I started to embrace and appreciate original Pinoy music (a.k.a. OPM) when I entered high school. I was not a fan of OPM until I got fully exposed to it through my classmates and the default radio station of our school service. During those years, OPM was at its peak. Filipino bands competed against foreign artists such as Alicia Keys and Usher in the top 10 spots in Filipino music charts. The youth was inspired by The Eraserheads (they were named as “The Beatles of the Philippines”) and the rise of numerous bands in the music scene, so the high school and college kids at that time learned how to play musical instruments— acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, you name it— and formed their own band. The schools also supported this (much better than doing other things, if you know what I mean) so they set up events like Battle of the Bands. Ahhh, those were the days.
Years later, I’m still fascinated with Filipino bands. I’m happy that the bands which I have loved since high school are still active in the music scene. Now that I’m working and somehow capable of buying tickets using my hard-earned money, I make sure that I find time to watch some of them. And “find time” refers to the university week of my college alma mater. It has become a personal tradition. Every year, I brave the traffic of Manila (and blend in with the college people hahaha) for this big event.
This year, when I learned that Sponge Cola and Parokya ni Edgar will be playing again, I asked a favor from my brother to buy VIP tickets for me and my friends, Mau and Luke. The organizers posted from their Facebook page that VIP tickets are limited only so my brother bought on the day they first opened the ticket booth at school. Luckily, his dismissal was at 12:30noon so he was one of the first buyers in line.
The perks of VIP!!! Mau, Luke and I were surprised when we were led to the backstage! We all agreed that we were in the perfect spot. No bouncers, no rail-steel-trolley-walls… just a free space where we can see the performers walk in and out. Kilig! When we arrived, Moonstar 88 was onstage. It felt like high school all over again when the band played Torete and Migraine. Sud and Jason Fernandez did solo acts.
The moment I’ve been waiting for! Sponge Cola! Their performance was good as always, but it was cut off for some reason. I think they were supposed to play five or seven songs but after the fourth song, they had to say good-bye to the crowd. We were all chanting “more” and “isa pa” (one more), but their road manager did the times up hand signal. I felt that Yael wanted to sing one more song, but he was being obedient. Before going down the stage, he sang the chorus part of Jeepney. It was bitin. On the brighter side, I am still thankful because I got to see them perform again.
Parokya ni Edgar was the final act. Here’s a fun fact about this band: They have been in the music industry for more than two decades! This band never fails to rock the house down. The crowd gets wild when they are the ones onstage. They sang their classics as well the new ones. I got to sing along to The Yes Yes Show, Para sa Iyo, Halaga, and Your Song.
I still have a music hang-over from last night, and I keep looking back at the photos and the videos on my phone— reliving the things that happened. If only I had a time machine, I would go back to these moments I shared with Sponge Cola and Parokya ni Edgar. Fun times!
P.S. As of this writing, Chito Miranda, the vocalist of Parokya ni Edgar, replied a heart to my Instagram story.