Archipelago Music Intro

The Music Village

Dec 24, 2008

Something to learn from the Koreans

It was in fourth year high school that Koreans began making their appearance in my consciousness. Today, I’m a fan of the Korean people and I dream of the day when the Philippines can mimic the framework of South Korea in its path toward global progress.

After the successful Taiwanese TV drama ‘Meteor Garden’ of ABS-CBN and the not-so-successful ‘My MVP Valentine’ of GMA-7, the latter network put the first Koreanovela (how Korean TV dramas are called in the Philippines) on primetime: ‘Lavender.’ From then on, Koreanovelas have penetrated Pinoy culture well—from ‘Jewel in the Palace’ to ‘Lovers in Paris,’ ‘from ‘Winter Sonata’ to ‘My Name is Kim Sam Soon.’

I was able to try Korean food when we went to the US in Summer 2005. We went there through Asiana Airlines, the stewardess of which served either Korean food or Western food for their meals. My mother and big brother would choose “itang balu da na,” while I, the hard-headed and adventurous Laxamana boy, insisted on trying what Koreans had to offer when it comes to dining. After all, it’s not everyday that you get to try Korean food. If it tastes awful, then charge it to experience. But fortunately, I loved it! Kimchi didn’t taste good at first but I have learned to love it, in spite of my mother wanting to puke at the smell of it.

Our stopover was in Incheon, South Korea, and we were to stay there for 10 hours. I liked the place. It was cold. It was clean. I couldn’t get over the idea that South Korea used to be poorer than the Philippines. It was hard conversing using English with the natives working at the airport, but they were friendly enough.

The airline company offered two choices for us to spend our 10 hours: take a short Korean tour, or take a rest at a Korean hotel. I wanted a tour, but my company wanted to rest. What a waste of opportunity! It’s not everyday that we get to stay for 10 hours in South Korea.

In college, I was introduced to Korean films in my Film 100 class, where the professor recounted how the film industry of South Korea developed, to the point of making a global wave in a decade’s span. I then grabbed hold of Korean war films like ‘Taegukci’ and romance films like ‘Il Mare,’ and I must say kudos. The unpretentious support of the government contributed highly to the development of Korean entertainment, so said my professor.

In one of my Broadcast Communication class, Music in Media, we had one Korean classmate. I already forgot his name, but I still remember our encounters with him. He was always bringing with him an electronic Korean-English dictionary which he would consult often when he couldn’t remember the appropriate English words to express his remarks. It was amusing, really. I had the chance to have him as a group mate, and his linguistic and cultural struggles didn’t make him less participative. He was indispensable in class. In fact, when deciding for the photo theme of our CD project inlay, he came up with this very artistic idea of fusing classical music flavor with stinking toilets, which to me was very fresh, but to my conservative professor was, well, stinking.

In my college life, more and more students were trying to enlist in Korean language subjects, learning how to write Hanggul and learning basic Korean sentences, phrases, and expressions. Angeles City nowadays also celebrate Choo-Seok festival for the people in that Korean avenue called Friendship, the Korean signboards of which, I think, outnumber the Kapampangan signboards present in the city. In Cebu, they have this Cebuanovela titled ‘Saranghe’ (‘Kaluguran Da Ka’ in Korean), which features a love triangle—two boys and a girl. One of the boys is Korean.

Evidently, Koreans, as well as other Asians, own this decade, and the future is teeming with grander Asian possibilities. I just wonder when the Philippines and other Austronesians will take part.

Korean Singers in the US

Three big Korean entertainers are attempting to conquer US after conquering much of Asia. They are none other than Rain, famous in the Philippines for the Koreanovela ‘Full House’ and that shampoo commercial with a popular line ‘My name is Rain’; Se7en, another Justin Timberlake-like South Korean RnB crooner who is not yet known in the Philippines but is celebrated throughout Asia; and BoA, a multitalented girl who can sing, dance, sing in many languages, and who has a beautiful face and body to flaunt.

BoA has already debuted in the US, but I haven’t heard whether she’s successful. Her debut US debut music video looked like the typical Britney Spears or Beyonce music videos, only with the English lyrics being sung with Asian accent.

Rain’s debut and a lot of concerts have been postponed due to trademark conflicts, while Se7en’s debut is, in my opinion, the most watched out for, as the production team of his US debut album consists of big people who contributed to the success of big US names like Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas, Madonna, Fergie, etc. His first single would be ‘Girls’ featuring Lil’ Kim. The song was produced by Darkchild.

In a newspaper article, of the Black Eyed Peas opined that he sees no reason as to why Korean entertainers couldn’t make it big in the US. If American singers can make it big in other places, why not the other way around?

Dec 16, 2008

Kapampangans and Mindanao Cinema

December 14 marked the beginning of the 4th Mindanao Film Festival, the organization of which contributes to the sign that, as one blogger put it, “the Art and Culture movements in the regions are gaining momentum and covering more ground.”

