Saturday, June 29, 2013

Karaoke: Made in the Philippines?

Who really invented the karaoke machine?

Filipinos do love singing, and they usually go to bars with karaoke machines or KTV bars to entertain themselves. Singing in karaoke machines also benefited some Filipinos bringing them to stardom, like Arnel Pineda of Journey.

Sadly, this way of entertainment of Filipinos irritated some of the sensitive-eared people, who just wanted a very quiet day. Even some of the foreigners were annoyed of this. Well, I can't blame Filipinos if they like to put a karaoke machine in every celebration they hold outside their houses, especially in the streets. They just wanted to show others that they were happy. I don't know if that's the reason.

Anyway, let's go to the main event.

If you ask someone about who invented this machine, some Filipinos would answer it was invented by a Filipino, but some would say its the Japanese. So I would like to put this confusion in clarity because it even led itself to an urban legend. What makes this an urban legend? Well, it's because many people ignored the truth about it.


The word karaoke came from Japanese words kara (which means empty) and oke (simplified word for okesutora or orchestra in English). It is a form of interactive entertainment or video game in which amateur singers sing along with recorded music (a music video) using a microphone and public address system.[a]

In a karaoke machine, the typical songs installed are pop songs such as that of Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra and etc. It also includes some of the local songs where the karaoke is used. However the songs on it doesn't have the voice of the original singer, only the sound and lyrics of the song.

Japanese Karaoke

The considered inventor of the first karaoke machine is the Japanese musician Daisuke Inoue. He invented what he called the Juke-8 in 1971.

Japanese drummer Daisuke Inoue was asked frequently by guests in the Utagoe Kissa, where he performed, to provide recordings of his performances so that they could sing along. Realizing the potential for the market, Inoue made a tape recorder-like machine that played songs for a 100-yen coin each. Instead of giving his karaoke machines away, Inoue leased them out so that stores did not have to buy new songs on their own.[a]

Philippine Karaoke

Here in the Philippines, the considered inventor was Roberto del Rosario, the president of the Trebel Music Corporation. He invented his Karaoke Sing Along System in 1975, which is 4 years after Daisuke Inoue invented his version.

Roberto del Rosario described his sing-along system as a handy multi-purpose compact machine which incorporates an amplifier speaker, one or two tape mechanisms, optional tuner or radio and microphone mixer with features to enhance one's voice, such as the echo or reverb to stimulate an opera hall or a studio sound, with the whole system enclosed in one cabinet casing.[b]

But because he patented his invention and put it in commercial purposes, he was considered the first inventor - the first patented producer.

Other Karaoke

Aside of the two persons above, there was actually another company who was also considered the first inventor - the Clarion company. They were actually the first producer, but there is no existence of the patent.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

January 24, 1998 Aswang News in Caloocan City

Lung ailment, not aswang killed baby, says doc

ASWANG, in the city? Not really. The Caloocan City police assured terrorized residents of Dagat-Dagatan yesterday that the area is not infested with aswang, the human flesh-eating creature of Philippine folklore. The statement came following reports that an old female aswang devoured a newborn baby boy residing in the area early Wednesday morning. Police investigators clarified that the immediate cause of the death of three-week-old Dave Nagawa is broncho-pneumonia, the inflammation of the lungs. Dave was found by her mother Leonor already stiff at around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday inside their house at Block 39, Lot 7, Sabalo Street, Kaunlaran Village, Dagat-Dagatan. Leonor, 21, said she could not explain why her baby's mouth and nose were oozing with blood. Lumps were also found in Dave's head, neck and left shoulder. "We were shocked; he [Dave] was a healthy baby. He did not even get sick from the day he was born," Leonor said.

