Entertainment, Music

Remembering Rico J. Puno

“Macho gwapito raw ako, kinagigiliwan dahil may pangalan.”

Whenever I hear the name Rico J. Puno, the first thing that comes into my mind is the song “Macho Gwapito.” Since the peak of his career in the 1970s until a few months ago, this song has always been part of his repertoire in every show he became part of, whether on television (Remember when he blurted out, “Are you happy?” during his performances in Pilipinas Win na Win?) or during concerts in the country or abroad.

Aside from “Macho Gwapito,” Puno’s other major hit songs were “May Bukas Pa,” “Kapalaran,” “Lupa,” and many more. He has also released his own version of Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were,” with additional lyrics in Tagalog.

This morning, a news has been circulated on Facebook which saddened the Filipino music industry.

The Macho Gwapito legend has passed away, due to cardiac arrest. He may have already passed away, but his music will always be remembered.

Standard
Entertainment, Music

PHILPOP 2018 Top 10 Finalists (A Review)

During the Pinoy Playlist concert held at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater on October 18, the Top 10 finalists for the Philpop Festival were announced. From the Top 30, the Top 10 finalists were selected, based on the following criteria:

                            50% – judges
                            25% – online streaming
                            25% SMART People’s Choice (through SMS and Twitter’s
conversational ad

With a total of 100%.

The Finals Night will be held on December 2 at the Capitol Commons in Pasig City.

Here are the Top 10 entries for Philpop. In this post, I will describe some of the song’s details, in terms of lyrics and musical content, as well as my verdict.

  1. Ako Ako 

Ako Ako” is a pop-rock song composed by Jeriko Buenafe and interpreted by alternative rock band Feel Day and theater actor Hans Dimayuga. It talks about two men fighting over a woman who is struggling to choose between the two. The “Sabi niya ako” counterpoint was seamless that it actually represented how the two men argued over the woman they like.

2. Di Ko Man

Di Ko Man” is a fresh take on OPM. Since the Filipino music industry is dominated by the Tagalogs, BisPop has become alive once again, after the eras of Max Surban and Yoyoy Villame. Composed and interpreted by Ferdinand Aragon, it is a Cebuano song with an indie-ish acoustic feel. It talks about the traditional concept of love: untainted and innocent.

 

3. Isang Gabing Pag-ibig

Isang Gabing Pag-ibig” is a ballad composed by Carlo Angelo David and interpreted by Tawag ng Tanghalan’s “Balladeer Extraordinaire” Jex de Castro. It talks about experiencing love at first sight. De Castro’s voice was full of emotions in the chorus and bridge parts and his dynamic levels were varied. Not to mention, de Castro’s voice was reminiscent of Lee Ryan, lead singer of British boy band Blue.

4. Kariton

In a sea of love songs, “Kariton” is a song that rather focuses on a social issue.  Composed by Philip Arvin Jarilla and interpreted by Acapellago, it talks about the daily struggles of every Filipino who makes a living with his kariton (cart). Countertenor Almond Bolante’s solo parts in the first stanza were powerful, as well as his ad-lib parts towards the latter part of the song. The harmony, arranged by JC Jose, was also performed seamlessly. The keyboard and guitar progressions added strength to the song.

5. Laon Ako

Laon Ako” is written by Elmar Bolaño and Donel Trasporto and interpreted by singer-comedian Kakai Bautista (Remember Rak of Aegis?). While “laon” means that something is not that fresh anymore like rice, it has a feminist theme, which tells that having a significant other is not that important to make a woman become fulfilled. Apart from her birit routine performed on television, Bautista’s vocals were rather light, which matched with the song’s theme.

6. Loco de Amor

“Loco de Amor” is a humorous song composed by Edgardo Miraflor Jr. and interpreted by the BennyBunnyBand. With the song’s Afro-Latin musical theme, it talks about a man who has an affinity with an allegedly Spanish girl. Hence, the heavily corrupted Spanish lyrics. Since “Loco de Amor” is loosely translated as “crazy in love,” some words and names associated with sex were even included, such as the association of “sabor” (taste) to a girl and “Mang Kanor,” an infamous person associated with sex scandals.

7. Nanay Tatay

Nanay Tatay” is another song that tackled a social issue. Composed and interpreted by Chud Festejo, it talks about the different types of street children: beggar, Sampaguita vendor, and even a drug pusher. It also talks about child trafficking. The usage of the “Nanay, tatay” game song was witty, which added impact to the song’s overall narration. The “Isa, isa dalawa,” hook added impact to the song’s overall theme.

