Philippine Cinema is back on its feet, so declares its most rabid supporters—even tottering off to a new Golden Age. Given a much-needed adrenaline shot by Erik Matti’s On the Job, finally rousing the middle class to troop to a local film, things have been pretty upbeat for homegrown films and this time it’s not just people in the industry who are flaming the cinematic fire. It’s the triumph of Norte, The End of HistoryOn the Job and by association, Ilo Ilo and Metro Manila that got onlookers curious about Philippine Cinema once more. While the ninth edition of Cinemalaya went well, with more commercial-ready films at its wing, and tried-and-tested success of It Takes A Man and A Woman swept the nation off its feet, it’s when the Philippine delegation to Cannes 2013 sounded off with critical acclaim that the year became one hell of a time for Philippine Cinema.

Two new film festivals—TV 5’s CineFilipino and the Film Development Council of the Philippine’s All-Masters Festival—debuted this year, with Salamindanaw International Film Festival joining by the wayside. By the time CineFilipino wrapped up its screenings, prognosticators were all too happy to list a preliminary Best Filipino Films of 2013 because the crop of films were that good, you can actually fill a ballot up to 20. Some films got out of the indie circuit, thanks to distributors who still take a chance on little films. Films like Ang Turkey Man Ay Pabo Rin or Sana Dati were released alongside mainstream releases and Hollywood blockbusters. Although the numbers were still small, the fact that these films tried to exist outside film festival and onto a wider audience was enough to gain a glimmer of hope for better films.

Ultimately, this year’s best films dealt with the terrible embrace of the human condition: Norte’s nihilistic punch in the gut; Bukas Na Lang Sapagkat Gabi Na’s reshaping of our dark history; and Badil’s slow-burning tale of terror and corruption. But at the other end of the spectrum, there lies the light hearted toying on hot-button issues: Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita’s charming portrayal of young lesbian love; Lukas Nino‘s mythic plunge into young ambition and mythmaking, Blue Bustamante’s spin on 90s nostalgia and the OFW phenomenon; and Iskalawags’s gritty but tender take on small-town dreams and childhood fears. And then, there’s Sana Dati, a deconstructed tale of love fraught with familiar strains longing and loss.

20130805-bakit-hindi-crush-kim15. Bakit Hindi Ka Crush ng Crush Mo? (Bb. Joyce Bernal)

otso14. Otso (Elwood Perez)

babagwa alex medina 00513. Babagwa (John Paul Laxamana)

1115bLUEBUSTAMANTE-212. Blue Bustamante (Miko Livelo)

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 1.21.38 AM11. Islands (Whammy Alcazaren)

laultima_0710. La Ultima Pelicula (Raya Martin and Mark Peranson)

quick-change-stills-119. Quick Change (Eduardo Roy)

on_the_job_018. On The Job (Erik Matti)

vlcsnap-2013-08-08-02h09m28s1047. Sana Dati (Jerrold Tarog)

Lukas Nino-Lead-2013-10056. Lukas Nino (John Torres)

Bukas-Na-Lang-Sapagkat-Gabi-Na5. Bukas Na Lang Sapagkat Gabi Na (Jet Leyco)

Iskalawags4. Iskalawags (Keith Deligero)

Angel-Aquino-and-newcomer-Teri-Malvar-in-a-scene-from-Ang-Huling-Cha-Cha-ni-Anita3. Ang Huling Cha-cha Ni Anita (Sigrid Andrea Bernardo)

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 1.21.56 AM2. Badil (Chito Rono)

Norte 11. Norte: Hangganan Ng Kasaysayan (Lav Diaz)

titanic

My gateway drug into the hyperkinetic world of pop culture was Titanic. Yes, thatTitanic—yes, the $200-million James Cameron movie which also doubles as an approximation of his dick and ego. And here’s the most baduy thing about it: Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On was the reason I tuned in to MTV every freaking day. It may sound terribly jologs, but a blockbuster film like Titanic makes for a perfect introduction to pop culture. Its immensity covers all the great films that existed before it, sharing the weight of historical epics such as Ben Hur and the sweeping romance of classics like Gone with the Wind.