Her husband Edwin added that Leonor had even played with Dave the night before he died. "But when we woke up early [Wednesday] morning, he [Dave] was already stiff," he said. The baby's death remained a mystery because the couple has yet to receive the death certificates, inflaming the superstitious beliefs of the neighbors, most of whom hailed from the allegedly aswang-infested provinces in southern Philippines. But some' neighbors claimed having proof. A girl alleged seeing a fierce-looking old woman at the roof of the Nagawa's house during the early morning that Dave died. Reports quoted a certain Roselle Echano, nine, as describing the old woman as having very long hair, wrinkled skin and reddish, glowering eyes. These descriptions aptly fit the portrayal of the supernatural being in Philippine folklore. Moreover, when some neighbors scaled thereof, they reportedly discovered blood-stains that led to a small opening in the couple's room.

"The aswang could have sucked the baby's blood," the neighbors said. Leonor herself recalled that their neighbors used to say during her pregnancy that an old woman was frequently seen on their roof every night. "But I did not buy it, I thought it was all hearsay," she said. Still, intense terror gripped the residents that barangay tanods kept watch the night after the incident occurred.

So intense it failed to escape media attention. Too intense that city police chief Supt. Samuel Pagdilao ordered his investigators to "verify" and present feedback on the incident. Investigators Senior Police Officer I Romeo Onte and Police Officer I Joel Aquino dug into the mystery only to find out that nothing mysterious surrounded the baby's death. The policemen discovered . that Dave di'ed.of naturals causes, particularly of broncho-pneumonia, as verified by' Caloocan City Medical Officer 4 Dr. Isidore Ayson. Ayson furthered that the lung disease caused the baby's bleeding. Aquino said the Nagawal couple also "verbally denounced" the reports, claiming that their son was not a victim of a "witch." Moreover, a certain Rodelia Echano, 14, the victim's neighbor and probably Roselle's sister, said that she saw not an old woman but a big cat on the roof of the couple at around 2 a.m. Wednesday. End of the story? Not quite. Some Dagat-Dagatan residents just refuse to bury the issue, claiming that there is indeed an aswang in the area. Not a few residents have been buying extra garlic, the alleged aswang repellent.

Sharon Lansangan, 15, the victim's aunt, is sure that her nephew was killed by the aswang which lingered about on their roof. "Before Dave died, I heard noise on the roof. It could not be a cat or anything as it squeaked 'ik, ik, ik' [the "patented" sound of the aswang]," she said.


Monday, June 17, 2013

The Secret of University of Santo Tomas

University of Santo Tomas was one of the oldest universities in the Philippines. Even our national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal studied here. The original building of the university was actually in Intramuros, then they transfered in Sampaloc (the present location of UST).

The university is a private, Roman Catholic, teaching and research university run by the Order of Preachers in Manila. Founded on 28 April 1611 by archbishop of Manila Miguel de Benavides, it has the oldest extant university charter in the Philippines and in Asia and is one of the world's largest Catholic universities in terms of enrollment found on one campus.[1]

The Legend

[Taken from Internet:[2]]

beneath it was something, hidden for almost nine millenniums, waiting for something...
There's a popular myth in the Philippines that the University of Santo Tomas was hiding something beneath it. It was said that there is a secret underground passageway beneath it and it also hides plenty of secret doorways. They said, that it was St. Thomas Aquinas who planned and wrote the testament order to be given to the Dominican priests to build that kind of passages. It was said, that from the Arc [Arch] of the Centuries towards the Main building, you will see unexplainable [inexplainable/inexplicable] languages, words, and symbols being etched at the side [in the walls] of the hallway. And that's true! I've seen those prints because I'm a student of this university. Although three of these secret doorways has been revealed, there is no passageway that we could find directing us into the main underground passageway. We are wondering if this is only a myth or reality. And we are thinking, if we could crack the codes etched through the hallway, maybe it can lead us through the secret underground passageway where secrets are meant to be secrets forever.

The big question is...

Why does St. Thomas needs [need] to order those Dominican priests to build this kind of passageway?

What's inside this passageway, and what does it contains [contain]?

How come that this passageway has been able to be kept for almost nine millenniums without the knowledge of our fellow university men?
[How did they hide this passageway for almost nine millenniums without the knowledge of our fellow university men?]

What does [do] the codes mean?

Does the positioning of the University or the above photo* of the university can give us hints?
[Can the position of the University or the above photo* give us hints?]

