Why is there no P- or F-pop? Filipinos still in denial that theirs is a country of low standards!

Every now and then I re-share an article I wrote some time back, “Regine Velasquez is ‘Queen of Song’ in a country of low standards” just for fun, and every time I get the same rabid responses asserting the contrary. That Velasquez was crowned “Queen” and that the belief that she is “Asia’s songbird” persists remain baffling artefacts of the Philippines’ performing arts scene. There seems to be no evidence to support these lofty credentials Filipinos grant their local stars.

Like much else, reality checks on Filipinos’ oversized sense of worth abound. There are objective ones backed by hard data — their country’s place in a ranking of countries by average IQ, GDP per capita, number of rock stars per 100,000, etc. One such set of objective facts lies in a comparison of work ethic. Beholding the rise to global prominence of Korean pop culture, many Filipino opinion shapers lament the lack of a similar trajectory of achievement in their own country’s performing arts. But do Filipino performers really have what it takes to be world class?

Some insight into what it takes to play at that globally-competitive level is provided in Boo Chanco’s PhilStar piece “Could there be a Pinoy BTS?” where he shares thoughts on the matter provided by Lisa Guerrero Nakpil, former manager of Filipino band RiverMaya…

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I have studied this for several decades ever since the Korean juggernaut first reared its head. BTS is just the FINAL/latest flowering of South Korea’s efforts.

This is grounded on the following:

1. Long term planning: cultivation of talent over a 10 to 15 year horizon. Talents are picked, trained from ages eight to 12 and kept in almost military boot camps.

2. Support of government in creative industries – tax breaks, travel, training.

3. Korean people’s own character of hard work and perfectionism.

I’ve had to perform with a Korean boy band and they do not quit, they keep rehearsing and working.

I’m not surprised. Not at all accidental

Therein lies the confronting answer. Nakpil spelt out the essential three criteria behind the success of the Korean K-pop juggernaut that are collectively anathema to Filipino culture. The Philippines, after all, is a society where even the thought of citizen military training — a practice quite normal in many countries — would send activists on shrill indignation campaigns. Compound that with a lack of foresight, a deficit in imagination, and a bankruptcy of originality and you get the mediocre landscape we see today in the Philippines’ entertainment industry.

Filipinos think success is necessarily an outcome of luck and the graces dispensed by a god. Societies with strong traditions of excellence and track records of achievement will beg to differ. This is something that warrants refection on a national scale.

28 Replies to “Why is there no P- or F-pop? Filipinos still in denial that theirs is a country of low standards!”

  1. Why reference K-pop as a starting point? Don’t they have the confidence to stand on their own?
    We always have to use the “other” as a crutch.

    1. Philippines is a country with low standards, jeepneys are proofs of that. Many voters there also have horrifyingly low standards when voting for elected officials, their standards are the officials are famous, they give money to the poor and they’re family members of their political idols, no wonder the country is still third world.

  2. We don’t need a Pinoy BTS.

    We already have Bruno Mars, Olivia Rodrigo, APL de APP, Nicole Sherzinger, and so much more.

    K-POP is no match for Global Filipino Talent.

    You should get your facts straight before bashing Filipino musical talent.

    1. Give credit where it is due. Out of those people you mentioned, only apl.de.ap is Filipino-American in terms of citizenship, the rest are not even confirmed to have Filipino citizenship. Get your facts straight. The problem is many people in Philippines find Filipino blood in famous artists then when they do, they claim those artists as Filipinos and say “proud to be Pinoy”.

      1. Bruno Mars and Nicole Sherzinger during their concerts in Manila declared that they are “proud to be Filipino”. I can send you the video links if you don’t believe me. Olivia Rodrigo has a lot of online interviews where she clearly states that she is proud of her Filipino heritage. These are the facts. They declare that they are proud to be Filipino with their own mouths. Who are you to question how they identify themselves?

        So if a Filipino does not have Filipino citizenship he is not a Filipino? So are you saying that a Filipino Chinese or a Chinese American cannot call themselves Chinese if they don’t have Chinese Citizenship? So do all Filipinos who migrate to America, Canada, Australia, etc and give up their Filipino Citizenship (not dual citizens by choice) no longer Filipino?

