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Rum Aquino Tries to Summon Smiles with His Single “Ngiti”

A track that supposes the power of positivity. 

“Ngiti” by Rum Aquino

E ven with the best intentions, positivity doesn’t always get a positive response.  

But this reality didn’t seem to hinder Rum Aquino. With his fifth single, “Ngiti,” the Manila-based artist seeks to uplift people and he has chosen to do so with unabashed optimism.   

 “Ang inspirasyon ko sa paggawa ng kantang ito ay ang pagsalubong sa mga bagong pagsubok sa buhay, [My inspiration for this song is the act of facing new challenges in life,]” he said. “Bagong trabaho, bagong mundo; mga bagay na hindi mo pa nasusubukan at mga bagay na hindi mo pa alam. [New work, a new world, new things you haven’t tried and the things you don’t know.]” 

We have a lot of those these days. Ever since the coronavirus disease 2019 came to the country, much has changed. And now, with the virus and the responses to it introducing various ways of getting by, that challenge of change is far more pronounced. To this, Aquino has an answer that titles his single. 

R eaching nearly five minutes, “Ngiti,” which features supporting vocals from Papapeta’s Paulo Dela Cruz, is a mix of gentle elements coalescing into chill sonic experience. It has various notable points (like a guitar flurry just as the vocalist talks about the unexpected and a few lapses into straight up speaking.) Nevertheless, it is an overall relaxed expression of a theory: one that supposes the power of a smile.  

Ngiti, ngiti lang [Just smile,]” Aquino sings. “Kahit kinakabahan / Agad-agad / Makikita mo / Buong mundo’y ngingiti kasama mo [Even if you’re nervous. You’ll see the whole world smiling with you.]”  

Of course, people might disagree. After all, each of us respond to challenges differently and those responses that do not adhere to Aquino’s suggestions through this song can still be valid and healthy. But should he meet any resistance or even resentment, the single itself suggests that he already has a prepared response.   

Kung madapa, ano naman? [If you trip, so what?]” the song goes. “Eh ‘di bumangon ka ulit kinabukasan. [Just get up again tomorrow.]” 

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