Reasons why Highlanders Love Country Music

If you ask a highlander why he/she likes country music, most responses you get are: Siempre a, mayat garod (Of course because the music is good), others would say, cowboy garod ya (because I’m a cowboy / cowgirl), still some would say, adayo met a gamin nga maymayat kesa pop/rap/rock etc (because it is a lot better than other types of music)… Those answers are good to a fellow who also loves country music but really cannot satisfy the curiosity of a person who does not appreciate the music.

So why do we really like country music? here are some reasons I can enumerate and hope you can relate to it too.

1. An Igorot’s choice of music is his romantic side

Seems like this music suffice the lack of an Igorot’s romantic expressions. We love ballads, love songs and songs that tell stories. All of these are found in country music. It is country music that tells a story in a song.  I guess we can then conclude that we are also romantic after all (han lang nga obvious).

2. It’s all about the beat and its melody

We highlanders can dance with the sound of gongs and solibaos. These gongs and solibaos create a simple yet harmonious sound. With its simplicity anyone can dance or move with its beat.

Just like country music, we can dance to the beat of the music it creates. It does not really matter if the beat is slow or fast, because it is still simple and easy to follow.

3.Music is simply relaxing (I guess we can all agree that we want to relax after  or during a day’s hard work )

Who would want to listen to a song that of “totoy bibo” rap or even heavy metal music  after or while working in the garden, in the mines or while walking up or downhill? None right? We are after all descendants of farmers, miners and hunters. Country music originated from the working class in the US. This is the music of the cowboys, farmers and other working class. So do not wonder why we feel like the music is our own or it directly tells our life’s story and just love it so much.

4.American influence

How else did we come to know and love this type of music? Though I cannot find a clear link or any statement saying that the Americans brought their music in the mountains, just the thought that we were not colonized by the Spaniards make us so different from the rest of our lowland counterparts. It was the Americans who were able to penetrate our territory and they became our first teachers.

Feel free to add the reasons why you think you love country music on the comment box below. Enjoy…

Disclaimer: The author author does not claim to be an expert in history nor was the article based on extensive research. The Author himself is a country music lover and the article is his own personal views and does not reflect Baguio Local Eye as a whole.

28 comments

  • Yeahhhh… I was born country!!! Alright…

  • i love country music

  • Nakunamon kabsat…..

  • Yeah i love too country music

  • Mayat nga dinggen ti country songs ta ada istorya da. Kasla story telling met ah. Not to say nga awan istorya daduma nga songs from other genre ngem mayat jay mix ti story telling ken laid back tune ti country songs. Sadly however, manmanu ti barbaro nga country songs nga ada appeal na kanyatayun. Mostly ket old and older songs. Kasla met gamin nga pop songs ti country songs tadta.

  • Maybe it was also brought by the early Episcopalian missionaries who had established their churches deep in the mountain province and benguet especially in sagada..

  • Thanks for the post.

    It was the orig western country music+ plus folk songs. It is bec western songs are all about life stories… Country life/ setting including about horses, family life, adventures. Country love songs are just recent.

    It was the americans, when they started building baguio as vacation place for american dignitaries, they employed local people, they introduce education. It may also tru the episcopalian missionaries, who introduce music in education as well as in church.

    The americans also influenced the local people to use cowboy hats n outfits. Some had traded their americanas, hats n leader jackets in exchange for g-strings.

  • I like country not because im highlanders…
    But because makes me feel better.
    Peace of mind. ..after long hours of work.
    Sounds, rhythms, SIMPLE,that’s kind of my music runs to my blood. weeehh

  • nagsimulang maappreciate ng mga cordillerans ang country music dahil sa isang radio station DZWT ata un,…. parang dun ko narinig ung history kung bakit country music ang gusto ng mga cordillerans.

