“Tayo’y mga Pinoy, tayo’y hindi Kano. ‘Wag kang mahihiya kung ang ilong mo ay pango,” those are the words immortalized by Heber Bartolome through his song “Tayo’y mga Pinoy.” Sadly, that lyrics full of pride will no longer be heard live from the singer as the OPM legend passed away on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, at the age of 73.
Born on Nov. 4, 1948, Bartolome was seen as among the pillars of OPM. Becoming a music artist was natural to him, inheriting his parents’ love for the craft. Soon enough, he built a band with his brothers Jesse and Levi, and called their group Banyuhay during the martial law era.
Apart from “Tayo’y mga Pinoy,” his popular songs include “Dukha” and “Nena,” both of which showcased his flair for protest music. Eventually, these songs became favorites among activists.
Bartolome also extended his career in the academe by being a professor of Filipino Literature at the De La Salle University from 1981 to 1984.
Apart from his colorful musical career, being a graduate of Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines, the veteran singer will also be remembered as a visual artist. Early in 2020, his work “Ang Bayan” was featured in the Ortigas Art Festival. The artwork presents the struggle, oppression, and injustice the Filipinos had injured in the 1970s.
Rest in peace, Heber Bartolome.