SB19’s ‘Nyebe’ is a reminder that ‘White Christmas’ isn’t wonderland

Screenshots from the official visualizer of SB19’s Nyebe


MANILA – Last week, P-pop group SB19 finally released their song “Nyebe” (snow), a winter ballad that reminds many of the difficulties of being far from your loved ones as we celebrate the holidays.

The group has sung Nyebe in their concerts before, including last year’s “In the Zone” concert and the recently concluded WYAT world tour, which covered four countries. On Dec. 13, the “live monsters” finally released the studio version, coupled with a black-and-white visualizer of behind-the-scenes reels from their world tour.

But more than just showing what went on behind the scenes, the visualizer, which has so far garnered more than 500,000 views and counting on YouTube, also encapsulated and highlighted the longing, and sadness of living and working overseas. It showed the harsh realities of being away from your family and the pain of leaving them in their search for better opportunities (At kung ako’y nakalilipad ay babaliin siyang pakpak, Nang sa gano’n oras ay huminto. Ngayo’y nandito).

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Among those included in the visualizer showed reels that debunks the American dream, including homelessness and isolation (Bakit ba ‘di ko namalayang dumadampi na sa’king mukha? Lamig na mabigat pa sa dala. Kahit papalapit na ang inaabangan nila. Na noo’y pinatibok ang puso kong ngayo’y nagyelo na).

This is true, especially for the 22 million undocumented migrants in the US, who continue to face various forms of discrimination and inequity.

Still, others fall victim to inhumane political stunts, such as the recent move of Republican governors in the US to send thousands of asylum seekers to Democratic-run cities such as New York City, Washington DC, and Chicago in buses to supposedly highlight the number of immigrants crossing the border.

The harsh realities that many immigrants face were further exacerbated when COVID-19 reached their shores. Migrant workers were forced to work in occupations that expose them to the virus while receiving very low pay and are not provided with any health insurance in case they contracted it.

Others became victims of Asian hate and were portrayed as spreaders of the dreaded virus.

In the US, Pew Research Center said immigrants were hit harder during the start of the pandemic as “the unemployment rate increased more sharply with the onset of the COVID-19 recession.”

In other countries like Hong Kong, Filipino migrant workers said they have been cutting down on their own upkeep just to send more remittances to their families in the face of the rising cost of everything. The Mission for Migrant Workers reported that more than half of Filipino domestic workers there are working between 11 to 16 hours a day, while nearly a third said more than 16 hours.

Despite these, migrant workers endure this to be able to support and provide for their families back home (Tayo ma’y magkalayo, panalangin ko’y kayo. Takot ay maglalaho, ito’ng aking pangako. Ako’y nandito).

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But what makes the song lethal is the promise of hope – that the snow will soon melt and there is joy in that realization (May kaba pa sa’king dibdib. Marinig lang ang ‘yong tinig. Matutunaw din lahat ng. Matutunaw din lahat ng. Matutunaw din lahat ng nyebe). (RVO) (

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