The Philippines is renown for having an internet café on every corner and rightly so. Internet cafes proliferate but they pale into insignificance when compared to karaoke bars. From tiny rooms with 3 or 4 plastic tables and videoke machine in the corner to luxuriously appointed salons with a stage and hostess, songs from the 50s onwards fill the night air.
No night out is complete without a karaoke session. You can hire a private room for yourself and friends and sing your collective hearts out for around 300 pesos (AU$7.80) an hour. Drop into any of the many bars and for the price of your drinks share the machine with the other customers.
Attend a girlie bar and have a hostess attend your every need. Organize your songs with the DJ, hold your hand while you sing if you’re nervous, lead the applause for your efforts and organize another round of drinks to celebrate your stage success.
No party is complete without a videoke machine and the hiring of one can be reason enough for a party. As noted in ‘The Streets are for People’ when gathered together and music is added, Filipinos will sing rather than dance.
When guests arrive for a dinner party a couple of clicks and the TV is turned into videoke machine as the song book starts passing from hand to hand. The latest microphones come with a key pad incorporated to punch up the number of your song.
Across a back ground of idyllic beach scenes, busty maidens in bikinis and hunks without their shirts the lyrics glow when it’s their turn to be sung. Your efforts will be evaluated not only by your fellow singers but by the machine itself. Have no fear the machine is as tolerant as your fellow singers and I have never seen a score of less than 75.
Japan may well be the undisputed capital of karaoke but the Philippines with its love of singing and its enthusiastic adoption of the technology must be coming a very close second.