Top 12 Filipino Entertainers: The Criteria

Philippine’s number 1 entertainer?

JoeAm is banned by law from having an opinion about election candidates. This is a recent discovery thrust by the Immigration Chief into Joe’s brain along with a blunt deportation threat. 

So half of Joe’s material is gone, poof. I mean, we all like down and dirty political mud slinging, piling on, lifting up, loud and boisterous electioneering. Now what’s a guy to write about?

Foreigners must occupy themselves with sex tourism, I guess. I could write about that. Hmmmmm. Maybe not such a good idea. The Ambassador got his lip in a ringer over that. Hmmmm. Not smuggling or gun running. No we ought not do that. But eating and spending for sure, yes. We can do that. That is authorized, I’m sure. Spending, that is what we are to focus on I guess.

It’s more fun in the Philippines as long as you like spending.

My problem is there is not much intellectual pursuit in that. I’ve delegated to my wife and she has developed exemplary skills.  Truly an artist.

So, with political candidates being put “off limits” and not much else left to us foreigners, I need to shore up the blog content a little. Find a replacement line of inquiry, investigation and opinion mongering.
So I go to a topic which to most Filipinos is way MORE IMPORTANT than who the next senators will be. Way way more important. JoeAm herein announces that he takes up as a major theme in his blog:
  • The entertainers who represent the soul, the verve, the elan, the pride of the Philippines.
Piolo doing his impression
of Johnny Lin

Now as we did in the political arena before we were declared offensive, we developed a set of criteria useful for comparing candidates. We called it the Rizal-Robredo Voter’s Guide, and you can link over to see what outrageous malcontents we foreigners, along with a couple of rabble-rousing OFWs, can be in figuring out elections: Go to RR Voter’s Guide web site. Truly, we are national security threats, trying to manipulate gullible Filipinos into applying a little discipline in evaluating candidates.

So we need similar criteria for those who work in the entertainment arena. Now we can’t call this a “Rizal-Robredo” index, for sure. What might we call it?
We could say Poe-Estrada Index, as both were entertainers. But that leads us back into the banned political arena. I wonder if I can even say those names lest that be construed as trying to influence the election. Hmmm. Well, I’ve got one from both camp, so it seems neutral to me.
We can’t call it the Jessica Sanchez Index because she is American except in the adoring hearts and minds of Filipinos.
So we need a name. That’s issue number one.
Next we need to figure out some criteria for selecting the top entertainers. Now this is rather difficult because entertainers actually work in several areas of specialty. We have the movie and television actors. We have singers who work stages around the world. There are boxers who club each other’s brains out so we can ooooooh and ahhhhhhh in animalistic delight. And politicians are also showboats if we observe the antics of Senator Santiago and Sotto, neither of whom are running for election right now and so are authorized subjects of discussion. Basketball players are entertainers, especially if they marry presidential sisters. Soccer players, too. There were some great magicians on the other night; a guy made big umbrellas from little ones. Truly amazing. Or clowns like BongV at Anti-Pinoyand benigno at Get Real Post. Our criteria should not rule clowns out, either.
Manny entertains us

Let me just propose some categories we can then refine with reader inputs. Here are some suggested criteria that can be used to select Top Filipino Entertainers:

  • Physically appealing looks. Handsome or pretty; fit; sexy.
  • Charisma and style.  Has that certain pizzazz that rocks our socks. Lights up a room when entering.
  • Performing talent. This will vary according to specialty. Can beat a Mexican’s brains in, or an American’s, even better. Strong and pure of voice. Fleet of foot. Can cry real tears at the flip of a director’s cue. Can magically turn any good deed into criticism. Those kinds of measures.
  • Number of commercial sponsorships.  Shampoo, beer, cookies, pain medicine, shoes and cakes. Any product counts, and we’ll need to count the minutes of airtime in, say, a week.
  • Assets, whether in dollars or pesos or mansions or yachts. Rich = Success.
Brains are not an element that means much in the entertainment business. So we don’t need to give credit for that. I mean, Senator Sotto was an entertainer. Point made.
But maybe we should consider only current performers.
Is Sotto acting at the present time or not? That’s a rather interesting question, is it not?
Nor do we need to concern ourselves with values. If entertainers sleep around, have been married a few dozen times, are gay or straight, fail to attend church. These things don’t matter. Indeed, a “bad boy” or “bad girl” image can actually raise an entertainer’s popularity and stature.
RJ, my favorite guitarist after
Keith Richards

Or what we might be able to do is list the entertainers we like best, and then jig up the measures to fit that. To justify it. That’s another approach we could take. Also that way, I wouldn’t have to work so hard. You see, I don’t follow entertainers at all. I follow political candidates.

