Are your eyes getting fatigued during this lockdown? Hankering for a brief optical break but still need to consume media to keep you in the loop? Podcasts should have you covered.
But where to start? Well, funny you should ask, we’ve rounded up a handful of them—one might be a little shameless plug, but as long as you’re getting solid entertainment and information in one go, does it really matter?
We’ve got some newcomers and some old reliable shows that cover everything from news and current events, pop culture, nostalgia, and we’ve even thrown in some sports for good measure (wrestling anyone?).
Say what you will about Saab Magalona-Bacarro (the arguably cooler daughter of the iconic late rapper Francis M), but the frontwoman of indie-band Cheats has occupied online space for a while, blogging back when Tumblr (and “tumblarity”) was a thing. An early adopter coming into the podcasting scene, Magalona even ran a webcast with director RA Rivera back in 2012. So it’s safe to say that she knows a thing or two about churning out reliably entertaining content.
This time, she’s partnered with husband and fellow Cheats band member Jim Bacarro to talk about (of all things) parenthood and corporate-world jargon peeves, to personal finance for couples, unfriend-zoning people, elevator etiquette, and party-pooping. It’s a good cross-section of relevant topics in your 30s, pandemic, or otherwise. The couple’s off-the-cuff convo makes for great listening while you’re washing the dishes or doing laundry—stuff that the Bacarro couple say they do while listening to their own favorite podcasts. Bookmark it now.
Hosted by one of the newest additions of personalities who rose to fame during the quarantine period, and one of the newer podcasts in the list, is this ASMR-friendly audio show launched just in May this year.
Voice-over artist Inka Magnaye, AKA the soothing in-flight voice of Philippine Airlines, takes you through nightly episodes (none-too-subtly titled Night One, Night Two, etc.), where she reads you poems and books with the intention of easing your anxieties, so you can hit your pandemic sack peacefully. Roughly 12 to 20-minute episodes each is all it takes to get you in a lulling, meditative space.
But a word of warning, you might not want to listen to this while driving. Or as Magnaye breathily puts it, “Listen only when it’s safe for you to relax and drift off to sleep.” Night, night.
Fan of the macabre, paranormal events, and Pinoy true-crime horror? Then listening to hosts Gideon Mendoza and Glenn Tabarejos run hourly episodes on these very topics should be a cinch.
For the uninitiated, -silog is a portmanteau referring to a rice meal composed of fried rice (“sinangag”) and egg (“itlog”) usually mixed with another choice of meat, in this case, the meat in question is a list of creepy topics, hence Creepsilog.
The horror fiends have been chronicling and chatting up a bulk of strange phenomena in the Philippines since July 2019, bringing you a full-year’s worth of topics from bizarre local murders like that of legendary actress Nida Blanca, Ruby Rose Barrameda, and the Chiong sisters, to mysteries like the Philippines’ very own Bermuda Triangle in Romblon, aptly called, well, Romblon Triangle. How many souls has it claimed and what mysteries lurk in its treacherous archipelagic waters? Tune in to find out.
Painter-illustrator CJ de Silva and musician-director Wincy Ong, two esteemed creatives in the local scene relive ’90s nostalgia in webcast Telebabad Tapes.
Telebabad is a Filipino jargon referring to that moment when you “burn through the telephone lines” while chatting with friends. While the word is something which live-streaming, video-call-using kids of today may not have first-hand experience with, the artist couple’s show is far from dated.
De Silva and Ong recreate the lost art of hours-long conversation over the phone into hours-long episodes that kick off with a pop culture item like a movie or a song, then picks up with a heavy-handed dash of socially relevant topics. One of their recent episodes in June, for example, touches on the topic of rape culture in the country. Past episodes include rude questions and how to answer them, toxic torpe-hood (men who have trouble making the first move on women), influencer fraud, and why people cheat. Too heavy to listen to? When you’re listening to Telebabad Tapes, it doesn’t feel like it at all.
