Return to a land called Paraiso (Paradise), a place where a dying river ends. No birds dare fly over Paraiso (Paradise. No space allows them to endure, the smoke that screens the air, the grass that’s never there. And if I could see a single bird what a joy! These are the few starting lines from the Ryan Cayabyab song called, “Paraiso” (Paradise in English language), and is originally sung by the group Smokey Mountain. “Paraiso was the very first song I composed for the group Smokey Mountain.
This is the very theme song of that group- named after what used to be a garbage dump in Tondo,” a quote from one of his interviews for Gawad Kalinga.
The lyrics speak of juxtaposition between the environmental condition situated in the midst of the garbage dumpsite, and the paradise that the poetic persona is thinking of. A great vague impression of irony is expressed in the song! The young scavenger considers that the kind of land where he lives in and where he gets his source of food fr survival, despite of environmental abuses is still a paradise.
From this paraiso, he is seeking some help to make a stand to be understood, though he is very much determined that his land will someday achieve understanding and some reverence from the rest of the world. As he wishes for some birds to appear in the sky, he is hoping to be like them. He wants to fly as birds do, because birds give him encouragement to dream, and hopes to still live with pride and dignity. As reflected from the lines, Paraiso help me make a stand. Paraiso, take me by the hand. Paraiso, make the world understand. That if I could see a single bird, what a joy! This tired and hungry land could expect some truth and hope and respect from the rest of the world. Mr. C added ” it is an inspirational song that I had dedicated not only to marginalized folks but especially to young people who have hopes and dreams of a better future.”
Truly, the song moved many of us. And this continuously instigates many people, as it is used as the theme song for the Ilog Pasig’s rehabilitation advocacy. Paraiso, as a song of hope and inspiration, is softly whispering in our hearts, and perhaps, in our souls to do some changes- to keep our Mother nature a paradise of life, and more importantly, to stop our wrong and unfair doings which deteriorate, destroy and make Her resources extinct- great changes that may bring great transformations for the betterment of some of the Filipinos’ way of living today and tomorrow.