Well, I used to. Now I flip mournfully past all the articles about the election, resigned to the notion that Filipinos will get what they deserve.

But enough of this maudlin self-pity. Back to rating entertainers.
I know of the following Filipino entertainers, currently in the business:
  • Charice
  • Manny Pacquiao
  • Kris Aquino
  • Kris Aquino’s ex-husband, the father of Baby James
  • Piolo Pasqual
  • Christina Reyes
  • Willie Wowowee Reviling
  • Martin Nivera
  • Guitarist and guitar peddler RJ
  • Jessica Sanchez
  • Justin Bieber
  • The Weatherman Naturalist on Showtime
  • The Crossover Guy/Lady on Showtime
  • The Shampoo Lady from the Family of Actors
  • The Mother of a Senatorial Candidate
I think you’ll have to help me out here . . .I’ve done a dump of all my cranial gigabytes and only gotten those few crumbs.Who should we consider on a list of “Top 12 Filipino Entertainers”? Let’s say they have to be alive, or a reasonable proximity thereto.

And how would you rejig the criteria?

Oh, and the name. What should the name of our criteria and list be?

39 Responses to “Top 12 Filipino Entertainers: The Criteria”
  1. Edgar Lores says:

    1. I must confess I know nothing about current Filipino entertainment. That last entertainers who entertained me stretch from Diomedes Maturan to Kuh Ledesma. Filipino kundimans are under appreciated. Yolly Samson’s rendition of “Bato sa Buhangin” is a favourite.2. Loved the “Point made” stab.3. I must confess I have little interest in this subject. Entertainment is “an activity that is diverting and that holds the attention”. And Filipino entertainment does not even meet these twin criteria. It is a bore.4. Entertainment is distraction. It is escape.4.1 Don’t get me wrong. I read books, watch movies, listen to music. But there is a triviality to Filipino entertainment that is numbing and deadening. The mind is not challenged, the senses are not sharpened, and the reaction provoked is not wonder and not joy.4.2 Have you watched one of Sotto’s shows? The banality is worse than evil.5. I must admit and confess that the worth of entertainment is subjective. It may be that some are uplifted by Willie Wowowee, although my imagination cannot stretch that far.5.1 But the true value of entertainment is that it connects us to the awesomeness of the universe as reflected in the talents of mankind. Real entertainment should not be diverting. It should – at the same time – focus awareness and make us lose awareness. It should make us open our mouths, laugh or cry without our awareness of doing so. At its most supreme moment it should bring us to silence.

  2. What I find interesting is that I think your point 5.1 is universal, and that Filipinos are carried to the cosmos on the simple fare that pounds relentlessly from the TV or stage dancing in the form of Kris smiling her endless nice babble and Willie the lecher leching at all the girls and amateurs hoofing the stage or warbling like a cross between Beverly Sills and Donald Duck. It is a way of finding their own peace and harmony in an otherwise scrappy, scruffy world.I dunno. There is a honorable simplicity to it. And, point in fact, just about everyone here sings, and they sing well. Well, that is until the Karaoke machine strikes notes they can't find, then it is fingernails on the blackboard.I personally think, by share of population, a whole lot of Filipinos are extraordinarily talented singers and actors. Americans are athletic because they start sports at an early age. Here, kids clown and sing. The only thing missing here is the global stage, and it is interesting how many Filipinos manage to find it. And I've never seen so many people able to stand before a camera and coax out a tear. That is incredibly hard.So I write this article, in part as a clown bemoaning being banned from the election, in part in admiration of the rich, playful talent that resides in every nook and island of this fun-loving nation.

  3. If Philippine patriot "FOREIGNERS" are banned from blogging on political aspirants, THEN, SAVE US FROM THE University of the Philippines, Ateneo and la Salle Journalism Graduates. If these are the brains of graduates from Philippine ivy-schools, IT TAKES NO IMAGINATION WHAT THE REST OF FILIPINOS BRAIN MUST BE THINKING.FOREIGNERS, Ig-ampo mo kami. FOREIGNERS, tabangi intawn kami. FOREIGNERS, isalba kami sa mga impakto. FOREIGNERS save us from COMELEC and BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION. Only foreigners can give us independent view of these political aspirants. Definitely not from filipino columnists.

