The Philippine midterm elections are less than a week away, which explains why campaign jingles are literally everywhere. They’re on the streets, on TV, on the radio, and online.
They’ve been popular ever since the 1950s, when President Ramon Magsaysay ran for office with the song Mambo Magsaysay. Its Taglish lyrics go: “Our democracy will die kung wala si (without) Magsaysay.”
Jingles continue to be a feature in every candidate’s campaign today but to varying quality. Some are effective and catchy, many are weird and contrived, while others are just plain cringey. Below are some of this year’s most memorable ones.
Makati Mayor Abby Binay is running for re-election and her campaign jingle is based on the classic OPM (Original Pilipino Music) song Bongga Ka ‘Day by the band Hotdog.
Bongga, which made it to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2018, is defined as “extravagant, flamboyant, impressive, stylish or (more generally) excellent.” The song’s melody is exactly that, with its disco and funk beats that Filipinos can’t help but groove and sing to.
This automatically makes Abby’s jingle catchy, much to the annoyance of her political family’s critics. She is the daughter of former Vice President Jejomar Binay and the sister of Senator Nancy Binay. Abby is running against her brother Junjun Binay, whom she has been in bad terms with. In fact, she recently had a very public fight with him inside a church during a forum held late last month.
Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa
The song used in de la Rosa’s senatorial campaign jingle is the cheeky hit Jumbo Hotdog by the all-male sexy dance group Masculados.
Yes, we know the song title is whack, but the tune is catchy, at least for most Filipinos who constantly hear it inside jeepneys.
De la Rosa’s jingle is sung by a bunch of men with deep voices, which fits the former police chief’s hyper-male persona. But it also has a party and slightly silly vibe, true to the joker image he portrays in campaign rallies.
Tirso Mangada, who’s running for councilor in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, also used a cheeky Filipino classic as his jingle — Filipina girl group the Sex Bomb Girls’ Spaghetti.
Like the Masculados’ Jumbo Hotdog, Spaghetti is a slightly sexual song and dance that, weirdly enough, was a favorite of many Filipino kids in the early 2000s.
Opposition coalition Otso Diretso’s senatorial bets are composed of Romy Macalintal, Gary Alejano, Erin Tañada, Pilo Hilbay, Samira Gutoc, Mar Roxas, Bam Aquino, and Chel Diokno. The upbeat jingle is catchy and will get stuck in your head, even though it just sings the candidates names to an upbeat tune.
Even those who aren’t from the Philippines and don’t know who the hell these people are will eventually memorize their names after hearing the earworm multiple times.
But that’s the point, right?
The viral hits
Pursino “Pursing” Oruga
Politicians, of all, people know the importance of following trends. So that means using viral hits for their campaign jingle.
This could mean riding the K-pop bandwagon like Calamba City, Laguna councilor Pursing Oruga, who is just one of the many local government candidates who used K-pop girl group Momoland’s hit Bboom Bboom as their campaign jingle.
His version comes with the lyrics: “Vote again for Pursing Oruga, you can count on him, truly humane. Support our only real hope. The cry of Calambeños is Pursing Oruga.”
The Akbayan Party-list, which is seeking re-election this year, also has a jingle based on the song Bboom Bboom. Their campaign video is a montage of people the party-list has helped and supporters dancing to their jingle that goes: “Vote for Akbayan, [for] necessities and food. Vote for Akbayan, [for] simple wages and jobs.”
Dexter Lito Ranis
Dexter Lito Ranis, who is gunning to be a councilor of Jagna, Bohol, skipped the K-pop train and went for the worldwide hit Despacito instead.
His jingle swaps the “Des-pa-cito” line with “Dex-ter-Lito-Ranis” even though his name has way too many syllables.
Go on, try singing it.
Ramon “Bong” Revilla
Senatorial candidate Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.’s campaign ad made netizens cringe hard.
In the 14-second video, Revilla doesn’t use a song, but rather, a beat — the budot dance beat, to be exact, which first gained popularity in Mindanao some years ago. In the video, he’s all smiles while swaying his hips to the song.
Many found the jingle superficial and in bad taste, especially because Revilla has been accused of stealing taxpayers’ money. He was acquitted of plunder charges by the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan in December, a decision many critics are still against.
Christopher “Bong” Go
This one takes the cake. The best of the worst.
Filipino hip-hop collective Ex Battalion released a promotional jingle about former presidential aide and senatorial candidate Bong Go in June 2018, way before the start of the campaign season.
The jingle is based on the group’s song Hayaan Mo Sila (Let Them Be), a rap anthem that was a huge hit last year. It swaps the song’s controversial misogynistic lyrics for lines that describe Go as “hardworking, simple, and humble.”
Know of any other weird, catchy, or cringey campaign jingles from your area’s candidates? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @CoconutsManila.
This article, Jingle all the way: Catchy, funny, cringey campaign tunes from Philippine 2019 elections, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!