WHILE CLEANING my music collection last weekend, I realized I had a copy of the romantic Philippine pop song "Dahil Sa Isang Bulaklak" (Because of a Flower) written by Leopoldo Silos and sung by Pilita Corrales. The song is the love theme from the award-winning 1967 movie of the same name. I saw the movie as a high-schooler back in the late 1970s when it was rerun on the screens, and I vividly remember the movie's mini-skirts, heavy eye make-up, and pastel-colored cinematography. And, of course, the bittersweet love theme.
As for Miss Corrales, she's a source of Filipino pride. The beautiful chanteuse is regarded as the most iconic song stylist in the Philippines. At her age (she's in her seventies), she still dresses up in figure-hugging gowns and bends courageously backwards when reaching high notes—a trademark Pilita posture. Although her style is closer to old-fashioned saloon than contemporary pop radio, her enunciation, vocal affectations, and charming stage presence endear her to Filipinos of all generations.
Here is Ms Corrales and her well-sung interpretation of "Dahil Sa Isang Bulaklak". The lyrics on this version are different from what is usually heard; I'm not sure if these were the original ones written for the film. Another Philippine music legend, the composer Ryan Cayabyab, orchestrated the breathtaking arrangement.