3 SAD things about spoken word in the Philippines.


A post shared by Leopoldo Lalim (@isipmalalim) on

What comes to mind when you hear “spoken word”?

Something nice and smushy? Lol. – I hope not.

Here in the Philippines we had a boom in the scene around 2014. I started sharing at spoken word events at mid 2013. No one really listened then – it was the same artists that listened to each other at every event. It was awesome though to hear works of art way past midnight. We started at Sev’s place, it was a hidden coffee shop/bar in a parking lot somewhere around Malate in Manila. It was a great and friendly place for artists.Slowly, the scene opened up to the masses through the works of great artists shared on youtube.

As the popularity grew though, I believe some diversity was pushed out of the space for writers. The scene was dominated by works about heartbreak we call “hugot”. A LOT of people jumped on the bandwagon. I heard kids as young as 12 years old pouring their heart out. I was happy for all the attention the artform was getting. People were starting to write again! I heard their soul right in front of me! It was great!

I was sad about 3 things though.

One, a lot of the pieces sounded like random rants without coherence or saying something new. It seemed that the vocabulary pool was pretty shallow. I dont want to judge because maybe people were just starting but yeah, I wish it grew more.

Two, the heartbreak topic was used in almost 90% of pieces. Spoken word is about giving voice to the minority. You get the stage for 5 to 10 mins and you can talk about anything. It was sad then that people would only want to talk about sadness. In America people talk about racism and womens rights, here I believe we talk about depression, gender neutrality amd politics. I wish to hear more but sadly the scene has faded as other topics dont usually bring out the masses. Artists have to eat, guys! Invest in the works of living artists! They need it more!

Three, the loss of “life” for the scene; I used to see events left and right. Owners of bars and coffee shops would hire events managers and artists specifically for spoken word. I’m thinking we’re going through a purge right now. It’s going to be good. The ones most passinate will be left standing and still speaking and the quality of the spoken word of the Philippines will rise up even higher. I’m positive!

Maybe we could try speaking about the Word of God more too 🙂

Sometimes we just really have to keep talking. God will inspire us and lead people to us.

Mark 16:15 “ He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.

Amen! God bless! 🙂


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