My Titanic years (which approximately lasted for two years) were pretty intense: I scoured newspapers and magazines and clipped any mention of the film — the ‘90s version of an aggregator or Twitter link (the news clippings are still kept in a red folder somewhere in our house). While waiting for Celine Dion on MTV, I got introduced to musicians like Tori Amos, Madonna (who was at her post-‘80s prime in 97’s “Ray of Light”), Bjork, U2 and Jewel. Everything else followed suit: Top 40 pop, American Film Institute’s 100 films (courtesy of the Newsweek special with the AFI 100 commemoration that featured a Martin Scorsese article mentioning Titanic), Academy Awards, film soundtracks, and magazines (Vanity Fairand Entertainment Weekly).

Four years after, this ridiculous cycle of obsession was repeated when The Lord of the Rings came out. This was a longer phase, marked by a close reading of J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy and The Hobbit, learning to write and read in Elvish and other Middle Earth languages (the Cirth rune was a particular favorite), and visiting filmtracks.com for translations of the choir texts Howard Shore used in the trilogy’s soundtrack.LOTR ushered in the science fiction/horror/speculative fiction phase of my reading life. Unlike my Titanicphase, this was easier because there were blogs like Andrew Ty’s Atrocity Exhibition LiveJournal or Banzai Cat’s blog that referred me to authors like China Mieville, Iain M. Banks and Thomas Ligotti.

Because you kids arrived on this earth in the time of the Blessed Reign of the Holy Internet, getting access to all the cool and obscure pop culture stuff is pretty easy. Even a quick visit to a Wikipedia page of a film, book or album leads to a treasure trove of information via citations and footnotes. But the case here is all about careful curation of content. Your online existence will be relatively easy if you know which sites to go to for your pop cultural consumption. Going past The Daily What, I Can Haz Cheezburger, or Animals Talking in All Caps (probably the most intelligent animal-related meme blog on the web), here are four websites and an artist discography that has helped shaped my cultural consumption over the past decade or so. I hope this list will be helpful, particularly to those who want a different pop cultural perspective this 2013.

Slant Magazine

Combining excellent writing with sharp pop cultural observations, Slant champions the great and the underappreciated in film, music, television and (more recently) video games. Their 100 Essential Films list has Bela Tarr’s Satantango share sacred space with divisive cult classics like Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls. All their staff lists, like The 25 Best Horror Films of the Aughts and 100 Best Films of the 1990s are essential reading for film enthusiasts.

Brain Pickings

It may be a bit twee or over-enthusiastic for some but Maria Popova’s website is a repository of curiosities and interesting finds on science, history, literature, politics, and everything in between. Some of their interesting posts include The Best Science Books of 2012, Susan Sontag on Love, and “British vs American Politics in Minimalist Vintage Infographics.”

The discographies of Sufjan Stevens and The Decemberists

These folk rock contemporaries are commandeered by men who have painstakingly pored through little-known lore, urban legends and kilometric epic poems, as reflected in their respective discographies. Stevens, known for his ambitious Americana albums, mixes gritty narratives (his song John Wayne Gacy Jr. is about empathizing with the titular serial killer) and Christian-folk sensibilities (particularly on his album “Seven Swans” which featured a track about the transfiguration of Christ) while Colin Meloy, the lead singer and songwriter of The Decemberists, incorporates Japanese legends (such as “The Crane Wife”) and indie rock operas (in The Hazards of Love) as tributes to his literary heroes. Their albums and the succeeding unraveling of their influences and Easter Eggs are great introductions to lesser-known tales.

mental_floss 

Their website’s “about” page puts the reading experience succinctly: “mental_flossmagazine is an intelligent read, but not too intelligent. We’re the sort of intelligent that you hang out with for a while, enjoy our company, laugh a little, smile a lot and then we part ways.” The magazine poses questions and answers to things you never thought you’d be interested in: investigations on newt toxins, how paperbacks changed the way Americans read, and stories behind famous cocktails. You may not give a sh*t about these things but after reading mental_floss, you will want to tell everyone (i.e. your Facebook friends list and Twitter followers) about it.

Filmmaker Raya Martin’s Tumblr blog is a scrapbook of historical outtakes, obscure indie rock, and pop music. Basically, it’s a glimpse into the machinations that operate inside Martin’s cinematic mind.

628x471

Three quarters into Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue, one of his broken-down characters proclaims, “Lots of bad things happen once you start to get old.” It’s not quite as profound like the other chunks of wisdom Chabon scatters across his book but its basic, eleven-word grip hovers above the characters heads like a godforsaken slogan written in Dayglo colors. Chabon, who previously won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, splits this realization into the two halves of his story: one about fatherhood and the other about professional struggle.

