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Ang Huling El Bimbo The Musical: Disturbingly Beautiful or Beautifully Disturbing

These kinds of plays contribute to opening the eyes of the public to the problematic points of life. Ang Huling El Bimbo was surely action-provoking, with an audience whose eyes are now more opened to the horrors and truths of real-life.

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Photo courtesy from Ang Huling El Bimbo: The Musical's Facebook page

Eraserheads has been known for their songs containing subliminal messages pertaining to serious issues, hidden beneath lively tunes. Scrutinizing the layers of the lyrics shines a light on somber topics that most overlook upon listening to their lively tunes that mask grave realities common Filipinos face. With Ely Buendia on vocals, Buddy Zabala and Marcus Adoro on strings, and Raimund Marasigan on drums, the band’s knack for music composition has been helpful tools on opening the eyes of their listeners to pensive public matters, like their songYoko.’ 

The band’s discography has served as an inspiration for the hit musical titled after one of Eraserheads’ hit track — Ang Huling El Bimbo. The play initially hit the stage in 2018 and ran until August of last year. The musical has sparked the interest of Eheads fans as well as those who are supporters of theater. ABS-CBN has decided to stream the play online, which sparked the interest of a lot of Filipinos and may be a gateway to a deeper appreciation of Philippine performing arts.

Ang Huling El Bimbo: The Musical’s story has revolved around the college life of four friends named Emman, Anthony, Hector, and Joy, that were separated by time and a string of unfortunate events that severed their close-knit relationship but are reunited once again because of Joy’s death.

In reference to the song, the first act was nakakaindak, nakakaaliw because of how lively it is. It showcased how the trio — Emman, from a simple family in the province, Anthony, from a family where his dad despises him because he’s queer, and Hector, from a well-off family, were accepted to enroll in a state school in Manila — with each one of them with their own aspirations to fulfill. In one of their ROTC trainings, they were introduced to a nice girl named Joy, who immediately became their friend and eventually Hector’s girlfriend.

TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE

The second act was nakakatindig balahibo given its somber and dark nature. In a scene in the latter part of the play, the group decided to go on a joyride on Hector’s brand new car days before the trio’s graduation. They went to Antipolo, overlooking the city. The bunch was jovial in those times and even took a photo to immortalize that moment. As they were jamming, sitting on the hood of the car, a group of drunks came their way and started taunting and beating them up. The boys were held at gunpoint and forced to get inside the car, sadly, for Joy, she was forcefully violated sexually, while the car’s stereo blasted the song ‘Ang Huling El Bimbo.

Everything goes downhill from there. Once the drunkards ran away, Joy was in a state of shock and they were arguing whether they would go to the precinct or the hospital. Hector gets the last word and decides to just drop her home and never speak of the incident again. The day of the graduation comes, but the boys seem averted from Joy, then they went their separate ways. The years passed and circumstances have forced Joy to deal with drugs and get intimate with strangers in exchange for money. Eventually, we learn of her daughter named Ligaya, who Joy is more than eager to introduce to the trio who were a vital part of her life. She never lived to introduce them, but the trio met Ligaya in the morgue.

The play touched up on many problems like how Joy was pushed by poverty to work unorthodox jobs. Matters of hard-to-get-by education were mirrored in earlier scenes where the probinsyano of the group from a humble family strives to be successful to give his family a better life. It also tackles politics, on how some people in power are not really suited for position and are just prone to abusing their authority. 

After the musical’s release, it has sparked mixed perceptions by different viewers. While others were praising the play’s brilliance, others were critiquing how it fails to address the societal norms that the protagonists came across. A brief scroll on the hashtag #AngHulingElBimbo will open a series of varying opinions on the show.

Some say that though it showed the many societal problems that most are experiencing now, the play was not able to break the norms and just went with it. They discussed sexual violence but it went downhill when the real-life tendency of the victims and witnesses staying quiet was not broken down. The rape scene was also condemned by many because of its horrific portrayal. Additionally, they say that it is as if the play perpetuates keeping the mouths of the victims of sexual violence, like Joy, shut. The rest of the audience believes that art should not carry the burden of showcasing how societal issues like these should be addressed. They say that it was the play’s responsibility to shine a light on these and to challenge the viewers on how they could address the problems presented.

