Kundiman is a genre of traditional Filipino love songs. The lyrics of the Kundiman are written in Tagalog. The melody is characterized by a smooth, flowing and gentle rhythm with dramatic intervals. Kundiman was the traditional means of serenade in the Philippines.
The Kundiman emerged as an art song at the end of the nineteenth century and by the early part of the twentieth century, its musical structure was formalised by Filipino composers such as Francisco Santiago and Nicanor Abelardo (February 7, 1893-March 21, 1934); they sought poetry for their lyrics, blending verse and music in equal parts.
Scholars and historians believed that the Kundiman originated from the Visayas. Dr. Francisco Santiago (1889-1947), the "Father of the Kundiman Art Song", briefly explains in his scholarly work The Development of Music in the Philippines that the reason this Tagalog song is called Kundiman is because the first stanza of this song begins thus:
In 1872, the illustrious Franciscan Tagalist and poet, Joaquín de Coria wrote Nueva Gramática Tagalog Teorica-Práctica which, besides treating grammar, also enumerates the characteristics of Tagalog language, and discusses Tagalog poetry. In this book, Coria also listed the names of the most important songs of the Tagalogs. They are:
The Spanish scholar V.M. Avella described the Kundiman in his 1874 work Manual de la Conversación Familiar Español-Tagalog as the "canción indígena" (native song) of the Tagalogs and characterized its melody as "something pathetic but not without some pleasant feeling."
The Spanish writer and historian Wenceslao E. Retana recorded in 1888 the lyrics of a popular Kundiman in Batangas. The melancholic lyrics in the Tagalog original as recorded in Retana's book El Indio Batangueño reads: 
In 1916, Dr. Juan V. Pagaspas, a doctor of philosophy from Indiana University and a much beloved educator in Tanauan, Batangas described the Kundiman as "a pure Tagalog song which is usually very sentimental, so sentimental that if one should listen to it carefully watching the tenor of words and the way the voice is conducted to express the real meaning of the verses, he cannot but be conquered by a feeling of pity even so far as to shed tears."
Dr. Francisco Santiago, the "Father of Filipino Musical Nationalism", declared in 1931 that the Kundiman "is the love song par excellence of the Filipinos, the plaintive song which goes deepest into their hearts, song which brings them untold emotions."
Endowed with such power, the Kundiman naturally came to serve as a vehicle for veiled patriotism in times of colonial oppression, in which the undying love for a woman symbolized the love of country and desire for freedom.
José Rizal, leader of the Propaganda movement and the Philippine national hero, has consecrated the Kundiman in his social novel Noli Me Tangere. Not only this but he himself wrote a Kundiman which is not of the elegiac type because its rhythm sounds the threat, the reproach and the revindication of the rights of the race.
In 1940's, Antonio J. Molina discovered and published a research about a musical piece titled "Jocelynang Baliwag". One of the noticeable title head of the cover image of the musical piece is Musica del Legitimo Kundiman Procedente del Campo Insurecto (Music of the Legitimate Kundiman that Proceeds from the Insurgents)",which led to Molina's conclusion that the Jocelynang Baliwag was the favorite Kundiman among the revolutionaries of Bulacan during the Philippine Revolution of 1896 - earning it the title "Kundiman of the Revolution." This discovery also concluded that from 1896 to 1898 the most famous Kundiman, fired the patriotic sentiments of the Tagalog revolutionaries in the struggle for liberation from Spanish colonial rule. However, in 2017, the research was proven erroneous by historian, Ian Alfonso. In 1905, Isabelo Florentino de los Reyes wrote the kundiman and other written pieces including Ang Singsing ng Dalagang Marmol dedicated to Josefa 'Pepita' Tiongson y Lara from Baliwag, Bulacan whom he courted. Jocelynang Baliuag is actually composed of four musical pieces - "Liwayway", "El Anillo de Dalaga de Marmol", "Pepita" and Jocelynang Baliuag". 
The Filipino composer, conductor and scholar Felipe M. de León Jr., wrote that the Kundiman is a "unique musical form expressing intense longing, caring, devotion and oneness with a beloved. Or with a child, spiritual figure, motherland, ideal or cause. According to its text, a kundiman can be romantic, patriotic, religious, mournful. Or a consolation, a lullaby. Or a protest and other types. But of whatever type, its music is soulful and lofty, conveying deep feelings of devotional love."