Magtanim Ay Di Biro, English translation

Planting rice is not a joke

English translation by Roberto Verzola

Magtanim ay di biro

Traditional Filipino folksong


Come, dear fellow stewards of the earth,

stretching muscles is good for the health.

Let us pause so we can catch our breath,

and then tomorrow back to work!

Planting rice is not a joke;

the whole day you’re bent like an ox.

You cannot stand more than one bit;

till you’re done you cannot sit.

Oh, my arms, the feeling’s gone;

and my waist, its tired and sore.

My legs feel a thousand pricks,

soaked in water, six to six.

Mornings when I wake and rise;

I tell myself to think, be wise

and pray to find some land to till,

so I can have a tasty meal.

What a cruel destiny

to be born in poverty

If I don’t work with my two arms,

I won’t earn a single dime.


Halina, halina, mga kaliyag,

tayo’y magsipag-unat-unat.

Magpanibago tayo ng lakas,

para sa araw ng bukas.

Magtanim ay di biro;

maghapong nakayuko.

Di naman makatayo;

di naman makaupo.

Bisig ko’y namamanhid;

baywang ko’y nangangawit.

Binti ko’y namimintig,

sa pagkababad sa tubig.

Sa umaga pagkagising,

lahat ay iisipin.

Kung saan may patanim,

may masarap na pagkain.

Ay, pagkasawimpalad

ng inianak sa hirap.

Ang bisig kung di iunat,

di kumita ng pilak.



  1. Posted March 6, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    This is really a great stuff for sharing. Keep it up.Thanks for sharing.

  2. nicole orlanes
    Posted September 22, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    thank you very much
    it helps me do my assignment!!!!

  3. magmus_24
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know the tone of the last stanza. But thanks for the lyrics.=D

  4. Grace Lee
    Posted September 23, 2011 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    Thank you for translating many Filipino Folk songs into English.
    It helps non Tagalog speaking friends to understand the beauty
    of our folk songs and our culture too. thanks!

  5. Posted November 18, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    salamat sa pagshare ng mga pinoy songs. Salamat kabayan. πŸ™‚

  6. Posted January 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink


  7. melinda marcelo
    Posted August 31, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    salamat sa pagshare mo isang malaking tulong ito sa mga kabtaan sa ngayon.

  8. Posted September 19, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    really needed this! thanks! πŸ™‚

  9. kaycee anne
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    haha πŸ˜€

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