These kinds of plays contribute to opening the eyes of the public to the problematic points of life. Ang Huling El Bimbo was surely action-provoking, with an audience whose eyes are now more opened to the horrors and truths of real-life. Although AHEB was not able to give out concrete measures we can take to address issues, it surely made us abhor these realities and pushed us to action to break the wheel of irrational normalization of societal issues plaguing. 

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April 2021: Inadequate progress brings us back to last year

The way the pandemic is being handled seems unchanged, resulting in a feeling where it seems like we are reliving the nightmarish 2020 all over again.

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Photo by Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash

The way the pandemic is being handled seems unchanged, resulting in a feeling where it seems like we are reliving the nightmarish 2020 all over again. Our progress in getting over the pandemic seems stagnant compared to our neighboring countries. We can always try and hope for the best, but with some of the events that transpired this month, our once glimmering hope is gradually losing its luster.

Here is a rundown of the major events that occurred on April 2021. 

1. NCR Plus goes through ECQ again

Photo by Wander Fleur on Unsplash

On March 29, NCR and some of the surrounding provinces, coined as the ‘NCR Plus,’ were put under ECQ until April 4, following the advice of the IATF. On April 3, however, it was announced that the quarantine for NCR Plus was to be extended until April 11. If we recall, it was also April of last year when a memorandum was released, stating that ECQ was extended up until April 30, 2020. 

Community quarantines like these surely severs the income of some Filipino households and bruises the economy. What does this really have to say about our country’s progress in trying to manage this pandemic if a year has already passed and we are doing the same things all over again?

2. Netizens weigh in on lugaw dispute

Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

Is lugaw essential? The PNP clarified last April 1 that food products, with the inclusion of lugaw are considered essential, thus, not warranting a need for reprimanding when delivered despite the ECQ status of a place. This issue stemmed from a viral video where a food courier personnel was reprimanded by authorities saying that he is not allowed to deliver lugaw in that village due to the imposed ECQ. We are one year into this pandemic, and yet, minute regulations like these aren’t still clear. The Grab driver reprimanded in the video is also seeking help because he still gets threats from barangay officials in Bulacan.

3. VP Robredo launches mobile COVID-19 testing facility

Photo courtesy of the Office of the Vice President’s official Facebook page

Vice President Leni Robredo’s COVID testing facility on wheels called ‘Swab Cab’ was initially launched last March 29. This program aims to test a target community in places considered as COVID hotspots, or where incidences of transmission are very high. It started off stationing around the streets of Malabon and, this April, it was brought to Cavite. The Office of the Vice President aims to expand their reach as well, hoping to bring the Swab Cab to other areas under the NCR Plus bubble to be able to test more citizens. An initiative like this from the vice president also made #LetLeniLead trend this month. 

4. Attack on Titan releases its final chapter

'Attack on Titan' Final Season New Teaser Image | HYPEBEAST

Screengrab from ぽにきゃん-Anime PONY CANYON’s TVアニメ「進撃の巨人」The Final Season PV video

The events of the first part of Attack on Titan’s final season kept us at the edge of our seats. As both Isayama and MAPPA leave us every week both in tears and in awe, the story finally comes to its final chapter. For manga readers, Chapter 139 was already released last April 9 and has seen how the story ends. For those who solely watch the anime, maybe after months of patiently waiting, all our questions will be answered and we can only hope for the best for the fate of our favorite characters, whose lives we have avidly followed in the last eight years. 

5. Ivermectin conflict

Photo by Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash

The information that Ivermectin, an anthelmintic drug for veterinary use, was the cure for COVID-19 (despite not having indications for it) spread like wildfire this month. The Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines also released a statement discouraging masses to self medicate with Ivermectin due to lack of scientific evidence proving its efficacy against COVID-19. Drugs naturally intended for animals pose severe adverse effects to humans and spreading information like these could only make things worse.