The Mindanao Film Festival began five years ago. Originally, it featured short films made by Dabawenyo artists (from the Guerrilla Filmmaking Workshops). In its fourth year, not only shall it feature short films in competition, it will also exhibit full-length Mindanaon films such as ‘Concerto: Davao War Diary,’ which was screened on the opening day.

‘Concerto: Davao War Diary’ is a period digital film set during the time after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when Davao was attacked by the Imperial Army of Japan. Due to the circumstances, one wealthy family leaves behind their properties and takes refuge in the forest where they befriend some Japanese while holding support for the guerrilla movement. Before the end of the war, they hold a special piano concert.

Charliebebs Gohetia, a colleague of mine in the UP College of Mass Communication and one of Brillante Mendoza’s trusted editors for his films, has his own contribution to Mindanao Cinema, too. His full-length debut, ‘The Thank You Girls,’ which failed to be a finalist twice in the Cinemalaya full-length category, but was independently produced nonetheless, is also part of the festival.

‘The Thank You Girls’ is a film in Bisaya with a gay lingo twist. The official synopsis reads: “Tired of losing in all the beauty competitions in Davao City, five dysfunctional gay beauty pageant veterans decide to travel north to Cagayan de Oro City, in the island of Mindanao. Their mission: to conquer the grandest competition of beauty, personality and brains in the whole province. They believe that being city dwellers, gays in the province will never stand a chance against them.”

Included in the festival as well is Cinema One Originals Best Picture ‘Ang Huling Balyan Ng Buhi’ (English title is ‘The Woven Stories of the Other,’ but the title literally translates to “the last priestess of life”) by Sherad Anthony Sanchez. Set in the forest village of Napalico in the Arakan Valley of North Cotabato, it mainly features a seemingly insane local priestess (balyan or tagbawian) named Manay who communes with the river, who one night performs her last miracle—a stigmata. NPA communist rebels, government soldiers, and children also take roles in the story.

War and peace situations in Mindanao is tackled in the advocacy film ‘Hunghong Sa Yuta’ (‘Earth’s Whisper’), directed by Arnel Mardoquio. The film is about deaf mute children in a community in the mountains. The children are a mixture of Christians, Muslims, and Lumads, and are introduced to the alphabets and numerals by a teacher from the city. “War between rebels and the military has devastated the community of Hinyok, its most telling casualty being children born without the ability to speak and hear whose fathers are now intent on training them to become fighters to defend their land. Vigo Cruz, artist and toy-maker, answers a posted notice about Hinyok’s need for a teacher, and his work with the children brings joy and hope to the young war victims and their mothers.”

An upcoming Chabacano-Bisaya film was also announced during the festival. It will be shot in Davao and Zamboanga next year.

Kapampangan Cinema

The emergence of Mindanao Cinema, as well as film scenes in other regions, especially the Visayan and Cordilleran region, is inspiring, and I keep on dreaming of the day when this idea called “Kapampangan Cinema” would take corporeal form in Central Luzon and in the long run, prove to be a powerful branch of Philippine cinema.

The production of several award-winning Kapampangan films such as 2008’s Most Outstanding Kapampangan for Mass Media Brillante Mendoza’s ‘Masahista,’ ‘Kaleldo,’ ‘Manoro,’ and ‘Serbis’ and Francis Xavier Pasion’s ‘Jay’ is a good sign, as their presence may cause a domino effect to other aspiring Kapampangan filmmakers.

The Mindanao Film Festival is a joint effort among the Mindanao Film and Television Development Foundation, the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, the City Government and City Tourism Office of Davao, the Museo Dabawenyo, plus some admirable support from the private sector.

If not only for the chaos in the Pampanga Capitol, I believe the Tourism Office of Pampanga would have spearheaded the first ever Kapampangan interschool short film competition this Aldo Ning Kapampangan. Sadly, it did not push through.

Will 2009 mark the conception of Kapampangan Cinema and the introduction of its concept to universities in the Kapampangan region?

Student Filmmakers

Students (especially college ones) are often seen as the hope of emerging film scenes. A problem—a curable, minor one at that—with the students in the Kapampangan region is that they are still more or less ignorant of independent cinema.

Ask them to do a short film and you’d see that they’re trying to poorly mimic Hollywood and the stuff they see on free TV. Worse, the Kapampangan reality/experience is seldom or never featured in the stories.

Kapampangan student filmmakers studying in Manila, however, have made Kapampangan-themed works, and it makes me wonder—why do they arise in Manila? Perhaps it’s because when one studies in Manila, he/she is dipped in a ocean of diverse races. To project a unique identity in his/her film, who else to consult but the dear homeland? After all, only you know the stories of the Kapampangan region. Why waste time competing using Manila-themed films?

Thus, I take this opportunity to inform the Kapampangans about Kapampangan short films done in Manila.

First is Mark Dela Cruz’ ‘Misteryo Ng Hapis’ (‘The Sorrowful Mystery’) which bagged the Best Thesis title during its time at the UP Film Institute. It’s about a young gay who confronts his painful memories with his homophobic father during the wake of the latter. The film is like a rosary prayer narration.

Watch the whole film by searching ‘Misteryo Ng Hapis’ at Google Video.

