..or use the lyrics as Instagram captions. Either way, these songs are bound to bring a smile. Isn't sharing music a form of modern-day harana?
Title translation: “What I Truly Want in Life”
Music video for "Gusto Ko Lamang Sa Buhay" | The Itchyworms YouTube Channel
As the title explains, the narrator immediately lists out all of life’s luxuries and how he would trade all of that for the chance to hug the person he loves forever. A HUG. Can you imagine someone who has the opportunity to get anything they want in life and they choose to get a hug from you? Kilig! The hook “basta’t araw-araw yakap mo ‘ko, feeling ko ang yaman yaman ko” (As long as you hug me every day, I will feel like the richest person in the world”) further explains the value of that hug. Who wouldn’t want such a simple romance with the most return on investment?
Title translation: “You Are My Love”
VST & Company in 2003 | Eat Bulaga YouTube Channel
Originally released in 1978, this one is a major throwback. Perhaps you have heard your parents blast this song on the cassette player during a lovely Saturday morning, depending on your age. If not, you might have heard other artists’ covers of this song as that has been done every decade as well. Nothing beats the original version, in my opinion. The title is as simple and as self-explanatory as the time it was made for. “Pag-ibig na walang hangganan” (Love that never ends).” The narrator expresses their love, how they need love, and how they would do their best to keep love forever—all while in a jaunty disco presentation. I, for one, mostly enjoy this song for the super sexy bass riff! The love expressed in this song is simply an added bonus to my ears (and heart). Also, can we talk about that crescendo and arpeggio followed by that uber-dramatic key change near the end? I don’t want to be cheesy but the key change makes me think of how love changes over time: if it’s strong enough, it will work wonderfully and maybe even improve!
Title translation: “Hug/Embrace”
Imago performing "Akap" for Wish 107.5 Bus | Wish 107.5 YouTube Channel
This power ballad written by Aia de Leon has stood the test of time, even with the band’s multiple changes in lead singers. For years, this has been bravely belted out by karaoke singers everywhere, whether at your neighbor’s party, the karaoke display at SM malls, or at a KTV. No matter how good (or bad) the karaoke performance is, this song makes you feel things. It could be the heartbeat-esque background from both Myrene Academia’s bass lines and Zack Lucero’s simple but effective drumming; either way, the emotions this song delivers are enough for me to imagine a love so intense and real it will make you wake up at 5 a.m. to go hiking even though you’ve never liked the outdoors. The second stanza reads, “pikit-mata kong iaalay ang buwan at araw/ pati pa sapatos kong suot” (I will grab the sun and moon for you with my eyes closed, even the shoes I am wearing [if you want/need them]). Call it simp-y if you want, but we can all agree that this is poetic and beautiful. Perhaps this is a song perfect for those whose love language is acts of service but need a little help expressing that.
Title translation: “Prayer”
Remaining APO Hiking Society men performing "Panalangin" in Cebu, 2023 | APO Hiking Society YouTube Channel
I personally believe that APO Hiking Society are the men in OPM to whom a lot of hopeless romantics owe their standards in love. I do not know a lot of pre-mid-'80s OPM love songs, but APO Hiking Society exposed me to love being beautifully portrayed in songs at a young age. “Panalangin” sings about the narrator’s one and only prayer: to get the person of their dreams. “Panalangin ko sa habang-buhay/ makapiling ka, makasama ka/ ‘yan ang panalangin ko” literally means “I pray for my entire life to be with you, cherish you, that is all I pray for.” As a millennial, I consider myself to be understanding of most decade’s attitudes toward toxic and non-toxic love. In this case, you can listen to this song from any generational point of view, and it stays healthy and not creepy. The song is generally repetitive, but aren’t all prayers? If you read the #2 song on this list, you know I appreciate a good key change. This one has it near the end and similarly, I believe it intensifies the love felt in this tune.
Eraserheads performing "Toyang" | Eraserheads YouTube Channel
I believe that most songs on this list are iconic. But if there has to be one I recommend over the others, it would be “Toyang.” It could be because the hold Eraserheads have on the nation’s music lovers has proven to be everlasting, but it could also be because of the following: catchy, super Filipino-themed, references to childhood nursery rhymes, and Toyang being a simple woman in a small house. It's all so relatable – anyone can see themselves in the song. The line “Skyflakes, Coke, 500, pahingi ng kiss/ pambayad ko sa jeepney, kulang pa ng gis” (Skyflakes, Coke, 500 [pesos], can I have a kiss?/ my jeepney money is 10 [pesos] short) is definitely not romantic, but it is my favorite part as it is a nostalgic reminder of home where you pack your lunch, get money allotted for the day and can’t leave home without a kiss! It is truly endearing and I am all over it.
