PhilPOP 2018: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

The Philippine Popular Music Festival aka Philpop is an annual songwriting competition organized by the Philpop MusicFest Foundation and was launched in 2012. Currently, on its 6th year, the creation of the festival was inspired by the defunct Metro Manila Popular Music Festival. The foundation itself is headed by the chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, executive director Ryan Cayabyab, and administrator and communications director Patricia Bermudez-Hizon. The competition is only open to original and previously unreleased songs in English, Filipino and other Philippine languages. The show can be seen on TV5.

There are three prizes given: Grand Prize (₱1,000,000), 2nd Prize (₱500,000) and 3rd Prize (₱250,000). An additional award is given named Smart People’s Choice Award (₱200,000), which is the most popular song based on the text votes sent by the people. People who win these prizes also receive trophies while the defeated finalists each receive ₱50,000 and a plaque which makes everyone a winner.

This year, we have the chance to review the songs and give our honest take on each entry that made it to the Top 10. For those interested, here is the link to the Top 10 PhilPOP songs. 

Feel Day feat. Hans Dimayuga – Ako Ako 

This song started out pretty strong as a ballad but took a different turn in my opinion when it suddenly became a bit “pop” in terms of tone. It’s such a heartbreaking song but because of the tone of the song, you’d need to really listen to the lyrics to understand the pain of the singers about the duplicity that was committed.

Ferdinand Aragon – Di Ko Man

I didn’t really get the gist of the song. From the very few that I understood, it’s about loving someone even when you’re not able to provide everything they need. The melody is pleasing to the ears but nothing about it is outstanding. It’s a good song, but there’s nothing memorable about it.

Jex de Castro – Isang Gabing Pag-ibig

Melody wise, love this song. Execution is also really great in terms of vocals but for the lyrics, I’m a little confused. Was it a one night stand? Was it a great moment and he fell for the girl in just one night but she disappeared the next day? It’s so ambiguous and open for many interpretations which may be the point of the composer. For me, I wish he made it a bit more clear but perhaps this is what the composer was going for since love can be a little bit confusing at times.

Acappelago – Kariton 

I have so many feelings about this song. It’s great that it’s socially relevant but part of me feels like the “poor” are being exploited and glorified all at the same time. It’s good that it shows the father is working hard to provide a basic necessity for the child but at the same time, it sends the message of “this will do” and nothing more. It feels like it’s saying that if the parent tries and can only provide certain things, at least they tried when in reality, it should be about being responsible as a parent and not have kids if you can’t raise them well.

Song wise, it reminds me so much of Smokey Mountain but with a modern flair. I’m in between feelings about this song regarding whether or not I actually like it or not.

Kakai Bautista – Laon Ako 

It’s another sentiment about being single and how people in the Philippines are so fixated on whether or not a person has a partner or not. The song pokes fun at being an “old maid” and being “no longer fresh” but I feel like it lacked the empowerment part. Maybe it’s just me but I feel like the composer had the chance to turn this song into something empowering for women who may be old and single instead of just accepting that they are “laon” or “bilasa.”

The song did mention that they do not need a man in life to do this and that and to feel this so that part is quite empowering to women.

BennyBunnyBand – Loco de Amor

The attempt at Latin Pop was felt in the beat but sadly, did not manage to hit a strong note. The video is a bit controversial because of the hints of sexism and sexualization of the women but they try to tone it down by making it a little comedic.

Chud Festejo – Nanay Tatay

Possibly the best song in the group. The rendition of the song is something that would stick to your mind. The usage of a really familiar children’s song is brilliant. The song uses euphemisms but you can easily get the gist of the song and the contrast between the happy tune and the morbidity of the song is nothing short of genius.

Julian Trono – Pilipit 

Another pop song that will surely resonate with people in love and going through the different stages of love The tone and the melody is infectious and can easily be memorized.

Katrina Velarde – Tama Na

I like the message of the song. Instead of the usual “let’s be a martyr and hurt together coz we love each other” this song talks about how things need to stop even if there is still love because there’s too much pain already.

It’s rare to encounter songs like this so it’s refreshing to hear a song that sends a message that mistakes need to be corrected and letting go is the solution when things have changed drastically and all that is left is pain and resentment.

Gracenote – Yun Tayo

The complete opposite of Tama Na, this song may have a really nice pop vibe but the message of the song is not socially right. I wish that they turned it into something that is more empowering and realistic because nowadays, women have more choices and can do so much more.

So there, you go, my real honest opinion on the songs included in this year’s PhilPOP. As with anything, these are simply my opinion. I suggest listening to it yourself and then lemme know in the comment if you agree with what I said or not.






Kathy Kenny


Digital marketer. Events host. Content writer. Pursuer of dreams. Music, movie, and book lover. Collector of snowglobes, ref magnets, pens, mugs, Care Bears, notebooks, and makeup. Wanderlust. Sapiosexual. Yawyan Advocate.