6. #ABSCBNTraydor trends amidst partnership announcement with Chinese media

(Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler)

The ABS CBN News Channel announced that they will be airing Chinese News TV on cable television to regularly report Philippine headlines in Mandarin. They claim that this aims to promote the enrichment of the Filipino-Chinese culture. This announcement then garnered backlash from masses, claiming #ABSCBNTutaNgChina. Eventually, ANC cancelled their partnership with Chinese News TV. Additionally, days before the first launch of CNTV on air, armed Chinese vessels chased out ABS-CBN news crew out of Ayungin Shoal. 

7. Secretary Nograles insists the government is listening

Photo courtesy of Manila Bulletin

Vice President Robredo called out the government for failing to recognize their shortcomings when it comes to coming up with an effective COVID response plan. In response, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles claimed that it is not fair for people to say that the government does not take the citizens’ grievances when coming up with a plan in trying to address the pandemic. He stated, “Nakikinig naman kami. Nakikinig naman ang gobyerno at lahat naman ng dapat at kailangang gawin ay tinutugunan naman namin at binibigyan naman natin ng pansin.” Scrolling through the bird app, the people also shared their sentiments about this statement. 

8. Filipinos initiate community pantries

(Photo by Gerald Carreon/Rappler)

Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan, kumuha ayon sa pangangailangan. This tagline has been posted up on community pantries all over the country. What started off as a small cart along Maginhawa has ignited a ripple effect that continues to help countless Filipinos. The initiative stemmed from the growing need of some Filipinos for some food and basic necessities because the pandemic certainly took a toll on their source of livelihood. With this, a collective effort somehow alleviates the daily struggles of those who need assistance in trying to get by — those who have an extra hand to give now have a medium to extend their help and compassion. 

Patricia Non, the spearhead of the community pantry in Maginhawa and inspired other districts beyond Metro Manila to set up a pantry of their own, was red-tagged. After her initiative became viral, armed police men showed up to her house and started interrogating her, questioning which organizations are she a part of. A post on the Quezon City Police Department’s Facebook page also claimed that these pantries were a recruitment hub to enlist people to join the New People’s Army. After a series of red-tagging, some community pantries also suspended their charity work, in fear of being red-tagged, and with the controversial Anti-Terror Law, the fear only grew deeper.

9. Online registration for National ID now open

Photo courtesy of Tempo

In August of 2018, Republic Act No. 11055 was signed into law to have a unified identification system for Filipino residents to provide valid proof of identity. On April 30, 2021, it was announced that Filipinos can now get registered online to acquire the National ID, in just three steps. The Philippine Statistics Authority announced on the first day of online registration that their system has encountered technical difficulties. This incident raised concerns of privacy and inconvenience to those who tried registering for this on its pilot day.

Lack of progress in terms of addressing the problems at hand makes us feel like we’re reliving the same year over and over again. As months pass by, our optimism may start to waver. We, too, are not a fan of toxic positivity and we all yearn for concrete plans and change. Patricia Santos

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How ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ celebrates self-growth and freedom

Listening to these songs as adults hits differently not only because we’ve loved and lost, but also because it serves as an anthem of freedom and a celebration of women in music.

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Photo grabbed from Taylor Swift's official Twitter account

I was only 7 when Fearless came out in 2008. But it was only about 2 years later when I came to know about Taylor Swift’s existence. Back then, YouTube was a luxury and Spotify was still nonexistent. I remember almost being late to school because I waited for her music videos to come out on MYX’s Daily Countdown. Our version of streaming was paying P30 to patiently watch her music videos in computer shops, and not to mention the laborious process of buying her physical CD, importing it to our computer, and then to our phones and iPods. Thanks to Taylor, we get to relive that nostalgia today and open our eyes to so much more. 

Taylor’s sophomore album Fearless (2008) debuted at number one on Billboard Hot 200, with all her five singles peaking at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs. It won her Best Country Album and her first Album of the Year at the Grammys in 2009, making her one of the youngest artists to receive such accolades. Needless to say, it was the record that catapulted her to become the country and pop icon she is today. 

