Karaoke Culture in Siargao

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Written by Mary Dizon | Pictures by Matias Olivieri

Blasting from as early as sunrise until the wee hours of the night, karaoke in the Philippines — and in Siargao, for that matter — knows no time and doesn’t really call for any occasion other than Filipinos just wanting to sing their favourite tunes. Filipinos have long been a fan of all things that involve singing, so it’s no surprise how karaoke has become a staple in just about every possible social gathering, especially on this island.

It’s a known fact that Filipinos are avid fans of singing. From all kinds of contests on television to local talent competitions, singing has become the country’s unofficial national talent.

Be it birthdays, weddings, baptisms, Christmas, or even just an ordinary Wednesday, there’s a chance that you’ll hear someone belting out a popular OPM or a classic love song on a karaoke machine. It’s a known fact that Filipinos are avid fans of singing. From all kinds of contests on television to local talent competitions, singing has become the country’s unofficial national talent. This is exactly why any Filipino instantly transforms into this singer or rockstar-wannabes whenever they get a hold of the microphone in their hands.

Lined up along the “Boulevard” in General Luna facing the docked boats are at least five carinderia-bars that have their own karaoke machines. It comes alive as early as 5 in the afternoon, when most of the workers have called it a day and are ready to sing and drink the night away. This is also the time when both locals and tourists start to arrive to get some tasty yet inexpensive dinner under the stars. This “al fresco style” of dining can be quite idyllic, but only if you don’t mind being serenaded by loud and (sometimes) off-key singing that tends to overlap each other given how all the carinderias are close neighbours.

But what is it about karaoke that Filipinos love so much?

Of course, it’s not just along the Boulevard where you can find karaoke machines blasting loud music all night long. For the most part, you’re likely to encounter one while driving through towns and villages at any given time of the day. Residents can rent a machine for as low as 1,000 to 1,500php, which gives them hours and hours of nonstop singing — often involving the whole family, or even the whole barangay if there’s a special occasion. From well known rock ‘n roll hits from the likes of Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, The Beatles, to hit OPM ballads by Aegis, Regine Velasquez, Freestyle, and so on, you’re bound to hear that familiar tune that you may even find yourself singing or humming along to.

But what is it about karaoke that Filipinos love so much? Singing has become a true mark of Filipinos, almost to the extent that Latinos are highly regarded for dancing. It has become a favourite past time, regardless whether there’s something to celebrate or not. Singing uninhibitedly with a microphone in hand lets Pinoys destress and let loose, all while having fun with their nearest and dearest — and even with strangers. In fact, karaoke singing has become such a beloved community activity, particularly in provinces where it can easily turn strangers into friends. The same can be said about why karaoke is very popular here in the island of Siargao.

Karaoke All Day, All Night Long in Siargao

Compared to other well known touristy spots in the Philippines, Siargao is well recognised for having a strong community living. Sure, it’s also known for the amazing surf and for its numerous scenic spots that you can visit, but if you ask what tourists remember the most during their stay, it’s very likely they’ll say it’s the people of Siargao.

For first-time visitors of Siargao, one way of fully immersing yourself in the culture of the island, while also connecting with the locals is through karaoke singing. Singing along without shame and maybe even with a beer in hand almost always guarantees that you’re going to make friends at the end of the night. There’s simply something about karaoke that promotes camaraderie through entertainment. And on top of being able to share in the island’s good tunes and vibrations, it’s also a great way of kicking back after a day of touring or surfing.

The accessibility and ease of using karaoke machines has also made it very easy for many Filipinos to get their hands on one whenever they want one. Apart from the carinderias along the boulevard, there’s also a couple of eateries on the back road where you can find a karaoke machine. In addition, there’s an occasional karaoke night at a few of the other establishments. But of course, the best karaoke singing experiences are the ones at a special gathering at people’s homes. And most often in Siargao, there is an endless supply of beer and lechon for fiestas and parties.

It doesn’t even matter if you’re too shy or embarrassed to sing in front of a large group. You can expect more than enough encouragement from your friends to give it a try. With encouragement they'll likely be singing along and cheering as you follow along those words on the screen as best as you can.

Ultimately, the karaoke culture in Siargao is something that’s deeply embedded within what the community represents: camaraderie, openness, acceptance, and good vibes all around. The key to truly enjoying it is by simply picking up that microphone and giving karaoke a try!


Kultura nan Karaoke sa Siargao

Nagbuto-buto gikan sa sajo sa kabuntagon hantod sa layom na duyom, an karaoke sa Pilipinas - sanan sa Siargao - waya kahibayo nan oras sanan waya magkinahanglan nan okasyon gawas sa mga Pilipino na gusto mokanta sa ila paborito na mga tokar. An mga Pilipino dugay na na nagkagusto sa tanan butang na may pagkanta, ugsa dili kon sorpresa na an karaoke nahimo na kumon sa tanan na posible na panagtapok, labi na sa isla.

Biskan adlaw natawhan man, kasal, bunyag, Pasko, o biskan ordinaryo ra na Miyerkoles, jaoy chansa na makabati kaw nan tao na nagkanta nan sikat na OPM o klasiko na kanta nan gugma sa karaoke. Sagad nahibay-an na an mga Pilipino ganahan gajod mokanta. Gikan sa tanan klase na mga contests sa telebisyon hantod sa lokal na kompetisyon nan talento, an pagkanta nahimo na dili kon opisyal na talento nan nasod. Amo ini an rason naman biskan sin-o na Pilipino mahimo dajon taraw na singer o rockstar kon makahawid nan mikropono sa ila mga alima.

