“We’re living in interesting times…”
It used to be “May you live in interesting times,” an English expression that once came from a Chinese curse, which basically meant to live in a time of turmoil. Imagine Mercutio yelling at the Romeo and Tbalt before dying: “A plague in both of your houses!” It is pretty much like that. Only worse.
And in interesting times we’re living indeed. Donald Trump won the US presidency, there’s a losing war on drugs, the Lumads, Mocha Uson being a credible news source, and just lately, the surprise burial of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. in the Libingan ng mga Bayani as some sort of patriotic hero of the masses.
Rallies have been mobilized left and right, and everyone is capitalizing on the social disarray. And what can you do to drown out the noise and center your mind? Listen to music, of course. A good tune is capable of soothing the soul and firing up the spirit. And in these crazy times, everyone needs just that. So here we present 10 OPM protest songs that could do just that, because every revolution needs a soundtrack.
1) "At Nakalimutan Ang Diyos" by The WUDS
“Sobrang kapangyarihan, sobrang kayamanan, sobrang katakawan, ilan sa mga mamamayan sumisigaw: MGA GANID! MGA GANID! MGA GANID!”
Nothing can touch the legendary The WUDS—real punk icons who were ahead of their time. Bobby Balingit’s lyrics can make your hair stand on its ends. You can just hear the anger in his voice when he belts out every single line of every single stanza.
Balingit later started performing solo inbetween WUDS reunions, which is a good segue to…
2) "Naaalala Mo Pa Ba Joe?" by Bobby Balingit
“Walang dangal. Walang bukas. Alipin ng mga panginoon.”
Here we find Balingit performing on his own, in Tiu Theater no less, his rendition of "Ti Ricordi, Joe?", a Spanish antiwar song written and recorded by the band New Trolls back in 1968. The only difference between the two versions is Balingit’s is a direct tagalog translation of the old song, keeping it with the times and the minds of the Filipino people.
3) "Di Matitinag" by Calix (feat. BLKD)
BLKD: “Hoy salarin! NEVER AGAIN! Kaming mag papalinglang / Tanggapin lang mga bintang / mga diktang wala sa timbang”
Calix: “Balik mo na ang samin ay nararapat / Ang kapal ng mukha mo di tayo pareho ng tinatahak!”
Two powerhouses, Calix and Fiptop battle MC veteran BLKD, team up for an incredibly fiery track. This pretty much sums up a lot of the turmoil happening in our country today. With a banging rap beat, what’s too stop you from flailing around angrily as the news plays ominously in the background.
4) "Hacienda" by The General Strike
“Dito sa hacienda may libingan sa binubungkal na lupa”
The General Strike might be an unassuming name for a blues band, but boy do their songs pack a wallop! Some might even go as far as saying that they are the Asin of this generation, and not because they both have female vocalists, but because they have the same soul Asin had.
5) "Kamusta Na?" by Yano
“Ewan ko ba, bahala na.”
This song doesn't mean to be apathetic, rather it ruminates on the struggle we all face both as individuals and as a nation.
6) "Laki sa Layaw" by Mike Hanapol
“Laki sa layaw, laki sa layaw, jeproks.”
It might not be the ultimate protest song from the legendary Mike Hanapol, but it sure is one of the most memorable. It gives listeners vivid imagery of a time when ML wasn’t in full swing and people were are lot more free.
7) "Sayaw sa Bubog" by The Jerks
“Sayaw, sayaw, sayaw sa bubog. Ang nag lakakada ng tulog tiyak na mauumpog.”
Another iconic song from an iconic band that has always protested of our country’s atrocities. Chickoy Pura’s lyrical metaphor of not merely just walking on egg shells, but actually dancing over glass shards, rings timeless.
8) "Alay Sa Mga Nagkamalay Noong Dekada Nobenta" by Dicta License
“Ang alay mo'y / Nilisan na ng panahon / Kumilos ng mga ubing / Hukayin ang nakalibing na / Alay mo.”
A challenge to the youth to stand up and fight oppression.
9) "Inutil na Gising" by Heber Bartolome
“Ang tunay na gising bumabangon din, at meron din gising na nakahiga padin.”
It's a tune that tells everyone to open their eyes and see what is going on around them.
10) "Marcos Pa Rin Mga Ulol" by skinxbones
Trivia: This song ruffled some feathers when hackers got a hold of Sandro Marcos’ Twitter account and posted the song using it. Now, that's how you send a message.