8. Pilipit

Pilipit” is a song written by Sean Gabriel Cedro and John Ray Reodique. Interpreted by Julian Trono, it talks about a man who is struggling to confess his feelings to the girl he likes.

9. Tama Na

Tama Na” is a ballad composed by Michael Rodriguez and Jeanne Columbine Rodriguez. Interpreted by “Suklay Diva” Katrina Velarde, the song talks about closure of a failed relationship and starting over a new one. The song’s instrumentation needed more variations to allow Velarde to variate her vocal ability as well. Velarde’s voice was undeniably powerful, however.

10. Yun Tayo

Yun Tayo” is a pop-rock song composed by Donnalyn Onilongo and interpreted by the Gracenote band. It talks about frequent cancellations of plans (lakad, in Tagalog) by making various excuses. The song’s feel is suitable for driving.

 

Those are the Top 10 entries for this year’s Philpop. Given the comments I have stated, my top entries for this year are the following: Aragon’s “Di Ko Man,” de Castro’s “Isang Gabing Pag-ibig,” Acapellago’s “Kariton, Bautista’s “Laon Ako,” Festejo’s “Nanay Tatay,” and BennyBunnyBand’s “Loco de Amor.” 

 

Standard
Music, Television

Himig Handog 2018: Love Songs and Love Stories Top 10 (REVIEW)

This Sunday, October 21, Himig Handog will feature “Dalawang Pag-ibig Niya” (a collaboration between Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids Season 2’s “Precious Darling” Krystal Brimner, Tawag ng Tanghalan Kids “Inday Wonder” Sheenna Belarmino, and MNL 48) and “Mas Mabuti Pa” (by Tawag ng Tanghalan Season 2 Grand Champion Janine Berdin). “Kababata” and “Sugarol” will also be featured. The grand finals will be held on November 25, 2018, also aired in ASAP.

This article will give you guys a sneak peek of each entry, as well as my reviews.

Here are the top 10 entries for this year’s Himig Handog Love Songs and Love Stories.

“Dalawang Pag-ibig Niya” is a collaboration between Tawag ng Tanghalan Kids’ “Inday Wonder” Sheenna Belarmino, Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids Season 2’s “Precious Darling” Krystal Brimner, and all-girl group MNL 48. The song was written by Bernard Reforsado of Albay. It is an EDM (Electronic Dance Music) fit for pre-teens, almost similar to K-Pop (think of Momoland) and J-Pop. The song speaks of a girl having a crush on someone who rather chose the girl who is more “pabebe” (acting cute) than her. It also talks about social media romances, such as stalking and existence of posers.

“Hati na Lang Tayo Sa Kanya” is interpreted by Tawag ng Tanghalan’s “Powerhouse Performer” Eumee and actor JC Santos. Written by Joseph Santiago of Quezon City, it talks about a woman’s willingness to share the love of her life with another woman. In fact, looking at the song’s lyrics, it is fit to become a soundtrack of a mistress-themed drama (e.g., The Legal Wife). It is a power ballad where Eumee’s voice was a mix of Jessie J and Lara Fabian (Remember Broken Vow?). While Eumee’s vocals characterized the “wife,” Santos’s speech signified the man being fought for. However, the song’s interpretation could have been more effective if another female singer would have a contrapuntal part with Eumee’s parts. The most I could idealize with this song is that the second female part would act as the “third wheel” or the “mistress.”

“Kababata,” written by John Micheal Edixon of Parañaque was an R&B ballad interpreted by Kyla and Kritiko. Reminiscent of Gloc 9’s themes, Kritiko’s parts narrated how his childhood with his girl friend went, until the girl underwent a major tragedy in her life. Kyla’s ad-libs in the part, “Bakit nila sa’yo ‘to nagawa?” signified the girl’s suffering, screaming for help.

“Mas Mabuti Pa,” is a collaborative work between Mhonver Lopez and Joanna Concepcion, both from Laguna, and sung by Tawag ng Tanghalan Season 2’s Grand Champion and “New Gem of OPM,” Janine Berdin. It is a pop-rock ballad, which spoke of a girl who gave up giving all her love as her efforts were rather snubbed. Despite her young age, Berdin was able to interpret the song to the extent that I got teary-eyed in most parts. She was also able to variate her dynamics as she maintained her husky pop-rock voice.

Robert William Pereña (of Dubai)’s “Para Sa Tabi,” is a light R&B song by BoybandPH. It talks about a man’s struggles being the “third wheel,” and reminds men not to rush things, especially love. The “Mama, para” hook was LSS-inducing that it would potentially become a radio hit soon. Their vocal blend was stellar, especially in the last line, “Diyan sa tabi,” that I would seriously recommend everyone to watch their ASAP performance video of the said song on YouTube. Attached is the link.

