Summer is fast careening to its peak, and everyone seems busy preparing for a much-needed getaway. The beach will soon be packed with babes parading their toned bod in bikinis, youngsters lazing around coastal towns with cold beer in one hand, and rowdy friends singing along to ubiquitous pop jams while waiting for the sun to clear out.
To celebrate the infinite pleasures of the tropical season, we’ve rummaged through the modern Filipino songbook to curate a list of definitive summer anthems to get you in the mood for countryside drives, beach parties, and backyard cookouts.
Now, your move: crank up the volume, pour a drink, and get lost to the sounds of the heat with this FHM-approved playlist. Your summer deserves a soundtrack.
FOR THE MUCH-AWAITED ROAD TRIP:
1) "Nice Place" by Juan Pablo Dream
“I’m going to a nice place/ a very, very nice place / Got to meet my friends there/ and they’re coming from everywhere.”
Bing Austria entices us to join his retro party, where the music is so smooth and cool like the breeze outside your car window.
2) "Bakasyon" by Peryodiko
“Kailangan ko ng bakasyon / Maaari bang magpahinga ang puso kong/ patalon-talon tuwing nabibitin sa kung ano ba ang alin.”
Pack your bags, go on a solo trip, and reflect on life with this catchy pop-rock fodder from Vin Dancel and company.
3) "First of Summer" by Urbandub
“Parked car, this night sky / Makes city lights shine like diamonds.”
We’ll forever remember “First of Summer” as the crossover smash that catapulted Urbandub to the upper ranks of modern rock greats. It’s not difficult to understand why: it’s a bombast of an anthem, a cannonball of ecstasy, a complete feels trip that documents summer love in a way that doesn’t feel trite and heavy-handed.
4) "Overdrive" by The Eraserheads
“Magda-drive ako hanggang Batangas / tapos magswi-swimming doon sa beach.”
“Overdrive” doesn’t live on the promise of capturing your best summer experience, but in its broad strokes, this Eheads classic allows us to dream and live for the heck out of it, seek joy in the imaginary expedition, and embrace the joyride of life with an optimist mind. Only Ely can belt out his frustration in the sweltering heat of the sun, dream of owning a car and take it to key cities and beyond, and come up with a vicious earworm that's perfect for long road trips. Run straight to your car and play this song on loop.
FOR PARTY-PARTY MODE:
5) "Jabongga" by Legit Misfitz
“Givin' you fever like Madonna/ Makin' you sweat like a sauna.”
Upon first listen, Legit Misfitz’s "Jabongga" feels like the ultimate throwback jam to get the party started. But the real joy of the track is in the kick of the chorus, words repeated in sparkly loop, rendered nonsense to the beat of a liberating feeling. Nobody knows what "Jabongga" means 23 years after, but this sticky urban banger lives on.
6) "Summertime" by June Marieezy
“Funny how you make me feel like / summertime’s around the corner.”
Over jazzy, tropical beats and minimal textures, June Marieezy sings about that lover who turned “rainy weather into sunshine” at her doorstep. The bohemian soul songstress knows when to convert a chill trip into some kind of a swoon-worthy high, her voice gliding with intriguing curiosity every single time.
7) "Step No, Step Yes" by VST and Company
“Halika na, halika na, huwag ka ng magtago / langit lupa imbento, init init imbento.”
Seemingly engineered to make our hips swing, “Step No, Step Yes” represents everything mesmerizing about Pinoy disco: groovy basslines, glorious electronic sounds, suave falsettos, extended instrumental outros and Sotto brothers throwing one huge summer party in their backyard. It couldn’t get any more perfect than this.
8) "Yugyugan Na" by P.O.T.
“Sa pagkakaupo mo, nakarinig ka ng tugtugan / Sige na, yugyugan na!”
There is nothing subtle about P.O.T.’s version of “Yugyugan Na.” Here, the late Karl Roy sexes up The Philippine Advisors’ retro-soul standard with the right amount of funk, island-riddims jazz, and R&B. The ‘90s update not only surpassed the original in terms of commercial and pop culture impact, but also introduced us to a give-no-fucks anthem that gets more appealing with each listen. Twenty years after it was released, “Yugyugan Na” continues to soundtrack summertime fun and boozy pool parties.
FOR LAZY DAYS ON THE BEACH:
9) "Balong Malalim" by Juan Dela Cruz Band
“Gusto n'yang mag-swimming sa balong malalim / Hindi naman pupuwede sapagka't madilim.”
Summer songs don’t have to be chill or relaxed, sometimes we need a rock 'n’ roll classic that pummels with sunstroke bravado and leather-clad grandeur. “Balong Malalim” fits the category: stoner riffs, sprawling melodies, and hard-rockin’ grooves to get you fired up for the season.
10) "Sunburn" by Sandwich
“I just wanna be on the beach / Sunburn.”
Nothing sums up the feeling of being psyched up for summer than Sandwich’s fist-pumping tune. You know that disappointment when you’re fed up with work and can’t even catch a break? Raimund captures the frustration in three minutes of agit surf-punk, coaxing us to leave our work station and troop to the nearest beach ASAP.
