The Philippines is brimming with so much talent and a lot of it goes unrecognized. But it’s not really difficult to see (or in this case hear). Sometimes it just takes a stroll in a mall like Bonifacio High Street to discover sensational performances by people who have unique musical styles worth giving a degree of attention to.
These nine superstars in their own right are part of BGC Impromptu – a project that aims to enhance BGC’s street life by showcasing live performances for the BGC community. Imagine how nerve-racking it must be to sing in front of strangers passing by and try to lure them in with your voice to form an admiring audience.
Some of us can’t sing. Heck, the shower is our only stage! (Don’t be embarrassed, you are not alone in this). Well, after you listen to these guys, you just might realize why we should just stick to only singing in the shower… with lowered voices.
9 Superb Singers at Bonifacio High Street to Swoon Over
9. Py Barbeyto
This tall babe (5’9″), who loves baking and reading books just as much as singing, joined BGC Impromptu after observing other singers performing at High Street. She had to build up on confidence first because she was concerned that people might find her weird and awkward. However, with Ed Sheeran (who also busked on the streets at age 11) as her inspiration, she finally went for it in 2013. People have noticed how she can turn a happy song into a sad one to make it more emotional. In fact, after one performance, she received a calling card with a note asking her out on a date!
How do you choose what songs to sing? “I always go for songs that I like and not what’s popular atthe moment. I like making my set mine and not just sing songs because people would like it.”
Schedule | Fridays and Saturdays, B1 or C1
Twitter/Instagram | @mynameispy
8. and 7. Carlos and Anna Benitez
This duo always busks as a team, belting out acoustic, alternative, and pop songs. These talented siblings were already musically inclined since they were little. Carlos knows how to play electric &andacoustic guitar, bass guitar, drums, ukelele, piano, flute, and a little bit of violin, while Anna can play the guitar and the piano. Top that off with harmonious vocals and you get an impressive performance that will have passers-by watch with adoration.
Who told you to pursue singing? “I wouldn’t be into singing now had it not been for my brother who pushes me to go over my limits and try out new things.” – Anna
What’s your idea of a perfect day? “A cloudy day spent jamming with my sister/band outside and then going for a swim/drink after a big post-workout dinner.” – Carlos
Schedule | Saturdays, B7 or B8
Instagram/Twitter | @carlosftanna
6. Miko Cadiz
Few people quit their jobs to pursue their passion. Miko did just that to become a full-time street performer starting with the song “No Woman, No Cry” by Bob Marley. Performing in front of an audience gives him the most satisfaction in the world. Remember the band Komiko? He’s the vocalist on guitars!
Words to live by? “Pag di ka masaya, itigil mo na. Life is short!”
Schedule | June and July, Area 1
5. Nouelle Aubrey Cayanan
Aubrey is an architecture student who always craves for pistachio ice cream and blueberry cheesecake. This chick, who used to act for theatre plays, pursued singing because her crush accidentally heard her sing and told her she was good. If you see her busk, you might want to give her some of your doodles as she loves doodling on tissue paper herself.
What do you want to say to people? “Please support indie artists and OPM.”
Schedule | Saturdays and Sundays, B8 or B3
Instagram/Twitter | @aubreycayanan
4. Robin De Lara
Robin is an alternative rocker and acoustic crooner who collects die-cast cars and miniature basketball figures. In sports, he favors basketball and boxing; in music, his favorite bands are The Beatles and Eraserheads. This guys lives his passion everyday and encourages others to do the same.
What are your plans for the future? “I want to go back to the roots of why I play music. I want to revive my thirst and passion for playing the guitar and singing. I will focus more on my audience and make them feel my happiness when I play, and not just play for the sake of playing.”
Schedule | Saturdays, 8-9:30pm
3. Mykell Bryant Gozon AKA Hoochie Coochie Mikkie
As a Blues musician, he’s always game to entertain! He prefers the Blues for its gritty, sexy and soulful feel. Some of his favorite artists are Muddy Waters, BB King, Freddie King and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Just like his idols, he wants to leave a musical legacy behind and hopes he can do so by releasing a debut album in Manila! For now, Hoochie Coochie Mikkie performs everywhere – from the side streets, bars and restos to yachts, and big concert stages like the one in Uproar Camsur 2015.
Other loves aside from music? “Cats! I have a male white cat with blue eyes named Cotton due to his color and cuddliness and a homage to blues legend James Cotton. I also love discovering places and meeting people. I believe that you learn from every person you meet. Life is one big adventure!”
Schedule | Fridays-Sundays, B3 or C3
2. Ma. Eloisa Jayloni
It’s pretty cute how Eloisa just wants people to feel inspired to love and live life after every performance. It’s even cuter how she admits to being nervous every time she sings – surprising for a girl who started singing at the age of 6 and soon after started writing her own songs. “So Sweet” is one of the upbeat songs she wrote.
Why did you decide to join BGC Impromptu? “Because I was curious! My friends and family have always encouraged me to sing. My first performance was a mess, but I’d still do it all over again!”
Schedule | Tuesdays and Thursdays, A3 or B2
Instagram | @eloisajay
1. Dundee Prince Valencia
Alternative, brooding, and depressing is how Prince describes his musical style. He’s also passionate about food and literature and says that he loves the smell of books. This guy’s talent is not only singing, either. He can also sleep for 2 days straight, beat various food challenges, and, on occasion, even breathe fire.
How do you choose what songs to sing? “I have this range of songs in my head that I’m comfortable with singing; but when I hear people request for something, often enough, I try to learn it because I’m a people pleaser and also a pushover. I’m trying to write songs and, you know, as cliche as it sounds, I’m trying to find my voice.”
What’s your idea of a perfect day? “Ramen/Pizza/Kebabs, cold drinks and a cute date.”
Schedule | Friday-Sunday, C1 or Ampitheater
Instagram/Twitter | @princedundee
They sound like angels, right? Not that I know what angels sound like, but I imagine they’re quite pleasant. So, when in the mood for some unique alternative rock, pop, the blues, or whatever kind of music in Manila, spend some time singing along to these impressive artists and maybe request a hugot song or two. Your hearing senses will thank you!