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Manila Sound
Stylistic origins Filipino folk - Rock and roll - Kundiman - Jazz - Disco - Taglish
Cultural origins Late 1960's to early 1970's Manila
Typical instruments Vocalsacoustic guitarbass guitardrumspiano
Mainstream popularity Hugely popular in the Philippines during the 1970's and the late 1980's until the early 1990's, later replaced by OPM.
Derivative forms Pinoy rock - Pinoy hip hop
Other topics
Folk rock - OPM

Manila Sound is a musical genre based in the Philippines that began in late 1960s Manila and flourished in the early to middle 1970s. It is often looked upon as the "bright side" of the Martial Law era and has influenced all modern genres in the country as the forerunner to OPM.[1][2]

Popularized by a pop rock band called Hotdog with their hits, "Ikaw Ang Miss Universe Ng Buhay Ko" (transliterated, "You Are the Miss Universe Of My Life"), "'Manila'" and "Beh Buti Nga", it was characterized by catchy melodic phrases.[3] Manila Sound also characterized the disco fever in the Philippines by that period. Alternately described as "the marshmallow sound", the Manila Sound ushered a procession of calculated radio hits by groups such as Cinderella, VST & Co., Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society, Florante, Rico J. Puno and the "megastar" of this musical genre, Sharon Cuneta. The Manila Sound's unprecedented and meteoric appeal provided viability to a Philippine recording industry that until then had relied on cover versions and mimicry of foreign hits to entice consumer acceptance. However, inevitably, the formula-addled lyrical bias towards camp humor and parody caused the Manila Sound to devolve into an explicitly theatrical, if not pre-teen, sub-genre as exemplified by Hagibis (a parody of the Village People) and The Boy Friends, until it finally collapsed in the late 1970s under a wave of disco and dance-oriented Hollywood hits from "Saturday Night Fever", "Grease" and "Footloose". The Manila Sound phenomenon gave way to OPM (Original Pilipino Music) that dominated popular, radio-friendly Philippine music for the remainder of the 1990s. The two most successful by-products of this annual event were the songs, "Anak" (Child) by the folk-rock singer-songwriter Freddie Aguilar, and "Kay Ganda Ng Ating Musika" (How Beautiful Our Music Is) by pianist-composer-conductor Ryan Cayabyab, both of which ushered a fresh generation of Original Pilipino (aka "Filipino") Music visibly represented by stars such as Kuh Ledesma, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Basil Valdez, Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera and, later, Regine Velasquez.

Renewed interest in the Manila Sound resurfaced in the recent years with the compilation album, The Best of Manila Sound: Hopia Mani Popcorn. In 2006, the Apo Hiking Society (the former Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society) relaunched their retro hits in a double-cd package, coupled with reinterpretations of each by Manila's young alternative bands. Predictably, in 2007, riding on the appeal of the revival, "The Best of Manila Sound: Hopia, Mani, Popcorn" featuring re-interpretations of classic Manila Sound hits, was launched. The current Manila Sound revival hits are "No Touch" (Rocksteddy), Ipagpatawad Mo" (Mayonnaise); "Hanggang Magdamag" (Kapatid); "Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko" (Soapdish); "Rock, Baby, Rock" (Kala); "Bitin Sa 'Yo" (Up Dharma Down); "Bonggahan" (6Cyclemind); "Macho Guwapito" (Protein Shake); "Tao" (DRT); "Kapalaran" (Radioactive Sago Project); "Ako Si Superman" (Sound); "Handog" (Join the Club); and "TL Ako Sa 'Yo" (Kitchie Nadal).



HOTDOG The brothers Dennis Garcia, Rene Garcia and Jerss Garcia created the legendary Hotdog band in the mid-70s, a reconfiguration of an earlier band called Red Fox, which spawned what became known globally as ‘the Manila Sound’.

Crafting hit after hit in succession, Hotdog etched an indelible mark in Philippine music history with multi-generation chart toppers like Manila, Annie Batungbakal, Bongga Ka Day, Ikaw ang Miss Universe ng Buhay Ko, Pers Lab, Langit na Naman, and Behhh, Buti Nga, among others. Beyond dominating the Manila music charts for decades, Hotdog’s music was instrumental in bringing the quality of local pop music on par with international standards.

Baby Gil, Philippine Star’s influential entertainment columnist, observed: "Hotdog killed colonial mentality in pop music with its phenomenal original music. Suddenly it was cool to talk Taglish and listen to a Pinoy band. But a decade before that, the current Filipino songs were God Knows by Pablo Vergara and "Sapagka't Kami ay Tao Lamang" by Tony Maiquez that teen-aged buyers would never be caught dead with."

The songs of Hotdog (written and produced by the siblings Dennis and Rene Garcia) heralded the beginnings of Original Pilipino Music or OPM, which saw –for the first time– local songs dominating the Philippine music scene; and in the process, establishing the identity of mainstream Filipino music. Since then, songs by Hotdog have been used in movies, television and radio commercials, videoke products, cellphone ringtones, and so forth.

In a nation of over eighty million musically-inclined citizens, Hotdog songs are probably among the most recognized and revered tunes. Hotdog also paved the way for the spectacular solo musical careers of its female singers like Ella del Rosario, Zsa Zsa Padilla and Maso Diez.

VST and COMPANY This group started out with the famous Sotto Brothers. The group made Philippine disco hits such as Disco Fever, Awitin Mo Isasayaw Ko and Rock Baby Rock. VST and Company hits are mixed with the tunes of Bossa Nova at present and the album, The Bossa Nova Collection: VST and Company, are out in stores. The group also help launched the careers of some notable Filipino icons like Sharon Cuneta.