11) "Swimming Beach" by Parokya Ni Edgar
“Time to relax, time to go slow / Maupo ka na lang at panoorin ang mundo.”
We have specific summer memories that need a particular jam, but the good parts deserve Parokya Ni Edgar’s “Swimming Beach.” A stripped-down favorite that is catchy and perfect for sing-alongs, PNE is an expert when it comes to writing songs that are universally embraced and relatable. They seem to capture the barkada spirit in essence and soul when others simply can’t.
12) "Laguna" by Sampaguita
“Parang pangarap na tanawin / Bundok na kagubatan, gintong palayan, malawak na karagatan.”
Sampaguita calls us to the open road, singing about the beauty that lies within Laguna’s serene lakes and rustic mountains. But it’s her knock-out delivery that blows the song up to the size of a stadium, making sure to pull us closer into her theatrics and embrace Laguna for what it is: a wonderful destination this summer.
FOR WALWAL NIGHTS:
13) "Katawan" by Hagibis
“Katawan ang aming nakikita / lalo na yung kaakit-akit pa.”
Perhaps one of the most important anthems of the Pinoy disco era, Hagibis’ "Katawan" makes for a great sing-along slayage. It’s "Y.M.C.A." peppered with Pinoy macho humor and goofball verses: the song your tito wouldn’t mind belting out from dusk ‘til dawn, with his drunken barkada cheering him on. Perfect pampagising while driving.
14) "Cool Ka Lang" by Prettier Than Pink
“Cool ka lang, cool ka lang / Daanin mo sa galit noo'y kukunot lang.”
Prettier Than Pink wrote a song about keeping things cool despite being engulfed in the most challenging of situations. That particular track eventually became “Cool Ka Lang”—a seminal ‘90s hit that worms its way into your heart with endearing charm, girl-group hooks, and radiant guitar lines.
15) "Sembreak" by The Eraserheads
“Naalala kita pag giniginaw, SEMBREAK / Naalala kita pag kakain na, SEMBREAK.”
“Ilang bukas pa ba bago tayo ay magkita,” Ely sings feverishly with the brightest of hooks, accompanied with an infectious smattering of noise and relentless energy to beat his worries away. For once, Ely wanted for the summer vacation to end, an urgency that is strikingly palpable from the get-go. Apparently, this is what love does to people.
16) "Kapayapaan" by Tropical Depression
“Halina't sumayaw sa ilalim ng araw / maghawak-hawak ng kamay/ isigaw nang sabay-sabay...Kapayapaan.”
Even after decades of ubiquity, Tropical Depression’s “Kapayapaan” still sounds like the perfect companion to the season’s uncomplicated charm. The delightful reggae classic transports you to a happy place with its inspiring message of light, peace, and love: a world completely divorced from the idea of geographical differences. All it takes to escape urban madness is a song of this epic proportion.
FOR SENTI SUMMER TIME:
17) "Golden Boy" by Ethnic Faces
“Native sun arising / Concrete walls are falling down into the sea / Are you as happy as me?”
For days when you feel like questioning your existence or state of being, "Golden Boy" raises a holler to your summer mope with post-punk chords, inviting melodies, and lo-fi weirdness ringing straight from an ‘80s new wave party. When things get a little downer (AKA as you get sleepy while on the road), Jack Sikat comes to the rescue, singing the now-eternal “ang tatay mong kalbo” line like a kid who got himself in a heated fight with a playmate.
18) "We Give in Sometimes" by UDD (formerly Up Dharma Down)
“Sand and the sea meet in between / Fire and ice, you and I.”
Nothing but a serving of Up Dharma Down’s sparkly, soulful pop to capture the splendor of summer romance. “We Give In Sometimes” marks a perfect start to get cozy and warm with your loved one.
19) "Patintero / Habulan / Larong Kalye" by Ang Bandang Shirley
“Itong pag-ibig ay larong kalye.”
Probably the most emotionally resonant in a list filled with hook-laden jams and sun-soaked tunes, Ang Bandang Shirley’s breakthrough hit finds Owel Alvero and Selena Salang comparing love to traditional Filipino street games: fun, challenging, and worth the risk. The line “Pwede tayong mag-piko / pamato mo ang aking puso at wag mong aapakan 'to” is probably the best pickup line there is, bar none—written as if some of the best things in life comes from a place of sincerity and unapologetic cheese.
20) "Cold Summer Nights" by Francis M.
“It’s been cold summer nights since we drifted apart / cold summer nights since you walked out that door.”
Not all summer jams need a banger or a fun sing-along. Sometimes, a weeper of a slow jam is in order for laid-back summer afternoons spent alone in the hammock. “Cold Summer Nights” works on this premise: an R&B ballad that soars even in its captivating brokenness. There’s certain comfort to doing absolutely nothing but listen to sad songs on a humid day.
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Extra rice, please!