Kyle Raphael Borbon (of Davao)’s “Sa Mga Bituin Na Lang Ibubulong,” performed by actor JM de Guzman, is an indie ballad, synonymous to Sud’s. Unlike the rest of the entries, it is rather toned down.

“Sugarol,” written by Jan Sabili of Muntinlupa, is sung by actress Maris Racal. It is a waltz-like ballad, which talked about taking risks, despite experiencing false hopes in the past. The song could have progressed better if variations will be done in every stanza.

Sarah Jane Gandia (of USA)’s “Tinatapos Ko Na,” interpreted by Jona, talks about the closure of a romantic relationship. The song started quietly, which channeled Jona’s pure vocals as the instruments slowly entered. This song proved that Jona was more than just a belter. She was able to variate her dynamics, which enhanced the song’s heartbreaking theme.

Philip Arvin Janilla (of Antipolo)’s “Wakasan” is sung by Agsunta. The title may actually fool you because the song does not talk about closure. It talks about how society did not want the persona to become someone’s boyfriend. However, despite all odds, the persona does not give up until he is able to be with his loved one.

Last of the ten is “Wala Kang Alam,” sung by Tawag ng Tanghalan Season 1 First Runner-Up and “YouTube Idol” Sam Mangubat. It talks about how a man got left out of the blue in the middle of his struggles. It may pass as the male counterpart of Lopez and Concepcion’s “Mas Mabuti Pa.” It is a heavy ballad, synonymous to the ones sung by Martin Nievera and Gary Valenciano. The instrumentation, which was heavy on timpani and strings, were reminiscent of Homer Flores’s arrangements for most of the teleserye soundtracks.

Of all the ten entries, here is my top 5: Hati Na Lang Tayo Sa Kanya, Kababata, Mas Mabuti Pa, Tinatapos Ko Na, and Para Sa Tabi. While Para Sa Tabi may become a potential radio hit, the most heartfelt interpretations were Hati Na Lang Tayo Sa Kanya and Tinatapos Ko Na.

Standard
Music

THE BIG THREE SONGWRITING COMPETITIONS: Philpop, Himig Handog, and ASOP

The season for songwriting competitions has come once again! Weeks ago, Himig Handog has already released its top ten song entries while Philpop has released its top 30 songs. As for ASOP, weekly eliminations are being held since December 2018.

With all of these updates, how does each songwriting competition differ from the other?

1. PHILPOP

The Philippine Popular Music Festival, more known as PHILPOP, is a project of the Philpop Music Fest Foundation established in 2012. It is a songwriting competition inspired by the defunct Metro Manila Popular Music Festival, more known as Metropop, where Philpop executive director Ryan Cayabyab became one of the winners with his entry, Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika. In 2012, the songs used to be released under Ivory Music and Video but 2013 and 2014 entries were under Universal Records. It was in 2015 up to the present when the songs were released under Viva Records.

Some of the songs from this competition that became major hits were the following: “Dati” (written by Thyro Alfaro and Yumi Lacsamana; interpreted by Sam Concepcion and Tippy Dos Santos), “Triangulo” (also by Alfaro and Lacsamana), and “Di Na Muli” (written by Jazz Nicolas and Wally Acolola; interpreted by Itchyworms and remade by Janine Teñoso).

Here are the top 30 songs for PHILPOP 2018:

2. Himig Handog P-Pop Love Songs

Himig Handog is a songwriting competition operated by media conglomerate ABS-CBN and its affiliate record label, Star Music (formerly known as Star Records). It was first held in the year 2000 as “Himig Handog Para Sa Bayaning Pilipino” where the song entries were pertinent to heroism, such as Arnel De Pano’s “Lipad ng Pangarap” (interpreted by Dessa), Trina Belamide’s “Para Sa’yo” (interpreted by Dianne dela Fuente and the Bataoke Kids). In the year 2001, the competition’s theme was geared towards the youth, where it was known as “JAM: Himig Handog Sa Makabagong Kabataan.”

