6 OPM Songs Peppered With Lessons You’ve Learned in School

Aug 21, 2020

Music is more than just a form of expression. And the long list of its benefits — from helping patients heal to boosting business sales — has been celebrated in numerous literature. In the academic frontier, music can be considered as a tool for teaching. 

According to this article, there are different ways this art form can affect one’s learning process: It can serve as a mnemonic device and as a way to improve the mood of a scholastic environment.

And consciously or not, music as a means to relay information, textbook lessons, and values has also been ingrained in our culture: It has found its way to traditional Filipino games (e.g. Ten-Twenty), educational TV show’s theme songs (e.g. Sineskwela, Math-Tinik) and even to classic and contemporary tunes.

From the Florante folk original “Abakada” to Reese Lansangan’s quirky indie hit “Grammar Nazi,” here are six OPM songs to remind you of the lessons you’ve learned in school back in the day.

“Abakada” – Florante

Lesson you’ll recall: The Filipino alphabet

If there’s one OPM classic that needs to be revisited this August (recognized in the country as the “Buwan ng Wika”), Florante’s “Abakada” is a strong contender.  

The track is the folk-rock pioneer’s clever take on the alphabet song. Embedded on a nursery rhyme-like melody, its lyrics is a one long but insightful mnemonic that touches on the importance of education, the role of teachers, and the essence of understanding the basics in order to expand one’s knowledge. 

“Philippine Geography” – Yoyoy Villame

Lesson you’ll recall: Philippine geography

Yoyoy Villame’s discography is the quintessential Pinoy pop novelty. But beyond its playful and comic surface, the work of the late Boholano singer-songwriter offers a wealth of lessons: His first hit “Magellan” offers a bit of history as he narrates Magellan’s arrival in the country in 1521; “Mag-Exercise Tayo,” on the other hand, effortlessly relays one of the health benefits of doing morning exercises.

In “Philippine Geography,” the musician enumerates the cities of Metro Manila and the provinces of the country from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi. Though incomplete, this 1977 hit still provides an LSS-worthy resource that celebrates the places that make our archipelago uniquely beautiful.

“Masdan Mo Ang Kapaligiran” – Asin

Lesson you’ll recall: Impact of human activities on the environment

There’s something about Asin’s “Masdan Mo Ang Kapaligiran” that makes it a careful yet assertive anthem emphasizing the need to look after our environment. With the persona in the track appealing like a mentor that guides, it’s also the kind of awareness-raising song that you wouldn’t mind playing even to youngsters. 

And now that the consequences it tackles have become more grave, the message of this ode sounds more amplified and urgent compared to when it was first heard more than 40 years ago.

“Isang Linggong Pag-ibig” – KZ Tandingan (Imelda Papin cover)

Lesson you’ll recall: Days of the week

The days of the week are a vital measure of time. In this ‘90s classic, this elementary concept is employed to portray the pain of experiencing a short-lived romance. And whether it’s heard in the form of a ballad Imelda Papin-style or through a soulful modern revival ala KZ Tandingan, this day-by-day account of a week-long love affair is as hurtful as it is straightforwardly written. 

Looking for a lighter OPM song that counts down the days of the week? Give RJ Jimenez’s signature hit “Miss Kita ‘Pag Tuesday” a listen. 

“Grammar Nazi “ – Reese Lansangan

Lesson you’ll recall: Importance of good grammar

“Grammar Nazi” by Reese Lasangan is equal parts whimsical and educational. The five-minute piece creatively highlights common grammar crimes including pluralizing uncountable nouns (it’s “pieces of furniture” not “furnitures”) and confusing possessives with contractions (“their” vs “they’re,” “your” vs. “you’re”).  

With such wit — coupled with an irresistibly infectious melody — it comes as no surprise how this OPM tune and its accompanying visuals made its way to an English Rhetoric and Linguistics course for students in Thailand. 

“Batang Bata Ka Pa” – Apo Hiking Society 

Lesson you’ll recall: Obedience

More than its unforgettable tune, the timelessness of Apo Hiking Society’s “Batang Bata Ka Pa” rests on the lesson it imparts: Listening to and obeying older people and those who are more experienced. In this light, obedience is painted as a form of respect and a way of expressing the reality that you’re still learning. 

And it is in profound songs like this that we realize, in hindsight, how the years we’ve spent in schooling are crucial in forming such kinds of values — values that are essential in facing the real world; the life beyond the classroom. 

Music, indeed, is more than just a form of expression. In line with what Wish 107.5 has been championing since its inception — the incorporation of charity in its every musical endeavor — the station is holding a virtual benefit concert on August 23.

“Notes of Hope: 6th Wish 107.5 Anniversary Digital Concert” is a virtual event that aims to aid the blended learning needs of deserving recipients (The country is employing the new set-up for the school year 2020 to 2021, which starts in October). Set to be streamed live on the Wish YouTube channel, the show will feature performances from Moira, Jason Marvin, Darren Espanto, Sam Mangubat, The Juans, Bugoy Drilon, Daryl Ong, Mark Carpio, Munimuni, The Wishfuls, and SB19.

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