Monthly Archives

September 2020


George T. Yang, McDonald’s PH Founder shares the love to frontliners on the anniversary of McDonald’s

George Yang

In September 1981, McDonald’s opened its first store in the Philippines in Morayta, Manila. Almost 40 years later, the Golden Arches has become part of the lives of Filipinos, with thousands of directly hired employees serving customers McDonald’s world-famous menu items, as well as local favorites in over 600 restaurants nationwide.

Recognizing the malasakit of the company’s employees to serve customers and the community amid the pandemic, McDonald’s Philippines Chairman and Founder, Dr. George T. Yang expressed his gratitude through a short music video (

Known for his singing prowess, particularly for classical music, Dr. Yang sang a few lines dedicated to their own employees, and all healthcare workers, as a montage of photos appeared of McDonald’s frontliners working tirelessly to serve Filipinos during these challenging times.

Seen in the video as well would be the McDo Kindness Kitchen, an initiative of the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), which has been able to distribute close to 300,000 meals to different frontliners and communities in need.




Dey Rose debunks conformity on new EP, Panting Heart

Dey Rose

Dey Rose, Vancouver-based Filipina singer-songwriter maintains a gripping sense of vulnerability on her debut EP, Panting Heart—released and now available on all digital and streaming platforms worldwide via Lilystars Records.

Intricately written and produced to capture a sound of lasting resonance and warmth, the 6-track record blends jazz-infused pop with folk, country, blues, prog rock, ’70s soul, and R&B, while exploring fascinating new directions in terms of arrangements and lyrics. With an eclectic selection of songs grounded in evocative storytelling, the Baguio-born musician presents a snapshot of confessional intimacy in the time of restlessness and paranoia, freeing herself from the conformity of others and social expectations.

The EP’s focus single “Di Mo Lang Alam” is inspired by the stories of new friends Dey Rose met in the Philippines. Its smooth, jazzy runs and suave rhythms swoop and slide effortlessly in the background, while the Filipina-Canadian artist’s mesmerizing vocals take the center stage in a rejuvenating light. It’s easily one of the best songs in the record, a balm of sunshine that conceals its very brooding narrative with a tale of caution and hope.

Other must-hear gems include the throwback-sounding jam “Puzzle Piece,” the bluesy ballad “Paulit-ulit,” the vocally arresting tune “When I’m With You,” and the title track “Panting Heart.” The EP’s signature sound feels like a hodgepodge of influences that range from Lolita Carbon to Etta James, Amy Winehouse to Lorde, seamlessly rendered to capture a wide range of emotions strengthened by both experience and technique.

Musically diverse and engaging, Panting Heart serves as a testament to Dey Rose’s incredible maturity as an artist of characteristic composure. It delivers moments of earnest beauty and restraint in equal stride, inhabiting a sense of balance for good measure.




Syd Hartha’s new single “hiwaga” reflects self-awakening

Music Artist Syd Hartha quicky rose to prominence in less than two year of being signed under Sony Music Philippines with compelling pop/folk anthems that expertly balance lyrical depth with relatability and social relevance. From taking a pro-woman stand on “ayaw” to documenting the importance of self-restraint on “paru-paro,” the young singer-songwriter marks a clear step forward in terms of exploring outsider themes that even her contemporaries would seem to avoid.

Latest single, “hiwaga” of Syd Hartha takes a moment to reflect on her personal actions through a stunningly produced, stripped-down tune that deals with self-awakening and healing in preparation to becoming “the best version of herself”—to reference a line from the coming-of-age film, Lady Bird. “hiwaga” is out now on all digital platforms worldwide via Sony Music Philippines.

Syd Hartha

Writing from a place of newfound perspective and riveting wisdom, Syd wrote “hiwaga” as a reminder that no matter who you are and what you may be going through, you are still capable of being part of a better change. “Basically, the love you have for yourself reflects to everyone and everything around you,” the critically acclaimed musician explains. “There was a time in my life where I felt so stuck and started to question my existence and the reason for everything. What inspired me to write this song is my awakening to the fact that I was given this life for a reason. I want to heal so I can be the best version of myself for everyone around me and I want to inspire people to do the same.”

