Here's the Tagalog song Bahay Kubo with an English translation. Below the lyrics, you'll find a lovely recording.
Bahay kubo, kahit munti
Ang halaman doon, ay sari sari
Sinkamas at talong, sigarilyas at mani
Sitaw, bataw, patani.
Kundol, patola, upo't kalabasa
At saka mayroon pang labanos, mustasa,
Sibuyas, kamatis, bawang at luya
Sa paligid-ligid ay puno ng linga.
Nipa hut*, even though it is small,
The plants that grow around it are varied:
Turnip and eggplant, winged bean and peanut
String bean, hyacinth bean, lima bean.
Wax gourd, luffa**, white squash and pumpkin,
And there is also radish, mustard,
Onion, tomato, garlic, and ginger
And all around are sesame seeds.
*Originally we had this translated as "bent house". Contessa wrote us to say that it's more commonly called a "nipa hut". A "nipa hut" is a hut made out of nipa (palm) leaves. The frame of the hut is built out of bamboo.
**Also called sponge gourd
Marcell Pimentel wrote: "I would like to add information about the bahay kubo, while it is more famous as the nipa hut because of the local material its made of which is nipa grass, the name bahay kubo was popularized by the Americans, as they were fascinated to see a square house, with no division just windows and doors, then they called it 'cubed house' or as it has been known ever since as "bahay kubo" and the song bahay kubo was composed during the American period when the first American teachers, "thomasites" as we call them, arrived in the Philippines to educate the Filipinos."
"Hi! I found your website while searching for the lyrics to Bahay Kubo, which I learned in elementary school growing up here in Portland, Oregon. I saw that you have an english translation and I wanted to share the english translation that I learned as a first grader. I think it's meant less as a literal translation and more as one that can be sung along with the melody.
My nipa hut is very small
but the plants that I grow
are so healthy and tall.
There are beans, there are peas
standing straight in a row,
and spinach and carrots I grow.
Thanks for your great website!"
Here you can see an illustrated YouTube video of Bahay Kubo showing the vegetables.
Thanks and Acknowledgements
Many thanks to Eilleen Eugenio for contributing and translating the first verse if this song. Thanks also to Contessa for writing about the English translation of "Bahay Kubo" and to Manuel Viloria for giving an explanation of the Tagalog words on his site. Thanks to Marcell Pimentel for commenting on the origin of the term "bahay kubo". Mama Lisa translated the 2nd verse. Thanks to Renelyn Hana for help with the 2nd line of the translation.
Thanks to James Deakin for allowing me to use the above photo of a nipa hut from his site of beautiful photos of the Philippines.
Thanks to Arianne for wriitng!
Many thanks to Manuel Viloria for letting us post his wonderful recording of Bahay Kubo from his podcast about the song. Manuel podcasts about the Tagalog language and about the Philippines.
Thanks also to Gilbert DeBenedetti, who has a Free Piano Music Site, for the score.