Does [Do] the Quadricentennial square of this university and its 'arc of the century' have a relationship to this so called "myth"?

I'm just wondering because I'm a student of this university...

*I don't have the photo the author was talking about.


As written above by the original author of the narrative, it was a "popular 'myth'". Thus, many people knew it.

One of our readers noticed something, about St. Thomas Aquinas. He (the original author) said that the Saint planned and ordered the construction of the 'secret passageway.' However, St. Thomas had died earlier (on March 4, 1274) before the main building of UST started its construction (in 1924). Even though the university was founded in 1611, it's still too late; and the European (esp. Spaniards) even came in the Philippines in 1521.

The author also claimed that (s)he personally saw those symbols or languages inscribed in the walls of the said hallway (Arch of the Centuries towards the Main building). (S)He considered the symbols to be a puzzle that may reveal the way to the secret passageway.

The Arch of the Centuries (s)he is talking about was originally erected in 1611 at Intramuros.When UST transferred in Sampaloc, the Arch was also carried piece-by-piece and was re-erected at the present Plaza Intramuros in 1954. The original Arch which faces the Main Building was the main doorway to the university building before it was destroyed during World War II when it was at Intramuros. A newer arch faced España Boulevard, which is a reconstruction of the original arch.[3]

While the Main Building, its construction was handed over Fr. Roque Ruaño, a Spanish Dominican who had graduated at the top of the first graduating class of the UST's Faculty of Engineering in 1912. He conducted a research about earthquakes of the country.[4] Thus, the main building was built as an earthquake proof.

(S)He also mentioned the Quadricentennial Square. Ramon Orlina’s sculpture, “Tetraglobal”, is the centerpiece of it, which signifies the various stakeholders of the university represented by four figures: Two students, one male and the other, female; a professor; and a Dominican priest.[5]

Being the oldest university in Asia, it is possible that such school may hide some doorways beneath its buildings. Even the old monumental buildings (esp. Castles) in Europe contain secret passageways that may lead you from here to there. My first impression with this legend is, the author considered the university campus like that of Hogwarts. Well, I can't blame him/her. I admit, I also love mysteries and discovering places not been discovered.

It made me remember the stories my uncle told me about the province where he grew up. I am eager to go there.


The above story in the box is unedited. The 'I' on it is not the author of this article himself but the original writer of the story. The italicized words were inserted to make it clear and understandable for the readers.

Friday, June 7, 2013


Haunted houses are made when they have a dark past in which the ghost still haunts. Those ghosts might seek for revenge to his/her captor, and they might be jealous to the living.

I found a story in a book about a 1950s house in Cavite wherein a ghost of a young lady still haunts and scares his neighbors through her sad moaning.

[Taken from The Sound of Fear by Gabby Libarios]


Built during the 1950s, it was a baronial house belonging to the landed gentry of Cavite. Bathe in opulence and grandeur, the house was not only meant for residence. It was also a place for grand celebrations, where the cultured, the educated, and the toast of the town converged to partake of joyous merrymaking that lasted until the wee hours.

Some townsfolk would suggest that the festivities held there were always of grand scale. Music spilled into the streets, wine flowed like water, and all the lights switched on, making the house look ablaze from afar.

However boisterous and pompous the celebration were, people in the surrounding area regarded the house as their temporary escape, which offered them an experience - albeit vicariously - what it was like the charmed life.

But as always, there was another side of the story, especially if no one alive could attest to the house's history, which, over the years, has become a mix of truth and untruth passed around by word of mouth.

Some people would say that it was the hiding place of powerful drug lord. Other would suggest that it was a hotbed of vice, where the high rollers and card sharks gamble their riches, sometimes life and limb, all in the name of money. Just the same, the houses had nothing but notoriety. But among the lies and fabricated tales, there was always one story that kept the house's history interesting, horrifying, and sad all at the same time. It was the story of the Santos family.

Despite their wealth, which came from the father's successful mining company, the sons and daughters were taught to lead a simple, low key life.

Every morning, the father would read the paper and drink his coffee on the veranda. The mother, who always wore melancholic smile, would tend their garden, quietly pruning the plants and pulling out the weed sprouts, while the kids, except the eldest who was always in her room, would run around the garden.