Another is Jacqueline Nakpil’s ‘Lual Kulambu’ (‘Outside the Mosquito Net’), also from the UP Film Institute. It’s about a young boy from Bacolor who lives with his grandmother in the barrio. However, when his grandmother dies, he is forced to live in his uncle’s house in Manila. In there, he struggles to adapt to his new home.

Lastly is ‘Pupul’ (‘Harvest’) by Nicolette Henson, a Mutya Ning Kapampangan and a Kapampanganovela actor who currently takes up Mass Communication at St. Scholastica’s Academy Manila. In her AVP class, ‘Pupul’ was branded the best narrative. It tells the story of a single mother who tries to keep her son from seeing his real father in the farm due to personal reasons.

It will be uploaded soon through the Internet.

Shameless Plug

Allow me to plug our own contribution to this Kapampangan Cinema dream. Our group Kalalangan Kamaru, in cooperation with the Holy Angel University Center for Kapampangan Studies, presents ‘Ing Bangkeru’ (‘The Boatman’), a 10-minute screen adaptation of the anonymous Kapampangan ballad of the same title. Shot in the Pampanga River, it tells an anecdote about an arrogant student from Manila intellectually challenging a young, lowly boatman about the philosophies the student had learned in his Spanish school.

We also have our very first Kapampangan documentary called ‘Sexmoan Adventures.’ Its synopsis: “A town in the Philippine province of Pampanga has for long been known as Sexmoan. One day, the municipal government decided to dump its scandalous spelling and replaced it with how residents traditionally call their homeland: Sasmuan.” The documentary lightly interviews residents of Sasmuan about their attitude toward Sexmoan and their current lifestyle.

Lastly, we are making a new digital short film titled ‘Balangingi’ (‘Nosebleed’ in English; ‘Balinguyngoy’ in Tagalog). It’s a Kapampangan romantic comedy about two discriminating intellectuals forced to attend a blind date. This short film gives a peek to that minority in Philippine society who are unlikely to survive socially by being themselves-- the Filipino intellectuals. Or as laymen would call them: Nerds! As parents call them: Pilosopo.

Dec 13, 2008

Zamboanga's Chabacano Band, Comic Relief

OCM is OPM! Original Chavacano Music is Original Pilipino Music!

Ruling the airwaves of Zamboanga City is Comic Relief, a local band that writes and performs original compositions in the Chabacano Philippine language. To Filipinos ignorant of this seemingly-Spanish language called Chabacano, be fooled not. Zamboanga's mother language is not a dialect of Spanish, as it's not mutually intelligible with the Spanish languages.

Here is an article I found related to Comic Relief and the emerging OCM scene:

Councilor Gerky Valesco, in his support to Original Chabacano Music (OCM) is encouraging young musicians and artists to make use of the Chabacano language in their artistic attempts.

Valesco’s reiteration of support came as he was tapped by young musicians to direct the first major concert of “Comic Relief”, an all Zamboangueno band whose power rock ballad “Cuando” is enjoying commercial success since the song is one of the top ten most requested songs in the city’s many FM stations.

“I am happy that there is an upsurge of Chabacano materials in music and in poetry. This is indeed a welcome development which shows how special and how vibrant Chabacano is”. Valesco said.

Zach Quijano, composer and leader of ‘Comic Relief’ band said they have already engaged in series of talks with Valesco requesting the alderman from Santa Maria to be the director of their first major concert slated on December 16, 2008.

“We want Sir Valesco to direct our show owing the fact that Valesco has been supportive to music and arts. We also know that Sir Gerky, is very much down to earth, and has been responsible in helping organized many of the concerts in Zamboanga,” Quijano said.

Quijano said that since last August they have been meeting with Valesco regarding their desire to have their songs promoted. Last September, Valesco brought CD samplers to some FM stations in Manila and to some executives of recording labels.

Quijano said besides, their reason for requesting Valesco to help them because according to them Valesco understands them better since Valesco is also an artist. “We’re comfortable with him (Valesco) because he knows the circuit and he knows the plight of the artists,” Quijano said.

Valesco, prior to his political career has been a director and organizer of many concerts. He has directed the show of Jose Mari Chan, Armarie Saavedra, Revelation Band, Marc Velasco, and many others. Valesco also organized the shows of David Pomeranz, Rossana Roces, and the Lettermen last July.

Dec 4, 2008

Kreak Bathala and their Bikol song "Kagadanan"

Krear Bathala is a band formed in Tabaco City, Albay, Philippines in the year 2000 by Jimple Borlagdan , Nukie Cañon , and Rodel Aguilar as Haunted Garage—a tribute to the old room in Jimple’s Lola’s house, where the band jams. When Nukie and Rodel eventually left the band in 2003, Jimple’s brother Jimzzy Borlagdan , Waxx Ko , and Binat Pelaez on bass, all from other groups, joined in.

