When I was looking for a place to stay [I’m really on a super tight budget] I was looking for some inexpensive spaces, I found many places that were old and neglected, many offer rooms that were like dirty bomb shelters. I was hopping from one barrio to the other, unfamiliar with urban Cebu, I would always end up asking for directions, I was at the mercy of strangers, and true enough, people here are generous and kind.
Like the Zubiri’s of Cebu.
Their Grandfather was a renowned Visaya musician, “an all around” musikero, his daughter now confined to her wheelchair recalls. I was interviewing her for sometime when I realized that I was giving her a hard time, I was told that she has survived several medical emergencies, I no longer dared to ask more. After thanking her I left her alone with her good lady caretaker.
His father was Ben Zubiri, aka Iyo Karpo, the composer of the immortal Visayan ballad, “Matud Nila” [they say]. A tagalog version, “Ikaw na Lamang” was made by Levi Celerio. Zubiri was also a Cebuano actor, acting in one of the first Cebuano movies released in theater houses locally. A matud nila has been sung by countless Filipino musician from Pilita Corales to modern crooners like Mark Bautista. Its the greatest Visayan song my Mama would tell me.
My Mama, a Visayan woman herself, would listen to a radio drama to an AM station, the background music was this timeless classic, sung by a soothing female voice [anyone knows who the singer was on that show? its on DZRH I believe, the drama was played every noon time, mid 1980’s].
Zubiri was also a fierce guerrilla fighter during the Japanese occupation, he met his wife in Bohol, where he was stationed. He died on 1969.