Hope and anticipation for MNL48, AKB48’s Filipina sister group (Part 1)

MNL48 logo

MNL48 logo (image from http://stage48.net/)

Enter MNL48, the Philippines’ newest pop sensation

Finally, AKB48’s Filipina sister group is coming to an exciting realization, and the Pinoy fandom of the world’s biggest pop band – and Japan’s best-selling female act – cannot wait. For the longtime fans in the Philippines, it is a ‘dream comes true’. The Pearl of the Orient finally gets a taste of the pop culture of The Land of The Rising Sun. The country joins Indonesia (JKT48), China (SNH48), and Taiwan (TPE48) as hosts of AKB48’s international sister groups.

MNL48 to change the face of OPM

AKB48’s Filipina sister group, aptly named MNL48, will complement the local music scene and give Original Pinoy Music (OPM) the boost it badly needs. OPM is currently limited to a few popular acts that frequent the Sunday noontime show of ABS-CBN – and probably they are the only music acts most Filipinos know. OPM is also limited to reality TV singing competitions like The Voice Kids, The X Factor, and Lip Sync Battle. The only singing show that matters is I Love OPM in ABS-CBN. (We need more episodes and more seasons of I Love OPM. I pray the management follow up with a new season soon.)

AKB48 "Beginner"

AKB48 “Beginner” cover

A number of Filipino music acts, including pop rock bands and boy-and-girl groups, have fallen into obscurity due to lack of media coverage, airplays, and support. Many have given up playing music and pursued other careers. Those who keep on playing music are relegated to playing in smaller venues, town fiestas, political gatherings, cruise ships or international venues. Only few Filipino musicians have staying power thanks to their foray in acting or politics or influence in the industry.

A lot of celebrities are foraying into music even if they lack the voice, charm, and delicacy to become credible singers. Their passport is not their voice, but their looks, fame, and influence, plus support from their huge fan base. As long as they are popular and rich, these celebrities will sing and will not mind remarks from real but less popular musicians. This is a democracy: celebrities have the ‘right’ to sing and to be respected as singers. (I will not name anyone here because I value my life.)

JKT48 Heavy Rotation

JKT48, AKB48’s first international sister group (image from http://stage48.net/)

I have great faith in the first generation members of MNL48 that they will not emulate those celebrities who sing just for increased popularity and staying power. Having passed the rigorous auditions and being acquainted with or instructed about AKB48 music and idol culture, the first generation MNL48 should know better than those celebrities.

Songs I’d like MNL48 to sing in Pilipino

To fellow fans, get ready to hear your favorite AKB48 songs in Tagalog/Filipino. I expect to get mixed feelings from this. I don’t know how I am going to take this. For so long I have gotten used to listening to Japanese and some Bahasa and Chinese (courtesy of JKT48 and SHN48, respectively).

MNL48 will sing AKB48 classics in Tagalog/Pilipino or perhaps Taglish. They cannot sing original compositions yet, and it will take some time before they can get to sing an original song as in the case of SNH48. But the Tagalog/Pilipino versions of AKB48 songs will endear Filipinos not only to MNL48 but also to AKB48 and other sister groups.

I better get my ears ready to hear the Tagalized/Pilipino versions of:

  • River
  • Kaze wa Fuiteru
  • Gingham Check
  • Kimi no koto ga Suki Dakara
  • Nante Bohemian
  • Ōgoe Diamond
  • Namida Surprise!
  • Nakeru Basho
  • Tobenai Agehachō
  • Darkness (SKE48)
  • Tsuyokimono Yo (SKE48)
  • Banzai Venus (SKE48)
  • Gomen ne, SUMMER (SKE48)
  • Must be now (NMB48)

To the people who will translate AKB48 songs into Tagalog/Pilipino, I pray you will do justice to the songs. Show the beauty of our language and incorporate the spirit of J-pop culture in every translation.

To be continued



  1. Will there be some Tag-lish sons too?
    : )

  2. I wish i can be a part of MNL48

    • Hello Enma, if you have will and determination, you can! Believe in yourself.

  3. Xylee

    hi striving water,

    I’m a fans of JKT48, how big is JKT48 fandom in philipine?

    • Hello Xylee, thank you for reading my blog.

      I don’t know how big the JKT48 fandom is but I assume any Filipino AKB fan knows a thing or two about JKT. We support all 48 sister groups including JKT. If you are curious, please check out the following groups and communities in Facebook:

      – 48FAM Philippines United
      – FilWota48
      – Akb48 Philippines Fans Club

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