Words by Camille Geguera
Whoever said “OPM is dead” could never be more wrong. From veterans such as Parokya ni Edgar and Itchyworms up to the new wave of OPM bands like IV of Spades and December Avenue, the local music indie scene just keeps flourishing with every generation. Truth is, you don’t even need to look that far to discover quality OPM music. Here are 15 college homegrown bands that we feel deserve a spot on your playlist:
15. The Clamshell Boxes
The Clamshell Boxes is a wacky, vibrant, 5-piece band composed of Ryan Orias (rhythm guitar), Abe Autea (vocals/bass), Babu Dadap (vocals/lead guitar), Ivan Cruz (Saxophone), and Just Mosquera (drums). The band’s influences come from everywhere–rock, soul, jazz, folk, and R&B. Given this, it is no wonder that The Clamshell Boxes’ sound is experimental and unique. Because of their diverse influences, they do not settle with one genre alone when making music.
Must Listen: Nicotine, The Calm
Stream their music here: soundcloud.com/clamshell-boxes
14. Any Name’s Okay
Any Name’s Okay is a 5-piece band composed of Sofia Abrogar, Renzo Lumanog, Mike Armas, Arvin Olete, and Juan Lada. They’re an alternative pop group that was originally formed as an applicant band for the UP Music Circle back in 2017. From covers of upbeat pop and motown tunes that inspired the band’s sound, the band is now slowly making a name for themselves in the independent, local music scene. They’ve played at big stages such as the UP Fair Cosmos, DLSU University Week, and Fete dela Musique. The band was once a Top 10 Finalist for Vans Musicians Wanted and was a Wanderband 2019 semifinalist!
Must Listen: Clouds, Hawaiian
Stream their music here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1CZ6BqSNNDTbyne4SltF0e?si=dRpGQWH3QwadJ5B2sXJRfw
13. Running Ink
Running Ink is a 4-piece alternative pop-rock band composed of Patrick Damaso (vocals/guitar), Stephen Manuel (bass), Norbin Emelo (percussions), and Timothy Santos (vocals/ guitar). This band is one of UP Musicians’ Organization’s homegrown. Their tone consists of various covers from artists such as John Mayer to heart-wrenching originals that will surely give you major kilig or sawi feels!
Must Listen: Biruan, ‘Wag Muna
Stream their music here: soundcloud.com/Running_Ink
Twoshiba is a synth-pop and lo-fi band from De La Salle University. What started as a random collaboration for a side project, started to turn into something more serious as the three continuously experiment with genre. Miki Labarda sets the foundation of most of their songs as she writes all the lyrics and melodies, while Cyprus Co and Hans Canteras convert them into synth-pop/lo-fi songs.
Must Listen: Victims, Super Sad Drive
Stream their music here: soundcloud.com/twoshiba-music
11. Crescent City
Crescent City is a 4-piece band composed of Ryan Cacho (guitar), Mika Emencillo (bass), Adrian Cortez (drums), and Jam Wong (guitar). They go for a more unconventional music approach across math rock and experimental rock formed in 2016. Hailing from the University of the Philippines-Manila, Crescent City is not your conventional mainstream band. With spontaneous guitar riffs running over conventional time signatures, their genre provides a unique experience of melodic and rhythmic synergy.
Must Listen: High Tide, Melbourne
Stream their music here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/276F19WHk5KF0h29Jw0Ega?si=g7k260EdRiiPVNVNaNJZug
10. Lolo’s Polo
Formed in 2017, Lolo’s Polo describes themselves as the musical equivalent of what happens in an angry pandesal shop after hours. The band is composed of Lino Vergel de Dios (vocals/guitar), Miko Tendero (lead guitar), Nat Sundiang (bass), and Jamo Fevidal (drums). A garage rock/hard rock band from Ateneo de Manila University, their first gig was when they were still an applicant band for the Ateneo’s Musicians Pool. They recently released their debut single, Lights Out, along with a music video. They’re also currently recording their first EP!
Must Listen: Lights Out
Stream their music here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/28wIQlKuwhZLps6EUbF168?si=pphX_AurQ_CB3vtSY8H7Jw
9. Mrs. Fin
Mrs. Fin is a 5-piece band composed of Josh Ebrada (vocals/acoustic guitar), Hans Canteras (synth), Kyle Nacino (drums), Joe Chua (guitar), and Cyrus Co (bass). They started first with a few jamming sessions. Not long after, they released some demos on Soundcloud and secured gigs one after the other. Even though they are currently adulting, they’re still angsty teenagers by heart. Their sound leans mostly on alternative vibes but the band is still experimenting with different genres. Although one thing’s for sure–the music they produce is very raw and straightforward.
Must Listen: Taxi, Boomerang
Stream their music here: soundcloud.com/mrsfin
LaLuna is made up of a musically-inclined group of friends from the University of Santo Tomas. With Reason Fortun (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Lorenzo Zavalla (vocals/lead guitars), Joshua Angeles (bass), and Joshua Docena (drums/percussions), LaLuna is definitely something. A 4-piece, surf rock, blues-rock band, they’ve been active since 2016 up to present where they’ve played at famous bar gigs such as Saguijo and Route 196. Their song, She’s Dangerous, is going to be released digitally soon.
