I won’t dive deep into pop culture; I am usually a casual listener. But when I heard this song called kbye by Alamat around 2021, I got curious. kbye got quite viral when it was released; that’s why it came out of nowhere in my recommended videos. So back then, I was like, “Interesting group name. What will go wrong if I watch it?” And now I spend more time than I should in this group!
kasmala was the main reason why. First of all, multiple local languages? YES! This enticed me as a Filipina raised by an Ilocano father and a Bisaya mother. I always needed to make an effort to learn their languages. I would pick up some words here and there and subconsciously know them because of the people around me. I can understand most of it when they talk to me in their languages, but I don’t have the fluency to speak it. I also had some hesitations because these languages are not being used on a larger scale and seem too cheap for people who grew up in the city.
The outfits! They’re wearing modernized traditional clothing. An MV based on history, plus these outfits are very innovative. The historical part of the Manongs and their circumstances in a foreign land, the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, where they showed how these white people used our people as entertainment and treated them like animals in zoos, was enraging.
The whole MV, music & productions scream, THIS IS FILIPINO. It is like a slap-in-the-face thing, where I never thought I’d want a sense of belonging. They made an impact on me. After the kasmala era, I was not a casual listener anymore.