10 Favorite OPM Songs that are neither in English nor Filipino*

I STARTED listening to Korean pop way before it became huge in the Philippines (hashtag hipster). Back then, one of the most common questions I got was, “Bakit ka nakikinig d’yan e hindi mo naman ‘yan naiintindihan?”

It was a valid question — a little antagonistic, but valid nonetheless.

I no longer remember what my go-to answer was, but I think it had something to do with Meteor Garden. I was a kid when I started singing along to songs in Mandarin. Shortly before I got into K-Pop, I was also already fangirling over Japanese boy bands. The language barrier was simply never an issue for me.

Fortunately a lot has changed since then. With the advent of streaming services and social media, people are now more open to enjoying music in other languages. I can even explore music not only from other Asian countries but also from outside Metro Manila.

Below are some of my favorite Filipino songs written in languages** that I barely understand. Some of them still include lines in English and Tagalog, and almost all of them sound like regular pop songs from the West. Whether Pinoy music has a distinct sonic identity or not is a completely different discussion, so, yeah — let’s talk about that some other time.

01


Puydi Ba

Fin and Fil’s “puydi ba” is the reason why I wrote this post in the first place. I was playing a random Spotify chillax playlist earlier and I had to stop doing what I was doing just so I could save this song. I didn’t understand a word but, girl, kinilig ako? Hahaha.

02


Balay ni Mayang

I first heard of Martina San Diego and Kyle Wong’s “Balay ni Mayang” through a BNT Production video. Did this song actually achieve mainstream success, or is BNT Aye just way cooler than I initially thought? (At talagang nanonood ako ng BNT, ano?)

03


On Potok

“On Potok” is one of the few songs on this list that isn’t from the Visayas. Talahib wrote this song about the Dumagat tribe of Sierra Madre and, like many indigenous groups, the Dumagat has a long-running struggle for land and ancestral domain.

04


Kahangturan

Many of Route 83’s songs, including “Kahangturan,” remind me of the works of Mura Masa and other European electronica artists. This song is a decent upbeat bop, though I don’t think I would say the same if it was written in English.

05


Intergalactic Gugma

The arrangement of Tony Alfonso and Kaye Dinauto’s “Intergalactic Gugma” sounds eerily similar to Owl City’s “Fireflies’.” The song got my attention mainly because of the title and the lyrics and pretty much the entire outer space shtick.

06


Baga Ka’g Face

Among all the electronica songs on this list, Malaya Macaraeg’s “Baga Ka’g Face” is the catchiest for me. The beats drop right when I except them to, and the title gets repeated in a way that begs me to sing along to it, even if I have no idea what it’s saying.

07


Cebuana

Whatever happened to Karencitta after that “I’m quitting music” brouhaha? Too bad, I really like her song “Cebuana.” I don’t get the line about “Cebuanang padala” though — is it satire? Is there more to it than just being a clever pun? Hmm.

08


Mauli

Fred Engay & Mei Teves’ “Mauli” is the token Bikol song on this list. It’s a simple ballad with straightforward lyrics — there’s nothing special about it, really. Or am I just being overly critical because I can actually understand the lyrics?

09


Porque

Maldita’s “Porque” is one of the OGs, isn’t it? The song became viral in ’11, and the band even recorded a Tagalog translation and performed it in ASAP and SOP. I still listen to the original Chavacano version to this day.

10


Idjay

Davey Langit’s “Idjay” sounds like Wordplay-era Jason Mraz, so it’s right up my alley. Only the chorus is in Ilocano though — the verses are all in Tagalog — but I like the song enough so I had to include it on this list.


*I used to be certain that saying Filipino instead of Tagalog is better (or at least it’s technically correct), but then I read that the “Filipino” language is really just fortified Tagalog so calling it “Filipino” raises issues re: oversimplification and erasures, so, um, here’s a run-on-sentence-slash-disclaimer saying that I am not sure which word to use and that I still need to read more about the topic. Phew.

