"It’s not as if we’ve been invited or that we’ve been offered to do it, but, yes, we’re open to performing the [Philippine] National Anthem if they’ll fly us to Texas,” said Martin at the recent press conference for the announcement of the dates for their “As1” concerts here and abroad.
The Pacquiao-Clottey bout happens on March 13, a day after Martin and Gary stage “AS1” at Reno, Nevada, some three hours away from Texas by plane.
Martin sees no novelty if he and Gary sing “Lupang Hinirang” as a duet since the song has already been performed by the all-Filipino trio La Diva at Pacquiao’s most recent match with Miguel Cotto.
“Personally, though, I really want to sing at Pacquiao’s fight with Mayweather [had it pushed through]. Gary, I think, should’ve sung at Manny’s fight with Cotto because he [Gary] has Puerto Rican blood, too,” Martin reflected.
Isn’t he allergic to singing “Lupang Hinirang” again following the flak he received for his ‘altered’ version of the national anthem at Pacquiao’s match against Ricky Hatton last year?
“No, naman, although I still think the negative reaction to my version was too much. I didn’t mean any harm [with the way I sang it]. I tried singing it from my heart… sang it as a fan of Pacquiao and one who is proud to be Filipino.
“But if you look at the silver lining in what happened, at least my version got people talking about our national anthem again. Some schools even had to give kids refreshers on how to sing the song.”
It is recalled that the National Historical Institute (NHI) criticized Martin’s version of “Lupang Hinirang” for its slow opening and prolonged, high notes in the closing.
Section 37 of the Republic Act No. 8491, also known as the 1998 Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines, provides that "the rendition of the National Anthem, whether played or sung, shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe."
His first time to talk about the matter, Gary defended Martin, saying that if the NHI insists that “Lupang Hinirang” be sung “in a particular way,” then they should just “get any singer” and not an “artist.”
According to their press release, Martin and Gary will continue to conquer the world with the second leg of their “AS1” international tour.
“AS1” swept North America by storm with a very successful 9-city tour last year. Fans came in droves to the concert halls in San Diego, San Francisco, Houston, Pasadena, Chicago, Atlantic City, Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary. The concert series was called "the most successful tour in the U.S. of any Filipino artist last year," as it sold out in almost all its venues.
More notably, the “AS 1” series abroad was able to raise over US$50,000 for the cause of the flood victims in the Philippines' Ondoy disaster through Sagip-Kapamilya of the ABS-CBN Foundation.
The “AS1” franchise also dominated the recording scene with the release of the commemorative “AS1” CD, now a Platinum hit record.
This year, Martin and Gary perform at Washington DC (Feb. 27), Connecticut (Feb. 28), Tampa Bay, Florida (Mar. 06), Reno, Nevada (Mar. 12), Canada (Mar. 14), Dallas, Texas (Mar. 19), Pasadena, California (Mar. 21), Dubai (Apr. 08), and Qatar (Apr. 09).
“AS1” is produced by Manila Genesis Entertainment and Management for Starmedia Entertainment Inc. The event’s majoy sponsors are The Filipino Channel and ASAP XV. For more details call Starmedia USA at 818-549-9005 and 818-547-1456.