Makibaka: Music Inspired by the Struggle for Change

“Convergence,” the only English track in the album, won the grand title in Net-25’s Rock the Beat songwriting competition and is now the official program theme of Convergence, the country’s longest running information technology program aired in Net-25. In “Convergence,” Ramirez calls out to the present generation of tech-savvy youth to maximize the use of technology by making it an instrument in providing a better future for Filipinos.

The song “Tagapagtanggol ng Bayan (Defenders of the People)” is Ramirez’s ode to lawyers who risk their lives in defense of the poor and oppressed and the pursuit of basic social change.

Dreamworker Too (, a close friend of Ramirez, wrote two songs in the album. Namely “Kapit-Bisig sa Pagbabago” and “Balang Araw” and provided musical accompaniment for Leoncio Bagani’s poem “Oyayi.”

Balang Araw,” originally recorded by Dreamworker Too, was first performed at the People’s SoNA program on Commonwealth Avenue on July 27. The song tells of not losing faith and hope despite the challenging road toward achieving the dreams and aspirations of the people.

Karl Ramirez: The genius behind Makibaka (Photo courtesy of Karl Ramirez /

Oyayi “is about strengthening the commitment for social change and is dedicated to all the heroes and martyrs who fought against oppression and exploitation. The song is also featured in the tribute video produced by Kodao Productions and for journalist and poet Alexander Martin Remollino who passed away last September.

Kapit-Bisig sa Pagbabago” was recorded during the campaign period for the 2010 national elections and is the official theme of the People’s Criteria, the electoral reforms campaign of Pagbabago! People’s Movement for Change.

Makibaka’s Struggle

Ramirez pointed out the difficulties in coming up with an album with very limited resources.

“Since the album is self-produced and self-published, one of the biggest challenges was raising funds for recording equipment. Since we now live in what is called the digital age, everything you need is available online, the music can be produced using the computer. All you need is a lot of time to learn, improve the craft,” Ramirez explained. Ramirez used Cakewalk Sonar and M-audio equipment in recording Makibaka.

Ramirez uploaded the album in music catalog websites like Jamendo, where people can listen to the songs, download and share them for free as long as it’s for non-commercial use.

“People can access the album for free but it can still protect the rights of the songwriters and composers. For example, the songs are licensed by Creative Commons,” Ramirez added.

Competing with major record labels is not what Makibaka intends to do. “Not yet, anyway,” said Ramirez.

Ramirez explains that Makibaka’s main objective is to send the songs’ messages across a wide audience, especially to the younger generation. “There are other venues where we can share Makibaka‘s music and message. If it can’t be heard on the radio or be seen on television, then it can be shared on the internet, played in music bars. And of course, in communities and in the streets, where the struggle for meaningful change is always present.”

“Spreading OPM remains a struggle in the Philippines. Still, in my view, in a time when people should be conscious about what is happening around them, creating and spreading music about society and encouraging people to take part in changing it is always timely,” he said. “Songs that liberate are always timely.” (

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