It was only in the year 2002 when the said songwriting competition fully focused on love songs. Some of the songs that rose to fame from this competition were the following: Angelo Villegas and Allan Feliciano’s “This Guy’s In Love With You, Pare” (interpreted by Parokya ni Edgar frontman Chito Miranda), Gigi and Ronaldo Cordero’s “Hanggang” (interpreted by Wency Cornejo), Soc Vilanueva’s “Kung Ako Na Lang Sana” (interpreted by Bituin Escalante, Jungee Marcelo’s “Nasa Iyo Na Ang Lahat” (interpreted by singer-actor Daniel Padilla), Jovinor Tan’s “Anong Nangyari Sa Ating Dalawa?” (interpreted by Ice Seguerra), Francis Louis Salazar’s “Akin Ka Na Lang” (interpreted by Morissette Amon), Edwin Marollano’s “Mahal Ko O Mahal Ako” (interpreted by KZ Tandingan), Jovinor Tan’s “Pare, Mahal Mo Raw Ako” (interpreted by Michael Pangilinan), Meljohn Magno’s “Simpleng Tulad Mo” (also interpreted by Padilla), and Libertine Amistoso’s “Titibo-Tibo” (interpreted by Moira dela Torre).

For this year, here are the top 10 finalists.

3. A Song of Praise (ASOP)

A Song of Praise, more known as ASOP, is a songwriting competition conceptualized by Eliserio Soriano (of Ang Dating Daan) and Daniel Razon. While PHILPOP and Himig Handog focused on showcasing newer materials for the popular music scene, ASOP is geared towards religious and inspirational songs. (Think of Hillsongs and 2000s Jamie Rivera.)

Standard
Music

The “-Ber Months” Playlist in the Philippines

The Yuletide Season in the Philippines (unofficially but somehow) begins today! During the so-called “-ber” months, television networks, especially during morning shows (ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kay Ganda and GMA Network’s Unang HIrit) and news programs (ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol and Bandila; GMA Network’s 24 Oras and Saksi; GMA News TV’s State of the Nation) start counting the remaining days to Christmas Day, December 25. Also, radio stations in the Philippines start playing recordings of Christmas carols on-air.
Before everything else, let me show you something.
Jose Mari Chan

My photo op with THE Jose Mari Chan during the 75th Anniversary of Quezon City concert at the Araneta Coliseum. (circa 2014)

According to a meme posted on Facebook, singer-songwriter Jose Mari Chan is “in control of the malls’ and radio stations’ playlists” during the -ber months. Chan’s songs, especially “Christmas In Our Hearts” and “A Perfect Christmas” have been two of the most frequently played songs on the radio during the -ber months. According to an FHM article written in 2017, the late Bella Tan, then-head of Universal Records initially thought that “A Perfect Christmas” was more fitting for radio airplay than “Christmas In Our Hearts.” However, “Christmas In Our Hearts” became a monster hit in the early 1990s and the album bearing the same title has gained the Double Diamond Record Award, one of the few best-selling albums in the Philippines of all-time.
“Let’s sing Merry Christmas and a happy holiday.
This season may we never forget the love we have for Jesus.
Let Him be the one to guide us as another New Year starts.
And may the spirit of Christmas be always in our hearts.”

 

Trio APO Hiking Society’s biggest Christmas hit was “Twelve Days of Pinoy Krismas,” which bears the same melody as “Twelve Days of Christmas,” but with a Filipino twist.
“Ika-labing dalawang araw ng Pasko, binigay sa’kin ng nobya ko,
Labindalawang parol, labing-isang tuta
Sampung inaanak, siyam na case ng beer
Walong litsong baboy, pitong berdeng unan,
Limang pulang lobo!
Apat na payong, tatlong sakong bigas, dalawang payong,
At isang basketball na bago!
May pirma pa ni Jawo. Naks!”
APO has also released “Himig Pasko.”
Vehnee Saturno’s “Sa Araw ng Pasko,” sung by some of the pioneer recording artists of Star Music (formerly Star Records; which included Carol Banawa, Jolina Magdangal, Roselle Nava, Jamie Rivera, Ladine Roxas, among others), is also one of the most frequently aired Christmas songs. It speaks of how Filipinos wished their relatives would come home during Christmas. It also speaks of how wonderful Christmas is in the Philippines.
‘Di ba’t kay ganda sa atin ng Pasko?
Naiiba ang pagdiriwang dito.
Pasko sa ati’y hahanap-hanapin mo.
Walang katulad dito ang Pasko.
Lagi mo nang maiisip na sila’y nandito sana.
At sa Noche Buena ay magkakasama.”
“Ang Pasko ay kay saya kung ngayo’y kapiling na.
Sana pagsapit ng Pasko, kayo’y naririto.
Kahit pa malayo ka, kahit nasaan ka pa,
Maligayang bati para sa inyo sa araw ng Pasko.”