        I just dismantled your Citizenship argument. Please logically explain why a Chinese American cannot call himself a Chinese? You can try to argue more nonsense or you can just admit that your Citizenship argument is just plain wrong.

        1. Before you claim victory in this argument, let me ask you this. Are they Philippine trained? Did they get their talent from Philippines?

    2. You didn’t dismantle anything. The fact is they’re US citizens who have Filipino heritages, they represent the USA, that’s it.


      Fact: Statistics show that if you are born in the Philippines or played high school and/ or college basketball in the Philippines you will not make the NBA. Only pinoys care about pinoy basketball and the NBA is the only league that pinoys give two flying sheets about that is not pinoy. This pinoy devotion to the game with the orange ball may be cute to pinoys but that is the best it can be.

      All this Fil-Am talk is just the proud to be  pinoys grasping at the straws of relevancy. Those people were not a product of the local culture. Exhibit A : Jessica Sanchez. She did not spend one second in the Philippines at the time of her American Idol run but the whole country is proud of her and for what? She was perceived as a Filipino.

      Why does your equation of Filipino focus on people who were not raised here?  Very little in this country does not cater to the baduy. Baduy is something that people aspire to be in this country. Unfortunately the road to international stardom does not pass through the baduy part of town. Movies, music , basketball you name it. If you have baduy roots then your leaves will be baduy. Accept it.

      I love how the locals called Billy Crawford “Hollywood”. Like he really made a significant dent in movies that were not in Tagalog. Low standards indeed.

      The local scene is not a place to develop just about anything world class in terms of entertainment. Before you can say Manny Pacquiao , remember he cold called Freddie Roach in Los Angeles at his gym. Manny to get to the next level had to get a world class trainer. Plus he literally left the Philippines to do it.

      You know why you love to claim those people who were not brought up here? The one country where baduy is a destination not an insult?  There is nobody who was able to achieve escape velocity from the gravity pull of baduy.


      1. @Gogs: “Why does your equation of Filipino focus on people who were not raised here?”

        Why not? It’s just the same manner you do your equation of non-Filipino people who were raised somewhere else.

        You’re just being hypocritical if you even deny it. No Data, at least, isn’t too shy to exhibit a brand of his colonial mentality.


          I will ask you a simple question. Is development an important part of the equation?? Why do you exist to credit grab? Everywhere in mass media in the Philippines it is all baduy as far as the eye can see. Can you accept the world rejects Vice Ganda despite the adoration she experiences in the Philippines? If you hate colonial mentality then why do you cite celebrities who were honed by the colonial masters and call it pinoy?? Why do yourself admire foreign culture? Why?? Baduy is the dominant culture in the Philippines and I hate it to break to you. The world is not beating a path to the Philippines to embrace baduy. Those celebs do not represent pinoy culture. Our noon time shows and aswang movies do. Let’s see you be proud of the true home grown pinoy culture. It is obvious you are not and you are mad at me because of the famous Colonel Jessup line. The truth you can’t handle is that a culture that wants to be baduy can not simultaneously get the attention of the world.

        2. @Fil he has a good point, calling him hypocritical and saying that I have a brand of my colonial mentality? Attack the argument, not the person you’re having a discussion with.

        3. Wow Fil. I bring up valid points that you think are countered by two characters. Do not bother to counter and go back to your fruitless search of locals developed here that made it abroad. To quote the most recent Ted Lasso ( which could never be developed in the Philippines) “Brevity is nice but sometimes clarity is the true soul of wit.” Your “And OA…” response does not qualify in anyway shape or form as clarity and local programming may be really lousy but it is perfect for you. Go announce your victory in some local noontime show.

        4. @No Data/Gogs: What good point? Pushing an irrelevant asshole reject in a PPop/KPop issue? It does not cut it!

          Gogs is butthurt and most likely No Data missed the point.

          Indeed, cheerleader-thinking is most definitely of low standards. It often comes from shameless, credit-grabbing, native confused Filipinos who are proven, just exactly what they’re presumed to be, only as counterfeit first word thinkers. These Poseurs…

          Low standard thinking does not expand nor contribute to what’s being talked about, but, for whatever, it does amplify the egos… is that the good point?

          Very much low standard!

          In all humility, I claim no to any victory. There’s really nothing to announce.

