Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve been married to a Filipina (female Filipino) since 1985, or perhaps not, that some original pinoy music (OPM, which can also stand for original Philippines music) is some of my favorite music. As you’ll see shortly, Americans don’t have a monopoly on American-style music.
Rivermaya is a Filipino alternative rock band, formed in 1994, which set off an explosion of Filipino bands that tried to mimic their style. The lead singer, with a nickname of “Bamboo”, is possibly a dual citizen (although the term as it applies to Filipinos didn’t exist until 2003) who speaks English as well as he speaks Tagalog. There’s not much information about his biography available.
Most of the songs performed by Rivermaya are in Tagalog, the native tongue of the band members. Every so often, however, they perform songs in English. I had never heard of the band until after I moved to the Philippines in 2006. One of their early songs was titled “214″ and I have no idea what that means.
It’s not the only song by Rivermaya that I like, but I think it’s only one that I like that is sung in English. I have an MP3 copy, that I burned from disc, on my hard drive. Every so often, when I decide to listen to music, I usually include “214″ as one of the songs on my Rhythmbox playlist as one of my favorite OPM songs of all time.
His full, real name is “Francisco Gaudencio Lope Belardo Manalac” but he goes by “Bamboo Manalac” (the “n” in the last name is pronounced with the Spanish “ny” pronunciation). While he’s a Filipino citizen and resident of the Philippines, he spent several years living in the United States. I think he’s a dual citizen (Filipino/American), but I could be wrong.
Pinoy is a slang term that refers to a male Filipino. Likewise, pinay is a slang term that refers to a female Filipino. Neither term exemplifies a native born Filipino. Rather, they exemplify an attitude, backed up by a racial or cultural heritage rooted in the Philippines. Bamboo is definitely a pinoy.
I, myself, have been called a pinoy as often as I’ve been called a “kano” (slang for American) and it’s because I understand and embrace Filipino attitudes, whether I agree with them or not. Assimilating into the environment that is the Philippines is so much easier when you understand the culture.