Golly gee whiz, Filipino punk rock does exist!
In my very first post, I shared my experiences of frequenting my hometown's local punk/ska scene as seemingly the only Filipina at any of those shows. It was almost comical at times since I would often show up with my buddy, Andy, a big tall Black guy with a heart of gold, who was also an aficionado of Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Operation Ivy, and the like....Andy and I, along with the rest of our friends, would often arrive at these gigs amidst stares ranging from mere curiousity to sheer puzzlement, which seemed to imply:
Dude, are you in the right place? SNFU is playing tonight not Run DMC....
Okay, so no one ever came out and said that but like I said, their stares often said it all. And the thing was, I also happened to listen to Hip Hop, Trip Hop, Indie, and Classic Rock--Who the f*** cared? But once I got older and started checking out DJ buddies of mine spinning Breaks and Jungle beats at local clubs, I would be one Pinay in a sea of other Filipinos so I was always treated with a special kind of respect--the nod--like I was their long lost brethren.
So what did this all mean?
I wasn't sure. It was something that I was aware of, but couldn't quite put my finger on.
So years whizzed by and this subject fell right off my radar as university, relationships, and careers begin to take centre stage. That is, until recently....
After starting my blog and writing that first post, it seriously got me thinking. Are there actually Filipino punks and rude girls/ boys out there?
A night of unscholarly research via GOOGLE and an entire bag of Clodhoppers turned up the answer I was looking for: YES!
Issues of race, identity, politics, activism, and resistance becamse apparent in the voices of :
T.R.A--a Pinoy punk/ska band from Cainta, Rizal Phillipines
Delubyo--Filipino American hardcore band outta Vallejo, CA
Shuffle Union--Pinoy ska band from Quezon City, Metro Manila
Marcos Cronies--Pinoy Ska band from Angeles, Pampanga Philippines
I.O.V., G.I. the Idiots, Betrayed and Dead Ends--Filipino hardcore godfathers circa 1980s
What I realize now is that I shouldn't have been surprised. Extreme poverty and the seemingly endless generations of political instability--most recently marked by the corruption of Marcos, Ramos, Estrada, and Arroya--naturally went hand-in-hand with the origins of punk rock ethos. Instead of Joe Strummer and Johnny Rotten expressing their disillusionment in regards to the British monarchy and blatant classism in the UK, Pinoy hardcore trailblazers, Urban Bandits, were screaming their angst about the political assasination of Sen. Ninoy Aquino, a man seen as a symbol of hope in succeeding the notorious Marcos. They were all voices of punk rock resistance, only separated by geography.
And in discovering this rich history of Pinoy punk rock, I couldn't help but feel a sense of personal validation. My identity had been legitimized in much the same way I had suddenly become relavant when I went from being the only Pinay kid in Elementary School, to becoming one of many Filipino Canadians in High School. I wasn't the only one....
As a very fitting end to this post, I'll leave you all with this great documentary made by a group of Filipino American students at the University of San Francisco entitled, Rock and Resistance: Filipino American Identity Beyond Bebot (**"Bebot" is a reference to a Black Eye Peas song of the same name, which translates into 'hot chick' in Tagalog**). The documentary spotlights the contributions made by Filipino American musicians outside of the realm of Hip Hop.
Rock and Resistance: Filipino American Identity Beyond Bebot (Pt. 1)