Must Listen: Hawak Bitaw
Stream their music here: soundcloud.com/lalunamusicph
Mayari is a 6-piece alternative rock/soul band, named after the Filipino mythological goddess of the moon. They’re composed of Maxwell Bermido (vocals), Lester Valeroso (lead guitar), Rusty Edrea (bass), Huck Owen Fajardo (rhythm guitar), Matthew Gomez (keys), and Paul Peras (drums). Based in Polytechnic University of the Philippines, they continue to make their audiences swoon with their hugot lyrics and catchy melodies.
6. Sofa Sky
Despite a varied ensemble of musical differences, Rik Zantua (vocals/guitar), Carlo Cabato (vocals/guitar), Derrick Chan (bass), and Paolo Malong (drums) found their groove as an alternative rock/indie rock band, and started their music in May 2017 opening for Lola Amour’s EP Launch. All from the UP Music Circle, they’ve had their fair share of performing at Mow’s to festivals like the UP Fair Flames and Coke Studio Live. From road trip anthems to dancefloor jams, Sofa Sky aims to sing the songs of youth–of being young, drunk, and in love. Sofa Sky will be releasing an EP early next year!
Must Listen: Treasure Map, Girl In My Dreams
Stream their music here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/20bGkelCkehloPCPRia132?si=Od6FwasNSQCvdYLDsB42Ag
5. Mondays At 4
Koi Calleja (vocals), B-Boy Morales (rhythm guitar), PJ Roxas (lead guitar), Pancho Santos (drums), Mio Garcia (bass), and MC Monserrat (synths) are just a bunch of guys who need some lovin’. Mondays at 4 was actually formed when they were a bunch of high schoolers, but they became more serious with their music as college students. They used to practice every Monday, 4 pm, thus the name of the band. As a 6-piece pop-rock band, their trademark sound likely comes out strongest in their songwriting. They’re currently working on songs titled Sana Makaapak Ka Ng Lego and Lang Na Huwag–we can’t wait!
Must Listen: Kanin, Kahit Na
Stream their music here: soundcloud.com/mondays-at-4
Escoda is an all-girls reggae-pop band hailing from the University of the Philippines, Manila. Proudly homegrown in the UP Musicians’ Organization’s, Eka Floro (vocals/ukelele), Mika Emencillo (bass), and Rienjel Tolentino (drums) can surely give you the feels with all their songs. Their music is perfect when you wind up on the beach or if you currently like someone you can’t have or if you’re crushing on your local barista. With lyrics that are relatable to many and head-bopping-inducing melodies, it is no wonder that they can easily garner good impressions with their music.
Must Listen: Hindi, Torpe
Stream their music here: soundcloud.com/EscodaMusic
3. The Ridleys
The Ridleys was formed when they decided to join the Battle of the Bands of UST College of Architecture. Their band name was inspired by Daisy Ridley from Star Wars! The band is composed of Benny Manaligod (Vocals), Jan De Vera (Lead guitar), Joric Canlas (Bass), and Bryant Ayes (Drums). Telling stories through their music, this alternative-folk band is something that is worthy of adding in your playlists.
Must Hear: Aphrodite, Meaningful Silence
Stream their music here: https://theridleys.bandcamp.com/
Pinkmen is a folk-rock band based in the University of the Philippines, Diliman composed of Matt Medrano (Vocals/guitar), Paul Alvarado (vocals/guitar), Mark Armas (bass), JR Recla (drums), Jed Zulaybar (keyboard), and Frederick Baile (banduria). Their music is a take on the full range of emotions–from its manic highs to its quiet sentimentality, and everything in between. Pinkmen started as a duo that played in UP Fair 2016 Battle of the Bands and won the competition. Although they didn’t intend on taking the act any further than the competition, the overwhelming crowd reception gave them the right push to keep playing. The now 6-piece band have been playing for more than a year now in numerous gigs. We sure can’t wait for their studio recordings to be released soon!
Must Listen: Mary Ann, Hanggang Sa Muli
Stream their music here: soundcloud.com/pinkmenmusicph
1. Where’s Ramona?
Another band hailing from the University of Santo Tomas, Where’s Ramona? is an alternative, pop-punk band, composed of Mic Comia (frontman), Ivan Castro (guitar), Moti Bernardino (drums), Stephen Fortes (bass), and Koko Capule (guitar). After playing for UST’s Pre-Paskuhan, the band never looked back. They’ve recently had their EP launch, The Reckless Romantic, last month. Where’s Ramona? is slowly making their name in the local music scene, from gigs to radio guestings, they are bound for something big!
Must Listen: Kiss Me, Tonight
Stream their music here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1cnMpSiwMWpcfbVX21o8lh?si=-R6XIl51QseTbbSMNBmD1w
There are surely more bands out there that deserves our attention! Aside from artists that are already on spotify, make sure to look for hidden gems on SoundCloud or Bandcamp. Better yet, support our local artists by attending their gigs!
Which one’s your favorite? Let us know!