Christmas-themed love songs are also recurrent in the -ber months playlist. Apart from Chan’s “Perfect Christmas,” Gary Valenciano’s “Pasko Na Sinta Ko” and Ariel Rivera’s “Sana Ngayong Pasko” have also become standards. Both songs spoke of loneliness during Christmas. However, Valenciano’s “Pasko Na Sinta Ko” focused on regret.
Foreign singers have also made it in the Filipino airwaves during the -ber months. In fact, Jackson 5’s “Give Love On Christmas Day” is one of the most frequently played songs since it talked about the true value of Christmas, which is love, not necessarily materialism.
Moving on to musiconomics (music and economics), both GMA and ABS-CBN annually release Christmas station IDs accompanied by a song. Of all ABS-CBN’s Christmas station IDs, most of the people remember 2009’s “Star ng Pasko” and 2017’s “Just Love Ngayong Christmas.” During the Kapamilya network’s “Star ng Pasko” campaign, the so-called Parol Ni Bro (Santino’s endearment for Jesus Christ, in reference to TV series May Bukas Pa) were sold while during the “Just Love” campaign, “Just Love” shirts sold fast like pancakes.
Star ng Pasko talks about how God never left our side, despite whatever storm has come. In fact, the song was released on the same year when typhoon Ondoy hit the country and left some of the areas heavily flooded.

“Ang nagsindi nitong ilaw, walang iba kundi Ikaw.
Salamat sa liwanag mo, muling magkakakulay ang Pasko.”
On the other hand, “Just Love Ngayong Christmas,” talks how the different gestures of love are shown, especially during Christmas.

Ngayong Pasko’y pag-ibig ang kailangan ng daigdig.
Kay ganda ng lahat if we will just love.”
Music plays a huge role in setting everyone’s mood for a particular season, especially days or even months before the season. ’Tis the season to not only shop for gifts, but to also give back through other ways.

 

Standard
Entertainment, Music

ALBUM REVIEW: Love, BoybandPH

Two years after winning ABS-CBN’s Pinoy Boyband Superstar, quintet BoybandPH has released its second album under Star Music called Love, BoybandPH. A listening party was also held, weeks prior to its launch.

It is composed of nine tracks, namely, Kaligayahan (Happiness) Interlude which has two parts, “Kung Di Mo Natatanong” (If You Haven’t Asked), “Hanggang Kailan Kaya” (Until When) – the album’s carrier single, “Please Lang Naman” (Please), “D’Tyo” (Not Us), “Drive”, “Tagahanga” (Fan), and “Pa’no Ba” (How). “Tagahanga” was penned by pop-rock singer Yeng Constantino while “Please Lang Naman” was written by Moira dela Torre. “Pa’no Ba” was created by Tawag ng Tanghalan’s Songsmith Froilan Canlas, the group’s vocal coach.

The Kaligayahan Interlude (both parts) channels the best of the group’s vocal harmony, in terms of balance. The voices are even at the start of the song while the melody is clearly heard during the stanza parts. The bass part is also distinct.

Kung Di Mo Natatanong is reminiscent of 1990s Bubblegum Pop Boyband Ballads commonly played during Junior-Senior Prom dances. Counterpoints may have existed in the chorus part but they are seamlessly done, along with the song’s main melody.

Hanggang Kailan Kaya, the album’s carrier single is a mix of boyband harmonies and electronic pop. Some parts may be modified through music technology or “auto-tuned” but the vocal parts remain distinct and not overly artificial. Overall, this song is danceable.

 

Dela Torre’s Please Lang Naman has a sound fit for television commercials. Along with its guitar patterns commonly used in sway-worthy music, the song’s character is light and easy. It focuses more on the BoybandPH’s member’s individual vocal prowess. However, the “woooh” parts could have sounded better if they are sung with a bit of swing feel.

Both “D’Tyo” and “Drive” have a danceable feel. Drive’s recurring instrumental pattern is distinct, as well as its bass lines and sawtooth riffs. However, the boys’ voices are more remarkable in D’Tyo than in “Drive.”

Constantino takes a little break from her usual pop-rock songwriting practice in “Tagahanga.” Compared to her previous works, “Tagahanga” has more of a pop sound, which is peppered with electronic beats yet the boys’ vocals remain unadulterated.

“Pa’no Ba”, penned by Canlas, is an R&B ballad, which is reminiscent of Boyz II Men’s and 98 Degrees’s ballads that existed in the 1990s. The song’s melody is not only remarkable. The background vocal parts are also even, especially in the chorus part. In fact, nobody from the quintet sticks out in the chordal parts. Russell Reyes’s and Niel Murillo’s ad lib parts are distinct yet sung seamlessly.

Of the tracks mentioned, BoybandPH’s vocal harmonies are best channeled in “Kaligayahan Interlude” (both Parts 1 and 2), “Kung Di Mo Natatanong”, and Pa’no Ba. My only suggestion for “Pa’no Ba” is to have an acoustic version released soon to make the song’s meaning come out better.

