Crash course to Pinoy rock

For those about to rock. As it comes to music, it seems to me that majority of Pinoys have a strong preference for cheesy love songs. Ok, this is an unfair oversimplification. I’m basing my analysis on what most of the radio stations play, and what you hear just about everywhere you go. Not to mention all the folks singing karaoke; those karaoke machines really are ubiquitous in the country.

However, a small minority has acquired what I’d like to call good taste in music. In order to avoid pointless debate on the differences of various genres and styles, let’s call that music just plain ol’ rock ’n’ roll –  an umbrella term covering everything from trash metal to melodic soft rock. On top of listening to good music, these guys do play as well – some being pretty damn good at it. Here’s an introduction to my favorite Pinoy rock bands and songs. Word of caution: if you are one of those who think that it is perfectly OK for a band to perform live without ever touching an instrument, this post is definitely not for you…

Small minority is of course a relative thing. For us 5 million or so Finns, a small minority, lets say 1 percent of the population, translates into around 50k people. With borderline religious dedication and commitment, these folks make sure that every time Metallica, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, or any of the like comes to see us in Finland, the stadium will be sold out within hours, if not minutes. Its funny to think that every time a band like that is playing, almost every hundredth Finn is there enjoying it. Now, out of hundred million or so Filipinos, one percent is already a lot bigger group. I’m not giving exact numbers here, instead I’ll let you do the math. 🙂 Anyway, the point is that even though rock and metal music is not that big thing in the Philippines, there is a significant number of Pinoy metalheads as well.

This post is not intended for mere reading: it needs to be listened (loud). Experienced. Lived. Hahah! Consider it as a field trip to Pinoy rock. It’s a long post, but there’s a lot to cover. Hope it will be worth it, if you decide to travel the road all the way to the end. Certain precautions, so to speak, are required before you can properly enjoy the experience. Make sure you can spare an hour or two or so, to really listen to all the songs. A good time to enjoy the experience is prior heading out to a rock gig or just your local bar or the like. Next, make sure you have a reasonable amount of your favorite beverage at hand – for this purpose, I would strongly recommend beer. If you are ”overseas” and thus can’t make that a Red Horse or Pale Pilsen, try some local counterpart. Whatever works for you. Serve chilled.

Red Horse

Red Horse, with a smile

Then, just to get you to right mood, head to Youtube and watch an awesome live performance from your favorite old school rock band. You know, starting somewhere from Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, AC/DC, going through Metallica, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, and all the way to Korn, Disturbed, Slipknot or any of the like. You get the point. Or, if you don’t, or you’re new to this and in need of some guidance; for something of truly epic proportions I would suggest Metallica playing Harvester of Sorrow at Tushino air field or Iron Maiden with their never-ending Fear of the Dark at Rock in Rio. Be careful not to get carried away thou. 🙂

As a totally off-topic notion: did you ever stop to think whether Metallica is an US band or from somewhere else entirely? Wonder no longer, I’ve found the answer. Kirk Hammett is half Filipino. Lars Ulrich is basically Danish. Denmark, as a Nordic country, at least from a global point of view, is about the same as Finland (you know, looking at it from across the world, the Nordic countries are pretty much all the same). So, that makes Lars Ulrich like at least a quarter Finn. That makes Metallica in fact a Finnish-Filipino band, right? Funny, I never thought of that before. Somehow, I’m pretty sure you haven’t either.

Those performances are the stuff of legends. As good as it gets. That is what every single rock band in the world looks up to and any rock fan loves. The very top of the iceberg, so to speak. If those songs don’t send the shivers down your spine every single time, I strongly suggest a medical check-up (preferably by a certified professional, not by someone who didn’t quite bother to finish med school!).

To continue with the metaphor, just below the imaginary sea level of global superstardom lies the rest of this huge iceberg of awesome rock music. Each country has their own great artists. The national rock stars – if you will. They are usually, up to a degree, known outside the borders as well. In my opinion, often many of these are not far behind from the ”world class”, if at all. But sadly we as humans have a very limited attention span and ability to process information. Thus, there’s only that much superstardom in the world; spaces are limited in the international Hall of Fame. It is also largely a matter of luck whom will break into global scene. Many top national bands in any country might never be known outside their own land or get the attention they deserve  across the globe.

Oh, you don’t need to be mean. I’m well aware that it’s not like appearing in my blog is going to fix that for anyone 😀 But hey.. haven’t seen any of these bands introduced in  Finland. So I thought I’d show my respect and appreciation for them and their music, and share my experiences.

An interesting question is, if most of the country listens to the cheesy love songs, how did I end up knowing about all of these Filipino rock bands? Well, that’s quite a story (already told in Finnish earlier in this blog). After just few weeks in the country, we went to a Couchsurfing event (first anniversary of Thirstday!) with a bunch of the exchange students. I’ve heard the CS has changed a lot since those days, and unfortunately not for the better, but that’s another story…

While we were having drinks at one of the (quite legendary) Central BBQs, a fellow couchsurfer asked where I was from. Now, Finland is often either totally unknown, or maybe known as one of the Scandinavian/Nordic countries. Some might know Nokia is from Finland (these days probably Angry Birds or Clash of Clans, more likely). One elderly couple in fact knew Armi Kuusela (the Finnish 1952 Miss Universe who married a Filipino businessman, I guess this story was well covered both in Finland and in the Philippines back then). I think the most random thing was that a Korean girl knew that Xylitol is from Finland…

Anyway, where was I…? Yeah, after finding out that I was from Finland, this guy went on to list all the Finnish metal bands and artists he knew. And boy, that was an impressive list! He probably knows Finnish music better than I do. All the usual suspects such as Nightwish and the like, were included, of course. He was also well familiar with some of the more outlandish artists, such as Apocalyptica, and a big fan of LORDI! Heck, this dude even knew the 2007 Finnish Idols winner Ari Koivunen! This is meant as no offense to Ari Koivunen, he gave awesome performances during the Idols. But you can probably relate when I was a bit surprised to realize he is known all across the world!

After finding this common ground, we kept naming bands one after other and found out we had practically the same taste in music! Both being familiar with the lyrics of a specific Slipknot song was a final seal telling that we would get along great! We did become great friends with this guy (hey, he has a name: Benj Espina. Hahah!), and he sure is an awesome instructor for the crash course to the best of Pinoy rock!