The band was among the poineer bands of the Tabaco City, Albay, Roots series, created by Auwgz Pelaez, Binat’s Brother, which booked 13 major gigs in Legazpi City and Tabaco City, Albay for four years. Then when Binat Pelaez was voted out of the band, due to differences, Jun Lim was taken in. During this time two singles (Clowns and Hari ng Walang Hanggang Parusa) by the band were recorded. In the end Jun Lim had to go and Waxx assumed the jinxed bass slot.

Recently, the band gave in to a foreign band of the same name (Haunted Garage) after years of cyber disputes, and adopted Krear Bathala as the band’s name, for it heralds a new musical direction that veers more to Bikolano-sensitive songs, and it repackaged the band’s new three-piece line-up.

This year, three of their singles (Clowns, Hari ng Walang Hanggang Parusa, bootlegged Kagadanan) were included in the “Tanog Tabaco: A definitive Original Tabaqueño Music Compilation” album, and their newly recorded song “Kagadanan” will come out in the Albay music compilation “Ribok.”

Musically, the band is hard to define, as they fuse unpopular mixtures of traditional colonial music with old and new schools of rock. Some categorize them as old school metal, like Iron Maiden and Wolfgang, while others label them as prog rock or just plain rock. In spite of this, Krear Bathala is clear on one thing: They exist only for the attainment of Tanog Tabaco, the mythical true Bikolano Sound.

Their works can be sampled at their official website,

Check out our profile at

Jaime Borlagdan, Correspondent

Nov 28, 2008

Exoduce and Waray Hip Hop

Hip hop and band music are often the primordial musical genres of non-dominant pop cultures because they are theoretically easier to make than pop music, which requires great technology, marketing, bureaucracy, and funds (such as Jay Chou of Taiwan and Britney Spears of USA).

That is why in the regions of the Philippines, pockets of hip hop and rock are prevalent.

When it comes to Waray hip hop, the rap group La Familia of South Bound Entertainment from Tacloban City is most famous. One member, Exoduce (Rey Pacanan in real life), also stands out in his own right with his series of hot tracks, one of which is "Waray La Gihap Iba."

The song became the number one Song in M.O.R. Daily Top10 and the No.1 Song in M.O.R. Weekly Top20 Countdown for 5 Weeks. It also entered Love Radio's Kwatro Kantos Countdown.

La familia, even though singing in Waray, conquers the airwaves of both the Waray and Visayan-speaking regions, proving to the rest of the Filipinos that music is a universal language.

The album of La Familia titled "Ikaduha Nga Sumat" has 14 tracks:

# Ikaduha nga Sumat
# Bro
# Diskudal
# Salisi feat. Banal of GreenPeace
# Radio
# Waray na gud iba
# Gugma Ba?
# Problema
# 053 pt. 2 (Panhuna-huna panahon na…)
# 284 (Tikang han magbulag kita)
# Iba Gad
# Bulos (Remix) feat. Mad Clown
# La Solidaridad feat. Waray Batazan, Kid Mob, TNT, TBS, Flipside, EOM, ETS, TST, Supremo, KKK
# Outro

Visit to hear more of their music.

Nov 25, 2008

Rumor: MYX plans to launch indie show

A reliable source from ABS-CBN informed me that MYX is planning to open a show dedicated to independent musicians. I don't know if it's independent musicians or independent bands, but the theme is gonna be indie.

MYX is planning to do that to cater to the hundreds of indie music videos that they keep receiving from indie musicians.

My question now is: is this indie type of show the way for national television to cater to regional OPM as well, which is mostly comprised of independent musicians? Or will this new indie OPM show be Tagalog- and English-centric as well?

We'll wait and see.

Nov 21, 2008

Mernuts: A Taste of Kapampangan Pop

Mernuts consists of Jhaye Arzaga (vocals), Chao Chua (vocals and guitars), Paeng Sabado (bass), Jun Catacutan (lead guitars), and Jay Salazar (drums).

Mernuts is a rap-RnB-funk Kapampangan band. A dance floor full of sweaty people is always the goal once the band sets in motion and they will stop at nothing to make sure that happens. The band's material successfully combines elements from many styles of popular music with one common theme; it all makes you feel entertained—urban Kapampangan style!

This band from Tarlac City, made a small but significant contribution to the RocKapampangan album with their single and original composition Aliwa Kang Talaga.

Formed in 2007, they fondly translate famous hit RnB songs into the Kapampangan language. The very famous Irreplaceable of Beyonce was translated by two members of the band (Jhaye and Chao) became a hit on YouTube and has drawn people’s attention.

The rest of their original Kapampangan translations such as, Taksil (Rihanna’s Unfaithful), Payung (Rihanna’s Umbrella), E Na Ku Kikiak (Fergie’s Big Girls Don’t Cry) also gathered a lot of comments and admiration from their YouTube followers.

This spirited, fresh new English-Kapampangan band worked so hard in order to pursue their aim that is to bring smiles to other people’s faces. With their ability to make music, they have composed English songs, Hear Me, Alice, It Should Be You and the newest song Oras which will be used in Kalam (a Kapampangan TV series) for its closing song. Their songs address the joys of womanhood, with staunch advice on how to treat errant boyfriends.

