A major but quiet force in Filipino fashion, a DJ, and a consummate creative, Melvin Mojica takes you for a disco spin with an OPM playlist that will make you want to dance all your cares away as if you were in a uniquely Pinoy rom-com, at least for the time being.
There is nothing quite like the Pinoy rom-com. Yes, the formula still remains: a predestined pair meets, they figure in a euphoric sensation of unparalleled romance that blurs into a montage of moments and music, a wrench gets thrown in the joyful cog, and after choosing a path in the frustrating crossroads, the star-crossed lovers come together in a happy ending. But in its delicate balance of desire, drama, and humor, there is a deeper and almost biblical reverence for the hope that ever after just like in the movies.
While the often-misunderstood genre has long endured, its persistence has been relegated as a mere guilty pleasure. Yes, there are questionable ones that are so misguided with overly saccharine attempts at a love story, but then there are those that is truly so beautiful and breathtaking in its reflection of real-life romance. Just like any relationship, the appreciation has grown over the years, where we’ve had the good fortune of seeing many greats emerge, including When Harry Met Sally, 10 Things I Hate About You, and You’ve Got Mail. The world aside, no one quite consumes the rom-com than the Philippines, with a film culture rife with truly tugging and thrilling tales that tell the honest to goodness Filipino love story. Labs Kita Okey Ka Lang?, That Thing Called Tadhana, and Got 2 Believe anyone?
OPM Playlist, Please
Uniquely Filipino details aside, the undeterred penchant for the good ‘ol love story is anchored on the music. A soaring ballad sung by the biggest belter of the industry? A rousing score that compels the tears you’ve been holding to finally relent to gravity and emotion? A diverse soundtrack that fills in the gaps and the unsaid? It is the music that ties in all the tears, tension, and tropes into a significant whole, making it even the more memorable than we expect it to be.
With this in mind, we enlisted the mind of pop culture connoisseur, consummate creative force in fashion, and DJ, Melvin Mojica to curate an OPM playlist that encompasses everything from Filipino pride, an homage to disco, and an unapologetic queer energy pulsing through. The result is Isayaw Na Lang Muna Natin ‘Yan, a sassy selection of charming and campy hits that range from the requisite Hataw Na by Gary V to Parang Baliw by Jolina Magdangal. An exuberant celebration of the Filipino sound, this OPM playlist is a journey in itself, carefully considered and thought of by Mang Melvin (as he is fondly called from the wings of fashion runways to the DJs booth).
Just like a 90s Pinoy rom-com, the progression is tempered but soulful, with just the right dashes of energy and excess at the right parts. With the visual recall of a snappy montage that the kids these days file as retro, a preference for high-waisted jeans and questionable bangs, and a seemingly out of place, but totally acceptable beach dance scene that ushers in the credits to roll, the songs of everyone from Viktoria, Tootsie Gueverra, and Manilyn Reynes will make you want to shake your groove thing.
A coming together of many things, Melvin Mojica says that this playlist is an escape from the void that is a result of both the creative challenges and breakthroughs in the pandemic. A balm of rhythm and beats that we really need when times get a little too much sometimes; this is his version of the beach dance break. “Isayaw na lang muna natin ‘yan,” he says, offering what his ideal dance party is post pandemic. “With my future boyfriend…by the beach.” With his encyclopedic knowledge of music, Mang Melvin hopes that this OPM playlist encourages everyone to cope through music, especially ones of the Filipino sort. “Isa siyang gold mine, promise,” he says of his favoring the throwbacks. “It brings back mostly good memories.”
Whatever you want it to soundtrack, a scheduled sanity break or the Pinoy rom-com in your heart and head, don’t be shy, give this playlist a spin. Carve a moment from your day and give in to the music and dance—just dance. It’s going to be okay, trust us.