Quite a diversion from her usual sound, “hiwaga” is produced by Johnoy Danao, and performed with her backing band consisting of Bea Fabros, Raisa Racelis and Pat Sarabia. According to Syd Hartha, the track was recorded at the confines of the musicians’ homes under the guidance of Johnoy Danao. “Initially, we thought of a big production incorporating more instruments like horns, but we decided we wanted to give the song a lot of room to breathe and let the lyrics shine.” Syd adds, “recording ‘hiwaga,’ was definitely challenging because it was our first time producing a single without seeing each other.”

The song also features a rap verse from Syd herself, who admits that hip-hop has greatly influenced her songwriting. “As someone who’s so fond of several hip-hop artists’ writing and delivery, I noticed how stronger and more effective it is when the message is somehow spoken instead of sung. Also, when I wrote ‘hiwaga,’ it all started with just words; it was me having a conversation with myself. I decided then that I wanted the feel to be more conversational and more focused on the message of the lyrics.”




Support Ben&Ben’s online benefit concert for ‘BalikEskwela’project

Don’t miss this coming Sunday, October 4, 2020 the OPM band Ben&Ben will hold an online benefit concert which the band continues to support vulnerable communities affected by COVID-19. Through BalikEskwela: Puhon Part 2, aims to support students and teachers who are “left with limited to no ability to adapt to the changes” implemented in the Philippine education system during the pandemic.

The band is slated to perform their massive hits for a one-hour live show from 5pm onwards via simultaneous streams on their official Facebook Page and YouTube Channel. This event is brought to you by Ben&Ben, Sony Music Philippines, Y4WU Philippines, Planet Drugstore, Limitless Lab, The Spark Project and Brand On Demand.

 “Ever since the end of the first Puhon, we’ve been aching to help out even more in our own little way,” Ben&Ben lead vocalist and guitarist Miguel Benjamin said. ”And so, when we were figuring out where to help with the myriad of problems in today’s landscape, we eventually zeroed in on helping out a sector that is very close to our hearts: education.”

While the first Puhon gig focuses on COVID-19 response relief efforts, Puhon part 2 prioritizes assistance to the education sector. As Ben&Ben lead vocalist and guitarist Paolo Benjamin puts it, “We have concluded upon analysis that this is one of the areas wherein most help is needed in these times. School in the time of the pandemic is something that none of us expected, and so we will do our best to help out in this major challenge.”

As part of the growing community of artists with a platform of hope and love, Ben&Ben is committed to holding a free online concert to rally support for their fellow countrymen and come up with response efforts specifically for those who are in need.

According to Miguel, this is the first time that Ben&Ben will self-produce a full-length online show during the pandemic, live from the BBTV house. “Expect a very intimate, premium live concert experience straight from our home to yours,” the singer-songwriter said.

The BalikEskwela: Puhon Part 2project is the second fundraising initiative of Ben&Ben through their community-driven website,, which aims to inspire, uplift and boost the collective morale of all the key stakeholders of the COVID-19 response through uplifting stories, music, art, and more.

The goal of the BalikEswela Project is to gather funds for:

  • E-learning and physical supplies that will be distributed to public schools.
  • Care packages (PPEs and vitamins) for teachers and personnel assigned for distribution of said supplies.
  • Distribution efforts with localized transport systems that will be coordinated with LGUs.

To know more on how you can be part of Ben&Ben’s fundraising campaign, visit or check out the band’s official social media pages.



Complete Card for ONE: REIGN OF DYNASTIES on 9 October Revealed

ONE Championship returns for its next big blockbuster with ONE: REIGN OF DYNASTIES, scheduled for Friday, 9 October, and once again, the world’s greatest martial artists are ready to take the stage and showcase their incredible skills in the ONE Circle.

The card is headlined by a ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Title clash. A co-main event featuring two of the promotion’s best flyweight contenders rounds out the six-bout offering. Venue and location for this event have yet to be confirmed and announced by ONE Championship.

In the main event, reigning ONE Strawweight Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Champion Sam-A Gaiyanghadao of Thailand will defend his Muay Thai title against top contender Josh “Timebomb” Tonna of Australia.

In the co-main event, three-time European Grappling Champion Aleksi “The Giant” Toivonen of Finland will take on former ONE World Title challenger and fifth-ranked flyweight contender Reece “Lightning” McLaren of Australia.

ONE: REIGN OF DYNASTIES will see the return of lightweight proponent Amir Khan, who is known for having the most knockout finishes in ONE Championship history, a record he shares with his Evolve teammate and reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian “The Warrior” Lee.