Nakalinya sa “Boulevard” sa General Luna, nakaatubang sa mga nakadunggo na mga bangka, may lima ka mga karenderya na bar na may ila kaugalingon na karaoke. Mabuhi ini sa alas 5 pa laman nan hapon, kon kinun-o an mga trabahador mahuman na sa ila adlaw sanan magkanta hantod mahuman an ila duyom. Ini isab an panahon na an mga lokal sanan mga turista magsugod pangabot para makakuha nan lami pero dili kon mahal na panihapon ilayom sa mga bituon. Ini na “al fresco na estilo” nan panihapon malinawon gajod, pero kon dili mo lamang igsapayan na haranahon nan bujong sanan (usahay) waya sa tono na pagkanta na magsapaw-sapaw tungod sa kahamok nan karenderya na mga silingan.

Dili lamang isab sa Boulevard kaw makahanap nan karaoke na magbuto-buto tibuok duyom. Kasagaran, makahanap kaw samtang nagmaneho sa mga lungsod sanan mga baryo sa biskan uno na oras sa adlaw. An mga residente makaplete sa machine sa kantidad ra na 1,000 hantod 1,500 php, na makahatag kanila nan oras-oras na way hunong na pagkanta - apil isab an tibuok pamilya, o bisan an tibuok barangay kon may espesyal na okasyon. Gikan sa sikat na rock ‘n roll hits singod nan Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, The Beatles, sa sikat na OPM na kanta nan Aegis, Regine Velasquez, Freestyle, sanan iban pa, makabati kaw gajod sa mga pamilyar na tono na biskan ikaw gani makaapil pagkanta o paghugong.

Pero umay jaon sa karaoke na ganahan karajaw an mga Pilipino? An pagkanta nahimo na tinuod na marka nan mga Pilipino, hapit sa naabtan nan mga Latino na nakilayhan sa pagsajaw. Nahimo ini na paborito na kalingawan, biskan kon may iselebrar man o waya. An pagkanta na wayay pugong iban sa mikropono amoy makapawaya nan stress nan mga Pinoy sanan makapakalma, jaon tanan samtang iban an minahal sa kinabuhi - sanan biskan mga dili kilaya. Gani, an karaoke nahimo na ginusto na aktibidad nan komunidad, labi na sa mga probinsya diin an mga dili kilaya mahimo dajon na higaya. Amo sab an ato malaong kon ngaman an karaoke sikat karajaw dinhi sa isla nan Siargao.

Karaoke Tibuok Adlaw, Tibuok Duyom sa Siargao

Kompara sa iban na sikat na maliboran nan turista sa Pilipinas, an Siargao nakilayhan pagdajaw sa lig-on na paghuya sa komunidad. Nakilayhan sab lagi sa magana na surfing sanan sa hamok na mga dapit na mabisita, pero kon pangutan-on nimo an mga turista kon uman ila madumdoman sa ila pagbisita, tingali molaong gajod sila na an mga tawo nan Siargao.

Para sa mga una na higajon na bisita nan Siargao, isa ka paagi sa pag-apil gajod sa imo kaugalingon sa kultura nan isla, samtang makakilaya nan mga lokal kay pinaagi sa pagkanta nan karaoke. An pagkanta na wayay kasipog sanan magkapot gani nan beer permi gajod kaw makasiguro na makahigaya kaw inig ka human sa duyom. Jaoy butang an karaoke na makapasuod sa mga tawo piaagi sa kalingawan. Sanan labaw pa sa pagkig-ambit sa marajaw na tokar sanan pagbati sa isla, magana isab ini na paagi sa pagpahuway human sa paglibod-libod o surfing.

An kadali sa pagkuha sanan kadali sa paggamit nan karaoke amoy nakapasajon sa mga PIlipino na makabuyos kon ganahan gani sila. Gawas sa mga karenderya sa boulevard, jaoy isab mga kan-anan sa back road diin makahanap kaw nan karaoke. Dugang pa jaoy usahay mga karaoke night sa pipil ka mga establesimento. Pero an pinaka marajaw na kasinatian sa pagkanta nan karaoke amo jadton mga espesyal na pagtapok-tapok sa mga panimayay. Sanan sa Siargao, kanunay jaoy dili mahurot na supply nan beer sanan lechon para mga fiestas sanan parties.

Dili gani kon importante kon masipogon kaw o maikog na mokanta sa atubangan sa dako na tapok. Makadahom kaw nan sobra pa sa igo na pagdasig gikan sa imo mga higaya na mosuway. Iban sa ila pagdasig mokanta isab sila iban nimo sanan abibahan kaw samtang nagsunod kaw sa mga letra sa screen hantod sa imo makaya.

Sa kataposan, an kultura nan karaoke sa Siargao layom na nakaugat sa tagrepresentar nan komunidad: pakighigaya, pagka-abre, pagdawat, sanan marajaw na pagbati sa tanan. An tinuod na tubag sa paglingaw ini pinaagi ra sa pagpuyot sa mikropono sanan pagsuway sa karaoke!

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