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The gigs

Where to catch your favorite OPM bands


Text and Images by Nestor M. Domingo Jr.

If there’s one thing that deserves a historical revision: It’s the fact that there is a third item that is deemed very indispensable in life—that is music. And just when some thought Philippine music, or OPM to say, is “dead” by the start of this decade, they were all dead wrong (and we’re not talking business pick-ups here).

JAMMING ALL NIGHT Favorite bars in the Metro. : Route 196

JAMMING ALL NIGHT Favorite bars in the Metro. : Route 196

For the last few years we saw a sudden reemergence of soloists and bands from the indie scene, a total shift from the bubblegum showbiz-driven pops and tons of acoustic renditions that previously dominated the industry. As a result, bars are getting full-house statuses, people witnessing the amazing new ones unfold right before their very eyes, and generating a buzz all over social media from time to time. It helps that with online streaming and download portals, everyone can have a taste (or at least, glimpse) of their favorites and potential eargasmic tunes.

And for those who are curious yet left in the cold, they may wonder: Where in the PH can they hear the local music, especially the new voices and acts of Pinoy music?

Fret not, my friend, for there are lots of choices and tips where you can afford live music and more.

If you’re an outgoing nocturnal, an avid music, and band follower or just another curious guy hungry for something new to listen to, you can never go wrong with bars and music halls around multiple corners of the metropolis. In fact, a number of popular bars in the metro caters to a lot of awesome stuff from the underground and indie shores.

Mow’s Bar

Located just below the grounds of Kowloon House on Matalino Street in Quezon City (behind the Quezon City Hall complex), Mow’s isn’t just your ordinary underground bar. With a simple-yet-intimate, jazzy feel, this place has been the venue for the debut of up-and-coming scenestealers  performing a variety of genres, from the alternative-pop-rock types to potential heavyweights in metal and hip-hop. Sometimes they have ‘open mic’ nights with fresh faces and voices turning up.

JAMMING ALL NIGHT Favorite bars in the Metro. : and Mow's Bar

JAMMING ALL NIGHT Favorite bars in the Metro. : and Mow’s Bar


This restobar that disguises itself as a private residence is home to locals and even foreigners jamming together. Named after a street in Makati, saGuijo takes pride in bringing the newcomers and precious gems of virtually anything that rolls in the current wave of the music scene, ranging from the hard cores to the swabe ones, with acoustic and hip-hoppers in between.

Route 196

The metro north’s premier music hall isn’t just the house for premier gig production outfits like Indie Manila, Red Ninja, March of The Penguins, and Docdef. It has also discovered some of the forces to reckon with in local music.

Conspiracy Garden Café

In this music and arts venue on Visayas Avenue in Project 6, Quezon City, the vibe is chill, dominated by acoustic acts and you can sit back either with a cup of coffee or a bottle of beer.

Pablo’s Restaurant and Pub



One of the notable places in Bonifacio City, Pablo’s Restaurant and Pub is known for staging events like the Common Ground rock stage as well as monthly gigs for World Extravaganza. And when they do stage these things, you go not only for the music but for also for its showcase of what’s next in local music, as well as for the food and the relatively affordable drinks.


If you’re stuck at home, you can always go to several streaming sites, YouTube, everyone’s favorite and the young’s most preferred hangout. It’s no secret that for years, the Google-owned video portal has become a staple in cyberspace, with thousands of music videos, lyric videos, and bootleg recordings present. With Vevo, artists even have music videos posted on their official accounts.

If you hate streaming videos you can check out Spotify, the premier site for music on demand. Most of the current artists have been using the said internet-based service today to give their fans a taste of what they have to offer. But before the emergence of Spotify, there was SoundCloud, which enabled everyone (especially the starters) to upload their demos and even singles. If you want more options, check out Tidal and Deezer. Of course, there are more—iTunes, Apple Music Store, and Bandcamp, to name a few.

But two words, if you are intent on discovering new talent—open mic. Open Mic is how many of the undiscovered talents are coming out of their shells and, if you are diligent in keeping your ear on the open mic ground, chances are you will hear the voices you have never heard before.

Nestor M. Domingo Jr. is a 27-year old writer for a tech magazine and a blog depicting almost everything under the sun, from politics and sports to nightlife and music. He is also a self-confessed photography enthusiast, poster-maker (sometimes), and a self-proclaimed jerk who makes sure that everyone pays the entrance fee at the gigs. He has also contributed for Definitely Filipino, Reimaru Files, and other blogs and websites.

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