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My Favorite Filipino pop tunes of the '70s and '80s

Updated on July 19, 2016
Charito1962 profile image

Ms. Charito is a Filipino based in Manila. She has worked as an executive assistant and a journalist. She is a widow with a grown-up son.


A passion for music

We Filipinos are musically inclined. We love to sing anytime and anywhere - whether at a party, a picnic, a business function, or in church.

While I admit that our music is highly influenced by western sounds, I can boast that we nevertheless have a treasury of genres - ranging from the ethnic to the classical, and from the '70s pop to today's hard rock.

I myself love to sing, having been a part of my high school glee club, and still performing today in special occasions, like a birthday or anniversary celebration, a corporate event, or even a karaoke night with friends.

Below are some of my favorite Filipino pop tunes that were popular in the '70s and '80s, but are still played today on the radio.

Do listen in, and groove with the Manila sound!


My love for OPM

Whenever I want to unwind after a stressful day, I bring out my favorite CDs to listen to music. I like doing this more than watching a good movie or a TV program. (Yes, I admit it - I'm more audio than video.)

My love for music traces back to my childhood, when my late mother would expose me to her favorite Broadway musicals and the classics of the '50s and early '60s. I grew up appreciating American music.

OPM singers of the ‘70s


OPM artists of the ‘80s


It was not till the '70s that I heard of "Original Pilipino Music" (OPM) which saw its heyday in the '80s. Since Filipinos enjoy western music, many artists in the '70s formed bands and started writing their own songs both in Tagalog and English. In 1977, the Philippine music industry even came up with a songwriting competition called the "Metro Manila Popular Music Festival" (or "Metropop" for short). (You can read more about this online.) This gave many talented locals a chance to showcase their compositions. Some of them - and even the interpreters - have risen to fame, thus becoming today's finest artists.

I have become so fond of OPM that I have even written a few compositions which, unfortunately, I keep to myself. My frustration, you see, is that I don't play any instrument, even as I love to sing and create melodies in my mind.

I'd like to share with you sixteen of my favorite tunes which are still played in my country. Although I like many written in Tagalog, I will feature only those written in English by our homegrown talent. I must tell you, though, that most of these are ballads and mellow tunes. That's because we Filipino songwriters/musicians are suckers for love songs.

Anyway, here's to OPM! (Hope you like it!)


A tune by one of the earliest '70s bands, the Hotdog. Mixed with Tagalog and English lyrics, this is one of their hits which continues to be played like a promotional material.

A Samba Song

Released in 1976, this is one of my favorites by the artist Bong Peñera whose songs are reminiscent of Sergio Mendes' bossa nova hits. Here, Peñera sings the first part in Tagalog.

Samba for Luisa

Truly a soothing sound! Another hit by Bong Peñera.

Love is for Singing

This is by the APO Hiking Society whose members have now gone separate ways. The trio's popularity goes back to their high school days at the Ateneo de Manila (a leading Philippine university).


I just love this tune by The New Minstrels who became very popular in the '70s.

Give Me A Chance

Written by singer-songwriter Odette Quesada, this tune won 2nd place in the amateur division of the 5th Metropop in 1982. The singer, Ric Segreto, met a tragic motorcycle accident in 1998.

Don't Know What to Do (Don't Know What to Say)

Another one of my favorite Odette Quesada compositions sung by the late Ric Segreto.

Nothing I Want More

One of my favorite duets sung by Ms. Louie Reyes and Eugene Villaluz. Although this lost in the 5th Metropop, it is still very much played in the air.

Till I Met You

This time, Odette Quesada had singer Kuh Ledesma interpet this song. It won 1st prize in the professional division of the 6th Metropop. It was also used as the theme song for a 2006 local romantic comedy of the same name.

Here are the lyrics :

I never dream

'Cause I always thought that dreamin' was for kids,

Just a childish thing

And I could swear

Love is just a game that children play

And no more than a game.

