15 Cebuano Novelty Songs That Perfectly Describe the Sugbuanon Life
Every Sunday morning, you wake up to Cebuano novelty songs loudly blaring on your dad’s old radio. Each week, without fail, these comedic, sometimes sad, but mostly relatable tunes fill every corner of your house. Then, wherever you go — the market, the plaza, the beach — you hear these same songs getting played on loop.
In Cebu, getting through a week without hearing these songs is almost impossible, and rightfully so. They are, after all, part of our culture, our identity. These songs, as simple and as colloquial as they may seem, actually play a vital role in our growth and journey as a people. For they remind us of the past, open our eyes about the present, and even give us a glimpse into our future.
This week, TheCebuano gives honor to some of the most awesome hits that continue to remind us just how amazing it is to be Cebuano.
Barkong Karaan – Max Surban
Barkong Karaan talks about island life, unforgettable experiences in inter-island travel, and living in a city very close to the port. (Cebu, after all, is home to “80% of the shipping companies in the Philippines.”) Additionally, as almost all Cebuanos have probably been on a ship before, this song is very relatable.
Diskoral – Max Surban
Diskoral talks about social dance as an important Cebuano tradition. Also, it talks about how every town, city, barangay, or sitio fiesta can never be without the well-loved disco with ‘kural’ – no matter how limited the dance floor can be.
Bayle Tibuok Kalibutan – Yoyoy Villame
Bayle is a funny and interesting observation of the well-loved bayle – our very own version of a ball. As this tradition can no longer be regularly observed especially in the city, the song ‘shows’ us what these dances actually looked like.
Kuntis sa Hambog – Max Surban
Kuntis sa Hambog is a fun and funny take on the Cebuanos’ desire to always win in a kuntis or contest. Moreover, the song features different languages from other nearby islands and how their cultures help shape ours.
Albularyong Buta – Max Surban
Albularyong Buta talks about the trusted ‘witch doctor’, medicine man, or folk healer. Albularyos play a very important role in the lives of Cebuanos. In fact, to this day, they continue to enjoy the popularity other figures can only dream of.
Birthday Party – Max Surban
The song Birthday Party celebrates the Cebuanos’ love for parties and good (and free) food. This fun track also points out that despite limited means, Cebuanos can still have a wonderful time especially when they’re in the company of good friends.
Gugma Vs Kwarta – Max Surban
Gugma Vs Kwarta talks about having to choose between gugma (love) and kwarta (money). Also, the song lists down the pros and cons of both. Additionally, it talks about how one should be wise when making this difficult decision.
Mr. Kodaker (Ang Maniniyot) – Max Surban
Mr. Kodaker describes one of the most important professions in our recent past. Unlike modern-day photographers, kodakers (from the word Kodak for camera or photograph), roam around and shoot anything and anyone willing to pose for a fee. It’s not surprising the Cebuanos of today made it to the top selfie cities list.
Sabungero – Max Surban
The song Sabungero describes the life, pains, and joys of a sabungero. The sabong or cockfight is an important part of Cebuano culture and tradition. In fact, no fiesta is ever complete without a gathering of men shouting at the top of their lungs around a cock pit.
Unang Pagtan-aw Sa Sine – Max Surban
Unang Pagtan-aw Sa Sine is a funny story of one man’s experience watching a movie for the very first time. The song gave us a look into the thought process of a first-timer. Also, the track played on the notion that this was how a lot of Cebuanos from the rural areas would act when watching a movie for the first time.
Pasayawa Ko Day – Max Surban
Pasayawa Ko Day is yet another Cebuano novelty song about the popular bayle. The song talks about a man asking a woman for a dance and gets turned down multiple times. Furthermore, this song mirrors the usual scene in a bayle where men must impress to be able to have that dance.
Igo na Day – Max Surban
Igo na Day has a fun vibe. However, it is actually a pretty sad song. In fact, it is considered one of Max Surban’s most popular songs about love. The song talks about a man’s pain and longing for lost love. Also, Igo na Day is one man’s plea for a loved one’s return.
Magellan – Yoyoy Villame
Magellan by Yoyoy Villame is a song about the Battle of Mactan. This short history lesson talks about how Magellan and his men reached the country. Then, it explains how they were treated by the locals. Finally, the song talks about how Magellan ended up dying on the shores of Mactan.
Nabali Ang Krismas Tree – Max Surban
Nabali Ang Krismas Tree is one man’s funny story of an incident from his childhood about a Christmas Tree. Nabali Ang Krismas Tree is not a Christmas song. However, this track has somewhat become an ‘acceptable’ yuletide tune that many Cebuanos can actually sing along to.
Di na Gyud ko Mo-usab – Max Surban
Completing our Cebuano novelty songs list is Di Na Gyud Ko Mo-usab by Max Surban. This funny track talks about people promising to never do things again (like falling in love, marrying, or giving birth) only to break their promise ‘one last time.’ The song is popular not only because of its addictive tune but also because of its witty lines that Cebuanos use to this day.
Which of these Cebuano novelty songs is your most favorite? Let us know in the comments below!