Degrading gays and women through “Nagmahal Ng Bakla”

I originally submitted this as a requirement for my Gender Sensitivity in the Mass Media class (J196) under now-retired Dr. Georgina Encanto early last year. Originally posted here:

The song “Nagmahal ng Bakla” by rap group Dagtang Lason received frequent airplay the past few months. Radio stations played it repeatedly while its video has been uploaded in YouTube. It has witty lyrics and a catchy tune, making the song inflicted in people’s heads. In fact, even young children can sing-along to it. The group, meanwhile, has performed the song live in “Sharon” and “Wowowee.” Given the message of this song, such publicity isn’t only unwarranted – it is also dangerous.

What does the song really say? Here are the lyrics of its chorus:

Mga tambay lang kami sawa sa babae
May mga babaeng manloloko
Pineperahan lang kami
Kaya ngayon bakla na lang ang aming iibigin
Masarap magmahal ang bakla
Ohh kay sarap… damhin

Basically, it tells us that since most girls are merely looking for sugar daddies or boys they can use as cash cows, these tambays (street bystanders) now prefer gays as their lovers. They now want homosexual males because they are already “sawa sa babae.” It’s as if females are muffin meals that males can just toss away once they get so used to its taste. What about the gays? They are being treated as an alternative giver of pleasure for men. “Kaya ngayon, bakla na lamang ang aming iibigin,” the song goes.

There is no mention here about the need of gays to be loved in their own right – and not as an alternative to women. Upon close examination, the song’s chorus also lacks logic. How can a plain tambay serve as a cash cow? How can he be a financial provider? Scattered throughout the song are other lines that condescend both women and gays.

The view that homosexuals are just being used as plain sex objects (or a way by which a man can release his urges) is supported by the line: “Hinanakit sa babae ang dahilan / Kung bakit nagmahal ako ng tulad niya / Kahit siya ay pangit.” The song says that though the thought of being in a relationship with a gay man is still repulsive (because of the latter’s supposed ugliness) for these tambays, they would still tolerate it because women only break their hearts.

The lines “Kaya nagdesisyon tuloy ang puso na laging bigo / Na bakla na lang ang iibigin ko” and “Kahit karumal-dumal pa ang kanyang (the gay) pagmumukha / Basta wag niya lang akong gawing kaawa-awa” gives a negative generalization of women as domineering beings. It also characterizes gays as “ugly” receivers (taga-salo) of distraught men.

The song gives macho males the privilege of choosing who between females and gays can best satisfy their needs, both emotional and sexual. Though the song says that straight males can fall for gays, the meanness toward gays remains obvious. “Kaya sa bigo, sa mga babae diyan / Umibig ng bakla, nakakalat lang yan diyan,” a line states. What does these mean? It subtly suggests that gays are always lurking around, searching desperately for a man. Unsurprisingly, the rap single also mentioned the typical gay-gives-the-guy-money stereotype: “Bakla na lang ang iibigin ko / Di na ko masasaktan, nagkapera pa ako.”

Other disturbing lines include: “Bago tayo magtabi sa kama, magpa-opera ka muna.” Apparently, the guy here is telling his gay lover that before they can have sex, the latter must first undergo a sex transplant (so the gay can have the body of a woman?). This is like saying that gays must try hard to look like a “real” woman. Another line goes like this: “Relasyon natin ay parang ginto / Mahal kita, wag lang sana akong magkatulo.” The tambay is now worried that he might contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI) from his gay partner. Really? Given that these tambays‘ desire for women has reached the saturation point (“sawa sa babae“), isn’t it that they are the more likely carrier of STIs?

We all know that the recording industry is taking serious blows from the global financial crisis, unabated piracy, and the rise of online music-sharing. The entertainment world, meanwhile, is becoming more crowded with almost everyone wanting to be famous. Coming up with a controversial single that gets tremendous airplay and good record sales may be good from a business perspective. But what if in the process, both gays and women are being maligned repeatedly?

Music is a major part of any culture, and it in return reflects us as a people. Music (and other media) can influence the way individuals think because of its ubiquity. When this power is used to perpetuate the hostility toward those wrongly regarded as belonging to the “second” and “third” sexes, it becomes bothersome. This is why the popularity of “Nagmahal ng Bakla” is dangerous.

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Mark Pere Madrona

The Filipino Scribe (TFS) is managed by Mark Pere Madrona, a multi-awarded writer and licensed professional teacher from the Philippines. Mr. Madrona earned his master’s degree in history from the University of the Philippines-Diliman last 2020. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in journalism cum laude from the same university back in 2010. His area of interests includes Philippine journalism, history, and politics as well as social media. Know more about him here:

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