The music video of Oras is currently played regularly on MTV Pilipinas’ “Tong Hits” OPM show. It’s the first Kapampangan music video to penetrate MTV.

Nov 14, 2008

Mally and Moro Alternative Rock Music

Aside from the institutionalized dominance of Tagalog and English OPM, the highly Christian Luzon and Visayas islands probably are also ignorant of the fact of this genre called Moro Pop, which is seeing development in the urban parts of Mindanao. While Moro Pop is ruled by Datu Khomeini (in the Maguindanao language), it is safe to say that Moro alternative rock music in the Maranao language is ruled by Mally Solaiman and his band. Altogether, they are known simply as Mally.

Who is Mally? A proud Muslim from Marawi City, Lanao Del Sur, Mally joined Pinoy Idol but failed to be part of the Top 24. According to him, after failing, he felt more challenegd to achieve his dream of having Maranao songs recognized not only locally but internationally.

Personally counted as one of Mally's achievements is his first hit single Aya, the very first Maranao song to become a hit in Boracay (number one for two weeks @ Yes FM Bora last January 2008).

"Because of that big achievement," he states, "I believe in my dream more. It will happen if we Moros will help one another. Salamualaikom!" As his Friendster shouts out: Maranao Songs in the world? It's not impossible!

With extreme fervor for the recognition of Maranao songs, Mally indeed is one the Moro's and the country's gems in genuine multilinguistic Philippine music.

Nov 10, 2008

How Music Videos Can Help Regional Recording Artists

[I am a columnist from Central Luzon Daily with a twice-in-a-week column called Urban Kamaru that tackles modern Kapampangan culture and sociology. Here is an article I wrote about the Kapampangan music video scene, which I believe may also prove applicable to other Philippine regions.]

Budding Kapampangan musicians these days are more fortunate compared to the dreamy-eyed elders, who didn't enjoy the presence of local mass media that could increase their popularity. As I have been telling a chum, pursuing a music career these days doesn't require one to perform everytime (although that would certainly help). A musician, if busy in other matters, can sit pretty; his recorded songs, as long as they're melodically infectious, can spread like virus to the masses.

With the rise of local (local, as in Pampanga- or Central Luzon-based) television and cable stations, musicians, in partnership with filmmakers, have now a new means of propagating their works: through music videos.

For the record, music videos are what Filipinos passionately call MTVs. But MTV, which stands for Music Television, is a company name. To say “Inalben ke itang MTV nang Michael Jackson king MYX” [I watched Michael Jackson's MTV] is nothing different from saying “Sinali kung Colgate, itang Close Up,” [I bought some Colgate, the Close Up one] or “Menalbe yang Popeye, itang Dragon Ball.” [I watched the Popeye that is Dragon Ball]

Dagdag Exposure

In a phone interview, I asked Ara Muna (singer of 'O Jo, Kaluguran Da Ka') regarding the importance of music videos because I heard he has plans of rendering a music video for his Tagalog-Kapampangan hit.

Nung kabud ka mu kasi king radyu, mapalyaring aburi de ing kanta mu, oneng bala mu 50% ya mu; e da ka balu itsura,” [People may like your songs via radio, but it seems to be only 50% because they don't see you or have a visual image of you] the comedienne claimed. “Potang atin kang music video, ababalu da nung ninu ika; kayi potang kabit de ing lupa mu karing tarpaulin o nanu, tambing dang balu ring taung ika ita. Dagdag yang exposure para karing artist.” [When you have a music video, they know you more; when they put your face in tarps, they know at once that that is you. It's additional exposure for the artist.]

But music videos, while highlighting the musical artists, have more functions. Being a filmmaker myself, I believe music video making is another avenue for budding filmmakers, along with other people involved in the production of a film or video like editors, actors, and cinematographers, to practice their craft. When a music video wins an award, for example, in the annual MTV VMAs (Video Music Awards), it's not the just the victory of the artist; it's also the victory of the music video director.

The Upaya of Images
[The Power of Images]

Music videos vary according to style, depending on the director or whoever is in charge with the concept. Some videos austerely show beauty shots of the singer/band in a certain location while some include a narrative in the video.

Music videos are actually like TV commercials—a fact which a lot of music video directors tend to neglect.

“I know some beautiful songs destroyed by their badly done music videos,” says Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez, a Quezon City-based music video and indie film director whose directorial works include the music video/s of Parokya Ni Edgar ('Gitara'), Hale ('Tollgate,' 'The Day You Said Goodnight'), Kyla ('Til They Take My Heart Away'), Sugarfree ('Hari Ng Sablay,' co-directed with another music video director, Topel Lee) and Shamrock ('Okey Lang'). “And I know some good music videos which were destroyed by crappy songs,” he continues.

The power of music videos can even transcend linguistic barriers. In radio, when one hears a song in an unfamiliar language, he is most likely to reject it, simply because he cannot understand it (except if the listener knows how to enjoy music in spite of the language). Music videos on the other hand can make a viewer tune in and watch the video while listening to the song. Even if the song is in an unknown language, the combination of the images, the narrative, and the emotional impact of the music can act as a universal language.