Chabon builds Telegraph Avenue as a sprawling view of pre-Obama America. It’s 2004 in the titular NoCal avenue (which connects Berkeley and Oakland) and Nat Jaffe and Archy Stallings find themselves in a battle against retail giant Dogpile, which threatens to eat up their independent vinyl record store, Brokeland Records. Their wives are also having a hard time as birth partners and will soon descend into some sort of professional limbo after birthing hiccup with one of their clients. These characters will soon hang out with then Senator Obama in one of his political fund raising gigs in Berkeley. His cameo sets off the signifier for change—something that will be faced with a good amount of reluctance and opposition.

Much of what Chabon mines here is the stuff of Obama’s promised wave of change: racial dynamics (Nat is Jewish and Archy is black), health care, corporate sleaze versus small businesses, communal development, and homosexuality. There’s even a little bit of immigration tucked here and there. Chabon frames all this in a Blaxploitation perspective, via Archy’s dad Luther who used to be a B-movie action star. He occasionally lapses into a mixtape of the African-American history, jazz and soul worship, violent outbursts, and the existential state that we share with our collectibles, mimicking the filmic stylishness and attribution of Quentin Tarantino, whose work figures widely in the book.

Telegraph Avenue towers with ambition. It hints at an exercise of making the new Great American Novel that approximates the socio-political climate of the era, an impression that is reinforced with each giddy reception of the book. Heavily immersive passages (watch out for the one-sentence chapter), pockmarked with bursts of obscure references may sometimes mar the reading experience but once Chabon unleashes a bevy of swift literary Kung Fu moves, he hooks you in from page to page, crackling with fetishistic brio and sense of direction. It may be a slow burner but Telegraph Avenue reveals itself as an unlikely field guide to pop cultural dreams and easing up into the complexities of adulthood.

This review originally appeared in Rogue Magazine (November 2012). Image from SFGate.

mhl

Gay relationships on TV and film always fall down a slippery slope. Hordes of “indie” films have whittled homosexuality into its most banal and visceral forms, so we’re forced to turn to other reliable sources for a more sobered portrayal of the dynamics of a gay relationship.

Enter GMA-7’s My Husband’s Lover, teleserye that serves up a different kind of gay drama. The fact that its title presents a problematic scenario adds to the pressure that the show is facing. But what makes My Husband’s Lover unique is its central struggle — that of a wife witnessing the disintegration of her marriage with her closeted gay husband, whose failure to come to terms with his homosexuality gives Filipinos a venue to discuss pressing LGBT issues.

This show also takes a risk by casting “hunky” actors as its leads. At the central conflict we have Tom Rodriguez and Dennis Trillo playing Vincent and Eric, star-crossed lovers whose relationship begins as high school sweethearts. Victor Basa, meanwhile, plays a supporting character David, Vincent’s confidant and former lover. Tom, Dennis, and Victor are all aware of the pressures and expectations about the show.

“There’s a lot of pressure because you don’t want a caricature of a person,” says Victor. “It’s a drama, not a comedy. You don’t want your audience to feel a disconnect. If it’s not truthful, what’s the use of what we’re doing? Hindi makakaabot yung message sa mga tao if it’s very shallow. We take our work seriously.”

Hard work

All three of them work hard to steer their portrayals away from how we usually see gays on TV — which is typically the loud, parlorista comedy bar homosexual. Tom approached his character with a more emotional bent, seeing that the usual nuances of a gay man do not necessarily define how a character is. “I wanted to focus more on the emotions of Vincent’s character kasi yung takot ko ayaw kong magingcartoon siya eh, or a caricature, that it will be offensive,” explains Tom.

Mahirap paniwalaan yung mga lalakeng umaarte na bading,” Dennis, meanwhile, says. “Kailanganipakita mo rin yung best mo. Maganda na naniniwala yung mga taosiguro dahil we believe in what we do.”

Victor’s David is the sound of reason between the three of them. He’s helplessly fallen in love with Vincent before. He knows that Vincent’s marriage to Lally is a sham, that he was just forced to marry her because he got her pregnant: a one-way ticket to hide his true identity in the folds of a happy marriage. But as Vincent tries to burrow himself even more in his lie of a heterosexual life, his marriage slowly goes in shambles, with Lally gradually uncovering her husband’s hidden life: a photo of Eric hidden in a picture frame beside the bed, late, lonely nights, and the growing distance between them.