  4. Cha says:

    Well, continuing on from yesterday’s discussions, how about this:The TOP 12 of Group B Filipinos in the Arts and Entertainment. (B for Building a better Philippines)Music:1. Ryan Cayabyab AKA The Maestro. A composer, musical director, performer,teacher. One of the truly talented artists our country has produced. Ryan, together with the group he formed called RCS (Ryan Cayabyab Singers) has been helping Gawad Kalinga raise money all over the world through a series of concerts. I watched the Sydney show and they are really good. The Aussies who were around as ushers and security ended up watching the show along with us and were vocal in their admiration. 2. Jim Paredes Originally of the Apo Hiking Society, will long be remembered for the EDSA People Power Anthem, Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo. Has been an active voice in civil society for as long as I can remember. 3. Noel CabangonOne of the original convenors of Rock Ed Philippines (one of my top 12 also below). Cabagon came into the scene after I left the Philippines. I only found out about him when a friend posted a video of him singing “Ako’y Isang Mabuting Pilipino” (I am a good Filipino) which he wrote himself. Then I found out he has also been “a member of the Board of Trustees of FILSCAP (Filipinos Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers); member, Board of Trustees Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) ; member, Board of Trustees Jubilee South/Asian Peoples Movement for Debt and Development (JS/APMDD); Ambassador for Conservation of the Haribon Foundation – a foundation that promotes the protection and preservation of the environment; an Ambassador for the protection and preservation of the Cordillera Watersheds; volunteer for Greenpeace International – an international environmental organization; and a founding member – Dakila (Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism)”. Sounds like a good Filipino to me.Broadcast Media:4. Jessica SohoWell, I don’t get Filipino Channels on my tv, so there are probably more out there. I see some friends posting videos of episodes of her show “Kapuso” and I like what I see. She features interesting stories, places, people that are informative and also uplifting.Performance Arts5. Mae Paner (Juana Change)6. Carlos Celdran I guess we already know what these guys have been up to. Anti-political dynasty… Pro-RH.. etc.Theater:7. Monique WilsonOne of the original casts of Ms. Saigon in London. Monique Wilson recently gave voice to the many Filipino women who are victims of violence as spokesperson of the movement One Billion Rising in the country.Part 2 in next posting (I think I exceeded the number of characters allowed already)

  5. Cha says:

    The TOP 12 of Group B Filipinos in the Arts and Entertainment. (B for Building a better Philippines)Part 2Visual Arts:8. CanvasThe Center for Arts, New Ventures and Sustainable Development (CANVAS) is a non-profit organization that promotes Philippine Arts through exhibitions, children’s books etc. Through the Looking for Juan Program, CANVAS collaborates with hundreds of artists, musicians and writers each year on activities and events designed to explore the use of art to encourage debate and discussion on selected social issues. Currently, CANVAS focuses on national identity, free expression, technology & culture, and sustainable development themes9. Ayala MuseumWe visited the museum on our last trip to Manila. My kids enjoyed the diorama of Philippine History.10. Mind MuseumHaven’t been to yet. But have heard so much about this. It’s on the bucket list for our next visitFilm: 11. Marilou Diaz Abaya/ Mike de Leon Again, I don’t really get to see a lot of Filipino movies nowadays. But these two (Abaya just passed away recently) are the filmmakers I remember who have tackled difficult social issues and problems of our country. I remember Mike de Leon’s Batch 81 (about fraternities) and Sister Stella L (about an activitist nun). Abaya made a movie about Rizal.Collaborations12. Rock Ed PhilippinesA group of artists who have come together to provide alternative education programs via “music, the arts, poetry, sports, photography, fashion, graphic design, literature, new approaches to science, film, cultural studies, theatre, dance, and any other way except being in a classroom.” They’ve put together concerts, each one with a message or theme, e.g. the rights of Filipino children, peace, social justice etc. They also worked with the The National Historical Commission of the Philippines and developed the animated version of the Philippine National Anthem which made the rounds of social media about a year ago. (That’s how I found out about them)So there you go. I hope this list somehow changes Edgar's mind about the triviality of Filipino entertainment 🙂

  6. Can we include the Philippine Media as collaborative entertainers, too? Imagine if Philippine Media reports news perfectly, I WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ENTERTAINED. Joe would have been blogging about sports instead of how to solve the problem in the Philippines.

  7. Has anyone sseen Youtube video of Manny Pacaquiao's yacht, cars, mansion etcetera? What about Jinkee's ride? WoW! Very entertaining. Manny deserves it.

    • Christy says:

      I agree to you Mr. Mariano. He really does deserve the things he has today. He earned it by risking his own body for the glory and fame of the country. I think he deserves respect because he’s one of the many reasons why Philippines is known in the world!