Parokya ni Edgar performing "Your Song" in Inuman Sessions Vol.2 | Parokya ni Edgar YouTube Channel
There is speculation that Chito Miranda wrote this for an ex-girlfriend and not his current wife, Neri Naig. It makes sense given the time the "Bigotilyo" album was released. Nonetheless, this song is in English and it is strictly acoustic guitar only. Not necessarily outlandish for Parokya ni Edgar, but it conveys a gentler theme compared to their usual brash and spunky rock songs. “I take one step away/ and I find myself coming back to you/ My one and only, one and only you.” Sounds like a cheesy line, but hey, if I were on the receiving end of a Chito Miranda acoustic love song curated for me, I would never shut up about it.
Title translation: “World”
IV of Spades performing "Muno" for Wish 107.5 | Wish 107.5 YouTube Channel
I have so much love and respect for this song. Unlike most of the songs on this list, this one is written by a bunch of discotheque-clad Gen-Zers who are carrying on the legacy of kilig-inducing OPM. “Mundo” is unsurprisingly instrumental-heavy, graced by the talents of Zild Benitez (bass), Blaster Silonga (guitar), and Badjao de Castro (drums). However, that doesn’t take away the gravity of simple lyrics. “Aking sinta, ikaw na ang tahanan at mundo” (My love, you are my home and my world). Is it just me or does hearing it in Tagalog sound more romantic? The boys have been on hiatus since 2020 and I have been yearning for more IV of Spades, but I have this on repeat for now and you should too.
Title translation: “Something to lean on”
Music Video for "Sandalan" | 6cyclemind YouTube Channel
This earworm from the mid-2000s can be heard frequently on Metro Manila radio stations, alongside “Narda” by Kamikazee of course! While not as in-your-face-romantic as the other love songs on this list, this one is simply adorable. The narrator just wants to remind their boo that they can always lean on their shoulders to cry on if they need to. “Sige lang, sandal ka lang, at ‘wag mong pipigilan/ Iiyak mo na ang lahat sa langit/ Iiyak mo na ang lahat sa akin” (Go ahead, lean on me, don’t hold your tears/ cry it all out to the heavens/ cry it all out to me). There is something so comforting about someone letting you actually CRY IT ALL OUT instead of them immediately trying to get you to stop. Emotional release is healthy too! It is nice to have a partner that will encourage that.
Title translation: “Miss” (as in young woman)
Zack Tabudlo performing "Binibini" for the Wish 107.5 Bus | Wish 107.5 YouTube Channel
Another one I highly love and respect. This gentle ballad is written by Zack Tabudlo, who was born in 2001. Age is not a barrier or a reason for someone to write something so deep, but his young age is just truly impressive to me, a millennial who grew up with love songs so much older than I am. “Binibini” sounds like a love letter to a young lady who the narrator wants to dance with in the rain so badly that he will even give his life for that chance as he sings in the heart-wrenching line, “kapalit man nito’y buhay ko.” If I could fit Zack Tabudlo’s entire discography in this article I would because all of his songs are so romantic and swoon-worthy.
Rico Blanco performing "You'll Be Safe Here" | Rico Blanco YouTube Channel
If you grew up in the Philippines or had TFC elsewhere in the world, you may have watched the ABS-CBS show “Spirits.” The show’s genre is like a mash between horror and romance. Anyway, this was the theme song and at the time was credited under Rico Blanco’s band, Rivermaya. It has since been re-recorded and credited under the frontman. I had to explain that because I have been so in love with this song since the 2000s and for the longest time, it was not available on any music streaming apps. Moira Dela Torre also covered this song, so that must’ve helped. ANYWAY, this one is in English and the line that makes me believe in love is: “when the light disappears/ and when this world’s insincere, you’ll be safe here.” It made sense for the show “Spirits” as the love team swore to protect each other, but it also works for us regular people in love.