Me and Benj at Republiq

Me and Benj at Republiq, getting along just great!

We decided to arrange an event, and this was the humble beginning of the ”First-ever Filipino-Finnish Metal Convention”. The idea was to have some drinks and listen to good music. We had a massive attendance totaling two people, and felt that the event was a great success! Meaning simply that one night, before heading out to a party, we met up at Benj’s place and listened to a selection of best Finnish and Pinoy rock songs. I also decided to give Benj a taste of the bizarre side of Finnish drinks, and made some ”salmiakkikoskenkorva” for the event.

Oh, another random note: the term OPM or ”Original Pinoy Music” is often used. In Finnish that would be ”oma pullo mukaan”, which stands for ”bring your own bottle”. Strange coincidence?

Anyway. Listening to these bands at home is a good start. However, these are the kind of bands you only truly know after seeing them live. And I don’t necessarily mean all the ”extras”, pyrotechnics, and what not that we see on the stadium-size gigs. I mean the music itself, the band playing, and the pure, raw energy on the stage! It’s just mind-blowing. A band called Slapshock is a prime example of this. Luckily for us, they, along with a couple of other bands, were playing in a small hole-in-the-wall type bar one of those weeks. We decided to check it out. The place where they were playing was really small, maybe a hundred people could fit in there or so (if my memory serves me right…). Now, this was during my second month in the country, and I didn’t really know the band. Benj told me to not be confused by the size of the venue: the band was a big one. Having had our fair share of drinks and taking a cigarette break, we notice Jamir Garcia, the vocalist of Slapshock coming out, and all of a sudden, Benj introduced us, telling that the show has visitors from as far as Finland!

Turns out Mr. Garcia, a big rock star, is very much a down-to-earth kind of guy. I told him how nice it is that such a band still plays in smaller venues as well. I went on telling about a small club in my hometown where all the biggest bands in Finland come to play, and how Slapshock should definitely come there too! 😀 At some point I got carried away by my own story and I, in fact, ended up pointing a finger to Jamir’s head like a gun barrel (hey, it had a point in the story). Benj later described that as a moment when he ”sobered up”, telling to me that ”you just don’t do that to rockstar, man!” 😀

Fan picture with Jamir Garcia, Slapshock's vocalist outside Sazi's

Fan picture #1 with Jamir Garcia, Slapshock’s vocalist outside Sazi’s bar

You can tell by the look on Jamir’s face that he is probably wondering who the hell is this Finnish maniac and how to peacefully escape the situation; all the while making a mental note: ”Do not to ever go to Finland”… 😀 Thanks Benj for taking this first fan picture in our series, and big thanks to Jamir and Slapshock for an awesome, ass-kicking show!

Ok, let’s get to the music itself. Slapshock has been around for more than 15 years. Obviously, I haven’t been a fan since day one. But seems to me they are a group that has been keeping it real (forgive the expression). Fifteen years in the business is a long time these days, most of the bands won’t make it even close. Slapshock was formed around the time that Korn and the likes burst into international fame and started the wave of nu-metal bands. Out of their contemporaries, many are long gone, but Slapshock is standing strong. The way you pull that off is to not to compromise: stay true to yourself, your music, and your fans. It seems that this is exactly what Slapshock has done, and along the road earned a loyal fan base that keeps supporting them. Even if you don’t like their music, I think that’s a band worth respect.

With 15+ years and many albums, I can’t say I’m familiar with all their songs, and I can’t say I like each of the ones I know. That said, the 2009 album ”Cariño Brutal” is just simply f-ing awesome! I don’t really have the words to describe it. I instantly fell in love with this album. It consists of only six songs. It’s a bit difficult to find them in youtube (there are many live videos, but the audio is often bad in these). Yet here goes the title track ”Cariño Brutal”, also giving a glimpse of what Slapshock is all about during live shows:

Woah. Love it every time! The song starts off with no-nonsense, we-are-here-to-kick-your-butt attitude and holds the grip all the way to the end. Personally, I can listen to a lot of different types of music, but this is really in the essence of what I like the most. If I have a chance to listen to music like this, why listen to anything else? 🙂 Slapshock has songs both in English and in Tagalog, this was an example of the latter. A few other really good ones I could find in youtube are, for example, ”Stronger”:

And ”Can’t Stop Us Now”:

The songs ”Forever” and ”Alive” are also among my definite favorites from the band. Ok, found the song ”Forever” too, (yeah, each song is on youtube) I’m just gonna add it as I really like this album:

The world definitely needs more this kind of music! In the end of 2011, Slapshock released their 7th studio album, ”Kinse Kalibre”. Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to really listen to it. Also, there are some really good songs on their earlier albums, but I don’t know those too well either, and even though the group has stayed true to their origins, Slapshock has also evolved musically throughout the years. They have made various types of songs, but for me, ”Cariño Brutal” holds the spot for the definite Slapshock album.

I don’t understand a thing about playing music, so I can’t really tell if a guitar player or drummer is doing their thing right. I can only judge the music based on the overall feeling it gives me, and the lyrics and the voice of the vocalist plays a huge role in that. Sometimes, the music can be really awesome, but if the singer is only screaming or roaring, it won’t become my favorite song. I like the vocalists that can go straight from that roaring into quite melodic singing and then back. Think Corey Taylor of Slipknot and a song like ”Wait and Bleed”, or Jonathan Davis of Korn. Or Jamir Garcia of Slapshock. Again, this is not an experts opinion, just my opinion: me like it like this.

Here’s one more. ”Stranded” with live footage from Dubai Desert Rock Fest 2008.

Ok, so Slapshock was the first touch to Filipino rock/metal/whatever-you-want-to-call-it music. Not bad. Just a week or so later, we went to watch Chicosci (pronounced chicosai me thinks..) and a couple of other bands. They played at an even smaller venue, Saguijo, which is another quite well-known rock club/bar in Manila. Now, Chicosci is not at all like Slapshock, their music is a lot.. well, softer. It does go sligthly too much on the soft side to be one of my favorites. But I do like some of the songs I know from them.

The song ”Diamond Shotgun” from their 2009 album ”Fly Black Hearts”. Lock and load, baby let’s go!

