‘Umaapaw’ by Ang Bandang Shirley: singular feel, many possibilities

This music-video is Shirley at their heartstring-plucking best, visualized with sublime storytelling.

A man and a woman share a light moment in the Ang Bandang Shirley music video for Umaapaw, under handwritten lyrics, “Pag-ibig ko'y umaapaw.”

Awit, masaya ang mga tenga
Sa aking alaala ito nagsimula

In life, as with music, there is movement and then there is stillness. There is sound and then there is silence. When the action becomes too much, we leave the town looking for solitude.

We all have our own places where we turn to for comfort in loneliness. Sometimes it is an old, empty parking lot, at the fringes of the city, close to the forest and free for tired souls to inhabit. You would come there for solace, but what happens when someone else comes wandering into the space you would rather have all to yourself?

Panaginip ang dumalaw

You may choose to keep to yourself, retreat into your thoughts; or you may be enchanted by this other soul. You see her lost in smoke and clouds of thought, and you hear questions in your mind, prodding you to explore, to find out what it is that you share with her that drives both of you to seclusion. You may choose silence; or you may take a deep breath, and open a connection, offer a distant but firm handshake.

A man and a woman share a handshake in the Ang Bandang Shirley music video for Umaapaw, under handwritten lyrics, “Panaginip ang dumalaw.”
Screen capture from the Umaapaw music video, youtube.com/watch?v=9pXZCO3A_8w

Impulsively, you might invite her to take a walk through the forest. The sun is up and it is safe among the trees. There, the wind is muted, and there is no sound but the crisp crush of leaves under your feet, and the calm voice of your only companion. She trips on the stony path, but she catches your arm to save her balance. You laugh off the incident with her, but at the soonest distraction, you feel a persistent tug, the imprint of a moment of touch. You sense the start of something.

Yakap, higpit ng mga braso
Sa’yong pagkadiin ay dumadaloy ang dugo

At the end of the path, you find that you still have time to kill. Or maybe not, but your heart tells you, this is still where you want to be: right now, with a stranger who in the space of an hour has turned into a friend. You sit down on a table with leisurely drinks, and there is a wide view but all you could see is her, and the stories she is animatedly sharing. For a moment you realize that her liveliness has come a long way from the distant stance she had when you first met, only some brief time before.

The hour comes for you to go on your separate ways. As she leaves, and with cordiality, your offer another handshake. But you do not know why: is it as a farewell to a moment, or as an invitation to an imagined future? In this uncertainty, you ponder what could be, or what could have been. You picture what would take place should you meet her again; or what could have happened under different circumstances. Your mind traces back your memories; your imagination flashes in reverse.

Puso, hayaang paganahin
sa muling pagkikita
mayroong dadalhin

You would listen to her stories again, and you will not be tired of it. You will take another walk through the forest. She will randomly tell you, that a picture of two people meeting each other, if played in reverse, will look like two people separating.

When you meet, it will not be with a cool handshake; this time it will be with a friendly wave of the hand and a lovely hello. It will be recognition, not introduction. Her disposition will be as warm as the color red.

You imagine all this, and your heart overflows with the possibility. It was only a passing contact, a feint promise of a future, and yet it felt like a grand moment. It remains only an unsure dream now, but it moves you, towards a time when you will be certain, and you will be ready to proclaim what you feel.

Talumpati sa harap ng isang tao
Buo ang loob ko sa iyo
Ganito ako kasigurado

A man and a woman share a light moment in the Ang Bandang Shirley music video for Umaapaw, under handwritten lyrics, “Pag-ibig ko'y umaapaw.”
Screen capture from the Umaapaw music video, youtube.com/watch?v=9pXZCO3A_8w

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