga kagustuha’y hindi nagtatagpo. Panakip butas lang ako, pantawid oras lang sa’yo. Pwede bang ’wag na lang dahil aasa lang ako kung gusto mong maging tayo. ‘Di ako ganoon, may hinahanap rin ako,” Ms. Asistio sings.

(But I know that what you need is different, your wants are not being met. I’m just a substitute, just a way to while the time. Can we just not because I will hope you want it to be us. I’m not like that, I am also looking for something.)




The accompanying music video features Ms. Asistio wearing a terno and dancing with the Philippine All-Stars dance group. The music video is directed by Gorio Vicuna

“Women shouldn’t settle. I believe the right person will come at the right time,” she said.

Ms. Asistio said she continues to create music and is preparing for an album soon.

“Maria Clara” is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and on YouTube. — ZBC

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