  • I love country music coz Country music NEVER say the F word, Country music tells a story as mentioned in here, it’s the kind of music that we grew up with. as the saying goes “you can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl”

  • awan ti country music isu ti music ti adda suicidal thought na ket dagidiay tao nga nalaka nga agpa-uyo ken depress . ni misis ko ya ket apa-apain nak nga awan gapgapu na nu makangeg ti country music

  • All are checked!

    It is also observed that people from elevated areas (mountainous regions) are fond of country music. I worked with some guys from Mindanao and they like country music; I did not expect it. They know more than me. So with USA…

  • I like my straight leg levi’s

  • I grow up in the mountains called Mountain Province at that time. In the 1950’s we listened and mostly exposed to radio musics popular at that time sung by Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, and mostly country music singers. Most western movies at that time were Durango kid, John Wayne cowboy movies. So we did have a great western cowboy influence and it was passed on to the present generation. At that time we have a famous local singer by the name of Vic Sinalpan who drives a Dangwa bus from Tabuk to Baguio singing country songs all the way. And not only are we influenced by country music but also in cowboy attires as well. Local shoe and repair stores trive with cowboy boots and hats at that time and I believed even till nowadays. Tagalog movies in those days were also cowboy movies by Fernando Poe Jr. Eddie Garcia, Max Alvarado, Joseph Estrada, etc. and so there were also some influence of country culture somewhere like in Mindanao. But you will always find hillbillys in the Cordilleras 🙂

    • Hi Francis Lammawin, are you referring to Pedro Chinalpan ( and not Vic Sinalpan)? Mr. Chinalpan used to be a Dangwa bus driver, Baguio/Tabuk route. He popularised “Layad Nen Likatan” a Bontoc love song. Not sure if you classify that a Country music rather than a Folk song or Ballad…what’s the difference..

  • Gawis tan wada kayo ay mantaptapi sin naisurat tapno pan aadalan tako.

  • once you learn why ‘cowboy’ boots are common in baguio, you may find a link to the proliferation of country music in town

  • My mom loves country music…

  • Country Music is the best …

  • Uray into kad an nan highlanders countrysong nan music da isunga ulay isna middle east gawis ay mendennge kaneg na wada ka ed Baguio ay naka tune nan radio issan paborito ay istasyon dzwt or dzwr .Country music lover from Qatar.

  • Pang five pay siguro sin reason why we Igorots love country song is because the rythm reflects we highlanders. We highlanders are described being modest, relaxed, and decent. We have natural resources and the most favorable climate in Philippines.

  • it is good to understand the reason why we do or like things! Igorots are passionate and romantic. They express it through their music!

  • its possible that most of the americans who invaded our mountains are from texas. – thats the us state where a lot of country artists came from. plus, i remember when i was a kid that folks at home called any type of breeded roosters as texas.

  • First of all, great article! I have loved it since I was a kid. Thanks to my parents who were the first to introduce folk, rock and of course COUNTRY. Growing up with country music made me appreciate all kinds of kinds – from low plains to high plains, from city lights to country nights, from dirt roads to fast lanes, from small towns to big towns, from saying “yes sir/yes ma’am to shaking hands, from hard work to play hard, from cowboy hat to cowboy boots, from faded tee to faded jeans, from iced tea to cold beer, from mistakes to better, from heartache to healed heart, from kneeling to amen, and so on and so forth. There’s more but one thing is for sure why I do and keepin’ it country. It is a lifestyle. A sub culture that in my opinion will last for a long period of time.

  • Eureka Seraphina Batnag

    well said baguiolocaleye. country music depicts and reflects us being individuals of the highlands. it completely entails what would we like to tell someone through a song. its either about love, hatred and other forms of emotions that we can not tell verbally. nice description anyway.

  • 90’s – back when country was country… Mejo pangit mga lumalabas na country songs ngayon hehe

  • Most hymns/Gospel songs of the Episcopal Church are of typical country and folk melodies thus, maybe (am not sure though), affected the type of melodies/music that members preferred by the members of the church, and that Episcopal missionaries opened missions in the hinterlands where there are no Roman Catholic Churches then like in parts of the Mountain Province and Benguet…

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