  8. Leaders of "Group A", the church, should also be nominated for inspiring Group A thinking.

  9. And not an Aquino or Pacquiao on the list. "Philippine arts and artists", that would be a good name for the ratings. Entertainment is what the audience experiences. Artistry is what the performers do. Very superb listing, Cha. If Edgar fails to find substance in that, we'll kick him into Group A. haha I personally enjoy guitarist RJ (Ramon Jacinto) because he does music of my era (Clapton) as well as bridging into classical. I'll be in Manila in April . . . wonder if I can make it to the museum . . .

  10. Ahhhh, that is a constructive way to look at it. Like, laugh instead of cry.Maybe I can get into sports as well as entertainment. Great idea.

  11. Priests are entertaining. Especially bishops. Especially CPCB bishops. Comedians all.

  12. Edgar Lores says:

    Cha,1. Wow, I'm impressed. You make me feel like a Pinoy philistine. I see you have kept up-to-date.2. You missed Lea Salonga, Freddie Aguilar (?), Lino Brocka, Laurice Guillen and Brilliante Mendoza among others. And don’t forget the OFW Filipino bands. 3. The Philippine cultural artists I know and have seen performed are: Cecile Licad (pianist) and Evelyn Mandac (soprano). Ana Feleo (soprano) I have heard of.4. The list doesn’t make me change my mind that the country is still pretty much a cultural wasteland. On the list, Cayabyab would probably be the most noted and most prolific.4.1 As in all things, Filipinos are copiers. Inspite of our population we have not produced an international star like Kyung Wha Chung and Sarah Chang (Korean violinists) or Lang Lang (pianist). 4.2 Did I hear someone say “Charice”? Oh, dear, I shall retreat into my shell and not come out until the air has been cleared and refreshed.

  13. I don't find watching horror films entertaining be it foreign made ones. Perhaps I have seen much over and over in real life here! Que Horror!

  14. "Que Horror!" I guess Department of Tourism skipped on that one.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Top 12 Filipino Entertainers? I say, most of them are politicians. They can dance the latest dance craze, sing out of tune and tell fairy tale stories in campaign sorties. Very entertaining…Sandman

  16. Ah, yes, no one puts on a show quite like Santiago on a rant or Enrile on the attack. Or Sotto telling his little jokes, all of which were undoubtedly stolen from somewhere.

  17. Cha says:

    Joe,So RJ still performs?There's another one with an interesting history. Did you know that he and Ninoy Aquino became friends when they were both in exile in the US? The Jacintos' businesses (steel mill, radio station) were taken away from them by Marcios after declaring Martial Law. RJ used to tag along with Ninoy apparently as the latter went around in the US speaking before Filipino groups and others on the abuses of the Marcos regime. RJ only went back to the Philippines after the EDSA revolution and opened up Bistro RJ. We used to have our office Christmas parties there because I suspect some of our older bosses were fans. 🙂 I got to dance with him once. (Because one of the bosses asked me to!)

  18. Cha says:

    Ed,1. The updates come mostly through friends' postings on facebook :)2. And there's probably plenty more. There's a new breed of independent filmmakers, i'm interested in the work of this Mike Sandejas. But the Filipino store I go to only sells dvds with Piolo Pascual and those other dudes. :(3. There's also Lisa Macuja. I'm a fan of the Philippine Madrigal Singers myself.4. If you look at pop culture, it probably is. 4.3. Lol. See you later then 🙂

  19. RJ was at it a couple of years ago, on a Sunday morning show that played old rock tapes, plus sold guitars and advertised his new bistros opening up everywhere. We changed our satellite package and I lost that channel, so I don't know if he's still at work. He'd pick up the guitar and plunk along with Eric Clapton (on tape). Plus break into some classical play now and then. A very personable gentleman. Reminded me a lot of me, except I can't play guitar or sing and am hostile most of the time. Otherwise, the same.Your dance reminds me of my elderly cousin who once, when she was young and very hot, spent a night dancing with Elvis Presley. Alas, she was married and decided not to leave with Elvis. Have I related that story here? Her husband ended up being a jerk, and they soon divorced. She is now old and arthritic and remarried and still in love with Elvis.Sigh. The moral of the story, only dance one dance. ahahaha

  20. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, the Philippine entertainment industry has mirroredthe Dynasties prevalent in our political arenas. Talent alone isnot sufficient to breakdown doors to achieve recognition. The padrino system is alive and well entrenched, depriving the Filipinos to see what greatness truly is.