Khan will take on rising Indian lightweight Rahul “The Kerala Krusher” Raju.

Also seeing action on the card is another of Khan’s Evolve stablemates in multiple-time Indonesian Wrestling Champion Eko Roni Saputra. Saputra looks to showcase his improved skill set and aims for his third victory in the Circle when he takes on promotional newcomer Murugan “Wolverine” Silvarajoo of Malaysia.

Multiple-time Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai World Champion and former inaugural ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke makes his highly-anticipated return to action.

Dejdamrong will face China Top Team’s “Wolf Of The Grasslands” Hexigetu in what should be another exciting matchup.

Lastly, Indian wrestling champion “The Indian Notorious” Roshan Mainam will look to build upon his recent success and add another victory to his record when he faces ONE Hefei Flyweight Tournament Champion Liu Peng Shuai in the opening bout of the night.

Youtube Link:

Full card for ONE: REIGN OF DYNASTIES is as follows:

  • Sam-A Gaiyanghadao vs. Josh Tonna (ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Title)
  • Aleksi Toivonen vs. Reece McLaren (mixed martial arts – flyweight)
  • Amir Khan vs. Rahul Raju (mixed martial arts – lightweight)
  • Eko Roni Saputra vs. Murugan Silvarajoo (mixed martial arts – catch weight of 63.5 kilograms)
  • Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke vs. Hexigetu (mixed martial arts – strawweight)
  • Roshan Mainam vs. Liu Peng Shuai (mixed martial arts – flyweight)




Listen to ‘dear me’ of Gentle Bones, A Compelling Note to Self

Gentle Bones

Gentle Bones, Singaporean singer-songwriter has released a new song, ‘dear me’,  is a 00’s Pop and R&B leaning ballad that spotlights our individual inclinations towards the relationship we have with ourselves. This is an exploration that sees self-reflection fray into the plural experience of talking to an inner self, accrediting feelings you’re not sure why you have. In the track, Bones converses with himself in the mirror, tugging with the war waged by the “boy that never left”. His reflective act of internal way finding is carried out with bold yet reclusive values, retaining the introspective and insular poise necessary for this quiet moment.  It is this rewarding brand of insight that enables one to self-affirm and move on, closing the unsettling doors of the past.

The main themes percolating the track result from a note to self and rather inquisitive approach to mental health leading to self discovery. The song envisages the process of understanding repressive parts of us that have lingered since our not-so-great experiences of old. He asks “was it something you said, did you try to tell me”, seeking those elusive and yet intrusive saboteur emotions that have acted out in the past, urging a need for confronting them now. ‘dear me,’  now out on all digital platforms worldwide.

‘dear me,’ is reminiscent of the anthemic songs that made you sing along to choruses of yesteryear, invoking the sonic stylings of both old and new school Pop. “This is a song written to myself. Really just a moment of reflection over the ups and downs in my life over the years and I wanted to encapsulate that into song. Sonically, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of blending a well-written ballad with hip-hop leaning sounds for a long time and I’ve finally achieved the perfect balance with this track”.

Listen to ‘dear me’ here

More About Gentle Bones

Born and raised in sunny Singapore, Joel Tan, who goes by his stage name Gentle Bones, is one of the city-state’s top English artists who has made waves across the globe. Since his #1 self-titled debut EP

“Gentle Bones” in 2014, the 25-year-old now has three albums under his belt and has taken his music to fans across Asia with live performances, selling out solo concerts and playing festivals across South Korea, London, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Gentle Bones was the first Singaporean music act to be signed by Universal Music Group and was also the first youngest English music recording artist to achieve two sold-out concerts. In 2016, he earned himself a spot in the inaugural Forbes ‘30 under 30’ list for entertainment personalities.

Gentle Bones also boasts a range of notable songs that topped the charts, including Until We Die, Settle Down and Geniuses & Thieves. His latest EP Michelle, released in October of 2018, is his most streamed EP to date featuring its title track, I Wouldn’t Know Any Better Than You, which has amassed more than 20 million streams on Spotify alone a year after its release.

