Adventures in the Land of Videoke Addicts
08.02.2009 - 08.02.2009 0 °F
Maybe it is because I was out of the States for most of the decade...or maybe it's because I have some minimum musical standards, but I have never had the same appreciation of cheesy 80's music that everyone else seems to have. That being said, during college and since, I have learned to tolerate and maybe even enjoy some 80's songs (when I am drunk enough). But after only 2 weeks in the Philippines, however, I am sad to announce that the 'Era of Dan's Tolerance of 80's music' may have come to an end.
I'm not sure what it is, but Filipinos have an intense fascination with Videoke. As far as I can tell it is simply a mix of karaoke and random videos of girls or towns in Europe. And in the Philippines, it is EVERYWHERE and they seem to have a preference for campy 80's ballads. It's on the buses, in restaurants, in random shacks by the side of the road, even in gas stations. And it is LOUD. I have even taken to carrying earplugs in my pocket because it can be so painful at times. But to the Filipinos it is serious business and you have a considerable reputation in town based on your skills. What makes it most unbelievable though...they are usually SOBER when they are singing...oiy.
Just the other day we jumped on a ferry to head to another island and everyone rushed on board to get the best seats for the...you guessed it...on board videoke. We had a nice little booth in the next section and as we settled in for the 5 hour boat ride the first guy grabbed the microphone and started singing. It was so loud and terrible that I had to put my earplugs in while Jen suffered through the whole journey, with the videoke stars never taking a break. At one point, someone starting singing Queen's 'We Are the Champions' and if I hadn't have know the music for the song, I would have sworn that it wasn't in English. The guy was SO bad that even the Filipinos around me were cracking up, even though they usually take it so seriously. But this went on for the entire ferry trip and even when the ferry was docked and people were getting off, there were still the hardcore few that were still at it. Amazing...
All I know is that this is one cultural idiosyncrasy that I will never understand or appreciate. In general, I try to do my best to appreciate the cultures of the countries I visit, but you have to draw the line somewhere...I draw my line at videoke. Thats all I gotta say about that.