  21. manilatop10 says:

    Why don't you become a citizen of the Philippines?I think your criteria could become awash with Party-Lists … maybe instead of listing what electoral parties are dear to you, you can create a category that includes the term "Party?" Perhaps you can't start with Party Pilipinas since it danced into yesterday, but certainly this can be a feather in your cap when running for office in the future?

  22. Interesting point. I see lots of talent shows. Some break through singing (Bugoy?). But acting is probably "who you know". I visited Bay Walk in Manila when I first arrived. Before they shut it down for the noise, there were a number of live bands performing. It was quite an amazing scene, with remarkable talent. I don't know that Hollywood is much different, however. Who you know, or perhaps who you sleep with, means a lot.

  23. If Joe takes an oath of alligiance to Philippine flag, what will ever happen to his American citizenship?manilatop10, it is a goot idea that Joe should be running for an elected office. If Joe wins, WHICH IS LIKELY, it would be a traumatic experience for him. I'd recommend he start off as a Barangay Captain or Councilor. Then to mayorship to governorship.I remember Tommy Osmena of Cebu City he tore off his U.S. Green Card before a crowd. HE WON !!!

  24. So true! Even in entertainment industry requires member of a entertainment dynasty.

  25. Pope Francis makes me go back to their God. This dude is just anti-thesis of being Popish.

  26. Suddenly it is no longer taboo to defy the church, and President "Benigno Aquino III has vowed to press on with changes, with reformers urging him to liberalize abortion and divorce laws.Surprisingly, the coverage of the conclave by the Philippine media has been very low key, though that could change if it drags on and Tagle is seen as having a serious chance." – NBCNews highlight of this is "…the coverage of the conclave by the Philippine Media has been very low key.." The Philippine Media is stupifyingly idioting the Filipinos. I bet ya these Philippine Media practitioners are graduate from Philippine Ivy-schools.

  27. Attila says:

    Charmane Clamor is my favorite Filipino jazz and Harana singer. Florante Aguilar guitarist. He made a beautifull movie about Harana. Similar to Buena Vista club.

  28. Anonymous says:

    You missed the No 1 box office draw – Vice Ganda. One of his movies broke all box office records. Tall cross-dresser mixes slapstick with quick and witty repartees. Does not have to throw money at his audience to get ratings. Saw his variety show a couple of times and made me laugh. Last local comedian who made me laugh was Dolphy. Unpredictable punch lines like Dolphy. – mb

  29. Ah, he would te the "crossover guy/lady on Showtime" that I mentioned. A fascinating talent whom I can stand for about one minute before his power overwhelms my synapses and they short out.

  30. Ah, thanks for the introductions and the link. Wonderful.

  31. The Philippine media balloon lost its air when Tagle was not selected.

  32. I remain a US citizen. Born in the USA. I would never consider running for office here. I'd go Santiago with "high blood". But I'd sponsor my wife for a run up the civic ladder. I'll stay in the background whispering ideas, rather like a mosquito in the ear.If Osmena tore up his U.S. Green Card, it was a win for the U.S. We don't need no stinkin' turncoat patriots.

  33. Cha says:

    Yes, thank you. Never heard about her before so I went and checked some of her videos online. Wow!Loved her reinvention of My Funny Valentine (My Funny Brown Pinay). I think Mariano would like this one too. :)

  34. Wonderful video, Cha. I'll get that into the "must view" category in the right column later today.

  35. manilatop10 says:

    Allegiance to a Nation State (A certain Bush said there was not a program for nation building) is not necessarily born out of individual choice i.e. parents etc. Most will condemn the push to a Universal NWO but it perhaps creates unity of humanity no matter how Utopian to think on. Maybe foreigners could 'vote' for sovereignty on one of the islands here, just JOKING. Thanks that this idea was stimulative to others and please ignore this follow-up comment. sincerely, Eric

  36. That's a good idea. Can't ignore it. Maybe I should work undercover to get the island of Biliran to leave the union and become a modern, neutral state like Switzerland. In fact, we'll provide secret numbered bank accounts and make watches, too. We can easily defend our island. There is only one bridge and no airport. Our dynamite fishermen will be recruited into our Navy. We have to be free speech because so many Dutchmen live here, and, brother, if you think AMERICANS are pushy, you have not seen or heard anything yet.

  37. Jovelyn says:

    Because Philippine has lot of talented Pinoys, sometimes others are forgotten. Some are old enough and many are coming right now. But let’s give them award and honor. There’s no need to forget and replace what they contributed to the industry , instead let’s preserve.

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