My Husband’s Lover gives us the macho gay man tangled in the typical web of emotional and familial struggle of a typical gay man. With every homophobe we encounter on the show (such as Vincent’s dad who threatens gay men by pulling out his gun because he wants gyms and golf clubs homo-free), we have Chanda Romero as Eric’s supportive mom, the kind of person that every gay man and woman should have as their Sherpa up the mountain of gayness. We get one cliché after another in the show and we only hope that these clichés are present so it could be bulldozed and dismissed.

LGBT reception

LGBT advocates have praised My Husband’s Lover for the risk that it takes in telling such a story on free TV. Ron de Vera of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHO) outlines the key points that the show got right:

“From an advocacy perspective, it is good that the portrayal of ‘gays’ departs from the stereotypical loud cross-dressing effeminate male (which is technically a transgender). Hopefully, with a little more push, this will help educate the general public about the distinction between gays and transgenders,” he says.

There’s also the situation that brought Eric and Vincent’s together. Ron says, “I like that the two gay characters are/were in a relationship based on emotional bonds and not economic dependence. It shows that masculine men can actually be attracted to other men (regardless of gender expression) without financial compensation.”

But the catch is that, again, from the show’s title, the gay relationship is the antagonist of the show. If Eric and Vincent end up together, it might portray gay men as homewreckers, something that isn’t intrinsic in all homosexuals. And whatever the ending is, as Ron puts is, the gays lose.

“I’m actually kind of worried about how it will end because both scenarios (that I can think of right now) will put gays in a bad light. On one hand, if the married couple ends up staying together, the gay lover will turn out to be the loser. It will send the message that gays can choose to be straight and stay with their ‘chosen wives’ and ‘chosen lives,’ and gay lovers have no hope in life (boohoo). On the other hand, if gay husband leaves his wife and runs away with gay lover, then the message will be, that gays are homewreckers (more boohoo),” Ron explains.

Ray of light

My Husband’s Lover could very well be a new chapter in the LGBT advocacy. It can show bigots and closed-minded people how gay men and women aren’t lustful, sex maniacs or low lives. But all this posturing and pontificating could eventually lead to propaganda where homosexuality can be “cured” by marriage, starting a family, and overcoming “lustful tendencies.”

But all this withstanding, the show is about love. And love knows no gender, as we are told. Love is the heart pounding at its core and all those who tune in, whether they are straight, transgender, bi or gay, are pinning their hopes on the show for a realistic portrayal of how it is to be in love; to understand how it’s like to love in a world where everything is at stake. In the process, the show could become a dialogue on LGBT issues, transforming the platform as a different and more accessible way to reach more people.

“We’ll just see if it’s a tragic love story or a happy ending,” says Tom.

* * *

My Husband’s Lover airs weeknights after Mundo Mo’y Akin on GMA-7. Originally published in Supreme (22 June 2013) 

jodi

These days, Jodi Sta. Maria is walking on sunshine. Warm fuzzies roll on to her favor; an unstoppable force that lets her glide like a kite on a clear blue sky. It’s an imagery that anyone can easily associate with her, especially now that she’s been giving audiences healthy doses of optimism as Maya in the hit daytime show, Be Careful With My Heart. “When people see me now, parang they see me as walking good vibes,” she says with a chuckle. If ever Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote ‘She’s a Rainbow’ with a particular girl in mind, it would probably be someone like Maya, and in extension, Jodi herself.

The story of Be Careful With My Heart is hardly new stuff: a provincial lass finds her way into the city to help her family and, after a series of happy accidents, ends up as a helper in the household of a rich businessman. Yet, it became 2012’s biggest television phenomenon, boasting ratings that rival top-ranking primetime soaps. The tandem of Jodi and Richard Yap, who fans fondly refer to as Sir Chief, his nickname in the show, has become its beating core. In that sudden tip of a hat, Jodi and Richard are now household names.

The show’s success has led to its transforming into massive franchise, spawning numerous fan pages and blogs (teeming with gif sets of memorable kilig scenes), soundtracks, mall shows, and even a world tour. Originally slated for a one season run when it premiered July last year, it is now extended until mid-2013. A film starring Jodi and Richard is also said to be in the works. But more than its skyrocket to fame, Be Careful has stood as a tent pole for feel-good television, a moral guidebook that kids and adults alike can check whenever they find themselves in sticky situations, just like in Maya’s [mis]adventures.

“Siyempre sa umpisa naman ng show ay mere entertainment lang; to entertain people,” Jodi explains. “But then habang tumagal, we all realized, hindi lang siya naging basta entertainment para sa mga kababayan natin kundi naging source din siya ng inspiration and reminder para sa nakararami. Naging instrument lang kaming mga actors, our directors, production staff, and yung mga crew. We work hand in hand para makapag-send out ng magandang mensahe sa mga tao.”