Barros-Sanchez tells his experience: “There's one music video I watched ['Because I'm A Girl' by Kiss] the lyrics of which I don't even understand because it's in Korean. Pero sobrang lakas ng tama sa akin at tuwing napapanood ko, may mga panahong iniiyakan ko pa rin.”

The music video of 'Because I'm A Girl' is about a lady accidentally blinded with chemicals in the dark room of a certain photographer guy. Fortunately, someone donated eyes to her, but when she got her vision back, the photographer can no longer be found, only to find out a few years later in a park that it's the photographer who donated his eyes to her.

“Very sad,” Barros-Sanchez remarks. “I love that in videos. Yung may kurot. Yung may puso.

Problems in Pinoy Music Videos

Makikita mo naman sa video pa lang kung pinagkaperahan ng director,” Barros-Sanchez laments. “First of all, the camera used is bad. Second, the location is ugly; ni walang art or architectural thing na magpapabuhay man lang ng interes mo. Third, no effort was allotted to the production design and cinematography. Hindi kinarir kahit maliit ang budget. Kurtina at halaman (madalas palmera plants) at throw pillows at bed sheets lang, tapos na... Alam mong dalawang oras lang, tapos na ang shooting.”

If one will watch his favorite music channel, he will find a vast number of badly done local music videos, the reasons for which vary. There includes the lack of artistic vision of the director, lack of originality of the concept maker, and the pretentious personality of some music video directors, especially aggressive, budding ones.

Barros-Sanchez expounds, “There's always a new guy around who is willing to do his first music video kahit mag-abono siya para lamang sa demo reel niya at konting pampayabang sa pamilya at barkada.

Ngayon, baratan na talaga sa budget. Lokohan na, kaya mapapansin rin lately na the videos are suffering. Medyo pangit na ang kalidad at dahil doon nag-dwindle na rin interes ng mga tao na panoorin sila. Naumay na. Wala na kasi ng bagong ipinapakita.

Masyado nang naging sikat ang music videos lalo na sa dekadang ito,” the director comments. “Everyone wants a share of the pie, even just the crumbs that fall on the floor. Nawawala na tuloy yung art. Too many cooks spoiling what was once a special brew.”

The Infant Pool of K-Music Videos

Yes, there are Kapampangan music videos already, the number of which could either mean that Kapampangan music video making is emerging, or that Kapampangan music video making is bound to not flourish. Mekikuan, ada pen. [A miscarriage, so they say]

There are two non-commercial, non-live Kapampangan music videos. One is the Pampanga Tourism video with song by ArtiSta. Rita and Mon David ('Malaus Ka Pampanga') and the other is the San Fernando 'Kaluguran Da Ka' music video. My concern though would be more on Kapampangan commercial, non-live music videos by Kapampangan artists, the total number of which would be three. Yes, three. Atlu.

The first music video I have seen (through YouTube) would have to be Harvey Quiwa's 'Ika Mu Ing Tune Para Kaku,' the second placer in the first ever Kapampangan songwriting and pop music contest by ASLAG Kapampangan last 2007. Directed by Emil De Jesus and conceptualized by the singer himself, the video is a simple showcase of the artist singing the love song in a green and grassy field with the indigo silhouette of Bunduk Arayat in the background. Intercut with a mini-plot involving a romantic couple (where Quiwa is the leading man) in a subdivision, the video is currently garnering around 15,000 views in YouTube, mostly from Kapampangans.

The second and third music videos would be those of the opening and closing theme songs of Kalam, the upcoming Kapampangan telenovela of Infomax. 8 and Kalalangan Kamaru.

Filmmakers and Musicians

Kapampangan musicians and Kapampangan filmmakers can grow hand in hand by supporting one another, a phenomenon which I have witnessed as a student in the University of the Philippines Diliman College of Mass Communication—indie bands and indie film directors working and celebrating their art together.

I call on Kapampangan Masscomm students to be observant of the music videos they see on TV and to take advantage of the Internet when it comes to studying. While observation can help you get familiarized with the popular standards and styles of music video direction and conceptualization, remember that you should not be content with copying or perfecting the style of another. As a Kapampangan, you are obliged to bring pride to your race—by coming up with an original style in the creation of music videos which other peoples can look up to someday.

Let's not forget that as Kapampangans, we should live up to the tradition of excellence which we love to take pride in. Let's keep striving for more groundbreaking Kapampangan music, partnered with breath-taking and non-mediocre Kapampangan music videos, as every music video we make is an “advertisement” of the Kapampangan people. To spawn a mediocre music video is either a learning stage for the budding filmmaker, or simply a form of neglect to the subconscious consequences an ugly piece can have to the Kapampangan image.

May Kapampangan music and music videos bloom in the future. Young Kapampangan filmmaking enthusiasts are invited to get acquainted with the writer by texting 09186992459. Kalalangan Kamaru has plans of developing young Kapampangan directors.