Overall, this album deserves a rave, not only because the entire album sounds current. With Canlas’s and Kiko Salazar’s guidance, the quintet’s vocal harmony is “eargasmic” because of its balance and seamlessness. Looking forward to more purely a cappella songs from BoybandPH.

Standard
Food, Music, Southeast Asia

CONCEPTIONS AND MISCONCEPTIONS OF ISLAM IN HISTORIC AND CONTEMPORARY TIMES

Since Eid’l Fitr will already be on June 15, allow me to share with you this article on our Muslim brothers and sisters.

 

Southeast Asia is known as both the “Malay Archipelago” and the “Muslim Archipelago.” It is known as such because some Southeast Asian countries, such as the Philippines, Indonesia, and Brunei all practice Islam. However, in the Philippines, the Islam communities are concentrated more in Mindanao, specifically in the southernmost provinces, such as Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu, and Basilan.

The spread of Islam in Asia was rooted from trading. Through the Silk Road, valuable goods, such as spices, were traded between China and Arabia. China had the most developed civilization during the time of Prophet Muhammad. Through this trade, Muslim traders who went to China adopted their Chinese names.

SPREAD AND POLITICS OF ISLAM

During the Spanish civilization, the Spaniards made a conclusion that the Philippines did not have civilization so they had to spread Christianity throughout the country and enslave the so-called “indios.” However, the manner of how Christianity was spread in the Philippines was too bloody since it dealt with a series of battles  (through cross and swords) between the Filipinos and Spaniards. Islam was rather spread in a peaceful way since it was not just spread through a series of trading businesses. A Sultanate was also formed, which was solely governed by the locals. This signified that the Philippines already had civilization, even before the Spaniards came.

The southernmost part of the Philippines was one of the areas which was not colonized by the Spaniards. According to the crusade theory, the Spaniards attempted to colonize such area but the Muslims were able to resist colonization, not only because of the Sultanate’s existence. The Muslims fought against the Spaniards because of patriotism or love for the homeland. This signified that nationalism did not only exist in the late 1800s during the time of Emilio Aguinaldo.

Because of the Muslims’ resistance from the Spaniards, they were tagged as the Moors, or “Los Moros” in Spanish, who were dismissed as savages and ignorants. This is the reason why most Muslims are still discriminated here in the Philippines. There was even a time that an all-out war was declared in Muslim Mindanao in the year 2000, which was rather unjust and discriminatory. The 9/11 bombing of the World Trade Center New York in the year 2001 was blamed on Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, which was a terrorist group from the Middle East. History repeated itself in 2017 when a war happened in Marawi City, which did not only kill thousands of Muslims. Many civilians were also killed during the war. Also, several wars involving the ISIS happened during the early to mid-2010s in European countries such as the United Kingdom and France, which also killed thousands of civilians. While these bombings often involved Muslims and Muslim countries, it is unjust to generalize that Muslims are terrorists. However, based on the past discussions, these terrorism happen because some Muslims tend to misquote the teachings from the Qur’an. In effect, the ISIS abused the use of teachings from the Qur’an to their political advantage and at the expense of the lives of fellow Muslims.

ORIGINS AND PRINCIPLES

Islam is often misconceived as a new religion established by Prophet Muhammad while Christianity existed earlier than Islam. However, both religions were rooted from the time of Abraham. While the Christians have Jesus Christ as a human representation of God, the Islams have Allah, which proved that both Christianity and Islam are monotheistic. Other teachings found in both Muslim and Christianity are love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. Muslims do not discriminate against people, no matter what religion they belong to. As a result, atheists are not misjudged and discriminated against.

The origin of Islam is spread through oral tradition. Oral traditions may either be in the form of songs, poems, tarsilas, and khutbah. Tarsilas are genealogical accounts where the person’s Muslim roots are traced while khutbahs are religious sermons.

While Islam is mainly a patriarchal religion, people are discouraged to humiliate women, whether in a verbal manner or through other means. People responsible for doing so may be killed. Shame or “hiya” is another principle in Islam. An Islam may be invited for a meal but he/she has to be requested for three times before he/she accepts the offer.

ISLAM, ACADEMICS, AND CULTURE

The Islamic civilization made a lot of major contributions in the academe. Computer science and information technology, which often dealt with algorithms, were rooted in algebra, which was commonly used during the Islam civilization. Modern medicine was rooted from Abyssinia, while the concept of surgery was written by Muslim scholars.

