“Matira Matibay” by Bassilyo and CrazyMix: Lyrics & English translation

Reviewed by Renan Pagador

Video

Lyrics & translation

[4x CHORUS]
Matira matibay
The fittest survivors[1]I chose this as a bit of a play on words. I feel it matches better than the most common scientific translation of matira matibay, which refers to “survival of the fittest” in a Darwinian evolution sense, and is used by e.g. Filipino life science textbooks.

Sumabay ang matigas
Let’s go, hard[2]The meaning here is very similar to US English rap; someone “hard” in this context is strong, cold, hedonistic, and seen by others as someone not to be messed with. men

Sino ang matigas
Who among you are the hard?

Sino ang sasabay
Who among you will answer my call?

Sino ang may pusong bakal
Who among you has a heart of iron?

At handa nang pumatay
Who among you is ready to kill?

At talas ang kailangan
The hard need to be sharp

At ang husay ng kutob
The hard need good instincts

Kung paano iiwasan ng sumpak at Molitov
If they are to avoid guns[3]So-called “improvised” guns in this case, perhaps more accurately called “guns locally produced without a license” as they can be very similar in function and appearance to “real” guns and are often made by experienced metalworkers. and Molotov cocktails

Pagbigkas ng banat na banat ng goma ng pana
Rapping phrases as exact as a bow and arrow ready to fire

Napakamalas[4]The root here is malas, meaning “unfortunate” or “unlucky”. Compare to napakasuwerte. ng tamaan natagpuan siyang kawawa
Those hit are very unlucky and are left in a horrible state

Buti sana kung ang sima kay Kupido manggagaling
Wouldn’t it be nice if those who are shot come out like those shot by Cupid?

Pagibig ang mananaig kung sino mang abutin
Love being the main effect upon those who are shot

Gumising tayong lahat at magpakatotoo
Let’s all wake up and be honest about it:

Na ang sima na lumilipad galing sa kalaban mo
The arrows that fly towards your enemies

Kalawangin ay laso na rin matulis at bumabaon
Despite rust are still sharp and sink deep (into the skin)

Kapag tinamaan ka sa ilong sabog ang ‘yong sipon
If the arrow hits your nose, snot will fly out

Microphone o ang mic ay hindi rin pinaligtas
Even the microphone will not spare you

Ginagawang kasangkapan
The mic becomes a tool

Upang kanilang mailabas ang galit sa mga kalaban
To release the anger towards enemies

Sisiraan, iti-tease, mumurahin, sasabihin, “tatay mo ay may galis!”
Bad-mouthing, teasing, swearing, telling them: “your father is diseased!”

[REPEAT CHORUS 4x]

Kung isa ka sa mga matigas, wag kang tatanga-tanga
If you are among the hard, don’t dare act a fool

Baka ka bigla madikitan at magilitan sa talas ng labaha
Because maybe you’ll be shocked to find[5]Literal translation of bigla would be “suddenly”, but this is more natural. the end of a razor slitting your throat

Bente nueve o tres kantos at mahabang ice pick
A balisong[6]The traditional balisong is also known as bente nueve, or “twenty-nine,” in the Philippines, because they are 29 cm long open. or even a broken bottle,[7]Literally “three corners”. This translation is conjecture on my part, but I do believe I’m right. Kwatro kantos, literally “four corners”, is the colloquial name for a gin that comes in a rectangular bottle officially known as “Ginebra San Miguel“. If you break a bottle of kwatro kantos, what do you get? Tres kantos, of course. This song is full of references to improvised weapons: sumpak, Molotovs, an ice pick; it just seems to make sense. and a long ice pick

Kapag wala ka nang makitang lusot gamitan ng istyle intsek[8]Intsek is seen by some as an anti-Chinese slur.
If you don’t see a way, do it “Chinese style”

Sayo nachi ang sagot, sayo na tsinelas ko
To you I say “nachi”,[9]This might be faux-Chinese, or it might be 哪吃 (nǎ chī), “Where can I eat?” My Mandarin is not good enough to come up with any alternative. The point is to rhyme with tsinelas, not really the meaning of the Chinese anyway, it’s to confuse the listener with perhaps faux-Chinese so you can hit them with a shoe. I hit you with my shoe

Sabihin mo lang ang mga pangalan ko dumilat ka sabay takbo! (Takbo!)
You’ll say my name, open your eyes wide, and run! (Run!)

Kapag hinarangan ka ng baseball bat sibat[10]The definition I relied on isn’t in the standard dictionaries, but is accurate. It’s colloquial; see the UP Diksiyonaryong Filipino, meaning №2. patungong home base
When blocked by a baseball bat, run instead to home base

Pilitin mo na lang maka-homerun, maghelmet ka yung full face
Make the choice to attempt a homerun, put on a full face helmet

Back in the days parang ninja na may samurai nakatakip pa ang mukha para ‘di halatang umaaray
Back in the days, when there were ninjas and samurai, they covered their faces to avoid showing their pain[11]Literally, “saying ouch”. Aray! is an interjection, and umaaray makes it an uncompleted -um- verb.

Wag bibigay, wag din sa laki ng braso ang itak
Don’t give up, not even when up against a strong arm holding a Bolo knife

Kapag tinamaan ka, wag mo rin ilalakas ang iyong iyak
When you’re hit, don’t scream loud

Baka sabihan kang, “duwag!” Bale, “walang bayag!”
Because maybe they’ll say about you: “Coward—he’s got no balls!”