Nov 9, 2008

Missing Filemon, one of Bisrock's finest

Missing Filemon is a Bisrock band from Cebu. They have the distinction of being the first Cebuano band to ever produce an album consisting entirely of rock songs in Cebuano.

Missing Filemon was formed in 2002 with Jeb Dorothy Estel on guitars and vocals, Arni Aclao (of The Ire) on bass, and Eimer Tabasa on drums. (Gumer Entero of Happy Days and Ritz Ariba of Frank sits in for the band in some sessions.) The trio joined the Cebu music scene via a route seldom taken by local bands, by using the Cebuano language in their lyrics.

Their self-titled debut album was released in November 2002. It was released under Independent Culture Records and was produced by Ian Zafra of Shiela and the Insects. Budoy Marabiles and Sandy Chiongbian appear on the album.

After the release of their first album, they disappeared from the Cebuano music scene (although there was no official statement that they have disbanded). They returned in early 2005 and took in Cocoy Hermoso of Beverage for guitars and Ron Capio of Curious Blossoms for bass (Aclao left Missing Filemon and reunited with his old band The Ire.) and highlighted the comeback with a series of gigs in Cebu and Mindanao.

Albums include Missing Filemon (2002) and Sine-Sine (2005). A fansite may be accessed here:

Below is Sine-Sine, a promotional music video for the Cinema One Original film Confessional. Video directed and photographed by Ruel Dahis Antipuesto, edited by Jerrold Tarog.

Nov 7, 2008

Random Thoughts on OPM

By Jason Paul Laxamana

Wikipedia provides us a pretty fair definition of what OPM is.

“Original Pilipino Music, now more commonly termed Original Pinoy Music or Original Philippine Music, (frequently abbreviated to OPM) originally referred only to Filipino pop songs, especially those in the ballad form, such as songs popularized in the 1970s through the mid-1990s by major commercial Filipino pop artists like Ryan Cayabyab, Kuh Ledesma, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Martin Nievera, Basil Valdez, Rey Valera, Regine Velasquez, Ogie Alcasid, Lani Misalucha, Lea Salonga, and APO Hiking Society. [These people all sing in Tagalog and English -Laxamana]

In the passage of time as well as the development of many diverse and alternative musical styles in the Philippines, however, the term OPM now refers to any type of Original Philippine Music created in the Philippines or composed by individuals of Philippine extraction, regardless of location at the time when composed. The lyrics, in fact, may be in any language or dialect. Although most of it are written either in Filipino/Tagalog, English or Taglish, OPMs written in foreign languages (eg. in Japanese), though handful, do exist.”

Monstrosity of Radio

I once asked a senior DJ from a renowned and Golden Dove Award-winning FM radio station in Manila if they are open to playing OPM (Original Pilipino Music) sung in neither Tagalog nor English. With cold honesty, he told me a two-letter but painful word: NO.

“Even if they’re really good?” I asked.

“Uh-huh,” he replied.

Trying to prick his conscience, I questioned, “Isn’t that a form of racial discrimination? Aren’t songs sung in other languages like Kapampangan, Waray-Waray, and Bisaya also Filipino, and thus, should be welcomed in your Original PILIPINO Music segments?”

“Sorry, dude, but that’s just how the business is,” he answered with finality. “It’s nothing personal.”

MTV Pilipinas

MTV Pilipinas is more mature and racially sensitive. Proud of our work on the music video of “Oras” by Mernuts and “Alang Anggang Sugat” by 5 Against The Wall, we contacted MTV Pilipinas and asked them if they are willing to incorporate in their OPM playlists our Kapampangan music videos, “since we’re Pilipino din naman.”

Surprisingly, they said yes and claimed that they are supportive of OPM regardless of the language being used. They even said they’re happy that movements to develop OPM in regional languages are occurring, citing the Visayan music scene, led by Bisrock or Bisaya Rock, as a good example.

The catch, however—which to me is just fair—is that the music videos should be at par with other music videos we see on TV. We had no problems with that, as we made sure that our music videos were in one way or another worth the attention.

And, thus, the first Kapampangan music video to air on MTV Pilipinas (in its OPM show called “Tong Hits”), “Oras” by Mernuts.

MYX on the other hand is an unfinished story, and we are still working on it.

Nov 6, 2008

Bulyaw Mariguen, a Cuyonon Band

If Kapampangans have their RocKapampangan, Cebuanos have their Bisrock, Warays have La Familia or Exoduce, Cuyonons from the little island of Cuyo, Palawan have Bulyaw Mariguen.

The term Bulyaw Mariguen is the local term for a game similar to hide-and-seek. It is also the name of the first Cuyonon band to make songs in the Cuyonon language (a language spoken on the coast of Palawan and the Cuyo Islands), which are rocking the radio waves of Palawan.

Check out Midyo Kano Lamang (Maski Ano Lang), Bisara Y Lola (Pagalit ni Lola), Sa Marayeng Lugar (Sa Malayong Lugar), and Ploning, Adin Ka Ren (Ploning, Where Are You?) as appetizers for a full 16-track album coming this December (yet to be confirmed).