Or the song ”Breathe Again” from the same album:

Here’s another fan picture with Mong Alcaraz, the bass player of Chicosci (and guitarist of Sandwich). After this one, we had just got two pictures with me and a rock star, in mere two weeks. This led to the ambitious goal of meeting a new rock star each week! Well, we never quite made it there, not even to picture per month, but sure was fun! (We also realized we need a better camera, but never got that one either… So, sorry for poor quality pictures.)

Mong Alcaraz of Chicosci

Fan pic #2 with Mong Alcaraz of Chicosci (and Sandwich), outside Saguijo’s

After this great start it was time for the Deftones Diamond Eyes tour and their awesome show at the World Trade Center. Slapshock, along with Urbandub, yet another great band, were the opening acts. Deftones played a great show, and the crowd was amazing. The Philippines doesn’t really get too much of good shows like these, so everyone at the crowd had really been waiting for this and you could definitely sense it. I’m not gonna cover the Deftones gig in detail here. However, we did get another photo for our fan album: before the show we saw Ian Tayao (of Queso and Wilabaliw).

Ian Tayao of Wilabaliw and Queso

Fan pic #3: me with Ian Tayao of Wilabaliw and Queso

I’m not too familiar with these bands, but for a quick tour you can check out some Wilabaliw songs at their MySpace or watch, for example, the song ”Mottaka” from Queso at youtube. Sounds good to me! Deftones played again in Manila 2013, and this year Queso was one of the opening acts. You can read from this photo blog here how in 2011 Ian Tayao in fact sneeked into backstage, just to get a glimpse of his idols (and saw Chino Moreno sleeping at his tent, hahah). So we are all starstruck, even the stars themselves! By the way, if you want to see really good photos from the show (and other shows), head to that blog! Wish I could show pictures like that to you. But no, in terms of photo quality, our fan pic #3 is, in fact, worse than all the others. We still had the phone as our camera I think, and in addition the photographer is extremely drunk this time!

During the following months, we did watch a couple of shows in the local bars. B-side in Makati was one of the favorites.

B-Side has its strict set of rules as well. Play it safe, people.

B-Side has its strict set of rules as well. Play it safe, people.

We got our next picture with Aldrich Policarpio of Sandata, during one of the shows at B-side. You can check out some of their songs here.

Sandata at B-Side

Sandata playing at B-Side Makati

Aldrich Policarpio of Sandata

Fan pic #4: Aldrich Policarpio of Sandata

And here’s Sandata with ”Unos”:

Ok, so with this kind of a start for the year, one might think it would be hard to keep it up. However, big things were boiling up. Slapshock has often been compared to Korn – a band that has special significance for me. I used to listen them like non-stop back in the days, although I don’t really know what kind of music they make today. Despite feeling less ”personal”, due to their immense popularity, another very important band for me has always been Metallica. Well, its technically impossible to avoid it if you like this kind of music 🙂 It’s like stating that you like to have some oxygen in the air you breathe. So, if Slapshock is the ”Korn of the Philippines” (such analogues are dumb, but I don’t think either of the bands would be insulted by this comparison), then the ”Metallica of the Philippines” is undoubtedly Wolfgang (same thing for these bands).

Now, Basti Artadi, the vocalist of Wolfgang, had been out of the country for many years, and the band had been sort of in hibernation for quite some time. But the Rock Gods were favourable to us: during the early months of 2011, Wolfgang announced its return, along with an upcoming tour and a new album! Having grown up listening to this band, Benj was naturally thrilled, and such level of enthusiasm is highly contagious.

The first Wolfgang-alone show they would play after the return would be at the historical venue of the Manila Metropolitan Theater. That was definitely an appropriate choice. The Met is an iconic, yet under-appreciated landmark in the middle of Manila. It was built in the early 1930s, and badly damaged during the WWII. It has been restored and abandoned from time and again, and there was a recent effort to return it to its former glory. The work was clearly in progress, with new seats installed but many places still in need of repair. The old, 1930s art deco style architecture and decorations, along with the hollow, semi-abandoned current state gave the place an overall eerie feeling. Wolfgang playing their first show after return definitely fit perfectly to this venue. Once the band got it going, only worry in my mind was whether the old ceiling would fall down on top of us! 😀

The Met, or Manila Metropolitan Theater. (from Wikimedia commons by Corteco8, shared under CC-by-sa / http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MET.jpg )

With their return, Wolfgang gave us a rock-solid demonstration why they are the kings of the classic hard rock in the Philippines! From many songs, it’s definitely not difficult to hear that Wolfgang has been influenced by many of the greatest rock bands ever. Their self-titled first album came out in 1995, and, again, such comparisons are dumb, but they do sound a lot like Metallica. And most definitely in all of the good ways. Of course, these guys are awesome in their own right and do not require any comparison to anyone. Here goes the first track of their first album from almost two decades ago. There aren’t many bands who could start it off like this, and it is easy to see (hear) how they were bound for greatness right from the start.

Doesn’t sound very fresh? No special tricks, no gimmicks there? Definitely nice, but maybe not very innovative? Well, if that’s what you expected, then you came to the wrong place. That was just a really f*cking good, classic heavy rock song. A piece of art. Two decades and still sounds pretty damn impressive. Pure awesomeness.

Here’s another great song from the same album: ”As Oceans”. It starts slowly and is quite an emotional piece. A good friend once described it as a song that ”reminds me of tired old men traveling to strange, distant shores”. With so many great options, it’s a tough call, but this could well be my favorite Wolfgang song.

Close your eyes and rise as oceans / Breathin’ floatin’ across the waves
Underneath you all sorts of emotions / As this blue horizon calls /
And no God or man can control where you roam / As current serves my motor
I’m pushin’

Now awake! / like the oceans feel your waves / Tentacles to crash rocks on shores
Tides devoid of emotions / All your wonderful dreams washed away
As I stand on the sand being dragged by your hand / Like an anchor thats bringin’ me
Down below the water / ’Cause man he can’t control where you roam

Now rest as oceans / Be still, still yet always in constant motion / Quiet but never afraid 
Silent but always awake /And no God nor man can dictate where you stand 
No boundaries cast forever / You last forever  / As the ocean calls your name

Ok, I must admit that I’m probably the worst rock show photographer ever. Anyway, here’s a few pics from the Met:

Rebirth: Wolfgang at the Met

Rebirth: Wolfgang at the Met

Basti Artadi

Basti Artadi

Mon Legaspi

Mon Legaspi

Manuel Legarda

Manuel Legarda

Wolfgang

Wolfgang. And some nice background art.