While Western classical and popular art cultures remain dominant, Muslim art cultures are alive, especially in the Philippines and Indonesia. Both the Philippines and Indonesia associate gong music with Muslim cultures, with Indonesia having the Javanese Gamelan and the Philippines having the Kulintang. While Christianity had the tendency to acculturate indigenous art cultures, Muslims mix their cultures with the existing culture of the indigenous people so no culture is watered down by the Muslims. While Christians frown upon elaborated art in emphasizing the virtue of simplicity, Islamic art is rather colorful and elaborate. Most of the Islamic art is seen on wooden frames of kulintangs, agungs, and gandingans, as well as on Islamic clothing. Most of the clothing worn by the Muslims are adorned with sequins, especially hijabs worn by women. The wearing of hijabs is often misconceived as Arab clothing. However, it was rather stated in the Qur’an that “private parts” should be covered, which included the ladies’ hair.

In terms of food, the Muslims only eat food which are considered “Halal,” which do not include pork. While pork is considered dirty for them, it is also unhealthy due to high fat and bad cholesterol content. Through this practice, they are not only able to practice their faith. They also ensure that everything they eat is beneficial for their health.

MUSLIMS AND TRADE

In the modern-day Philippines, Muslims are often stereotyped as dealers of pirated copies of movie DVDs in Quiapo and budget malls. However, Muslims are more than just DVD dealers. In Muslim communities, such as the Muslim town in Quiapo, they sell various merchandise, such as Muslim clothing (e.g., hijab) and food. The bazaar area in Greenhills Shopping Center is even dominated by the Muslims who do not only sell clothing. They also sell accessories made of real pearls (mostly from their hometowns in Southern Mindanao) and precious stones.

DIPLOMACY

Even in modern times, most of the Muslims still experience discrimination, not only in mainstream media. They sometimes fail to gain access to public transportation, because of how the mainstream media manipulated most of the Filipino citizens. How will be able to end discrimination against the Muslims? Aside from the regular peace talks, the change may start with the business sector, like what the management of Greenhills Shopping Center did. In NAIA Terminal 3, there are facilities specially made for Muslims, such as prayer rooms and water closets equipped with foot basins for washing. As for the existing Moro problem in Southern Philippines, solidarity concerts may be held where various types of music are performed. Apart from solidarity concerts, Open Kulintang jam sessions may be held where non-Muslims may join in the instrument playing activity.

 

 

This article was originally submitted for my SEA 30 class. This was published with minor revisions.

Standard
Entertainment, Music, Television

The Breakdown of Birit and Ventriloquist Monotonies in Mass Media

Whew! It’s been almost a week since I had my thesis bookbound. Just a few days away before this semester ends…

Yesterday, I attended the talk of Mr. James Gabrillo, a PhD candidate from the University of Cambridge, who presented his dissertation on the Music in Mass Media , 1990s and beyond. In his dissertation, he has presented the evolution of music for noontime shows, specifically in the Tuviera-produced Eat Bulaga, as well as the meaning behind the Aegis band’s songs.

Part of his study on Eat Bulaga included some of the singing competitions that existed during the 1990s, such as the Birit series (Baby, King, Queen), Ikaw at Echo, and Lola’s Playlist. Ikaw at Echo, similar to its predecessor, Gaya-Gaya Puto Maya, deals more with singer ventriloquisms where each participant was expected to almost exactly copy his/her idol’s voice, getup, and stage projection.

I reviewed my notes from Gabrillo’s presentation and compared it with my thesis notes on Tawag ng Tanghalan, which is a tad more current. I just watched one episode of the show’s Ultimate Resbak (Wildcard Round). I noticed that there are lesser biriteras, compared to last season. And at the same time, the jury (more known as the hurados), preferred contenders who rather “own” the songs they have chosen, instead of just performing them similarly to the original recordings. “Owning” the song meant that the participant is able to incorporate his/her own style (“may sariling bali,” in Tagalog), apart from being a biritera or someone who deals more on vocal pyrotechnics. I have also observed that the production team does its best to break the biritera monotony which I rather found more beneficial for the development of OPM. The Original Pilipino Music genre seriously needs to stand out more. It seriously needs to be more than just vocal pyrotechnics and ventriloquisms.

Standard
Entertainment, Field Work, Music, Urban Ethnomusicology

Post-Thesis Thoughts

How are you all? My sincerest apologies for not blogging lately as I have been occupied with several school work. But I guess everybody’s doing fine at the moment. 🙂

Whew! Just a few weeks away and my thesis is now ready for bookbinding, after several weeks of coffee overdose, binge-eating episodes, and night owl sessions until around 2:30 am or 3am the next day. Yaaaaaszt! I was in tears yesterday because I did not expect to have it finished before the finals week has started. I just spread the good news to my past interviewees and they were all glad to hear about it. Thank you for sharing your time and ideas folks! Hope I will be able to catch up with you all and watch your gigs soon.

