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May 18

“Filipino Baby”: A Soldier’s Love Story in the Philippines

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Tracing back the American history, the 20th century saw a light of Americans going out to other parts of the world. This does not only mean a vacation or just a travel to other countries. The past century was one of the bloodiest (if not the bloodiest) centuries ever in the entire world history. The greatest wars — World War I and II — happened during that time. In addition, it is also clearly remembered when the Korean War and the Vietnam War took place. These were the times when our American troops spread across the world to give aid and help those of less power in pursuit of liberty.

"Filipino Baby": A Soldier's Love Story in the Philippines 1
(Photo Credits: keranews.org)

In Asia alone, neighboring countries have suffered politically. The Philippines was one of the countries that were affected. To have a brief lesson in history, the Philippines came under the Americans after the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in April 1898. Prior to this, the Philippines was under the Spanish regime for over 300 years. It was then a part of the Spanish East Indies.

The American power already gained and established its strength in the 19th century. With its hope and aim to provide aid and assistance to other parts of the world, the rule of Spain in the Philippines caught its eye. The Americans then made the Asian country as one of its commonwealth governments. For almost 50 years, the Philippines was under the United States until 1946.

The Impact on the Filipinos and Americans

The history is a very long story and fitting it in just one article would not suffice.

The American soldiers during that time had great relations with the Filipino folks. Until the liberation of the Philippines on July 4, 1946, connections between the soldiers and the Filipino women was still evident. Some soldiers had love affairs with women. While most came back after the war, a few stayed to form a new family in the Asian country.

"Filipino Baby": A Soldier's Love Story in the Philippines 2
Ernest Tubb (Photo Credits: legacy.com)

These stories have been revealed in memoirs and some were translated into songs. A great example is “Filipino Baby” which was first recorded and popularized by Ernest Tubb. This song is about a story of a soldier. When the liberation of the Philippines was set up in 1946, he has to leave the country. Leaving the country means leaving also his Filipino lover. With this, he hopes to go back to the Philippines and marry her.

Filipino Baby” was co-penned by Bill Cox with Clarke Van Ness. It is a song about Cox’s Uncle Fred. The song was based on “Ma Filipino Babe” written by Chas K. Harris in 1899.

Listen to Ernest Tubb’s “Filipino Baby” below:

When the warship’s left Manila sailing proudly o’er the sea
All the sailor’s hearts were filled with fond regret
Looking backward to this Island where they spent such happy hours
Making love to every pretty girl they’ve met
(Well up stopped a little sailor with his pride eyes all aglow
Saying take a look at my girl’s photograph)
Then the sailors gathered round him just to look upon her face
And he said I love my Filipino baby
She’s my Filipino baby she’s my treasure and my pet
Her teeth are bright and pearly and her hair is black as jet
Oh her lips are sweet as honey and her heart is true I know
She’s my darling my little Filipino baby…

Watch Cowboy Copas and his version of “Filipino Baby” below:

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Ernest Tubb, Filipino Baby


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