…and naturally we got our fan pictures too! Here’s one with Manuel Legarda, the guitarist of Wolfgang. We attended the gig with a whole crew: in addition to me and Benj, there’s Hugo, definitely an all-time favourite Panamaniac of mine (at least, right after Jess anyway?), and Mikoy at the right. You can’t really see all the texts clearly, but I like how Benj has a t-shirt that says ”I believe in music” and mine says ”Don’t stop believing”. Mikoy readily agrees with ”Same, same”. It’s all about the details.

Manuel Legarda of Wolfgang

Fan pic #5: Manuel Legarda, guitarist of Wolfgang

And of course, one with Basti Artadi, the vocalist of Wolfgang. These were our last fan pics. It was subconscious, but I think we realized that we had reached the peak of this mission and decided to stop at the top. In addition to Hugo and Mikoy, we have Tet there at the front. For some reason, Basti Artadi personally does not like Benj at all, and only agreed for a picture if Benj would not be in it. Joke lang. 😉

Basti Artadi of Wolfgang

Fan pic #6: Basti Artadi, the vocalist of Wolfgang.

Benj also covered the ”Wolfgang at the Met” show in detail in the unofficial Wolfgang fan blog asoceans.com.

Wolfgang at the Met.

Wolfgang at the Met. No tickets for us.. 😦

Just like this wouldn’t have been enough, along comes the Tanduay First 5 rock tour. Tanduay is the local rum brand, and also guilty for providing plenty of other great drinks for thirsty people in the Philippines (trust me, I’ve tried plenty of them). The idea is that the annual tour has five different bands, the list of bands varying a bit each year. The 2011 tour had on board Chicosci, Kamikazee, Parokya ni Edgar, Sandwich and Wolfgang.

Naturally this is overly commercial stuff. But it is extremely easy to forgive that, as Tanduay brings the biggest bands to one stage, with shows all over the country, and at a price point that is affordable to most people. And they do make kinda cool commercials. So definitely thumbs up for Tanduay, good job! Hey, the drinks are great too. Drink moderately!

The Kings of Rock Royalty! 😀 Epic! Count me in.

We decided to book flights well ahead in time and go to see the Tanduay shows at Negros Island. The island is part of the Visayas region, and consists of the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. It’s well worth the trip even without any rock shows, but that’s another story. There were two shows, in both of the provincial capitals, Dumaguete and Bacolod. So we flew in Dumaguete to see the show there, and then took a bus through the island to watch the other show the day after at Bacolod. Big thanks for Gringo for hosting us and showing us around the next day while we were in Bacolod.

Somehow Benj once more managed to get us backstage passes, thanks once again buddy 🙂 As we were on a rum-sponsored tour, there was plenty of drinks for everyone. When bartenders like this keep asking ”what would you like to drink?”, it is a safe bet to guess that I wasn’t exactly sober… Still, surprisingly, I was way too drunk in only 50% of the shows. I’m counting that as a great success. Oh yeah, that was probably because the Bacolod show got cancelled in the middle as it was raining too much… Damn.

Tanduay bartenders

I will carry on with the tradition of poor quality concert pictures. The city of Dumaguete was really nice, and the show awesome. The venue for the Bacolod show was an old airfield, which is a nice final touch. Unfortunately for all the fans who had gathered there, they had to interrupt the show as it really started to rain too much.

Bacolod air field

The Tanduay First Five show at Bacolod, on an abandoned air field

Bacolod crowd

Bacolod crowd

A bit more of the actual music, you say? Ok, here’s Wolfgang with an acoustic version of the ”Center of the Sun”.

He’s the king of reason / the leader of none / the lord of question / the ever trusted son
though his body rests eternal one / he’ll be known forever as the center of the sun

And with quite a lot faster ”RP Deathsquad”:

Wolfgang also has made many different types of songs throughout the years. I feel this is somehow ”untraditional” Wolfgang, but I really like the song and the lyrics. Here’s ”Man 98” from the 1999 album ”Serve in Silence”:

Another huge band from the same era as Wolfgang is Razorback. We did get a chance to see them as well, and a few other bands at the Amber Lounge. That’s a more high-profile venue, but frankly, I prefer the earlier ones. Infinitely more ambiance in them. Anyways.

Typical Filipino: there are many rules in place, but for the most part, they don't take them too seriously. After all, they did let us in.

Typical Filipino: there are many rules in place, but for the most part, they don’t take them too seriously. I mean, they did let us in.

Razorback at Amber Ultralounge

Razorback at Amber Ultralounge

Razorback. Any familiar faces there?

Razorback. Any familiar faces there?

You can probably notice how the guitarist on the left looks oddly familiar. Yeah, that’s Manuel Legarda of Wolfgang. Well, back in those days, Kirk Hammett was already occupied with another project. It seems that if you wanted to have a great guitarist, you would always go for Mr. Legarda! 😀 Ok, in truth, he actually took up the guitar in Razorback at a later time. But it’s somehow funny to me that two of the great bands of that era have the same guy playing guitar. Well, I guess the guys in these bands are good friends, and there’s clearly plenty of good energy between them. The bands make fun of each others on their shows (Razorback joking how their next album, although long in the making, will still come out before Wolfgang’s, and vice versa). They also play songs from each others albums on their shows, and have shared the stage many times.

Here’s Razorback with the title-track ”Star” from the 1998 album. That’s Basti Artadi singing the intro, by the way. However, I somehow never got to know Razorback’s songs nearly as well as Wolfgang’s. Probably also partly the influence of my guide.

My first idea was to make a list of top songs, but I quickly realized that I don’t know the bands and songs well enough for that. So I decided to just go with this overall intro to my favorites. For the final question, which was the best band? I feel this is analogous to how I feel about Metallica and Korn, two of my favorite bands when growing up. Both are awesome, and although Korn is no small player, Metallica is still in its own league in popularity and influence. However, personally Korn is more important to me. I remember very well seeing them both live in Finland for the first time, just a month apart from each other. Metallica played an awesome show to 40,000 fans. Korn played ”only” to 8,000, but it was Korn’s first show in Finland, and probably, to this day, the best show I’ve seen. Every single person in there had waited years for that gig, and, well, acted accordingly!