**I am certain that Bisaya, Bikol, and Ilocano are languages, not dialects. Right?


Featured photo by Manuel Sardo on Unsplash

23 Comments

    1. Jolens

      β™ͺ Porque contigo yo ya escogiiii β™ͺ HAHAHA. This song used to be everywhere! πŸ˜‚

      Siguro kaya may non-Tagalog Filipino eme sa Spotify ko kasi na-search ko na dati ‘yung ‘Balay ni Mayang’? The algorithm may have unraveled from there. (Wuw sa ‘unraveled’ hahahaha. πŸ˜‚)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Mochichi

    Cool nitong list! Dalawa lang ata ang alam ko. Usual ngang tanong dati ‘to: “Bakit ka nakikinig d’yan e hindi mo naman β€˜yan naiintindihan?” sa mga kpop fans. Yung friend ko nag-aral sya ng korean para hindi na sya masabihan ng ganyan. May certain something nga din sa Mauli, baka dahil naiintinidihan ko din sya.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jolens

      Ang taray n’ung nag-aral ng Korean! Hahaha. Marami ring natututo sa panonood lang ng K-drama ‘di ba? Ikaw ba, may mga napick-up ka na na words? Otoke?? Anyeong haseyo?? Hahahaha.

      Weird ng Mauli ‘no? Parang hindi match ‘yung syllables sa melody or something, ‘di ko ma-pinpoint talaga. Hahaha. πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mochichi

        Nakakapag multi-task na nga ako while watching k-drama, ibig sabihin naka-catch ko na ng kaunti ang mga usual phrases nila. Haha

        Actually medyo weird nga. Parang naalala ko talaga sa kanya ‘yung mga “pabasa” or yung pasyon pag semana santa. May ganun kasi sa bahay ng lola ko kaya parang ganun yung ring ng kanta. Bicol kasi tapos parang ‘yung mga syllables yung pinag aadjust sa melody. Hahaha.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Jolens

          Ay waw, ikaw rin pala medyo marunong na! Ang sayaaaaa! πŸ˜€

          Super sakto n’ung pabasa vibes! Para ngang pinipilit nila i-swak ‘yung syllables sa melody hahahahaha. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

          Like

  2. Ruo Ruo

    Noong una kong marinig iyong Cebuana, I thought it was English songs. πŸ˜‚
    Ang ganda kasi noong music. Pang international ang datingan. 3 songs lang ang alam ko sa list mo. It hard to search for songs na hindi Tagalog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jolens

      Ang ganda nga ‘no? Hehehe. Umaasa lang ako sa algorithm ng Spotify at YouTube para makahanap ng non-Tagalog, non-English songs. πŸ™‚

      May blog ka rin ba, Ruo Ruo? Hindi ko ma-access itong dailydoselaw na associated sa WP profile mo. Curious lang, hehe.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ruo Ruo

        Oo. Ako nagse-search ako, eh. Kahit mga music na gawa local instrument natin, ang hirap hanapin. Anyway may isa pang kanta si Davey Langit na Ilocano rin. Maganda ring pakinggan.

        Hehe. Mayroon. Ruo Ruo Daily Thought. https://ruoruodailythoughts.home.blog
        ‘Yan iyong link. Kahit ako nahihirapan din i-access. Ewan ko kung anong nangyari dito sa account ko.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Jolens

          May mga nahanap ka na gumagamit ng local instruments? Gusto ko dating Kadangyan tsaka ‘yung classics like Pinikpikan, hehe.

          Anong song ni Davey? Dungo? Awat? Hehehe.

          Yay, fina-follow na kita! ❀ πŸ™‚ ❀

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Ruo Ruo

            Kaunti lang din, eh. Mga instrument ng tribe sa Mindanao. Wala kasing nagpo-post ng video online. Hindi ko na gaanong matandaan. Pero ito iyong link ng isa. https://youtu.be/wjVD-cKu0Fg
            Iyong Awat. Naku-cute-an ako. Hahaha. Mostly ang naririnig kong local song maliban sa Tagalog, puro kanta sa mga kasalan. Hahaha.
            Thanks sa follow. πŸ˜πŸ’“β™‘

            Liked by 1 person

      1. rAdishhorse

        baka nga yun Tagalog version ang narinig ko. binasa ko yun lyrics na Chavacano.. naisip ko lang, wala pa yata ako napapanood na movie na Chavacano salita. May mga napanood na kasi ako Ilonggo, Cebuano, Kapampangan (partially). Wala gusto ko lang marinig hehehe

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.