Jodi Sta. Maria cover story for Preview Magazine March 2013. Read the rest of the story on Zinio

BMLove is just escape for two people who don’t know how to be alone,” says Jesse Wallace (Ethan Hawke) in Before Sunrise (1995), the first of Richard Linklater’s trilogy that centers on a couple as they go through European cities and discuss pretty much everything there is to be discussed. It’s easy to dismiss the films as ideations of Jesse’s escapist theory but in between dorm-room ramblings on gender studies, the cultural clash between Americans and Europeans, and wistful evocations on love and the fragile nature of relationships, Linklater’s long walks of romanticism touch on a familiar truth; a stripped-down form of love, something that inspired at least a generation of moviegoers to search for an elusive kind of love on trains, cafes, record stores, and second-hand bookshops.

Of course, here we’ll have to settle for alternatives: record shops in Cubao X, Book Sales, Starbucks, or the school library. It’s a search that’s First World and bohemian at best, teetering on the ridiculous notion that a chatty but good-looking Frenchie like Celine (or in Jesse’s case, an American) on the train might be the love of his life instead of a psychotic man-hater. At its most basic, the films operate on the template of Hollywood love, with a hefty serving of intellect and a dash of quirk (although never crossing the Manic Pixie Dream Girl Side) but Linklater, who later collaborated with the actors in the screenplays of Before Sunset (2004) and Before Midnight (2013), provides us with conversations that are believable enough to make love-struck wanderers out of us, hoping that we’ll strike up a conversation with someone who reads Kinsey or Georges Bataille. The closest thing that we can settle for here is someone with a dog-eared copy of Haruki Murakami or John Green.

It’s almost been 15 years since Before Sunrise and it took Jesse and Celine nine years to reunite in Paris in Before Sunset. Their initial meeting, brimming with bullshit theories that hallmark youthful musings, provided us with an ending that exposed the hopeful or the cynic in us: would they really meet six months later like they agreed to? Turns out, they didn’t. Celine’s grandmother died and was buried on their supposed meeting date but Jesse did fly to Vienna and stayed there for a week, hoping that Celine would eventually show up. They haven’t quite moved on after that, their one night in Vienna still their most vivid memory. Jesse then writes a novel about their encounter, a clever way to draw Celine’s attention and they eventually meet, nine years later at Jesse’s book reading in Paris. And they’ve done a little growing up, too.

Before Sunset shows a more hard-edged couple, jaded and a bit contemptuous after experiencing fallouts in their respective relationships. But at their core, they’re still those young drifters that met in Vienna. We ride in on that hope too, that they’ll finally pick up where they left off nine years ago, despite the fact that they only have an hour until Jesse flies back to New York. Then Linklater gives us what possibly is the best ending of the last decade.

Nine years later, we have Before Midnight, which premiered in Sundance last January to overwhelmingly positive reviews. Adjectives and phrases rained on the film range from “masterful,” “perfect” to “the best of the trilogy.” Its release was anticipated mostly by the teenagers who saw Before Sunset who have by now turned into battle-scarred 20- or 30-somethings, hoping to find an acceptable resolution to Jesse and Celine’s romance. With promo stills and rumors that hint at the relationship’s demise, Before Midnight gnaws on that paralyzing anxiety that we’ve been harboring all these years: that they’ve never really hit it off and that their romance is just kept alive by “brief encounters in European cities.”

Before Midnight finds Jesse and Celine in Greece, a rather ominous setting: a country that’s known for its ruins. The years haven’t been easy on Jesse and Celine and here, we find them tangled in the repercussions of their decisions from the last two decades. “How long has it been since we walked around bullshiting?” Celine asks Jesse. You can’t help but feel the last two films have afforded them a ruminative break over everything that they have been trying to escape. For a couple that you’ve projected on your ideas of what love is, Jesse and Celine make for a perfect substitute for a future you’ll hope to find yourself in. So for everyone who’s loved the last two films, Before Midnight is either that last dash to fulfillment or a heavy blow of betrayal.