Similarly, Wolfgang is an awesome band and a gigantic influence on the Philippine rock scene, and I love their songs. Yet, Slapshock was the first band  I saw live, sort of what started all this, so that gives it a very personal feel. For that, and the amazing energy on their shows, and the awesome Cariño Brutal album, they take the number one place. Sorry Benj, I know you disagree here hahah 😀

Finally, this was not a definitive listing of all the great Pinoy rock bands, just a reflection of my experiences. So please don’t be offended, I’m aware that many big, small, good, great, awesome, and interesting bands were not included. There are many I know were not mentioned, and probably even more of those that I don’t even know. If you know other great Pinoy (or any) bands, please feel free to share it in the comments. What quickly comes to mind are Urbandub, Up Dharma Down, Bamboo, Eraserheads, Kamikazee, Parokya ni Edgar, Rivermaya, Firefly, Greyhoundz… in no particular order. And there are many more. If you are interested, here’s one Top-10 list. Google and Youtube are your friends as well.

Well, what more can I say? I’ll let Wolfgang finish with ”Ladies & Gentlemen”: Welcome to the end.

Hope you enjoyed this crash course to the best of the Philippines’ rock. I know I did. Luckily Benj is already well familiar with the Finnish music scene, as I don’t think there’s ever a chance for me to offer a similar tour for him (once he’ll visit Finland). Well, come during summer, and I’ll show that we do know a thing or two about festivals as well. A big thank you to all the bands  and the great music they are making. And to Benj for introducing me to the best of Philippine rock, maraming salamat po, kuya! 🙂

Risto and Benj

Tanduay First Five, Dumaguete, 2011. Risto and Benj. Representing Finland and Wolfgang hahah.

Ok, that felt like a too sad song to finish with. Let’s add something to lighten the mood in the end: Basti Artadi of Wolfgang and Tirso Ripoll of Razorback enthusiastically playing a cover of ”Call me maybe”:

Pictures: thank you Marie, Jay-R, and Benj.

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Double Down & Pagpag

No niin, myönnetään nyt heti alkuun että kyseessä ei varsinaisesti ole mikään Filippiinien erikoisuus, mutta konsepti on niin nerokas, että tämä on tuotava kaiken kansan tietoisuuteen. Tämä ei myöskään ole mikään mainos: hyvä tuote puhuu puolestaan. Esittelyssä siis Kentucky Fried Chickenin pari vuotta sitten lanseeraama neronleimaus, kanaruokien kuningas, keskikehonrakentajan ykkösapuri – Double Down. Kyseinen mäyske hakee nerokkuudessaan, herkullisuudessaan ja ravintoarvoissaan vertaistaan.

Ehkä tosiaan ihmettelet ravintola/ketjuvalintaa: KFC harvoin mielletään ihan periaasialaiseksi syöttöläksi. No, jenkkien siirtomaavalta-aikojen jälkeen filippiinoille jäi lapaan englannin kielen lisäksi jotain muutakin: amerikkalainen pikaruokakulttuuri. Mäkkejä nyt on varmaan Antarktiksellakin, mutta Manilasta löytyy niiden lisäksi vieri vierestä muitakin amerikkalaisten lahjoja maailmalle: Pizza Hut, Wendy’s, KFC, Burger King… you name it. I’m loving it.

En missään nimessä ole mikään jatkuvan pikaruokamässäilyn kannattaja. Jos jumalaista ruhoaan ruokki jatkuvasti näillä myrkyillä, on esimerkiksi surffaus äkkiä melkoista tervanjuontia.  Onhan pikaruoassa epäterveellisyyden lisäksi ties mitä muitakin ongelmia. Ovathan nämä ketjut epäeettisiä, sortavat työntekijöitään, käsittelevät ruoat kaiken maailman säilyvyysmyrkyillä, tuhoavat luonnon ja muutenkin ovat kaikin puolin äärimmäisen pahuuden asialla. Niin, mitä näitä nyt on. Ehkä osassa juttuja on jotain perääkin.

Kuitenkin on vain tilanteita joissa juustohampurilainen on ainoa ratkaisu ja askel kohti lopullista voittoa. No niin, asiaan.

Nyt esiteltävä ”hampurilainen” siis muodostuu kahdesta KFC:n tyyliin uppopaistetusta luuttomasta kanan fileesiivusta, jotka siis korvaavat tyypillisesti burgeriin kuuluvan sämpylän. Väliin on sujautettu muutama siivu pekonia ja kahta erilaista maukasta juustoa. Koko komeus on maustettu KFC:n omilla salaisilla kastike-erikoisuuksilla. Yksinkertaista mutta ah-niin-kaunista.

Kuvassa näkyvä kaunokainen on Filippiineillä myyntiin tullut Zinger-versio Double Downista. Siinä siis kanat hieman mausteisempia ja paksumman, rapean kuorrutteen peitossa kuin perinteisessä Original Recipe -versiossa. Kummatkin äärettömän toimivia, tosin alkuperäinen mielestäni maukkaampi.

KFC Double Down

Zinger Double Down

Herkku on saanut –  yllätys, yllätys – positiivisen vastaanoton lähes kaikkialla missä sitä vain myydään. Kritiikkiä on tullut lähinnä siitä, että annos on niin kovin epäterveellinen. Epäterveellinen? Tämä? You gotta be shitting me. Otat sen laittilimun siihen kylkeen ni sillä se asettuu…

Kotikokit huomio: näitä namupaloja voi ja kannattaa ilman muuta myös (yrittää) tehtailla itse, sillä välin kun odottelee KFC:n rantautumista Suomen kamaralle. Tämä menee kesän grilliherkkujen kyljessä erittäin sulavasti alas, tai näitä voi kokkailla sisällä sadepäivien osuessa kohdalle. Täsmälleen samaa makuelämystä on vaikea saavuttaa, sillä KFC:n kanojen Original Recipe -maustesekoitusresepti on melkein saman luokan liikesalaisuus kuin Coca-Colan resepti. Tarinan mukaan resepti on kokonaisuudessaan ylös kirjoitettuna vain yhdessä paikassa tiukasti holviin suljettuna. Samalla alkuperäisellä muistionsivulla, johon Colonel Sanders itse sen aikanaan raapusti (huom: eri mies kuin Suomen sodassa samalla sotilasarvolla aikanaan huseerannut kulinaristi ja olutveikko Sandels).

