Only a few songs have the power to transport you to a magical place and take you on a rollercoaster of emotions. Regine Velasquez-Alcasid’s “Dadalhin” is definitely on that list.

Written by veteran songmaker Tats Faustino, the track was released in May 2002 as part of Velasquez-Alcasid’s 11th studio album, Reigne — which skyrocketed to triple platinum certification. Since then, it’s dominated airwaves, karaoke playlists, and streaming platforms for years, once it plays people know how the song flows. “Dadalhin” is a timeless classic that has touched the hearts of millions.

Most recently, we heard it re-arranged exclusively for Billboard Studios. In collaboration with another prominent Filipino composer, Raul Mitra, this version of the hit single is delivered on a wholly different dynamic.

Sit back and tune in, music lovers, for this is one memorable ride.

Act I: Your Sweet Promise

The new arrangement of “Dadalhin” begins with a two-note lead-in that seemingly ushers the listener straight away into its lyrical storytelling. It perfectly sets the mood for the first and second verses where the words tell the familiar story of how love grows – getting swept off your feet, heart thumping when the other is around, and seeing sparkles in each other’s eyes. “Ang sarap nitong pag-ibig…” (“This love feels good…”) That unexplainable feeling only love can bring.

Throughout this segment, Mitra’s melodic choices greatly amplify the sweet setting. His slow and steady rhythm gently carries the vocals, painting a picture as if you and your lover are on a romantic boat ride on a calmly flowing river, moving freely without a care in the world. His sound is dreamy and light. The progression is simple, yet pieced together so meticulously to tug at the listener’s heartstrings.

It leads to a break followed by subtle note drops as the chorus starts, providing a spotlight to the singer as she delivers the titular “promise” of going to a special place made especially for the two of you. Up until this point, “Dadalhin” is mostly anchored in major chords. When Velasquez-Alcasid reaches the part saying, “ipinangako mo,” Mitra keys in a B minor. It’s a masterful execution of transition that subliminally signals an impending change in sound.

As for the narrative, it alludes to an emotion of disappointment for the story’s lead as if saying, “But why? You promised,” realizing that this vow is not meant to happen. 

Act II: Your Fleeting Promise

“Dadalhin lang pala ng hangin…” (“Only to be carried by the wind…”) The break done by Velasquez-Alcasid and Mithra here is a touch of musical magic. The sustained note and breath by the singer; the pianist’s C7 arpeggio; and a full second of silence that followed – they all attributed a feeling of loss. The supposed promise is a fleeting, fading dream.

As if poetically, the next words give way to the start of a darker melody.

As Velasquez-Alcasid hums the end of the first chorus, the song shifts to a more melancholic theme. Riddled with notes in minor and seventh patterns, the tone amplifies the singer’s sorrow and yearning. It’s a tried and tested formula in music so much so that minor chords are frequently associated with feelings related to sadness. However, this is the first time it’s done for “Dadalhin” and the impact is nothing short of heart-wrenching. Given this version’s slower tempo, the listener is given more time to process the emotions carried within the song.

Act III: My Hurtful Promise

The second chorus is a half-step higher at E flat. Another impactful creative decision as it highlights the strong feelings dwelling in someone who recently got hurt. Confusion, anger, regret, all familiar emotions packed in one superb expression of artistry.

Then comes the song’s bridge delivering the lines that arguably hurt the most, beginning with, “Umiiyak, umiiyak ang puso ko.” (“My heart is crying”) The imagery of a bleeding heart is an apt visual representation that matches the sound experience, with all that pain seemingly serving as the red carpet for Velasquez-Alcasid’s belting runs.

The accompaniment is equally satisfying, with Mitra’s note spacing and dynamics dedicated to keeping the passionate emotions flowing. The synergy displayed here by the two expert musicians is undoubtedly compelling. As the vocals hit the high notes, the accompaniment details and stylistic touches are toned down, with the opposite happening during subtler singing. The pianist’s freedom to play around peaks during the ad lib, but is quickly drawn back so as not to break the listener’s immersion.

Act IV: My Forgiving Promise

Toward the end of the final chorus, the tone gradually eases from loud to serene. Another fine arrangement as it presents a later phase in the journey of a person’s heartbreak, which is eventual healing.

After one last belting run, Velasquez-Alcasid brings “Dadalhin” back to a lighter sound, evoking a scene of a person who’s starting to forgive and let go. As she reaches the final “Dadalhin lang pala ng hangin,” Mithra complements the shift in tone with a short, sweet solo that acts as both a fill-in and artistic signal for the imaginary curtains to prepare for closing after this final act.

With the delivery of the last of the lyrics, the listener is ferried away with a familiar two-note pattern, signifying that this “Dadalhin” journey has come full circle. You hear Velasquez-Alcasid’s voice slowly fade, as if whispering that new dreams can always be made.

Watch Regine Velasquez-Alcasid’s full performance on Billboard Philippines Studios here.