It’s almost silly, of course, trying to pin your relationship woes on a fictional couple. But it almost seems too plausible since ours is a generation shaped by pop-cultural codes. The release of Judd Apatow’s This Is 40, a comedy film that chronicles the struggles of a couple in their 40s, and the second season Lena Dunham’s Girls, catalogue frustrations that come punching in when you’re grappling with quarter-life crisis. These films haven’t given us escape; they have been confrontational avenues where we can deal with our own shortcomings in whatever relationships we find ourselves in. We might be occasionally eaten up by fears, held up by streaks of optimism, and let down by sullied expectations, but our personal histories will always culminate in that moment of reprieve, that like Jesse and Celine, we’ve given ourselves chances to look on a future that we think we truly deserve.

Published February 9, 2013 in the Philippine Star’s Supreme

Ubiquity is the surest way to kill a song,’ music critic Sal Cinequemani wrote, and in this era where songs are transformed through different iterations of their selves: covers, remixes, endless loops in cafes, some still catch us by surprise. If you’re the kind of person who looks up sad love songs to listen to at night, YouTube playlists present a treasure trove of choices, from the legit harana tunes to 90s favorites.

Here are five songs, originally consigned to 90s jolog oblivion but, thanks to the aforementioned YouTube playlists and cab rides (where the radios are always tuned in to a station that plays these kinds of songs all day long), we get to re-examine and re-appreciate their glory.

1. Sana ay Mahalin mo rin Ako – April Boys

“Ito yung laging kinakanta ng kuya ko sa nililigawan nya noon, taz back-up ako, 5 yrs old palang ako nun,” the top comment in a YouTube videoke upload of the April Boys song. Its simple chord progression makes it an easy harana and if you’re up for singing it to your prospective jowa, it might actually work. While the song title gives off a bit of desperation, Vingo and Jimmy were actually singing about a plea for a lasting relationship.

Potential Facebook status: Kapag nakita ka, ako’y nahihiya/Kapag kausap ka, ako’y namumula/Sabi ng puso ko, ako’y in love sa’yo/Sana ay mahalin mo rin ako.

YouTube Level: Karaoke, personal photo slides, OPM playlists, covers, and lyric videos.

2. Alaala Mo – White Lies

Most listeners will probably associate the song’s hook with Dagtang Lason’s ‘Masarap Magmahal Ng Bakla’ which rewound White Lies’s paean to the enduring power of unrequited love. But beyond its videoke-worthy power chords, there’s something in here that echoes Barbra Streisand’s The Way We Were, but this time instead of conjuring up the past, White Lies sings for something that never was and never will be.

Potential Facebook status: Mga alaala mo’y kay sarap isipin/Bawat sandali’y kapiling/O kay sarap damhin
YouTube Level: Covers, Karaoke, official band videos, and anime tributes

3.  Mahal pa rin Kita – Rockstar

Rockstar swaps the cheese out of despair and heartache for the all-consuming flame of desire. You can easily picture a guy, down on his knees, the wind baying in the background while the rain pours down in empathy. Love lost is always a good reason to forsake sanity but Rockstar also proves it’s a reason for writing a damn good torch song.

Potential Facebook status: Bakit ‘di maamin na wala ka na?

YouTube Level: Lyric videos, guitar and piano tutorials, covers, Karaoke, and slide shows.

 4. Ikaw pa rin – Ted Ito

 Originally ‘Saigo no iwake’ by Hideaki Tokunaga, Ted Dito, who is actually half-Japanese, translated the song into Tagalog, making it one of the most remembered songs of the early 90s. It’s a deceptively simple song but ‘Ikaw Pa Rin’ manages to let the ghost of his love flourish, slow and subtle like the progression of time. Because waiting for love to come back feels like never coming home.

Potential Facebook status: Bakit di magawa nitong damdamin /Ang paglimot sa mga nagdaan /Sadya nga bang ganyan/Pag nagmahal ay di matatakasan 

YouTube level: Lyric videos, covers, remixes, and karaoke.

5.    Kasalanan Ba? – Men Oppose

Before Ebe Dancel deployed his bombs of sadness through Sa Wakas, Men Oppose carried burned down hearts in the arms of their song ‘Kasalanan Ba?’ There’s nothing like a man scorned despite the magnitude of his love and commitment, something that sends him to the dark alley of self-doubt and history of personal woes. It’s always the best that gets hit by the worst.

Potential Facebook status: The entire song. Stick in a notebook or make a slideshow with photos of your ex and the lyrics glaring in red, angry typeface.

YouTube Level: karaoke, playlists, lyric video, slide shows, remixes, and covers.

Published in the Independence Day supplement of The Philippine Star (June 12, 2013)

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