One thing’s for sure about Filipinos – they love to sing. I love how they aren’t afraid to sing out, shamelessly. Though they can be shy, generally, it seems most aren’t too bashful to share their musical talents in front of others when put under pressure. It’s expected. It seems like it’s simply part of their culture to let their light shine. And it’s wonderful. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re “good” at it. Sing out anyway! One of my favorite things was when we would play F.H.E. games with a family, and whoever lost always had to do a talent (usually singing). Otherwise timid Filipinos wouldn’t hesitate to put themselves into the spotlight and let their light shine. I just loved that. It was a beautiful thing. Filipinos sing from their hearts and they let their personalities shine through the music. I love how the elderly sing traditional folk songs loud and clear, with a twinkle in their eye. I remember my trainer singing hymns and EFY songs around the apartment, with lots of heart and soul. That’s the Filipino way.
Because Filipinos love to express their joy through music, Karaoke is a hit. Karaoke/videoke is a favorite activity to do in the Philippines, especially at birthday parties, celebrations, and other social gatherings and events.
Walking down the streets, I could often hear people singing Karaoke – it seems like there was a Karaoke machine at least on every corner in many areas. In an otherwise Tagalog-speaking country, it was fun to hear people singing their soul out to Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Justin Bieber, and other American songs. They sang Tagalog Karaoke songs too, but one thing’s for sure – they love American music. And they like remixes. Although sometimes accompanied by drinking, non-alcoholic Karaoke parties can be wholesome activity for the whole family. Adults as well as little children all get into it.
Fun fact: The idea of Karaoke was invented in Japan, but the Karaoke machine originated in the Philippines. It has become one of the most popular pastimes in not only the Philippines, but Asian countries in general.
I love the enthusiasm that Filipinos have for music. They know how to have fun. Serving a mission in the Philippines gave me a greater love and appreciation for Karaoke.
(Contributed by Rebecca, Philippines Baguio Mission, 2009-2011)