Philippine Folk Song: Atin Ku Pung Singsing

Want a dose of Philippine culture? Here’s the translation of the Kapampangan song “Atin Ku Pung Singsing” (My Ring)…

I asked some relatives from Pampanga to help me translate this popular Philippine Children’s Song:

Atin ku pung singsing
Metung yang timpukan
Amana ke iti
King indung ibatan

Sangkan keng sininup
King metung a kaban
Mewala ya iti,
E ku kamalayan.

Ing sukal ning lub ku
Susukdul king banwa
Pikurus kung gamat
Babo ning lamesa

Ninu mang manakit
King singsing kung mana
Kalulung pusu ku
Manginu ya keya.

And here’s the Kapampangan to English translation:

I once had a ring
That had a single gem (solitario)
I inherited this
From my father

I pretended to hide it (non-literal: I thought I hid it)
In a chest (i.e., camphor box, hope chest)
It got lost
Without my knowledge (non-literal: I don’t know how it got lost)

I was extremely sad
(my despair was so great) it reached the heavens
I interlocked my fingers (as if in prayer or supplication)
And placed (my clasped hands) on top of the table

Whoever finds
The ring which I inherited
My poor heart
Will treat him/her as my Saviour

In the future, I will add to this blog post either an audio or video recording of the Philippine folk song “Atin Cu Pung Singsing” (traditional spelling), so that you will have a better idea of how the words are pronounced.

Thank you for your interest in Philippine culture! :-)

[I invite my other friends and relatives from Pampanga, or even the Kapampangan bloggers, to help me present a better translation of this song. Thanks!]

Some people are asking: “Bakit tinawag na folk song ang atin kupung singsing?” or why is atin cu pung singsing called a folksong?

Here’s the definition of a folk song: “…a song of the people of a culture or region that reflects their outlook and life. Usually, this refers to a song with no known composer or lyricist and one that exists in multiple versions developed as it spread, rather than a single, standard, copyrighted edition.”

How did you learn the song Atin Cu Pung Singsing? It was handed down to me by word of mouth by my mother. It was taught to her by her parents. We don’t know who composed the song or wrote the lyrics.

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