Rolly’s gift to overseas Filipinos

INSPIRED by his own experience as an overseas worker, Roland “Rolly” Amaranto has created a masterpiece – a collection of songs he composed – which now serves as his lifetime gift to all Filipinos working abroad.

A gift of love. That’s how Rolly says of his outstanding work.

Aptly titled “Awit Abroad — Para Sa Inyo, OFW Ng Buong Mundo” (Songs Abroad – For All Of You, OFW Of The World), the music album has recently been released in the Gulf and the Middle East, where Rolly is working as a secretary of a multi-national firm, particularly in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There are 10 songs in the album, beautifully rendered by famous Filipino singers such as Nora Aunor, Claudine Barreto, Nonoy Zuniga, Juan Rodrigo, Miriam Pantig, Jo Awayan, Cindy Rosas, Kelly Grace Salcedo, Aldoe Rubee and Richard Villanueva.

The songs highlight the difficult life an OFW faces, as experienced by Rolly, himself. Having had to go through the loneliness of being separated, though temporary, from his loved ones, Rolly took refuge by singing and strumming his guitar, thus giving him the chance to express his pent-up emotions. It was sort of a therapy for him, enabling him to go through his day-to-day existence. At night where one would ordinarily be sound asleep, Rolly would stay awake, dreaming of his family left behind in the Philippines. At times he would feel his tears welling and those were the times he would always feel the need to sing and strum his guitar.

In one of those lonely nights, Rolly thought of creating his own song. Although not a composer, he ventured into song-writing, first as his way of coping up with his difficult situation. Later, he discovered that he was more relieved of his temporary and momentary longings if he vocalized his own feelings. The words uttered, while singing impromptu, were soon put into writing until he actually composed one full song. In a span of five years, he managed to collect over 10 original compositions.

Rolly actually didn’t think of going public about his ‘amateurish’ songs. After all, they were just serving him to cope up with his own loneliness. Not until year 2000, when it was declared as “Year of the OFWs”, that Rolly thought of sharing his songs. He got inspired and bold enough to go out of his nutshell and immediately saw an opportunity to share his own work in celebration of the year-long event.

Immediately, Rolly contacted Rhoel Mendoza. Rhoel, through his Philippines to the World Entertainment Foundation, Inc. (PWEFI) based in Riyadh, was responsible for the declaration of year 2000 as ‘Year of OFWs.’ Talking to Rhoel finally sealed Rolly’s conviction to go public. That was March 2000.

By July 2000, during his annual leave to the Philippines, Rolly put into action his plan. With the help of his brother Raffy and friend Ric Santos, all the songs he composed were recorded and put into a demo CD, which in turn, was presented to various Filipino artists. Months passed by and in March 2001, the full album was finally released in the Philippines.

Producers of the album, POPPSINC Philippines and Artistika Records Philippines, have launched the album last September 28 in Saudi Arabia, through Stallions Records. Within a week following the official launch, the albums were simultaneously made available in the Gulf countries as well as the neighboring Middle East and African countries. Soon the album will be launched in Asia, Europe and America.

The songs

AKING MAHAL (My Love), interpreted emotionally by superstar NORA AUNOR, relates a woman’s anxieties over her loved one’s journey to foreign shores. The painful longing, but full of promises for a better future, is evoked deeply in the song. A mellow soft tune.

I DO is a sweet song by a loyal girlfriend, rendered by CLAUDINE BARRETO . The song speaks of an overwhelming gaiety of a young heart whose patience so unparalleled in waiting for her lover finally pays off. This is the only English song in the album.

We feel the extreme desire of a melancholy heart for a loved one in MAKAPAGHANAPBUHAY LANG (Just To Have A Job) by NONOY ZUNIGA. The interpreter appreciated the piece so much, claiming the song was really well-thought of, a product of both wit and emotion. This is a pop-song with a shade of blues.

The family takes centerpoint as a moral booster in the song KABAYAN HUWAG MAG-ALALA (My Countryman Don’t Worry) by JUAN RODRIGO. The nostalgic feeling, quite universal in nature, is deeply etched in the song. This song has a sweet jazzy tune.

MIRIAM PANTIG gives her OFW emotion in the ballad song MAAYOS NA BUHAY (A Better Life) which rages over unspoken sufferings and sacrifices. Amidst a hurting milieu, the realization of a dream is the only thing that holds dear to someone to continue living a drab life.

Over time takes ambivalent meanings in the song O.T. giddily interpreted by ALDOE RUBEE. Here, the Filipino sense of humor surfaces in times of trials. This song has a rock and roll beat.

Acculturation embraces a pedantic touch in the song RAMADAN, brought to life by RICHARD VILLANUEVA. The uninformed OFW is given caution to keep up with a Muslim tradition and discipline, and to respect them. A little fast tempo with combination of rap.

One feels the echoes of a ghastly wind and the rage of turbulent sea in the song DOON (There) by CINDY ROSAS. The swing dance rhythm of the song seems to sway with the rippling waters on the shore. A song for the seamen.

JO AWAYAN and MIRIAM PANTIG blend beautifully in PARA SA INYO, OFW NG BUONG MUNDO (For All Of You, OFW Of The World), the theme song of the album, a tribute to all the OFWs worldwide whose tool for survival are brains, talents and physical power. With upbeat tempo, a “come on” song for OFWs.

KELLY GRACE SALCEDO and NONOY ZUNIGA move with passion and pride in demonstrating to all and sundry the greatness of OFWs in the song DAKILA KA (You Are Great), which these Filipino modern day heroes truly exemplify.


Author: Freda Editha O. Contreras
Published on: October 30, 2001 


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