Mutta ollos huoleton. Vaikka käyttäisikin omaa maustehäsmäkkää, niin on hyvä muistaa että sanat uppopaistaminen ja pekoni yleensä takaavat onnistumisen ruokalajissa kuin ruokalajissa. Sopivia maustekoktaileja voit joko rohkeasti kehitellä ihan itse tai haeskella esim. Youtubesta sopivia vinkkejä. Ei siis muuta kuin öljyt kiehumaan!

Nyt kun olet sännännyt maustehankintojen jälkeen keittiöön tai parhaassa tapauksessa lähimpään KFC-ravintolaan, niin jatkettakoon täydellä vatsalla vielä vähän aiheen vierestä. Niin järjettömän hyvältä kuin tämä maistuukin, on kaikilla kolikoilla aina se toinen puoli. Seuraavan sivun lukeminen saa sinut ehkä miettimään sitä toista puolta, ja niin valitettavaa kuin se onkin, vie mahdollisesti osan Double Downin mättämisen ilosta. Silti ehkä lukemisen ja ajattelemisen arvoista. Pagpag.

Kategoria(t): Ruoka | Avainsanat: , , , , , , , , , | 2 kommenttia

Baler – that pretty harry break out there

harry: make a pillaging or destructive raid on (a place), as in wartimes

Kyseinen legendaarinen pätkä Apocalypse Now -leffasta siis kuvattu yllättäen jossain ihan muualla kuin Vietnamissa. No, viidakko kuin viidakko. Tällä kertaa siis Filippiineillä, Balerissa:

Ja pidempi klippi linkkinä. Upea kohtaus elokuvahistoriassa. Smells like victory.

Alkuperäinen suunnitelma oli tähdätä surffaamaan niin pian kuin mahdollista jahka tropiikkiin päästään. No, ”parasta mahdollista vauhtia” johti tässä tapauksessa kolmen ja puolen kuukauden odotteluun… Kohteeksi valikoitui Balerin kylä Auroran provinssissa. Sinänsä miellyttävä taajama-alue Tyynen valtameren rannalla. Surffaamisen, aamuisen napalmin tuoksuttelun ja ylenmääräisen virvoitusjuomien nauttimisen lisäksi paikassa ei tosin ihan hirveästi tekemistä ole…

Reissu oli alunperin kaverini Lemin idea, tosin säätöjen jälkeen lähdimme liikkeelle omalla porukalla Jayn, Hugon ja Jessican kanssa, tavattiin muut sitten Balerissa. Lemin ja hänen parin kaverinsa lisäksi meidän tiimissä kellään ei ollut surffauksesta käryäkään. Pohjustimme urheilullisesta reissua toki asiallisesti oluella ja mäkkärisafkalla.

Bussipysäkillä.

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Surffin teoriaa

”Hyvinhän tuo näkyy käytännössä sujuvan, mutta mitenkäs teoriassa?”  tokaisi DI insinöörille

Surfing 101 – taustatietoa äidille ja muille sivustakatsojille

Kyseessä on pitkähkö, mukahauska asiapostaus. Ile, aikasi koittaa vielä.

Blogin mahtipontisesta nimestä voivat nokkelimmat päätellä, että reissun tavoitteena oli – tarmokkaan koulunpenkin kuluttamisen ohella – päästä hiukan surffaamaan. Välttämättä kaikille lukijoille laji ei ole tuttu, joten koitan seuraavaksi valoittaa vähän perusteita ja taustaa. Postauksesta tuli pitkä, mutta lajiin liittyy monia ainakin minun mielestäni mielenkiintoisia juttuja, joten selostan tässä hommaa vähän kautta rantain. Prosurffarit voivat hypätä suoraan seuraavaan postaukseen.

Ehkä huomasit, että blogin nimeen liittyy myös hyppysellinen sarkasmia. Suomipoikaa ei asuinpaikan puolesta ole siunattu kovin kummoisilla surffiolosuhteilla – vaikka toki sinnikkäimmiltä ja kovimmilta jätkiltä homma onnistuu myös Suomessa (en toistaiseksi kuulu tähän pieneen mutta kunniakkaaseen joukkoon). Itselleni on siis kertynyt kaiken kaikkiaan ehkä vajaa kolmekymmentä päivää laudan päällä, joten ammattilaistasoon lienee vielä ihan hitusen harjoiteltavaa.. Niinpä suoritankin yhä opintoja tässä sivussa, jos tästä surffauksesta nyt ei satu ura urkenemaan! 😀

Kovin moni ei lajia kaveripiirissä harrasta, mutta jotkut vanhat veijarit ovat taitotasolla itseäni jo huomattavasti edellä: Hyvä Meidän piha! Itse asiassa suunnitelmissani oma reissuni olisi ollut surffin kannalta hyvin tuossa blogissa kuvatun kaltainen. Manila ei kuitenkaan harmillisesti tue elämäntyyliä, jossa heitetään surffilauta aamupalan jälkeen kainaloon ja hipsitään rantaan aamusurffille. Tai tukee toki, mutta rantaan on harmillisen pitkä matka..

Verrataan monille ehkä tutumpaan lumilautailuun: sanotaan että ne ihan perusteet on pikkuhiljaa omaksuttu. Lautaleffoja on katsottu hurmoksessa koko loskainen alkutalvi. Laudan pohja on vahattu  kiiltämään kuin TJ250-maiharit ja kantit teroitettu tahi vaihtoehtoisesti tylsytetty. Ei muuta kuin rensselit niskaan, lauta suksiboksiin ja nokka kohti Meri-Teijon talviurheilupyhättöä. Siteet kiinni ja muutama pätemisluontoinen mutta aavistuksen epäonnistunut ollie  – sitten rähmälleen siihen ankkurihissiin ja laavulle paistamaan makkaraa.

Surfing&boarding – mistä olikaan kyse?  