Contrary to the magic and stardust that Fearless embodied, events weren’t so enchanting after Taylor’s departure from her former label and the sale of her master recordings to Scooter Braun, who later sold it to an investment fund. Two years later, quoting one of her songs in reputation, she “got smarter, got harder with the nick of time” and pulled one of the greatest UNO reverse cards in music history. On April 9, Taylor came back stronger than a 90s trend with the release of the first of six albums she plans to rerecord but, this time, with full ownership of her masters and publishing rights. 

Fearless (Taylor’s Version) revisits the nostalgia of experiencing love and heartbreak for the first time. The 2-hour walk down memory lane showcased rerecordings of the same 19 songs from the original, the 2010 single ‘Today was a Fairytale,’ and six unreleased songs from the vault, which admittedly had us all reminiscing memories of our younger days and 2008 Joe Jonas. In this review, we dive into the similarities and differences between the two versions, break down Taylor’s lyricism in the new songs, and discuss what lies ahead for the young artist.  

The same record 13 years later: What changed and what stayed

Decoding the meanings to Taylor’s songs is one thing, but dissecting the differences between the two versions is another. Musically, the 2021 version does not greatly differ from the original recordings. It features the same key and tempos, the same instruments, the same musicians, and the same Taylor, but now with a richer, deeper, and more mature sound. However, in terms of sound quality, the rerecordings are undoubtedly crisper and cleaner than the originals, making the instrumentals more prominent as opposed to the 2008 version where they sounded a bit muffled. The banjo lines and fiddle riffs in ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ and ‘Love Story (Taylor’s Version)’ sound so crisp and clear that even a casual listener would easily notice and find very satisfying. 

Taylor in the Fearless era had the country twang to her songs, which somehow got lost in the pop mix following the birth of the 1989 era. As someone who religiously listens to Speak Now, I was manifesting hard for a comeback. Lo and behold, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) pays homage to her country roots and reincarnates her country twang from the depths of Pennsylvania. It’s subtle and not as strong and prominent as the one she had on her first few albums perhaps due to her more pop-inclined vocal tone and range, but it’s there. On the bright side, her enunciation was evidently better in the current version. The way she sings with clarity makes us realize how many lyrics we had been singing wrong all this time. 

During the production for this rerelease, Taylor revealed that she went “line by line” on every track and improved upon some parts. True enough, there are subtle differences on how she sings the rerecordings, but these neither makes Taylor’s version less better nor takes away the character of the songs. Rather, it shows how her vocal technique has improved throughout the years. The belting in ‘White Horse (Taylor’s Version)’ and ‘Tell Me Why (Taylor’s Version)’ showcases her wider vocal range. The sharp breath that every Swiftie sang like a lyric in the ‘You Belong With Me’ bridge is also nowhere to be found, which only shows how much her breath control has improved. The changes in the ad libs also gives a new personality to her songs like how the laugh in ‘Hey Stephen (Taylor’s Version)’ brings in a more mature Taylor and how the silence that comes after she softly sings “Here’s to silence” in ‘Forever & Always (Piano Version) (Taylor’s Version)’ delivers a more painful stab in the heart. 

A modern retelling and reimagining of letters from the past 

The six songs off her vault stay true to the motif of Fearless by encapsulating the growing pains of young love and giving listeners an introspect on 18-year-old Taylor. Though originally written 13 years ago, most of the tracks are musically reminiscent of her recent releases. The muted ballads ‘You All Over Me’ and ‘When We Were Happy’ did not tread far from the alternative, folk-pop core of folklore and evermore, while ‘Don’t You’ and ‘That’s When’ felt like the long-lost parents of ‘Clean’ in 1989. After all, Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner, who each had a hand in the production of these albums, were also called by Taylor to work on the vault tracks.

The never-before-released catalogue also features country artists Maren Morris, who she once shared the stage with on her reputation tour, and Keith Urban, who she opened for when she was just starting out in the music industry. Harmonies from Maren and Keith laced with Taylor’s deep and rich tone enhance the emotional delivery and impact of the songs, which allows each word to truly resonate with listeners. 

