Ode To Beloved Zamboanga


Photo lifted from Ryan Covarrubias' tweet (@Ryancovarrubias)
Photo lifted from Ryan Covarrubias’ tweet (@Ryancovarrubias)

Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal once quoted, “the youth is the future of our motherland.” This quote speaks much of the youth’s role in today’s society. Today, the youth has the power to break the status quo and become the person they want to be. Moreover, they also have the power to change what they think is broken due to life’s circumstances.

In hindsight, Zamboanga has been a victim of these circumstances last September 2013 when an armed conflict between the government forces and the elements of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) errupted forcing thousands of individuals to leave their homes, killing more than 500 civilians, and burning homes to ashes. And the number one casualty in this are the youth of Zamboanga.

Seven months after the conflict, Zamboanga is still barely back on its feet. Several efforts have been made to cater for the needs of the people in several evacuation centers, Don Joaquin F. Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex being the largest, and the city holistically. But one will be amazed at the efforts being done by the youth of the city.

Kenneth Martin, Khen for short, is a student of Ateneo de Zamboanga University and is taking up BS Office Administration. Khen also happens to be a musician. He shared to us some words with regard to his music.

“The song Zamboanga was written during the height of the siege. I wrote it because I want to tell to the people how important peace and unity are,” Khen said when asked what inspired him to write the song.

Khen disclosed that when he was writing the lyrics of the song he was only thinking of his love for the city and asking the Lord for inspiration to be able to write the song.

“While writing the song, I did not allow any room for negativity. The people were already hurting and so the challenge is to pen a song that transcends a message of peace, hope and love,” Khen said.

What is so commendable about the song is its second stanza. Khen ruled out the divide between Muslim and Christians brought about by the siege. Instead, he pleaded that the two must come hand in hand for the city.

Khen can’t but feel overwhelmed following the large amount of positive feed backs being given by his audience.

Recently, the Hon. Vincent Paul Elago, supported the efforts of Khen’s team to promote peace through their music. And this recognition from the city councilor elated Khen’s passion for music.

Asked if what he can say to other youths who are also doing the same efforts he is doing – be it through music, arts or letters – Khen said, “keep it up and use Zamboanga as your inspiration among others. Do what you can do to help our city rise from the ruins of the siege.”



Khen Martin is just a simple youth of Zamboanga who wants to help promote peace and unity among his fellow Zamboanguenos. His passion for music made it possible to transcend that message.

One question remains unanswered: how did the people of Zamboanga accepted his music?

April, an AB English student of Western Mindanao State Unviversity said, “The song has very meaningful lyrics. It makes us realize that we should never give up in helping each other towards building up Zamboanga City again. That, regardless of religion and social status, we all have the same Mighty Superior who’s heart will always be sympathetic to our cries. The song is a good reminder to every Zamboangueno, who’s losing hope, to fight for the city.  It is an example that despite the wrath, hope will always be a word we should all work for.”

Dan, a student of Ateneo de Zamboanga, shared his thoughts about the song, as well. He said, “his song speaks about instead of blaming each other, why not help each other out?” Dan disclosed that he understands the song because the message is quite clear.

“I like the way he delivered the song. The youth is their audience and the music they used is surely something marketable to the youth. His music will surely be heard.” Dan finished.

As of press time, Khen and his team has released the official music video of their song and people continues to praise his music and efforts to help the city get back on its feet.


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