Philippines’ Finest Alternative Novelty Bands

Philippines’ Finest Alternative Novelty Bands

The Alternative Rock scene of the Philippines is populated by countless of bands and artists many of whom have made their unique marks in the country’s music history. The scene may be traced back to the classic so-called Pinoy Rock of the 1970s, with the likes of Maria Cafra, Asin, and Juan De La Cruz Band.

In the 1990s, the scene became so much revitalized, giving birth to more exciting local bands—diverse groups with equally interesting styles of music. Among these, Siakol and Grin Department served as the representatives of what may be described as Novelty Alternative Rock, whose theme is light comedy and social sarcasm, poking fun and critique at the ills of the Philippine society; or, in some cases, giving doses of lighthearted humor meant to lighten up the mood of the listeners amidst the country’s prevailing political and social issues.


Formed in 1994, Siakol is comprised currently by Noel Palomo (vocals), Anthony Cervantes (guitar), Wowie Flores (bass), and James Rodriguez (drums). In their more than 20 years of activity, the quartet has released nine studio albums, from 1996’s Tayo Na sa Paraiso to 2015’s Haymabu, spawning a string of singles that include “Lakas-Tama,” “Peksman,” “Bakit Ba?,” and “Hindi Mo Ba Alam?” To this day, the wacky yet serious-with-their-craft band remains active in the concert circuit. In fact, they will be performing in Winnipeg this coming May 6, at Essence Event Centre (Canad Inn on McPhillips), along with another prime Philippine band Grin Department.

Grin Department

Formed in 1995, Grin Department rocked the Alternative Rock–loving community of the said decade with its brand of naughty, double entendre songs that are full of humor and wordplay. To date, the lively band has several studio albums under its name, from 1995’s Hahehihohu to 2009’s Apunten (Eym), producing now classic singles like “Miss U (Miss, Miss sa Loob ng Jeepney),” “Syota ng Bayan,” “Magbati Na Kayo,” and “Picture Mo, Inday.” Currently, the band consists of Andrew Balatbat (vocals/bass), Alfie Gutierrez (drums), and Jason Pelonia (vocals/guitar). The trio will be joining Siakol in gracing the stage of Essence Event Centre on May 6.

Now that Winnipeg weather is finally bright and dry, a bit warm and still chilly, going out to have some fun is the order of the season. So, come May 6, be in your best Rocking self and experience the music and fun of Siakol and Grin Dept.

For tickets and inquiry, contact Jhayzon Paredes at 204-899-1765. The Canadian tour of Siakol and Grin Department is brought by FAJ Production, RAJJ, and Jhaizen Design.