Besides nostalgic melodies, it’s not surprising that each track had lyrical and thematic parallels to many of her songs, while still having their own character. Like Marvel, Taylor has her own emotionally and mentally stimulating universe built from her discography. 

In the ‘You All Over Me’ chorus, Taylor and Maren sing, “I lived, and I learned, had you, got burned / Held out, and held on / God knows, too long, and wasted time.” These words seem like a response to her 2006 hit ‘Picture to Burn’ that touched on a painful breakup: “Watch me strike a match on all my wasted time / As far as I’m concerned, you’re just another picture to burn. 

This is not the first time Taylor has used fire as a metaphor for relationships as heard in many of the songs like ‘Red,’ ‘Dress,’ and ‘ivy.’ The vault track ends with, “But no amount of freedom gets you clean / I’ve still got you all over me,” which is later echoed in ‘Clean’ from 1989: “You’re still all over me like a wine-stained dress I can’t wear anymore.” 

The fan-favorite ‘Mr. Perfectly Fine’ that embodies the classic Taylor Swift breakup anthem we all missed singing along to also has its fair share of lyrical similarities. In one of the 28 repetitions of “mister” in the track, Taylor sings, “Hello Mr. Casually Cruel.” Every Swift disciple would be quick to point out how it alludes to the climactic bridge of ‘All Too Well’ in Red: “You call me up again just to break me like a promise / So casually cruel in the name of being honest.” It is also interesting how the line, “Mr. Looked me in the eye and told me you would never go away,” is lyrically related to excerpts from ‘Forever and Always’ (“You looked me in the eye and told me you love me”) and ‘Last Kiss’ (“You told me you loved me / So why did you go away”). Well, it goes without saying that hearing these gut-wrenching words triggers our fight-or-flight response towards 2008 Joe Jonas.

On ‘We Were Happy,’ Taylor reminisces on memories of a seemingly perfect relationship that sadly ended. The imagery used in “We used to watch the sun go down on the boats in the water” is later mirrored in ‘Mine’ from Speak Now: “Do you remember all the city lights on the water?” Despite this similarity, it’s worth noting how both songs are a contrast of each other. ‘We Were Happy’ talks about a future that two people dreamed of having, while ‘Mine’ recounts memories of two lovers living out their happy ending.  

The deep dive into the Fearless rabbit hole continues with Taylor and Keith contemplating on the what ifs of a past relationship in ‘That’s When.’ This seems to have been the precursor to other duets in her succeeding albums like ‘The Last Time (ft. Gary Lightbody)’ in Red and ‘exile (ft. Bon Iver)’ in folklore, which followed the same structure of back-and-forth conversations between two lovers going through the aftermath of a breakup.  

‘Don’t You’ describes the early stages of acceptance. Taylor’s storytelling in this track is similar to ‘You’re Not Sorry,’ which talks about rejecting the other party’s desire to get back together. The moral of self-healing and moving on in ‘Don’t You’ is thematically carried in ‘Clean’ from 1989, giving us the therapy we all need after a painful breakup. To make it even more devastating, this track would perfectly fit the summer love affair narrative in folklore either told from Augustine’s perspective after James chose Betty over her or from Betty’s perspective after finding out about James’ affair. 

All the tears are finally swept away with ‘Bye Bye Baby’ that talks about bidding goodbye and fading into the memory of a great love. Taylor describes the breakup as how “It wasn’t just like a movie / The rain didn’t soak through my clothes, down to my skin,” which thematically relates to ‘If This Was a Movie’ that contrastingly talks about a lost love coming back. Shen then sings about getting “lost in the gray” and trying to “grab at the fray” encapsulates the heartbreaking emotions of holding onto pieces of a crumbling relationship or one that was bound to end. The line “And all the pages are just slipping through my hands” foreshadows the book and page theme later described in ‘Story of Us’ in her next album, Speak Now. 

