The Philippines has a long tradition of campaign jingles that was started by populist President Ramon Magsaysay when he ran for office with “Mambo Magsaysay” in 1953.
Since then, we’ve seen and heard it all.
There’s the euphonic “Let’s Go Na, Guingona” of former vice president Teofisto Guingona Jr (it was such a hit that his son. Guingona III, still uses it now) and “JaJaJa Jamby” of losing 2010 presidential candidate Senator Jamby Madrigal.
And how can you forget the heart-rending “Hindi Ka Nagiisa” of Noynoy Aquino and the dancey tunes of “Eddie Ako” of Bro Eddie Villanueva, who both ran for president.
So how do this year’s #Halalan2016 campaign jingles fare? We asked newspaper columnist Alex Almario, who wrote about the topic on Philippine Star SUPREME early this year.
Miriam Defensor Santiago
Personally, Miriam Defensor Santiago’s campaign jingle makes us miss her witty one-liners. Her song is too plain, too ordinary — definitely nothing like her brand of humor.
We prefer her 1992 campaign where the Iron Lady presented herself as a Jedi Knight out to save the country.
Almario thinks Santiago’s jingle is pretty meh — “Really disappointing…It has an identity crisis, it doesn’t know which musical style it should be in.”
Mar Roxas dropped his Mr. Palengke image for a star-studded campaign featuring the likes of Billy Crawford and Jay-R. With a steady R&B tune, his jingle could’ve easily turned viral… but it didn’t. Bad PR? Inauthentic? Well, Mar is Mar, and charming the public is not his strongest suit. “It’s not amazing, it’s not great, but it’s safe and catchy,” says Almario.
There are several Rodrigo Duterte campaign jingles, mostly created by volunteer musicians, but we zeroed in on two of them.
“Tunay na Laya” is a soulful ballad by musicians like Jimmy Bondoc and Luke Mijares — and a complete antithesis of the Mayor’s street image. “[It’s] pretty hilarious,” says Almario. “The heavy-handed lyrics kind of clash with the soulful music. It’s very gentle and yet we know they’re singing about Duterte.”
However, we have a feeling that Duterte himself would prefer the other campaign jingle, “2:30,” a bouncier, Korean-inspired tune, though Almario thinks the female dancers in the video lack the wow factor. “They don’t seem to be committed, the girls look like they’re not having any fun,” he says.
Grace Poe’s campaign jingle “sounds like a really heart-rending opera,” says Almario. She pulled all the stops with her campaign jingle featuring dance group El Gamma Penumbra.
The whole production is dramatic, theatrical even. Because the jingle itself is subtle and modern, it’s difficult to hate. Almario thinks that “it could have competed with Binay’s jingle for LSS.”
The winner, hands down, is Jejomar Binay’s “Only Binay.” “Undoubtedly the best jingle of the 2016 campaign. It’s a weird mixture of indie pop and jeepeny muzak and they somehow made it work. It’s really genius,” Almario declares.
In “Only Binay”, Jejomar Binay reinforces his persona as the hero for the ordinary Filipinos. The catchy tune is simple enough to remember. It’s difficult not to sing along when you hear it playing. The massive airplay it’s been getting completes the formula for an earworm.
That said, campaign jingles should not be the only basis of who you’re voting for. And if you cannot stomach the repetitious melodies, feel free to make your voice heard on May 9.