        5. @Fil again, attack the argument, not the person you’re having discussions with. Is it hard to understand that? Refrain from attacking or insulting the person you’re having debate with during a debate or discussion, doing so shows low standards.

        6. @Gogs: “Do not bother to counter and go back to your fruitless search of locals developed here that made it abroad.”

          Perhaps you don’t realize it just yet but benign0 is one such local developed in this country of low standards that made it abroad, unless, of course, he no longer considers himself as a Filipino but as an Aussie national. The prerogative belongs to him.

          @No Data: I resent the implication that adjectives directed to an individual with a notoriously damaged culture qualify as ad hominem while a mouthful of wholesale antipathy, irreverence and mockery directed to the whole nation and its entire population do not.

          You asks, “Is it hard to understand that?”

          Well, perhaps a vassal’s fealty to a pretentious master with low standards blurs the ability to cogitate as a conveyor of an objective truth.

        7. @Fil It’ll be easier to convince Benign0 to come back to the Philippines than convincing No Data that he’s committing ad hominem.

          That’s what happens when so much your life revolves around hating Pinoy Pride, that it transforms into Pinoy Contrarianism.

  3. Definitely agree, our pop is of the lowest standards–no thanks to our entertainment programs that are so escapist, insipid, and formula-oriented instead of aesthetically or morally uplifting. These are a reflection of the crass commercialism that has bred intellectual poverty among Filipinos whereas instead of instilling pride or advocating strong values, promotes what you may call moral irresponsibility.
    If our self-proclaimed experts on Pinoy pop culture claim that our talents are among the best, why is it that they are not able to penetrate the expanded global market the way K-Pop has conquered? In contrast to our ‘artistas’ whose reach sadly seems limited to Filipinos residing abroad, K-Pop and K-cinema has gained hundreds and millions of devotees from people as diverse as British, Norwegians, Germans, Israelis, Uzbekistanis, Japanese, Thais, Singaporeans, Indonesians, South Africans, Australians, Argentinians, Brazilians and, despite criticisms by those Hollywood ‘wokes’, even Americans!
    Observe also the way Korean celebrities carry themselves in public, both in real life and through social media, where they show that very big difference. K-Pop personalities maintain that strict sense of decorum that is globally correct and sensitive whereas they talk strictly about their careers, the different movie roles that are into and how these enhance their versatilities as talents, the latest in K-fashion and the finer points of Korean culture such as its rich culinary heritage and renowned natural landmarks. Plus, they show great interest in embracing and understanding the different cultures of their devotees from throughout the globe. You can also credit the phenomenal success of things Korean, be it K-Pop/K-Cinema, Samsung smart phones, LG flat screen TVs, Gangnam fashion as well as the health wonders of kimchi and that novel culinary phenomenon sangyupsal, all that not only have won the hearts of the global community, but have generated much more to the coffers of the Korean economy as well!
    Our ‘artistas’ and singers, by comparison, fail. Instead of broadening their mindsets and their creative mettle the way K-celebrities do and serve as natural Ambassadors for their country, its brands and its heritage, our celebs seem to be of less substance due to their hackneyed, stereotyped roles, their parochial, mediocre mindsets and the way they wallow in petty intrigues just for the sake to be in the so-called ‘ratings game!’ There are times when our comedians (especially that king/queen of the Vaklas of whom we know as Vice-Ganda) also engage in below-the-belt, racist and sexist jokes that offend the sensitivities of both indigenous as well as foreign ethnic groups and even discreet members the LGBT community, who do deserve a great deal of respect.
    There are a few exceptions to the rule, though. I can immediately cite Ate Guy (Nora Aunor) who, in her career, has been there, done that–yet emerged from being the phenomenal Superstar to THE CONSUMMATE FILIPINO ACTRESS (my caps) whose eyes are her natural acting expression, and whose versatility and depth in her craft has won her several prestigious awards, the most important being National Artist.
    And for those legislators who absurdly want to ban K-Pop, let them instead take a very thorough examination of our own pop culture on why its image has greatly suffered–and what can they do to elevate its what I best call moribund status!

    1. Well, it doesn’t help that beki culture has come to dominate the Philippines’ entertainment scene and the community of commentators and fan communities that surround it. Could also be the stoic martial tradition of Korea which seems to continue to cascade down to its youth.