The themes of love and heartbreak have become mainstream in pop culture. But what sets Taylor apart is her innate brilliance as a writer and artist to capture a range of emotions and refine it into simple words that resonate with many people yet still hold so much meaning and depth. On top of that, the parallelism of her past and present writing demonstrates how her understanding of the human experience of love has evolved and matured. 

Are we out of the woods yet?

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When Taylor first announced the release of Fearless (Taylor’s Version), everyone was looking forward to the six new tracks. From her fans’ point of view, it was heaven on earth. But from a business standpoint, this was a lucrative decision as additional songs on the rerecorded version would draw more listeners and licensing deals to her songs and, as a result, further devalue the earning potential of her old recordings. 

Legally, Taylor can rerecord 4 (Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, 1989) out of the 5 remaining albums she released under Big Machine Labels (Sadly, reputation has to wait until 2022). Nothing has been confirmed yet but following her cryptic clues on Instagram and the snippet of a ‘Wildest Dreams’ rerecorded version in a movie trailer, fans speculate that 1989 would be the next to roll out. If she decides to do the same strategy as she did with Fearless, then it’s checkmate on the business moguls that bought her old masters. 

More than that, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is her first step to regaining creative control and full ownership of her life’s work and legacy that brought her to where she is today. It’s no strange fact that Taylor has been caught in many celebrity feuds throughout her career, but this battle is different. It is monumental for the music industry as it may lead to changes towards artists’ rights. As she continues to take bold steps to take back what is rightfully hers, Taylor serves as a lesson and an advocate for aspiring artists across all industries waiting to sign their first contract. 

13 years ago, these tracks left us feeling like an emotional train wreck (and it still does today). It’s a memoir of our youth and a reimagining of our past because fan or not, her songs have impacted our lives in some way. But Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is more than just nostalgia. Listening to these songs as adults hits differently not only because we’ve loved and lost, but also because it serves as an anthem of freedom and a celebration of women in music. So the next time you hear that “hallelujah” in ‘Change (Taylor’s Version),’ allow yourself to feel empowered and free just as Taylor is now. 

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Thomasian musicians to add to your playlist

With all the new takes on OPM, let’s not forget about our fellow Thomasians who are persevering to let their craft be known in the mainstream media. Support local, support Thomasian artists.

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The rise of Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, and other music-streaming platforms paved the way for more artists to share their craft with a broader audience. It is now easier to promote your material through social media, while people can seamlessly listen to your music through different audio platforms on-demand without splurging too much cash. A basic subscription plan lets anyone stream all the music they want and play your songs on repeat. With this boom in the music industry through technological advancements, artists are inspired, now more than ever, to produce more music and give sick beats to avid listeners.

Here is a shortlist of Thomasian musicians you can stream on your music platforms.

1. Al James

(Photo courtesy of Jilson Tiu)

Before he was front and center in most gigs and before his music was blasted through the speakers of bars, Alvin James Manlutac, famously known as Al James, also sat in the rooms of Beato as a student under the College of Fine Arts and Design. In launching his first hit, he also doubted himself because he knew his style did not follow hip-hop norms. But fast-forward to today, his crafts are among the most famous songs played in the nightlife scene, as well as in casual get-togethers with your friends.

Manlutac permeated the fine line between underground and mainstream when he released his song ‘Pahinga,’ gaining more than 7.3 million views since its release three years ago.

Screengrab from Presko Life PH

2. Migo Señires

(Photo from DBTK)

Like Al James, Migo Señires also spent his college days in Beato, studying Advertising Arts in the College of Fine Arts and Design. They are both a part of the Baryo Berde crew, a multi-talent collective that fixates on culture and art. 

Señires released his song, Kara,which garnered more than 141,000 views since it was posted on his channel. He claims that he wrote it for the younger people who forgot their roots and the older ones who get frustrated when they can’t keep up with modern times. 

