A portmanteau of the words Bisaya and rock,”BisRock” is a sub-genre of Filipino rock music that focuses on songs written and performed in the Cebuano language.
The term was first coined by Cebuano writer Januar E. Yap back in 2002, although the style started during the 80’s. As it is, the genre became a cultural phenomenon for a time, earning recognition and applause among young people from Visayas and Mindanao.
Even in some parts of Luzon, BisRock is celebrated; now and then you will see Visayan artists performing in popular venues like in Ayala Malls Serin near Horizon Terraces Tagaytay Highlands and SM Mall of Asia.
Now, there are around 20 BisRock bands and even more solo artists out there today, each with their hits. If you want to listen to some original Cebuano music, then start with the songs listed below:
Principal by Missing Filemon
This upbeat piece shouts out to everyone whose tired of life in general, allowing them to vent out their frustrations by singing it along with the band. It follows a student ranting at his principal, expressing his desire to become a celebrity to escape his troubles. The student then went on from deciding to be an actor to becoming one.
Cebuana by Karencitta
This Cebuano pop song became a one-time Youtube hit, garnering more than 100,000 likes and around 17 million views. The lyrics are mixed of English and Cebuano, and the music video itself is nicely choreographed. Whether or not you get what this song is about is irrelevant; it will make you dance to its beat all the same!
Hahahahasula by Kurt Fick
This song became so popular during its time that it was performed all over Cebu, and it was aired in televisions and radios for everyone to enjoy. In the number, the singer expresses his struggles with a secret, unreciprocated love for someone, reflecting that the feelings, reasonings, and actions done in its name are so absurd, illogical, and comical that you can do nothing but laugh about it.
Duyog by Jewel Villaflores
While Kurt Fick’s ode is about unrequited love, Jewel Villaflores’ Duyog is about finding it. It’s about meeting someone who seems to mean everything in your life, and it’s making a promise to that person. The piece is brimming with wonderfully presented metaphorical lines, and it’s a mellow break from more rock-oriented Bisayan songs.
Lingin by Aggressive Audio
Lingin means “circle,” and it’s one of the best-remembered BisRock songs in Cebu. Witty and bright, it takes you to a world full of round things, including a circle house, an orbicular table, and round eyes. Aside from real circles, the song also explores metaphorical ones, particularly on how life itself has a cyclic nature and the fact that we’re going through it in circles.
Listen to BisRock Now!
Although they’re not as popular as they once were during their heyday, BisRock is still a wonderful genre to tune in. Each of the songs listed above is available on Youtube. Go check it out right now!
Disclaimer: This is a guest blog post by Angelo Castelda. Sir Angelo works as a contributor for a news magazine in Asia. He loves to learn and understand diverse cultures and aims to share through his writing his experiences around the world.