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Naging Mahirap, also commonly referred to as Nakaligo ka na ba sa dagat ng basura? is a song used in Filipino presidential candidate Manny Villar’s famous campaign commercial. The song became famous in the Philippines for its catchiness, but later became a joke after it was relentlessly overplayed. The commercial itself lead to a number of parodies and images. Many refer to it as the Philippines first internet meme.
The commercial originally aired sometime in mid to late 2009, during the Philippines campaign season. Manny Villar was a senator running for the presidency under the Nacionalista Party nomination. His commercial featured lower class Filipino children singing the song “Naging Mahirap”, which had been written especially for the ad.
At first, the song and commercial were well-received. Many Filipino’s believed the song was catchy, and generally liked the message the commercial was giving. The ad received widespread TV and radio play, and was played regularly on big network stations. After a few weeks though, many began to think the song was overplayed, even referring to it as annoying or stupid. This lead to a series of spoofs and parodies online, mimicking the singing and swaying children.
Many people refer to the meme as Nakaligo ka na ba sa dagat ng basura? (roughly translated to Have you ever bathed in a sea of trash?), which is the opening lyric to the song. This is the most recognizable line in the song, and is featured in several parody images.
Nakaligo ka na ba sa dagat ng basura?
Nag-Pasko ka na ba sa gitna ng kalsada?
Yan ang tanong namin,
Tunay ka bang isa sa amin?
Nalaman mo na bang mapapag-aral ka nya?
Tutulungan tayo para magka-trabaho?
At kanyang plano’y magka-bahay tayo?
Si Villar ang tunay na mahirap.
si Villar ang tunay na may malasakit.
Si Villar ang may kakayahan
At gumawa ng sariling pangalan.
Si Manny Villar ang magtatapos
ng ating kahirapan.
Have you ever bathed in a sea of trash?
Have you spent Christmas on the streets?
That’s our question,
Are you really one of us?
Did you know he can support your education?
He can help us get jobs?
And his job is for us to have houses?
Villar is the real poor.
Villar is the one with real sympathy.
Villar has the skills
and has made his mark.
Manny Villar will end our poverty.
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