THE BOYFRIENDS Band famous for creating the song Sumayaw, Sumunod which is a classic disco hit. The group also spawned other OPM classics such as "First Love" and "Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal."

SOUL JUGGLERS Funky band that performed "Hanggang Magdamag" and "Pinoy Disko".

CINDERELLA Cinderella is a band which commonly makes hits about romance. The romantic band made timeless classics such as T.L. Ako Sa'yo, Bato Sa Buhangin, Ang Boyfriend kong Baduy, Superstar ng Buhay Ko, and Tulak Ng Bibig, Kabig Ng Dibdib. The late Yolly Samson was the voice behind those romantic hits. Like VST and Company, Cinderella hits are also blended with Bossa Nova in the album The Bossa Nova Collection: Cinderella. With the VST album, it is out in stores.

APOLINARIO MABINI HIKING SOCIETY Commonly known as the APO Hiking Society. Though pioneers of the OPM genre, this group of music-loving college students also made Manila sound hits like Blue Jeans and Pumapatak nanaman ang Ulan. The group, now consists of Jim Paredes, Danny Javier and Buboy Garovillo, is still together these days as friends and as musicians. Kami nAPO Muna, a tribute album, is still out in stores.

SAMPAGUITA Asin's contemporary, they are a folk/ Rock and roll group popular for classic hits like the groovy Bonggahan, Tao, and Nosi Ba Lasi among their classics.

HAGIBIS Male sing and dance group famous for male hits like Katawan. The group is similar to the equally classic Village People in terms of style in music, muscular appearance and dances.

REY VALERA Solo artist and composer known for singing the romantic Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok ko. First appeared in the Electric Hair Band.

SHARON CUNETA Started her career as DJ's pet after recording Rey Valera's composition, Mr. DJ. She was 12 years old in year 1979 when she started her career. She also sang a number with VST called "I- Swing Mo Ako." ("Swing Me")

FLORANTE First to perform the classic and inspirational song, Handog. Also folk singer who performed Ako'y Isang Pinoy.

RICO J. PUNO Masculine singer with hits Macho Gwapito and Babaero. After Manila Sound, Rico J. Puno also became an OPM legend. At present, he still performs here and abroad. He is famous for taking famous English songs like ""The Way We Were" and translates them in tagalog that Filipinos can understand.

Villar Records (Mareco Broadcasting Corporation), Alpha Records and Vicor Music Philippines (and its subsidiary imprints, Sunshine Records and Blackgold Records) were the record companies that pioneered the Manila Sound.

Manila Sound's Return

Year 2006 was it when Filipino funky band, Kala, appeared in the music scene. Their first hit is Jeepney which was released summer of 2006. According to the Philippine Inquirer, the band is reviving the Manila Sound genre through funky music. Rene Garcia (co-founder of the Hotdog band) noted themselves as carrying out the funky groove of the 1970s. The band also took part in the tribute album, Hopia Mani Popcorn. They made a funky remake of VST and Co.'s Rock Baby Rock.

The Manila Sound is also a start for the success of the Philippine music industry. Artists and musicians of the country will look up to it from present up to the upcoming days. That is why at present, its artists and bands are given honor.


Manila sound is styled as smooth, easy-flowing folk/rock music, fused with funk, light jazz and disco, in taglish language characterized by "juvenile lyrics" and, not infrequently, by "swardspeak" (aka "gayspeak", i.e. homosexual slang) recast as novelty, comedy or satire.


Simple English

Manila Sound
Stylistic origins Filipino folk music - Rock and roll - Kundiman - Jazz - Disco - Taglish
Cultural origins Last years of the 1960s to early 1970s Manila
Typical instruments Singingacoustic guitarbass guitardrumspiano
Mainstream popularity Very popular in the Philippines during the 1970s and the late 1980s until the early 1990s
became Original Pilipino Music (OPM) in the middle 1990's
Derivative forms Pinoy rock - Pinoy hip hop - Pinoy pop
Other topics
Folk rock - Original Pilipino Music (OPM)

Manila Sound is a type of music that started in Manila, Philippines, from the last years of the 1960s to the middle of the 1970s. It is commonly known as the "bright side" of the time of President Ferdinand Marcos because of its cheerful words and was often used in protest to his dictatorship.

This music type has affected all modern music types in the country as the beginner of Original Pilipino Music (OPM).[1][2]


Music type

Manila Sound was made famous by a folk rock band called Hotdog. Their songs: "Ikaw Ang Miss Universe Ng Buhay Ko" (or "You Are the Miss Universe Of My Life"), "'Manila'", and "Beh Buti Nga"; had catchy melody phrases common to the music type.[3] Later, the singer-songwriter, Freddy Aguilar, used the music type with his music to express the suffering of the people.[4] His song, Bayan Ko, was popular in protests.[4]

The music type is a mix of Filipino folk music and rock music added with some funk, light jazz, and disco, and is sung in both Tagalog and English languages.[4]

The lyrics are childlike and often humorous caused by the disco fever in that period and in contrast to the oppression by Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.[4] It is sometimes described as "the marshmallow sound".


Singers and bands

  • APO Hiking Society
  • Asin
  • Florante
  • Hagibis
  • Hotdog
  • Rey Valera
  • Rico J. Puno
  • Sharon Cuneta
  • Sampaguita
  • Soul Jugglers
  • The Boyfriends
  • VST and Company

Music companies

  • Alpha Records
  • Vicor Music Philippines
  • Blackgold Record
  • Sunshine Records
  • Villar Records


  • Manila
  • Anak
  • Beh Buti Nga
  • Ikaw Ang Miss Universe Ng Buhay Ko
  • Kay Ganda Ng Ating Musika


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