Till I met you,

I never knew what love was

Till I met you,

This feelin' seems to grow more everyday

I love you more each day

I believe you

I believe in every word when you say

'I love you all the way'

Now I could swear

Love is not a game that children play

So tell me you'll stay


Composed by Alvina Sy, this was interpreted by now wacky entertainer Martin Nievera in the 6th Metropop. It won 1st prize in the amateur division.

Got to Look for It

A great mellow tune by Martin Nievera which is included in his 1984 album The Best Gift.

The Power of Music

Ray-an Fuentes is one singer whose funk and soul music I fancy. (And he sure has the voice for it!) Here's a track from his 1983 album I'm Coming Out.


Another funky sound from Ray-an Fuentes’ I'm Coming Out album

You Got Me Working

Now married with three grown-up kids, the singer, Gary Valenciano, is known as "Mr. Pure Energy" because of his highly energetic dance moves. You could say he's the "Michael Jackson of the Philippines". This is one of his earlier hits.


Like the APO Hiking Society, the singer, Louie Heredia - who has now laid low - is also a graduate of the Ateneo de Manila. The songwriter, Archie Dairocas, is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Here's a track from Heredia's 1987 album From Another Place and Time.

From Another Place and Time

Another tune by Louie Heredia written by award-winning composer, Cecile Azarcon.

Which of the above songs did you like?

See results

Here are some products on Original Pilipino Music (OPM) :

OPM Hits of the 70's Vol. 1 [Clean]
OPM Hits of the 70's Vol. 1 [Clean]

Included in this album is the tune “Manila”.

OPM Hits of the 80's Vol. 1 [Clean]
OPM Hits of the 80's Vol. 1 [Clean]

Included in this album is the song “Till I Met You”.


Comments - So, what can you say about Filipino pop tunes?

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    • Ivan Horvat profile image

      Ivan 3 months ago from Zagreb

      Samba for Luisa is my favorite :-) Thanks

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 16 months ago from Manila, Philippines

      Thanks, Mona! Glad you also like OPM,

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 16 months ago from Philippines

      I miss those OPM days. You've made some wonderful selections here.

    • juderes profile image

      judalyn eres 18 months ago from cebu city, philippines

      Wow great hub!

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 2 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Hi, Ms. Elsie! Glad you took a chance listening to Filipino music! Thanks for stopping by!

    • kiwinana profile image

      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Very interesting selection of Filipino music.

      Will have to come back and listen to some of the many you have selected.

      Must go and feed the cows, it's winter in NZ, we have a very cold frost, will be glad when spring comes.

    • tazzytamar profile image

      Anna 3 years ago from chichester

      I've never heard any of these before but they are all really good! I enjoyed listening to them - thanks!

    • BodyHairRemoval profile image

      BodyHairRemoval 3 years ago

      I'm always up for some good tunes. I'll be sure to check these out

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      @verymary: Indeed!

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 3 years ago from Chicago area

      I hope global pop continues to broaden its popularity -- music really can make people feel more connected

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 3 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      Thanks for the introduction to Filipino pop. It sounds you have a lot of fun!

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      @takkhisa: Thanks, too, for dropping by!

    • asereht1970 profile image

      asereht1970 3 years ago

      Great lens, Kabayan. Made me a little sad because I seldom hear these songs nowadays. Love the good old days especially the 80s. By the way, I also love Till I Met You but I can only choose one so I chose Manila by Hotdogs.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 3 years ago

      I am not that much familiar with Filipino pop music. Thanks for making this lens.

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      @Scindhia H: Thanks!

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      @Maugustine: You're welcome! Glad you listened!

    • Maugustine profile image

      Michael Augustine 3 years ago from Arizona

      You've really managed to broaden my horizons, thanks for introducing me to some great music I've never heard before!

    • soniabaad lm profile image

      soniabaad lm 3 years ago

      No doubt Filipino music is amazing. Nice collection. Great to listen such beautiful tracks..

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      @TreasuresBrenda: Glad you dropped by to listen!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 3 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for the introduction to this Filipino music.

    • Scindhia H profile image

      Scindhia 3 years ago from Chennai

      Good intro to the pop culture!