3. Schumi

(Screengrab from YouTube/Schumi)

When he is not walking around the halls of Ruaño, he may be singing center stage. Albert Guallar, famously known as Schumi, has been catching ears in the local hip-hop scene. He first started producing music and uploading it to SoundCloud, which then garnered the attention of people who had an interest in hip-hop. In an interview with TomasinoWeb, he said that his Schumi persona — writing music and such, is his gateway to express his emotions. It was an effective venue to vent out feelings of heartbreak and sadness, which, in this instance, was his breakup with his girlfriend. 

Schumi’s hit song ‘Bakit Why Not’ talks about breaking norms and protesting against some stereotypes like gender roles. Its music video has amassed more than 10 thousand views within two months of its release.

 

 

4. Himig Borhuh

(Photo from Himig Borhuh’s official Soundcloud)

From walking around the halls of the Albertus Magnus to being in the spotlight of #USTPaskuhan, Himig Austin Borja, a Music Technology student from the Conservatory of Music, has been making a name for himself. In an interview with UST Tiger TV, he said that he didn’t really envision himself to major in music since he was inclined to sports and was a basketball varsity player during his high school years. He also did not expect his hit song, ‘Watawat,’ to become well-known and was surprised that lines from his song became widespread after its release.

Himig Borja’s ‘Watawat,’ featuring Schumi, was a song that garnered attention during the last UAAP season. The line ‘ang medalya at korona ibalik na sa España,’ reflected the community’s yearning to secure another championship and showed the support Thomasians have for all our sports teams as well as the pride we have for our school. 

5.  Adrian Aggabao

(Photo from Adrian Aggabao’s official Instagram account)

Adrian Aggabao, popularly known as ‘Don Bao,’ is a Raymund’s local from the College of Commerce and Business Administration. Like Schumi, his music career also began when he started publishing his music on SoundCloud. Since then, he has secured multiple gigs during his downtime. Most of his music speaks about social realities and what’s nice about it is that he has his family as his inspiration. 

Don Bao’s song ‘Pasanin’ emphasizes on the lessons that a life filled with struggles and obstacles brings. Having dropped this first video on his Youtube channel about a year ago, it has garnered more than 2.3 thousand views. 

6. BarbaCola

(Photo from BarbaCola’s official Facebook page)

From UST Musikat’s band pool, the band BarbaCola was formed with Renz Jerique from the Faculty of Arts and Letters on vocals, Raja Rayas from the College of Education on bass, Cedrick Santa Cruz from the Faculty of Engineering on lead guitar, and Raemonn Petr on drums.

BarbaCola’s song ‘Senseless’ runs along with the themes of alternative and indie genres, mainly focusing on the ups and downs of love and how it is a war that one might not survive.

7. VFade

(Photo from Patrick Valentine Cabanayan’s official Facebook account)

Patrick Valentine Cabanayan, more commonly known as VFade, hails from the College of Science under the Department of Mathematics. In an interview with UST Tiger TV, he stated that his interest in music developed when he was in Senior High School, specifically during an apprenticeship under the Music, Arts, and Design track. He tried out music production and also ventured into rapping. 

His song ‘Andito Lang Ako’ expresses love and affection for a significant other. The song itself embodies the wide array of emotions one might feel when in love and how some minute details in the world seem brighter in the presence of strong feelings of attraction.

8. OMEN, Carty and Ballen

(Screengrab from YouTube/OnlyOneOmen)

All coming from the same Advertising Arts class in the College of Fine Arts and Design, third year students OMEN (Ron Flores), Carty (Zack Garcia), and Ballen (Allen Agulay) recently made their brainchild available to the public. The trio, who consider themselves brothers from another mother, has collaborated to release a new song entitled ‘Karma Comeback.’

As a collective, they claim that they made the song ‘Karma Comeback’ for fun since quarantine made it hard for them to bond and share their sentiments. By collaborating, they delved into their passion, music, art, and dumb sh*t, as they say.

Thomasians have always been present in every field, more prominently in the music industry. Their growth as artists and musicians will be exponential if we continue to support them and their work. With all the new takes on OPM, let’s not forget about our fellow Thomasians who are persevering to let their craft be known in the mainstream media. Support local, support Thomasian artists. 

 

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