The Metro Manila Mixtape


Tuning into Metro Manila’s airwaves is like pressing shuffle on a playlist of every genre. Original Pinoy Music, locally known as “OPM,” is a kaleidoscope of influences from rock and reggae, to jazz and funk, and even electronic and folk. Whatever it is our city listens to, it’s been an age-old custom to enjoy music live with a cold drink in hand. A tradition that dates as far back to our forefathers as they walked, hair brushed up and Walkman on their hip, into university gigs all over the metropolis. OPM doesn’t discriminate. You can hear it in worn-down bars or sleek lounges. You can also find college bands and rock n’ roll veterans sharing the stage, serving up some Manila soul. Dive in, nab a drink, and join the crowd!

Updated a year ago

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Craft Rock and Grill

Makati City, Philippines • Recommendation • 29 May 2018

Ease into the local music scene with some familiar tunes sung by local voices! Each night at Craft Rock and Grill brings a new theme and cover band for a pleasant surprise. Grab a San Miguel Light and a pile of Mix & Match Wings on Rockeoke Wednesdays; down a few Shooters on Glamrock Fridays; and share Bacardi Bowls on Rockstar Saturdays! With Craft Rock and Grill smack dab in the central business district of Bonifacio Global City, good company is never in short supply. Come by a few times—when you’ve warmed up to the local music scene, you can start the week with OPM Mondays!


Unit E, Fort Entertainment Center, 26th Street Corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines

2 saves

Conspiracy Garden Cafe

Quezon City, Philippines • Recommendation • 29 May 2018

Intimate acoustic sets weave their stories through a simple strum of the guitar and heartfelt verses here at Conspiracy Garden Café. Sometimes, in what could be your living room; sometimes, out in the backyard garden; either way, it’s always in the spirit of a relaxed jam session among friends. OPM icons like Noel Cabangon and Joey Ayala have played here, but it makes sure to open its doors to independent acts and emerging bands as well. Expect a cover charge, as most gigs spots in Manila ask for a fee at the door. Event details are posted regularly with ticket prices online, so follow them on Facebook!


59 Visayas Avenue, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

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Handlebar Manila

Makati City, Philippines • Recommendation • 29 May 2018

On the flip side, maybe leather-clad bikers and rugged rockers are more of your crowd! Keep an eye out for a cluster of motorbikes parked out front and you’ve arrived. Just when you think you’ve got it pegged as a gritty dive bar, it shifts into a blues bar and sports pub. You’re likely to find succulent steaks and piles of nachos making their rounds to tables packed with expats. Expect an eclectic cast of characters at Handlebar Bar and Grill attracted by its trifecta of bands, billiards, and beer.


31 Polaris Street, Bel-Air Village, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

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Cowboy Grill (Malate)

Manila, Philippines • Recommendation • 29 May 2018

A mixed bag of local talent: live bands, comedic acts, sensual dancers, and emerging DJs—sometimes, all in one night—cater to a wide crowd at Cowboy Grill. Get schooled on Filipino rock classics by Aegis, a local band that occasionally takes the stage. Their singles “Halik” (Kiss) and “Basang-Basa Sa Ulan” (“Drenched In The Rain”) are always crowd favorites and go-to songs on karaoke night. You’re sure to catch locals belting out in unison over the lyrics! Though it’s all in Filipino, it’s always amusing to find the local equivalent of Heart’s “Alone” or Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”


431 Remedios Street Corner Madre Ignacia Street, Malate, Manila, Metro Manila

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Tago Jazz Cafe

San Juan, Philippines • Recommendation • 29 May 2018

Translating to “hidden” in Filipino, Tago is a sanctuary to jazz lovers in Cubao, Quezon City—a neighborhood of eclectic musical tastes where kindred spirits come to bask in soulful melodies. You won’t find a glitzy 1920s lounge. Nelson Gonzales, the founder, is the lifeline and driving force behind Tago Jazz Café. This little haven was founded in an aging home, inherited from Nelson’s own grandmother. He is the man at the stove, behind the accounting desk, by the door, and on the drum kit. He does it all. His heart of spreading the love of jazz music is what keeps Tago afloat.