Named after a flower, Daisy had always been quiet and reserved. She would spend most of her time inside her room, carefully thumbing through her dog-eared books by classic authors. Oftentimes, she would just sit in front of her dresser and comb he long black hair for hours. If the weather permitted, she would linger on her balcony and relish the crisp, fresh air summer. Their neighbors would say that sometimes they would hear Daisy singing from the balcony. Her voice is so lovely, they would say.

On days when Daisy would accompany her mother to church, people would always notice her. Some say Daisy was the most beautiful girl in town. In fact, her mother's friends never failed to compliment her, however inadequately or too informally clothed she was. Boys, on the other hand, simply gawked at her presence.

Little did Daisy know that her beauty, which held so much power, would soon be her curse.

Barely a month after her 18th birthday, Daisy was brutally raped and murdered. The crime happened when the rest of the family was out for an afternoon mass. Her lifeless body was found in the backyard. Her clothes were ripped, blood dripping between her legs. Investigations said she was in her room when her attacker barged in. Bruises on her stomach and legs suggested she was beaten first. Loose black hair found on the floorboards near her bedroom indicated that the rapist dragged Daisy by the hair out of her room before committing the heinous crime.

Despite the thorough investigation, the culprit was never found. Some say it was Daisy's spurned lover. Others say it was their house help who always harbored feelings for Daisy.

The family eventually moved out and never returned. Although there were the occasional visits from real estate agents, no one had ever taken interest in the house since then.

Though it was relegated to a mere urban legend, Daisy's death still echoes in that little town in Cavite. Legend has it that every night, the sound of a weeping young girl can be heard from the house.


True Philippine Ghost Story Book 15

Note(s): The picture depicted above is not the actual picture.

Mt. Apo's Venado Lake

Mount Apo is the highest mountain in the Philippines, with an altitude of 2,954 metres (9,692 ft). It is located between Davao City and Davao del Sur province in Region XI and Cotabato province in Region XII. The name Apo means ancestor.

There's a lake at the foot of the said mountain which they called the Lake Venado. The name came from a Spanish word Venado which means deer. Locals call it linaw (clear) because of its crystal-clear water that reflects the mountain. Many people would say that the lake is enchanted, that an engkanto (fairy) or some kind of entity was living there.

This beautiful small lake not only gives a breath-taking picturesque scene to mountain climbers but was also believed to take lives of these innocent hikers. Well, it is true that almost every year people die there for some reason. The lake is the favorite camping site by people who go there. Some of them dare to take a deep on it.

In April, 2007, a group of mountain climbers set-up their camp beside the lake. One of them died after swimming in the lake. Minutes later, his companions don't know where the climber go. Their leader didn't think of him going to swim on the placid and inviting lake. The local government of Davao City strictly prohibited campers and/or mountain climbers to swim on it. A while later they heard someone calling for help. They ran straightly to the lake and found the hiker was drowning. They attempted to rescue him, but they failed. The hiker was nowhere to be found, he drowned deep the lake.

Because of his disappearance, urban legends rose. Local tribesmen warned tourists about the said fairy dwelling in the lake.

His co-climbers reported him to the authorities. However, he was not found for days, no trace of him was seen. His long disappearance, rescuers speculated, that he was already dead. Days later, he was finally found, lifeless.

Aside of the reported incident, there were other people who were reported missing in the Lake Venado. Some of them still missing until now.

Experts thought of possible reasons of death. It can be caused by physical accident or natural disaster, but for locals, it's not the reason why. They are blaming the entity living there. No one can say it's not true because there's no proof to question its validity.

A local leader suggested that tourists or hikers should undergo first for a prayer ceremony in respect to the engkanto of the said lake. The ceremony is called Pamaas. Elder indigenous people perform the ritual to placate the mountain God Apo Sandawa before they start climbing. The tribe leader of Sitio Sayaban was convinced that many spirits housing on the mountain were disturbed from their peace and demanded a sacrifice to remind the local population and visitors that they do exist.