      Also noticed that Filipino performers are so self-conscious — they perform as if they’ve got “charot” written all over their act; like they’re saying “pardon my mediocre performance because I myself am not totally into it.”

      1. Philippine entertainment industry you talked about such as no F-Pop or P-Pop is just one of many examples of ultra low standards Philippines have. This is what happens when the anti-intellectualism and anti-professionalism are parts of the country’s culture.

  4. The third is key – about the Filipino’s notoriously rabid colonial mindset.

    The thing is Filipino artists need foreign validation to be recognized locally.

    Lisa Nakpil is spot on, “The Filipino market rarely supports their own. No support from Filipino radio, TV, media – who all prefer foreign acts.”

    The only artists you get to see to perform on TVs are the networks’ own contract talents who are not even real singers performing cover versions of songs of other artists. Bands and other solo artists who produce their own materials are rarely given the chance to even play on their own in a complete performance.

    Without the backing and sponsorship a lot of them end up as wasted talents.

    If the South Koreans are patriotic people, sad to say, we are a country of low standards when it comes to that department. We epitomize a damaged culture.

    But do Filipino performers really have what it takes to be world class?

    With the right backing plus talent I believe so. But the reality is the Filipino performer conquering a local market is just as harder.

    1. If Filipinos got world class talent, the question is, will the country take good care of them? There was once a tweet which says that generating a talent and talent management are different and getting their loyalty is better than generating them. There was a Filipino chess grandmaster who was a world class chess player, but the country didn’t take good care of him, and now, he’s a US citizen, so whenever he plays in international chess tournaments, he represents the USA, not Philippines. Finding a greener pasture is always better than staying in their bad country just to show a false sense of patriotism

      1. “Finding a greener pasture is always better than staying in their bad country just to show a false sense of patriotism.”

        Well, I guess that’s the thinking when the concern is merely just for fun.

        BTW, you should follow your own lead. Get your facts straight surrounding what you’ve told in your story.

    2. It’s a failure at two layers. Firstly, the probability of a Filipino talent emerging out of the 110+ million seems to be abnormally low in the Philippines. Even just finding a good Opposition leader proved to be extremely difficult which is why the Yellowtards and commies settled for a loser like Leni Robredo. Second, as you pointed out @NoData, even when the odd improbable talent does spring up, the society is ill-equipped to retain and manage them to ensure they develop to their full potential.

  5. Because most of us Pilipinos Really Believed that Marcial Bonifacio aka Ninoy Aquino and Late Santa Cory Kurakot sa halos lahat ng Government owned controlled corporations of the Philippines, are the Real Hero for thirty seven years of Yellowtard Oligarchs family of mass media manipulations of the Philippines!!

  6. Actually there’s a PPOP music scene (a sub-genre of OPM) in the Philippines as you can see in the video below. They even have a gathering called Pinoy Pop Convention (PPOPCON).


    I’m not into this type of ‘girly music’ myself but I think the existence of this idol culture here currently can’t be denied.

    The widely successful and popular Korean idol groups despite their highly touted military-style training, compared to local idol groups (see video), in terms of performance, aren’t even miles ahead. Local groups surely can compete in that category.

    Pilipinas got talents but a lot of Pinoy audience look elsewhere. And, obviously, that’s the harder ‘third’ criteria to overcome.


    To reinforce your point that Korean culture is one of the reasons why Korean art in general is thriving outside their borders, I wrote this about the local government looking into banning Korean shows simply because they are appreciated ( draw an audience).

    In that same blog, to reinforce another point you made that

    ” outcome of luck and the graces dispensed by a god.”

    Robin Padilla does not understand why pinoy entertainment is not as popular. He cited that pinoys were better looking and even suggested something to the effect of the resiliency of the pinoy nose.

    Third point I made in my piece is that I challenged my critics to name a pinoy TV show or movie where it was very obvious in the planning stages that they will intentionally stray from being baduy . Whatever that show or TV show was had to be popular. Of course in true troll fashion all they could do was call me names.

    While I was waiting to watch Shazam, I saw a trailer for some local movie with “aswang” in the title. Why do they equip planes with barf bags and not pinoy cinemas? I am sure a high school senior could come up with a better script/ trailer/ premise . And they want to ban Korean entertainment for the crime of being , what’s the word I am looking for? Oh yeah – entertaining.


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