14 Main Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

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saGuijo Cafe + Bar

Makati City, Philippines • Recommendation • 29 May 2018

Street art and soundwaves lead passersby into the old FIlipino-style home of saGuijo—literally Tagalog for “at Guijo Street.” The door opens right in front of the “stage” where, despite the intimate venue, a full band and sound system blast with raw energy and independent rock. Occasionally, some synth, ballads, and acoustic sets make their way into the set. Mismatched stickers cover the peeling walls and hazy windows, as colored lights tint the night. saGuijo’s been roughed up by countless gigs and enthusiastic crowds, but those who come here surely don’t mind.


7612 Guijo Street, San Antonio Village, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

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Today x Future

Quezon City, Philippines • Recommendation • 29 May 2018

“No man is rich enough to buy back his past, but every man has a future to toast to today,” scrawled above the archway that welcomes people into Today x Future. As the night picks up, freestyle rap sessions and lively DJ sets flow easily from the packed room and the crowd spills into the street. That is a usual night at this venue, even in the middle of the work week. A disco ball glimmers above the mass of bodies and the small stage as a neon sign above bar assures you that “THE FUTURE IS NOW.”


7-T General Malvar Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

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Route 196

Pasig City, Philippines • Recommendation • 29 May 2018

Discover a new anthem before it hits the mainstream! Route 196 is home to many of OPM’s emerging acts, where local music lovers gravitate to like their second home. Electric guitars, road signs, and street art decorate the space. On clear nights, crowds hang out outside, with a bucket of beer and sumptuous bar bites on their the table. Inside, music washes over the crowd—from the nostalgic hits of rock band Sandwich to the folksy soul of Ben & Ben, Route 196 takes you through through the diverse scene of Filipino music.


196-A Katipunan Avenue Extension, Blue Ridge A, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

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Quezon City, Philippines • Recommendation • 29 May 2018

Literally on the underground, Mow’s is all raw, unbridled energy, fuelled by up-and-coming bands that draw a crowd as young as the university students in the area as well as seasoned gig-hoppers to this dive bar. Descend into the dim basement of Kowloon House, thrash with the crowd, and come back upstairs to fill up on energy with dim sum. To regulars, it’s a weekly tradition to distract them from the humdrum of papers and exams.


Kowloon House Basement, 20 Matalino Street, Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

2 saves

12 Monkeys Music Hall and Pub

Pasig City, Philippines • Recommendation • 29 May 2018

You won't find elbows in odd places and sweaty mosh pits at 12 Monkeys Music Hall and Pub. Recline in plush sofas, sip on their signature cocktails, and settle into the night as bands play on! Wind down after a long work day and treat yourself to an experience that just can’t be beat by your headphones. This pub also brings in new talents, but focuses on local favorites that sung the soundtrack of Filpino youth.


Ruby Road, El Pueblo, Ortigas, Pasig City, Metro Manila

2 saves

19 East

Las Pinas City, Philippines • Recommendation • 29 May 2018

This beloved venue has it all: space, ambiance, and acoustics—with OPM's best acts coming to play as often as they can. Turning off the East Service Road, just behind Laguna Bay Inn, 19 East greets visitors with a well-kept garden, spacious courtyard, and bubbling fountain. A marquee announces the night’s performers and ushers patrons into a massive hall filled with round tables. Paintings line the walls, but all eyes are pulled to the illuminated stage where experienced acts sing their hearts out. 19 East updates a big sign out by the road for people passing by, including frequent acts the likes of Up Dharma Down, MYMP, Southborder, Side A, and a mellow mix of local acts with ballads that pluck at the heartstrings.


Kilometer 19, East Service Road, Sucat, Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila, Philippines

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