I Wouldn’t Know Any Better Than You earned him a spot in Spotify’s Top 5 Most Streamed Singapore artists in 2019 amongst his peers namely, JJ Lin, Jasmine Sokko, Tanya Chua & Stephanie Sun. On his latest track 你還不知道? released in August 2020, Gentle Bones collaborates with singer-songwriter Tay Kewei on a mando-pop ballad that has since become a hit on numerous playlists such as Top Hits Taiwan and Top Hits Singapore, additionally earning him a spot amongst the Y.E.S. 93.3FM’s Top 20 charts.

The now independent Gentle Bones is effectively regarded as a bilingual artist having successfully made the crossover from English to Madarin tracks, effortlessly blurring the lines of language to convey his story.





Nothing Left to Prove For Manny Pacquiao Says Team Lakay Featherweight Edward Kelly

Boxing’s only eight-division world champion, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, is at the tail end of his career. Experts are convinced the fiery Filipino fighter is but one bout away from retirement, although Pacquiao and his Hall-of-Fame trainer Freddie Roach have a few opponents in mind that the 41-year-old veteran wants to face.

Roach says Pacquiao most likely will not fight in 2020, but that a ring return next year is more probable. Naturally, talks and speculation of Pacquiao’s next dance partner have circulated the newswires.

If it were up to ONE Championship featherweight contender Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly, however, he would rather have his childhood hero ride off into the sunset.

“I think retirement may be on the table for Manny. He’s already done everything he could in the ring. He was the greatest at his peak. There are a lot of young, hungry fighters coming up, and boxing is a young man’s game. There’s nothing left to prove,” said Kelly.

Pacquiao was last seen in the ring in July 2019, when he lifted the WBA ‘Super’ World Welterweight Title from the previously unbeaten Keith Thurman by split decision.

Following that fight, names rumored to be in the Pacquiao sweepstakes include former world champions Danny “Swift” Garcia and Amir Khan, and former sparring partner Shawn Porter, in addition to marquee talent Errol Spence Jr., and pound-for-pound best Terence “Bud” Crawford.

While he is certainly confident Pacquiao can continue to perform at a high level against the rising young stars of boxing, Kelly says it will only end badly for the Filipino legend, win or lose.

“I totally understand why he continues to fight, and he’s just an even bigger hero for continuing to carry Philippine boxing on the global stage. But if he wins, critics will say he’s just fighting for the money. If he loses, they will say he’s already old,” said Kelly.

“We all come into sports wanting to be great. We want to be heroes for our people. But Manny is a legend because he was able to achieve that. He did it through hard work and sheer willpower. He is my inspiration. He brought his family out of poverty with his own sweat. Nothing can change that.”

The 36-year-old Kelly is looking to get his career back on track, after dropping three of his last four contests. The man they call “The Ferocious” continues to work hard in the gym, training with his brothers at the famed Team Lakay in Baguio City, while waiting for the call to compete.

ONE Championship has recently resumed its flagship event schedule, and as more Asian countries begin to ease restrictions due to Covid-19, the higher the chance Filipino athletes could once again appear on the cards.

For Kelly, he will always hold Pacquiao in the highest regard, with Pacman’s legacy already etched in stone. Pacquiao will always be a hero and inspiration to the Filipino people.

“Manny Pacquiao, for me, and for many fans around the world, is the greatest boxer of all time. We Filipinos are so proud of him. His name will forever be etched into the pages of history,” said Kelly.

“Personally, he has inspired me a lot, not just because he is a tremendously talented boxer, because he is. But also because, to me, he’s a hero. He came from literally nothing in life to make it to the pinnacle of boxing — the absolute highest levels. It’s such an inspiring story. He proved that there is no dream we can’t achieve if we pour ourselves into it.”




VANNA drops new single ‘Friday Night’

Acclaimed singer-songwriter VANNA, Israeli indie-folktronica artist has finally dropped the last single from her debut EP, High Hopes — arriving sometime in November.

Produced by Roy Avital of Tel Aviv-based indie electronic trio Garden City Movement , ‘Friday Night’ is a soothing down tempo tune that is delicately built with layers of understated electronic sound scapes and atmospheric textures. It is the perfect song for turning off the lights in your room and immersing yourself in its irresistible sadness.

The brooding but captivating arrangements envelope VANNA’s poignant vocals, and culminate with a powerful and emotive instrumental drop.

The Israeli singer-songwriter shares the story behind the heartfelt lyrics: “After a rough breakup, I was literally always riding my bike at night, being super depressed. Once every week I would need to ride past my ex-girlfriend’s house. It took me 6 months before my heart wouldn’t start beating faster every time I passed by.”