Suomenkielinen, vain semisti hölmön kuuloinen termi surffaukselle on lainelautailu. Kyseessä siis eri laji kuin purjelautailu (windsurfing) – jonka jotkut saattavat muistaa juppiaikakaudelta, jolloin NMT-puhelimet, Lacosten pikeepaitojen ensimmäinen aalto ja auton katolle kiinnitetty purjelauta olivat menestyvän nuoren urbaanin professionaalin merkki. Itse en muista, lähinnä koska taputtelin näihin aikoihin kakkaa olohuoneen lattialla – toki hieno harrastus sekin, erityisesti siinä iässä. Sekaannuksen takaamiseksi lainelautailun ohella  löytyy sitten kitesurfingia (leijalautailu?!), wakeboardingia (lisää tästä myöhemmin), bodyboardingia, skimboardingia…

Surffaus on muiden lautalajien esi-isä: sen historia ulottuu aina muutaman tuhannen vuoden takaiseen Polynesiaan. Vasta viime vuosisadalla laji siirtyi myös maalle, kun skeittaus ja lumilautailu kehittyivät. Siinä sitä jo onkin: lähes kaikkea kuviteltavissa olevaa laudalla liikkumista maalla, vedessä, lumella – ja hetkittäin ilmassa. Mutta keskitytään nyt kuningaslajiin eli lainelautailuun.

Seuraavaksi: Iso aalto tarvitsee ison lätäkön

Kategoria(t): Filippiinit | Avainsanat: , , , , , , , , | Yksi kommentti

Cafe Alamid

”Ei se ole tyhmä joka pyytää, vaan se joka maksaa.” -tuntematon kauppatieteiden maisteri

Kokkinurkkamme jatkuu. Tällä kertaa esittelemme niin suussasulavan herkun, että ennen kuin me pääsemme siitä nautiskelemaan, niin joku on sen jo kertaalleen syönyt!

Kyseessä on siis Sagadan Cafe Alamid eli kissanpaskakahvi. Kyseinen kahvi on tiettävästi maailman kalleinta. Kupillinen Sagadassa maksaa muistaakseni 200 pesoa (~3,50€), siinä missä tavallisen kahvikupillisen kylkeen saa vielä loistavan aamiaisen 150 pesolla!Kun herkku lähtee vientiin ja kahvielämys koetaan New Yorkin, Lontoon tai Milanon trendikahvilassa, voi kupillisen hinta olla yli $50. Tästälähin en muuta kahvia enää juokaan!

Suomi tunnetaan paremmin hulppeasta kahvin kulutuksesta kuin tuotannosta, ja tajusin juuri, etten kovin tarkkaan tiedä mistä se Paulig aamiaispöytään kulkeutuu. Tässä tapauksessa homma menee kuitenkin jotenkin tähän tapaan: sivettikissa vetelee naamariinsa kypsiä kahvipensaan marjoja pääasiallisena ravintonaan, mutta varsinaiset pavut eivät vatsassa sula, vaan tulevat toisesta päästä ulos.

Otuksen jätteitä sitten etsitään pitkin viidakkoa samanlaisella tarmolla kuin tryffeleitä tammimetsässä konsanaan. Näin siis ainakin kahvin kaikkein kalleimmassa versiossa. Vältä siis halpoja kopioita, jossa koitetaan keinotekoisesti jäljitellä luonnon ihmeellistä tuotantoprosessia – sivettikissan ruoansulatusta.

Oletettavasti kissan suolistossa kahvin aromit jotenkin muuttuvat entistä paremmiksi ja näin poispäin. Niin,kyllähän tässä haiskahtaa muukin kuin kahvi… Noh, jokatapauksessa loistava keino päteä tutuille ja kylänmiehille on hommata keittiön kaappiin kyseistä kahvia.

Totta kai tätä oli maistettava, ja olihan se varsin toimivaa – mutta tuskin hintansa arvoista, edes Sagadan hintojen. No, todennäköisesti moukkamaiset makuhermoni ovat liian kehittymättömät tällaisen hienostuneen herkun maisteluun, enkä pystynyt kaikkia nyansseja ja hienovaraisia vivahteita erottamaan. Ehkä jonain päivänä…

Ostin myös pussillisen tätä herkkua äitienpäivälahjaksi muorille. Toivottavasti äippäkin pystyy sitten paremmin samaistumaan perheen miesväkeen. Nyt kaikki voivat tunnelmoida sunnuntai-aamuisin kovalla rahalla hankittu kissanpaskan maku suussa.

In the pictures: two of my all-time favorite Panamaniacs, Jess and (for the sake of the Sagada trip) No-Go enjoying their morning shi.. err, coffee! Muchos gracias for pics guys! 🙂

Kategoria(t): Ruoka | Avainsanat: , , , , , | 5 kommenttia

fuckvisitingliveinsagada.com

”It doesn’t get much cooler – in terms of both temperature and attitude – than this tranquil mountain town.”

Näin avaa Lonely Planet kuvauksen Sagadasta, pienestä vuoristokylästä Pohjois-Filippiineillä. Kyseinen mesta on yksi ensimmäisiä juttuja, mitä tässäkin blogissa jo tutuksi tullut Benj alkaa mehustaa uusille tuttavuuksille – käytyään siellä itse vajaa parikymmentä kertaa. Ja milloin ei itse pääse paikan päälle, hän pyörittää parin kaverinsa kanssa blogia visitsagada.com (om du förstoor engelska niin parhaat infot löytynee sieltä).

Matka Manilasta Sagadaan pitkin Cordilleran vuoristoa halkovia mutkaisia teitä kestää parhaimmillaankin noin 12 tuntia. Meidän tapauksessamme matka-aika oli leppoisat 15 tuntia ei-ihan-uunituoreella bussilla. Tiet, ajoneuvot ja kuolemaa halveksuva ajotyyli ovat ilmeiseseti varsin samanlaisia kuin muaallakin Kaakkois-Aasian vuoristoalueilla.

Tuskallisen matkan jälkeen perille päästyämme vaikutti kuitenkin heti ilmeiseltä, että Sagada tulisi lunastamaan (Benjin antamat) suurisuuntaiset lupaukset.  Kylä on vajaa puolentoista kilometrin korkeudessa vuoristossa, joten ilmasto on mukavan viileä. Kun jatkuva palmun alla löhöäminen ja rommikolan ryystäminen alkavat puuduttamaan, niin maisemaan kuuluvat mäntypuut muistuttavat mukavasti koti-Suomesta. No, ainakin etäisesti.