Broadcasting since Dec. 2018, and confidently calling itself “the Philippines’ first podcast network,” PumaPodcast (“To Podcast”) streams a slew of entertaining and informative episodes including conversations with the country’s leading intellectuals, musician-poet Lourd De Veyra and sociologist Randy David.
Over time, the podcast has been covering the country’s current headlines, including alleged extra-judicial killings committed under the Duterte government, to overspending candidates and vote-buying, climate change talk, quakes, Maria Ressa’s recent cyber libel conviction, and the search for a better normal. It’s every Pinoy news junkie’s reliable go-to audible—well, except for one other, more on that on the bonus section below.
Radio DJ and Philippine Wrestling Revolution (PWR) member Stan Sy, together with pro wrestling buddies Ro Moran, Young Boy Raf Camus, and stand-up comic Chino Liao hosts this podcast talking about pro athletes in tight briefs and knee pads for hours on end (OK, an hour-thirty at best). The show describes itself as the wrestling convo for the “thinking Filipino fan.”
Streaming since 2014, a year after the country’s premier pro-wrestling gig was founded, the guys talk about starting out PWR, local wrestling talents, and the World Wrestling Entertainment. It’s not just them talking, though; they’ve invited guests the likes of wrestling aficionado Quark Henares to local sports editors like Rappler’s Ryan Songalia to geek out on all things grappling.
What’s the deal with mercury in retrograde? Why are Libras so precious? All that otherworldly belief about the movement of celestial bodies and how it somehow affects the movement of people will be a lot let less muddled, and a lot more fun with Tsaastrology, which by the way is a portmanteau for tea and astrology.
The show is part improv sketch comedy, part deep dive into the millennia-old stargazing study, as it tries to demystify the zodiac, the hosts’ misadventures, sometimes even throwing in a crash course in natal chart reading (tune in to find out what the hell that is).
While the show is riotously funny and pokes fun at the pseudoscience from time to time (see segments called charotscopes / sike!-scopes), make no mistake: the hosts all love astrology. The very reason they choose to be identified as Bern the Gemini, Nikki the Scorpio, and VP the Virgo.
No matter your beliefs, and subject matter aside, this podcast just feels like a fun chit-chat with friends.
A clever play on an offensive colloquial term (kupal or jerk), the KoolPals is a woke but funny feed of mish-mashed pop culture topics (DJ Loonyo’s trial by publicity, the appeal of TV docu-drama Maalaala Mo Kaya, blogger Buknoy) and current events (the health department’s new system of counting cases, the Anti-Terror Law) neatly packaged into hour-and-a-half episodes by hosts GB Labrador, James Caraan, and Nonong Ballinan—three stand-up comics from Comedy Manila. So you know they can run their mouth.
To quote the hosts, it’s a show for “KoolPals who are not kupals.” Get on it.
Looking for the latest and well, weirdest, from our little corner of the planet? What a coincidence. The Coconuts Podcast covers the juiciest stories from Southeast Asia’s eight bustling newsrooms — Manila, Bangkok, Jakarta, Bali, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Yangon, and Hong Kong.
Whether that’s a report on hapless deep-fried pet Arowanas in Jakarta, a human interest take on Singapore City’s 2020 elections (this politician started out homeless, for example), to chronicling the Southeast Asian Games snafu in Manila, there’s no dearth of topics to listen to. It’s a win, win, win, win, win, win, win, win (count it, there’s eight of ‘em) for listeners with even an inkling for all things weird and wonderful, and whatever intersects in between.
Come listen in, we’re bursting with fruit flavor.
More timeless lists to check out in Metro Manila:
Find a box and practice crossfit (when you can again) in these gyms.
Fill your belly with plant-based noms with this carnivore-friendly guide to vegan and vegetarian joints.
Clean up beaches, rescue pups and support a cause with this handy volunteer guide.
Support local by copping these iconic streetwear brands.
Understand Filipino cuisine with this delectable cheat sheet.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the last names of Creepsilog’s hosts. This article has been updated to correct it. Coconuts Manila apologizes for any confusion caused.