Filipino Music that I Enjoy (as a non-Filipino American)

Some of the Filipino music I enjoy is actually American music performed by Filipino artists while some of it’s Filipino music I once thought was American music. I also enjoy some Filipino music that’s purely Filipino, as in OPM (which stands for “Original Pinoy Music”, “Original Pilipino Music” or “Original Philippine Music”). Most OPM is performed in the Tagalog language, but you can find some of it performed in the English language as well. I’m going to highlight some of the artists and some of the groups I enjoy listening to.

The Black Eyed Peas

apl.de.ap - Filipino music
By Frederick Manligas Nacino (Opusdeiphotography) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
This is an American group with a single Tagalog song I like, “Bebot” (of two Tagalog songs I know of). My older son was prancing around and repeating lines from it back in 2005, shortly after it came out. I like a few other songs, but only a few. “I Gotta Feeling” and “The Time (Dirty Bit)” come to mind without thinking too hard.

Cueshé

I heard “Ulan” hundreds of times in 2006 before I decided to track down the music video on YouTube. It’s another song in Tagalog and I don’t understand most of the lyrics, but I like it nonetheless. Formerly the “Pogi Rock Band” from Cebu, Philippines, they reformed in 2005 as Cueshé in Manila, Philippines.

Parokya ni Edgar

I saw the music video for “Mr. Suave” on The Filipino Channel (TFC) before 2006. The song is performed in Tagalog, but it’s catchy enough that you don’t need to know what the words mean. The group is most lauded for its original rock novelty songs and often satirical covers of famous songs. The group was formed by college students in Quezon City, Philippines, in 1993.

Rivermaya

The first time I heard “214”, I thought it was performed by an American group. The lead singer, Bamboo Mañalac, was a Filipino-American (born in San Francisco) but the rest of the singers weren’t. The group was formed in Manila, Philippines, in 1994.

Other Artists and Groups

There’s a lot of names in the “OPM (Original Pilipino Music)” section of the Wikipedia article on the music of the Philippines. While I recognize many of the names, I can’t say I’ve listened (or want to listen) to a fraction of them. Here are some of the names I’ve enjoyed, if only briefly:

  • Freddie Aguilar
  • Sharon Cuneta
  • Eraserheads
  • Pops Fernandez
  • Vina Morales
  • Martin Nievera
  • Lea Salonga

Frankly, I wouldn’t be able to remember all the names even if a complete list was staring me in the face. I don’t listen to Filipino music all that often these days. While my music tastes cross most genres, I find that I like listening to American eighties music most of the time. Coincidentally, my younger relatives in the Philippines seem to prefer it over OPM when we have parties.