VANNA’s debut EP High Hopes has been 3 years in the making, and is produced by Roy Avital of Tel Aviv based indie-electronic trio Garden City Movement and mastered by Matt Colton (James Blake, Muse, Coldplay). Delivering a delicate fusion of indie electronic, pop, and folk influenced by artists like RY X, Oscar and the Wolf, SYML and Sóley, the EP will be released in November 2020 via Singapore indie label Umami Records.

Listen to Friday Night via Umami Records :




Comeback of The Geeks with the new song “The First Time”

The Geeks, indie pop quartet are finally making a return after two years of not dropping any new material with the release of their new single “The First Time”—out now via Lilystars Records. Also now available on all streaming and digital platforms worldwide.

Strumming its way comfortably into slacker and honeyed guitar pop territory, The Geek’s latest song rejects the notion of predictability by going vintage in aesthetic and function, while connecting on an emotional level with newfound grace.

“Our new single in two years is an homage to local Filipino kundiman music- a tribute to a time when we still wrote letters and the internet was non-existent,” vocalist and guitarist Jam Lorenzo shares the inspiration behind their new song. “Partly inspired by the portrayal of young romance in Filipino period films, ‘The First Time’ discusses in vague detail the enduring cliché of being stood up on the eve of a planned elopement.”

With its subtly heartbreaking observations on a kind of love that’s a product of a different time and milieu, “The First Time” shines through more than ever with a sharper, more deeply layered turn in The Geeks’ songwriting style: its sense of defeat is more palpable, and the verses wreck when you’re least prepared.






Announces the top 15 finalists for this year’s PhilPop 2020 songwriting competition

The premier songwriting competition in the country, PhilPop remains consistent in its advocacy to nurture future global hitmakers through its sustainable platform and world-class mentorship program. Finally completed its roster of Top 15 finalists from thousands of submission and even in the middle of coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the challenges of the new normal, the songwriting institution continues to develop its pool of game-changing songwriters and composers from across the regions and cities in the Philippines, and showcase a diverse selection of music that elicits cultural conversations and reflects contemporary narratives with substance.

The last batch of finalists from North Luzon, South Luzon, and Metro Manila clusters were announced during the livestream of PhilPop Q&A and Kuwentuhan Sessions last September 23, 2020 (Wednesday).

In no particular order, here are the final batch of finalists who made it to PhilPop Songwriting Festival 2020:

North Luzon:

  • Abegail Esteban and TJ Paeldon – “Agsardeng”
  • Lolito Go – “Balikan”
  • Angelic Mateo – “Paos”

South Luzon:

  • KulasBasilonia– “Para Kay Catriona”
  • ChochayMagno – “Lunod”
  • Princess Roselle C. Germina – “Bitaw”

Metro Manila:

  • Kian Dionisio – “HulingSayaw”
  • Aikee – “Bestiny”
  • Aikee – “Mapa”

The nine finalists will be joining other contenders from the Visayas and Mindanao clusters, which include amateur and professional composers and songwriters such as JerikaTeodorico, Noah Alejandre and ReanneBorela, Michael Catarina, John Cadeliña  Christian Chiu, and Sherwin Fugoso.

In terms of picking the finalists for the South Luzon cluster, CaioCadiz specifically handpicked songs that not only stand out in terms of melodic elements, but also entries that deliver quality and envelope-pushing lyrics. He adds, “songs with a unique way of presenting their topics and themes are highly preferred, as well as how they use their words to create an image of what they want to communicate. Also, the overall theme of their demo is a factor for me as a producer, but the team also recognize that it is but merely a glimpse of what the songwriter was going for, so the quality of the demo’s production is negligible. It’s really more of the quality and dynamics of the melody, and most importantly the lyrics.”

Melvin Moralles shares the same sentiment, but points out the importance of choosing the best song that would represent his cluster. “Personally, it’s all about the totality of the package, and how it would best resonate to a diverse but broader listening public: from students to adults, regional folks to international music fans.”

PhilPop Songwriting Festival 2020 is an initiative of the PhilPop Music Foundation, chaired by Mr. Manny V. Pangilinan. This year’s PhilPop is co-presented by SMART, MERALCO, and MAYNILAD, with official partners, Warner Music Philippines, Kadasig, and MinPop.