Setting all these drama aside, how was I able to complete a hundred-page publication in this short period of time? It’s all about planning smart (both as an adjective and Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound).

I started looking for gigs through Facebook last January while I started doing participant observation activities in various gigs for February. I decided to hold these observation activities for the month of February because Valentine concerts are quite numerous. For the month of January, I have also looked for relevant literature to strengthen my discussion further. Interviews are also done through various means (e.g., personal appointments, Facebook Messenger, e-mail) within this period.

Speaking of participant observation, I also had to make sure that this is not the perfect time for fangirling to make things less biased. This is rather a time to document data (both stills and videos) for representation and jot down important details, which later became my basis for my interview questions.

I spent the whole part of March for writing. I have established a goal to finish everything before Holy Week break to allow myself to breathe, to relax, and to reflect. I was able to receive my corrected drafts around April so I spent the entire month of April for revisions. I have even declined several invitations to allow myself to focus.

On a side note, I have also asked for my peers’ advice on how to compose myself and set limitations.

Now is the month of May-ing (pun intended) and finishing touches and voila! #GRAD-WAITING status and a few tasks away in my other subjects. 🙂

 

 

Standard
Entertainment, Field Work, Geography, Music, Sociology, Travel, Urban Ethnomusicology

Friendly Tips for Urban Ethnomusicologists (Field Researchers)

Mabuhay! My apologies for not blogging lately for I have been focused on doing my undergraduate thesis on the Ethnography of Live Professional Musicians in Metro Manila. In my thesis, I have been doing immersion trips in various live music scenes in Metro Manila, such as bars, TV studios, campus concerts, and even private events. Nevertheless, I’m having fun in the process. 🙂

Without further ado, here are some of a few tips to rock (en-roll) your urban ethnomusicological research.

  1. Reserve for your slot early in the TV studio. Nowadays, ABS-CBN is offering studio tour packages in order to watch either It’s Showtime (Php 205) or ASAP (Php 250) as a studio audience, without the need to go to the ABS-CBN Audience Entrance during dawn. However, the reservation should be done around two months before your desired date. Always check the KTX (Kapamilya Tickets) website (https://ktx.abs-cbn.com/) for available slots. Tickets for ASAP get sold out easily though 😦 For special cases, a letter of request (which should state your principal purpose) may be forwarded to the producers.
  2. If you would desire to watch a concert which involves performers with wide fan bases, buy your ticket as soon as the selling period starts. During the Cosmos UP Fair, a lot of people were not able to enter the Sunken Garden for the tickets have already been sold out, hours before the show. Since I went to the UP Fair solely for my thesis, I bought the ticket once the selling period has already started. Some concerts easily sell out like pancakes, such as the recently-concluded concert of Moira dela Torre at the Kia Theater. Even bar concert tickets get sold out easily!
  3. The PUVs and TNVs are your besties! Some venues may not have enough parking space so it’s best to take either the public utility vehicles or transport network vehicles (e.g. Uber, Grab) to bring you to the venue. However, exercise extra caution when traveling late at night. Safety is still your top priority.
  4. Always bring a small notebook and a camera. Unless the venue restricts video and photo documentation of performances, it is best to do documentation of the event by yourself to be able to note more details which you weren’t able to note during documentation. Videos are  “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” field records. In case there are video and photo documentation restrictions, feel free to request for videos from the company’s archives.
  5. Think about your questions carefully before conducting an interview. It is best to observe the event first before inviting someone for an interview. Doing such process may enable you to discuss your observations with him/her in which he/she will be able to interpret your observations better, as well as to refer you to more appropriate sources.
  6. Don’t just focus on observing the performance itself. It is best to interview both casual audiences and regular audiences (more of fans) to get their opinion towards the performance, as well as audience demographics. If allowed to do so, feel free to interview some of the production staff, as well as the performers themselves. For the case of mediated musicians or showbiz personalities, focus more on their performance practice, rather than the staple showbiz talkshow topics. Ask permission from their manager, as well. (Making a separate appointment is more recommended for interviewing showbiz personalities.)
  7. Dress accordingly. Some bars would strictly enforce the “smart-casual” dress code, especially in bars located in hotels. As for weddings, it is best to ask your contact person for the event’s theme and dress code. Decent casual (top and jeans) attire is recommended in most bars (e.g. 19 East) and TV studios so as not to upstage the hosts and performers.
  8. Enjoy, but always keep a keen eye and ear on important details. This is the number one rule for field researchers in general.
Standard