Bulyaw Mariguen consists of Thopz Perez (vocals), Franz Abid (lead guitars), Philip Abid (drums), and Popoy Dela Torre (bass).

cuyonon - midyo kano lamang - bulyaw mariguen

Jocelyn Fabello, correspondent

Nov 3, 2008

Thavawenyoz, Pride of Davao and Bisaya Music

Out of everyday-life ghettos and the ever changing urbanity, from what Dabawenyos call home hails a tandem that will conquer your senses and ravish you to your seats. Brandishing their acts to the hip hop and RnB groove, they're breaking into your audio waves to bring you their message that rightfully speaks of their collective name: Thavawenyoz.

The rap duo consist of Jay L AKA Mista Silenza, who was called such because their songs are like shots from silencer guns; you'll never know when he's going to hit you, but when he does, you can't escape. You'll surely stop and listen to his voice and music.

Boone AKA Barbaric of Nation (B.O.N.) meanwhile says he is devoted to his songs and will still struggle to the battlefield of their chosen career in the rap industry. And listening to their voice will surely grab people's attention.

Station after station, the duo is on a roll—creating music that ordinary people can easily relate to and identify with. Their songs became radio favorites and they have been receiving requests and invitations to perform in various places within and outside Davao City. They had already performed with nationally renowned artists, too. With great response from the listeners, the group captured again the taste of the people with the song Roger that is gradually gaining a following.

Thavawenyoz also landed a contract with Alpha Records, and it is the first time ever in history for a rap duo from Davao City to have a nationally-released album.

Their album consists mostly of songs in the Visayan language; other songs, which compose about 3%, are in Taglish.

In 2006, they were awarded by the prestigious Awit Awards with the title Best Regional Recording. Last 2007, they won Best Hip Hop Artist in 1st Mindanao Music Awards.

These two aspiring talents prove that Dabawenyos themselves can make their own name in the music industry, with the fusion of talent, good attitude toward the people, fear of God, and killer melodies.

Official website:

Nov 2, 2008

Bronze P, the Son of Ilonggo Rap

RnB and rap musician Bronze P of La Paz, Iloilo City is an independent Ilonggo artist under his own production label, Bronze Beats. His musical influences are 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Eminem, G Unit, Usher, Kanye West, and Ill Pride.

His career started at the age of 14 with making beats at HandyPlus Computer Center at LaPaz, Iloilo City (now known as Netbench Studios) using E-Jay Music Creator in PS2.

At 15, in High School, he and his buddies Jaylord Galve and Emmanuel Carlo "Mico" Peñalosa started listening to rap music in their pastime, with G Unit's "Beg for Mercy" as their favorite CD. Influenced by 50 Cent, he was inspired to make his own music and he discovered his passion for it.

At the age of 16 in College, he met Mouth 3, the Godfather of Ilonggo Rap, who is also a producer and the King of the underground rap group called Southsyd Souljaz. Mouth 3 produced the debut CD of Bronze P called Da Underdogs. Even though he didn't make it to the Southsyd Souljaz due to schedule conflicts, he and R-Nic, a member of Southsyd Souljaz, decided to make their own duo group called IDS (Ilonggo Dyad Souljaz). He acted as a producer and produced their own records.

In 2006, the duo made a rap jingle for Mang Inasal. Fortunately, the jingle was approved by the CEO and is currently playing in the airwaves. The duo then decided to put up their own studio which is now known as Netbench Studios. Alas, due to some personal issues, he and R-Nic went on separate ways.

Like R-Nic, Bronze P is now a solo artist and makes his CDs independently. He also produces beats for other Ilonggo artists such as R-Nic, Paramour Sifee, R-Dawn, and Sayuke Clan, to name a few.

Visit his webpage here:

Oct 29, 2008

Presenting Archipelago Music

Welcome to Archipelago Music, a blog that will serve to promote new Philippine music (OPM) from the regions. It attempts to empower regional music, especially those sung in the various regional languages of the archipelago like Ilokano, Bikol, Kapampangan, Waray-Waray, Meranaw, etc., amidst the dominance of Tagalog and Pinoy English songs and music videos in the world of OPM.

This is one of the advocacy projects of Kalalangan Kamaru, a multidisciplinary team of Kapampangan youth seeking to develop and propagate Kapampangan pride, culture, and language to the Kapampangan youth. This time, it extends its ideologies to the other ethnolinguistic groups to empower the regions more and make the Philippines a truly multicultural yet unified nation.

The issue of a Tagalog- and English-centric OPM was first raised in GMA-7's "Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho" in their segment "Promdi Rock." It was Kalalangan Kamaru actually who fed them the idea of making a feature on that topic, including another segment that featured TV dramas from the regions.

Watch the "Promdi Rock" segment below:

So to all the Filipinos from the regions, let us altogether develop this blog. Be a correspondent. We do not have the best capacity to monitor the music industries of all the regions in the country, but with your help, we can enrich and diversify this blog more. Send us songs, information, links to music videos, news, reviews, opinions, essays, etc. from your homeland and we'll include it here. Email

For a multicultural Philippines!