Yleinen tunnelma on erittäin letkeä – tapahtumattomuuden tunne on  lähes käsinkosketeltavissa. Samantapainen fiilis kuin Suomessa on kesämökillä omassa rauhassa, kun ulkopuolisen maailman olemassaolo unohtuu puolihuomaamatta. No, tiedätte miten helmi on paeta arkea kesämökille pelkästään Suomessa – kontrasti Manilan hulinaan ja pörinään on sanoinkuvaamaton.

Yleisesti ottaen Sagadassa ketään ei ole sinusta kovin kiinnostunut ja saat olla omassa rauhassa (pakolliset läpänheitot sielunveljen eli kyläjuopon kanssa poislukien).Tämä on suomipojalle harvinaista herkkua lähes kaikkialla muualla Filippiineillä. Onhan se mukava olla mielenkiinnon kohteena, mutta toisaalta välillä on mukava vähän hengähtää. Jotkut valittavat, että alueella asiakaspalvelun taso on kehnoa, mutta jos se on tämän rauhassa olon hinta, niin minä maksan sen mieluusti. Pitää toisaalta korostaa, että porukka ei ole mitenkään epäystävälllistä – oikea termi on juuri sopivan välinpitämätöntä.

Ilmeisen rento meininki (ja huhujen mukaan) edullinen douppi on vetänyt kulahtaneita hipinretaleita ja backpackereita puoleensa jo vuosikymmeniä. Ehkä tämä on myös osasyy siihen, että paikallisväestö on menettänyt mielenkiintonsa matkaajia kohtaan. Täällä törmäsi yllättävän moneen (tarkoittaa siis useampaan kuin nollaan tai yhteen) länsimaalaiseen, vaikka oltiinkin kaukana ns. turistikohteista. Varsinaisesta tungoksesta ei silti ole kyse. Ilmeisesti se puolen vuorokauden bussimatka riittää pitämään suurimmat massat loitolla.

Sagadan väkiluku on jossain tuhannen ja kahden välillä, eli kyseessä siis suht pieni kylä. Tästä huolimatta sieltä löytyy useampi majatalo josta valita, sekä huomattava määrä erilaisia syöttölöitä, jotka pitävät kohtuullista korvausta vastaan matkaajan ja nälän sopivan etäisyyden päässä toisistaan. Kokeilemisen arvoisia ovat ainakin Yoghurt House ja Log Cabin.

Log Cabinin ranskalaiskokki taikoo maittavan buffetin random aineksista joka launtai. Janarin viisumi on kuulemma umpeutunut 15 vuotta sitten, eli ei vissiin ole lähdössä Sagadasta mihinkään…

No, se tunnelmoinnista. Kun pelkkä yleinen hengailu ja rauhallisesta tunnelmasta sekä omasta erinomaisuudesta nauttiminen alkaa kyllästyttää, niin Sagadasta löytyy aktiviteettia mistä valita. Let’s go caving!

Kategoria(t): Filippiinit | Avainsanat: , , , | 3 kommenttia

Balút Challenge

Kokkinurkkamme avaava ruokalaji on itseoikeutetusti balút (kirjoitetaan välillä myös balut tai balot, ota näistä nyt selvää…).

Onnistuin itse ensimmäiset pari kuukautta välttelemään balut-challengea. Krisun, Kossun, Jonin ja Akun vieraillessa Filippiineillä oli ulkomaalaisten määrä päivällispöydässä kuitenkin sen verran suuri, ettei väistely enää auttanut. Balut on siis Kaakkois-Aasiassa tarjoiltava herkku: ankanmuna, jonka sisällä oleva sikiö on jo varsin pitkälle kehittynyt. Kyseistä myrkkyä tarjoillaan usein esim. Fear Factor -tv-sarjan kilpailijoille, ja tottakai se on tuttua kauraa myös Madventuresin Rikulle ja Tunnalle – muistaakseni esitelty sarjassa useampaankin kertaan, mutta ohessa pätkä Manilasta (7:00).

Oheinen ruokahalusi varmasti herättävä kuva ryöstetty Eazytravellerin blogista (jäbän nimi on siis Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap… hauskaa, eikö? 🙂 ). Thanks for the pic!

Ikioman Balutin voi hankkia kaduilla styroksiboksin kanssa kulkevilta kauppiailta, ja Benj ystävällisesti ostikin koko seurueellemme omat ankat. Herkku nautitaan siis semisti lämpimänä, ja styroksinen laatikko takaa, että lämpötila on oikea (jos mietit, että kauanko niitä lootassa säilytetään, niin vastaus on: ei aavistustakaan!). Hieman ohjeita: aluksi kuori kopautetaan oikeasta kohtaa auki, ja aina yhtä raikkaan rikintuoksun vallatessa ilman hörpätään ensiksi suloinen neste munan sisältä. Tämän jälkeen muna varovasti kuoritaan ja ripotellaan vähän suolaa päälle, jonka jälkeen herkku onkin valmis nautittavaksi. Bon appetit!

Nauttimamme otukset eivät kyllä olleet ihan noin pahan näköisiä kuin kuvassa. Itseasiassa kokemus ei ole läheskään niin paha kuin voisi kelata. It’s all in your mind! Zenmäisestä mielen kontrolloinnista huolimatta pienoiselta oksureaktiolta ei kuitenkaan voinut välttyä. Maku on hieman tykimpi kuin basic keitetyssä kananmunassa, mutta avainsana on kuitenkin koostumus – höyhenet takertuvat kurkkuun, rusto rutisee kivasti hampaissa, jonkinlainen peukalonpään kokoinen kova kikkare.. mikähän sekin lienee.. NAMNAMNAM! Kaikeksi onneksi kukaan ei kuitenkaan kiekottanut pitkin pöytää! 😀

Lisään tähän vielä videon meikäläisen ja Krisun balut-herkuttelusta. Nyt netti ei vain tue tätä… Tai Krisu/Kossu: upatkaa ja linkki kommentteihin, jos suinkin viitsitte ja ehditte.. Thanks! Ze inzernet works better in Finland! 🙂

Kategoria(t): Ruoka | Avainsanat: , , , | 6 kommenttia