Sila ay kumakaway daliri ay nakangarat
They beckon towards you, giving you the finger[12]Per J. Corcinto (2014), Teka, Wait…Di Ako Prepared, p. 51

Yamot! Asar talo! Iyak tawa! Ano ba?
Annoyance! Loser! Baby![13]Literally, “your laughs have turned into tears”, like a baby with very unstable moods. Often in other contexts translated “tantrum”. What to do?

Gusto mo bumawi? Uwi!
Do you want revenge?[14]Literally, “do you want to be able to recoup your loss?” Forget it![15]Literally, “go home!”

Sibat na, ah
Plan for this, ah

[REPEAT CHORUS 4x]

Isa lang ang ating buhay
We only get one life

Bakit di pa ka ingatan
So why don’t you safeguard it?

Gaano ba kalalim ang iyong ipinaglalaban
Why spend it fighting such dark battles?

Dahil lang sa paangasan
Just because of a boast,

Ilan na ba ang mga natigok
How many people will you need to kill?

Walang timbangan ng buhay
Such a life will have no balance

Parang pumatay lang ng mga lamok
You’ll kill people (easily), as if they’re mosquitos

Walang humpay ang mga putok
There will be no ceasefire,[16]Literally, “end to the explosions”.

Kung ayaw mong tamaan ang mga balang ligaw
If you can’t handle being hit with a stray bullet (once in a while).

Tili at hiyaw ang mga palatandaan na isa na namang buhay
Shots and screams will be the only signs your life happened

Bigla na namang pinatay
Well, other than your untimely death

Siya lang ang pwede bumawi pagka’t Siya rin naman ang nagbigay
God is the only one who can undo that, He’s the one who did it

Walang karapatan ang sinuman maging ang nagmamahala[17]Literally, “the highest authority”.
No one has the right to put themselves on God’s level

Sa patayan katulad nito parang ‘di sila nababahala
And when they kill, those who do so don’t even notice

Sige lang! Sige lang! Magpatayan kayo panalo ang matitira!
Go ahead, you guys! Go ahead! Keep on killing until there’s a clear winner!

Kapag ang natira: isa, dalawa, tsaka na sila bibira!
The survivors: the last two see each other, then they fight!

Oh! Matira pula; ibaba nyo na para matigil na po ang gulo
Oh! It’s over, and red[18]My understanding is that this is a reference to boxing, with a “red corner” and a “blue corner”. So, the man in the “red corner” remains. is the winner; come down from the stage, end this confusion

Ang gulo: wala sa pulo, wala sa Tondo,[19]Tondo is the main informal settlement in Manila, and has one of the most dense populations in the world. Life for the poor there is very hard, perhaps the hardest in the Philippines. wala sa bundok
This confusion: it’s not found in farflung islands, it’s not in Tondo, it’s not in the mountains

Ang gulo: wala sa lungga, wala sa paligid-ligid mo
This confusion: it’s not in the caves, it’s not in your environment

Pagka’t ang gulo ay nariyan lang nandiyan sa puso mo
Because this confusion only exists right there in your heart

4x Diyan sa puso mo… (sa puso mo)
Right there in your heart… (in your heart)

TL Notes    [ + ]

1. I chose this as a bit of a play on words. I feel it matches better than the most common scientific translation of matira matibay, which refers to “survival of the fittest” in a Darwinian evolution sense, and is used by e.g. Filipino life science textbooks.
2. The meaning here is very similar to US English rap; someone “hard” in this context is strong, cold, hedonistic, and seen by others as someone not to be messed with.
3. So-called “improvised” guns in this case, perhaps more accurately called “guns locally produced without a license” as they can be very similar in function and appearance to “real” guns and are often made by experienced metalworkers.
4. The root here is malas, meaning “unfortunate” or “unlucky”. Compare to napakasuwerte.
5. Literal translation of bigla would be “suddenly”, but this is more natural.
6. The traditional balisong is also known as bente nueve, or “twenty-nine,” in the Philippines, because they are 29 cm long open.
7. Literally “three corners”. This translation is conjecture on my part, but I do believe I’m right. Kwatro kantos, literally “four corners”, is the colloquial name for a gin that comes in a rectangular bottle officially known as “Ginebra San Miguel“. If you break a bottle of kwatro kantos, what do you get? Tres kantos, of course. This song is full of references to improvised weapons: sumpak, Molotovs, an ice pick; it just seems to make sense.
8. Intsek is seen by some as an anti-Chinese slur.
9. This might be faux-Chinese, or it might be 哪吃 (nǎ chī), “Where can I eat?” My Mandarin is not good enough to come up with any alternative. The point is to rhyme with tsinelas, not really the meaning of the Chinese anyway, it’s to confuse the listener with perhaps faux-Chinese so you can hit them with a shoe.
10. The definition I relied on isn’t in the standard dictionaries, but is accurate. It’s colloquial; see the UP Diksiyonaryong Filipino, meaning №2.
11. Literally, “saying ouch”. Aray! is an interjection, and umaaray makes it an uncompleted -um- verb.
12. Per J. Corcinto (2014), Teka, Wait…Di Ako Prepared, p. 51
13. Literally, “your laughs have turned into tears”, like a baby with very unstable moods. Often in other contexts translated “tantrum”.
14. Literally, “do you want to be able to recoup your loss?”
15. Literally, “go home!”
16. Literally, “end to the explosions”.
17. Literally, “the highest authority”.
18. My understanding is that this is a reference to boxing, with a “red corner” and a “blue corner”. So, the man in the “red corner” remains.
19. Tondo is the main informal settlement in Manila, and has one of the most dense populations in the world. Life for the poor there is very hard, perhaps the hardest in the Philippines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *