Mambo, Mambo Magsaysay – Mabuhay!

This catchy tune was for the presidential campaign of Ramon Magsaysay in the 1950s. It’s still a popular song in the Philippines even today, notable for the witty and funny Taglish wordplay.

ORIGINAL TAGLISH LYRICS

Everywhere that you woud look
Was a bandit or a crook
Peace and order was a joke
Till Magsaysay pumasok!

That is why, that is why
You will hear the people cry
Our democracy will die
Kung wala si Magsaysay.

Mambo, Mambo Magsaysay
Mabu, Mabu- Mabuhay!
Our democracy will die
Kung wala si Magsaysay!

First they voted in Lanao
At pati aswang pa daw
Ang election lutong Macaw
Till Magsaysay showed them how

Too much people’s money spent
But no honest government
No more built-in ten percent
If Magsaysay is president

That is why, that is why
We will hear the people cry
Our democracy will die
Kung wala si Magsaysay.


Raul Manglapus composed the song in 1953 and arranged for Rosita De La Vega-Da Roza to perform it. She is the Filipina singer you hear in the recording.

The lyric phrase “our democracy will die” has been misheard as “all the okra seeds will die.” It’s an example of a mondegreen, which is a mishearing of a phrase in a way that gives it a new, different meaning.