"Ako ang Bulan (I am Bulan)" will be an iconic line associated with Felip forever. With his latest music video, he has single-handedly brought the discussion of ancient Philippine mythology to the forefront at home and abroad. Clearly, the main dancer turned soloist is taking his role as ambassador of Filipino culture seriously. Like the rest of Felip's global fanbase, we've been busy learning more about the references and mythology behind 'Bulan (The Moon God),' and we're excited to share our insights into this instant sensation.
Looking Backward to Go Forward
The lyrics are no less powerful, using the myth of Bakunawa and the moon deity, Haliya
'Bulan' is filled with references to Philippine mythology, and it starts with the music itself. The beat, co-produced by Felip and Joshua Daniel Nase (known by his stage name, Josue), is heavier than his previous release, leaning toward metal and rock music. Fans were quick to note that the music seemed loud, to the point of drowning out Felip's vocals. This itself was a reference to the myth of Bakunawa, the sea serpent of Southern Philippine mythology who rises from the ocean to devour the moon. According to traditional lore, the people made loud noises to scare Bakunawa away and save the moon during lunar eclipses.
The lyrics are no less powerful, using the myth of Bakunawa and the moon deity, Haliya, as a metaphor for cancel culture. Like those who attack others for their "15 minutes of fame," Bakunawa kills your inner light after taking it as his own. Felip says it best with his line, “Oh Haliya, ibukas ang mata lalamunin ka na niya. ‘Wag magpa-api sa Bakunawa (Oh, Haliya, Open your eyes, or it will devour you. Don't let your light be swallowed by Bakunawa)." It's a reminder to let your light shine in the face of the hate and jealousy around you.
Felip also references his character in SB19's 'What?' in crucial parts of 'Bulan.' The lyrics talk about walking with dignity while bringing his name with him and reference sitting on his throne, which was his portrayal in "What?" Overall, the dark, grunge-y, more aggressive performing style is his trademark in both pieces. We see his SB19 character climbing above the mass of hate, a dark lord taking his place on his self-built throne of trash. We're glad to finally confirm that the character is a partial reflection of his inner self.
A Collaborative Project
… they manage to hit every irregular beat in "Bulan" and bring modern dance into the realm of the shaman.
Of course, Felip never claims to have done this alone. He may be enough (as he says in his lyrics), but this labor of love was a collaborative project. His brother in SB19, Stell Ajero, sings an ethereal, almost shamanic chant. It contrasts nicely with Felip's rougher rap, bringing together the two opposite voices in their P-Pop group. The two are often played as counterpoints in group songs, and it's a smart move to do the same thing in 'Bulan.' There is even a quick shoutout to his music collaborator, mentioning 'Bulalakaw (Shooting Star)', Josue's latest release.
The choreography was done by Jay Joseph Roncesvalles, who also did 'Bazinga' for SB19. While Felip's first single, 'Palayo,' featured more sensual R&B beats and dance moves, this time, Felip and Jay were heavily influenced by Krumping. The style is often used to express raw emotion, and it fits well with the overall lyrics and theme. Together, they manage to hit every irregular beat in 'Bulan' and bring modern dance into the realm of the shaman.
A Modern Storyteller
Storytelling, especially myths and legends, is a big part of provincial life.
Overall, the song and music video were inspired by stories told to Felip by his grandmother in his home region of Mindanao. Storytelling, especially myths and legends, is a big part of provincial life. It's no surprise that he wanted to keep this piece of his heritage alive by sharing it with A'tin and the world. During a StationHead interview with his fans, he shared his happiness that many people have started researching and talking about Philippine mythology.
Felip admits to doing a lot of research and getting guidance from professionals to get the music video right. Filipino culture is a touchy subject, especially with how much was destroyed during the colonization period. His concern for the appropriateness of what was shown is really appreciated. Several versions of the tales were combined in this music video, so it was important to represent them properly. He also decided to interpret the myths from an anime viewpoint. This was to show respect for the fragile cultural fragments and avoid offending serious scholars of the subject. It's nice to know that combining myths and adapting costumes was his personal choice.
Carrying on His Legacy
With the release of 'Bulan,' [Felip] is acting as an ambassador, bringing the collective mythology of his homeland to the world.
'Bulan' is Felip's sophomore single, and it will not be his last. Like the Moon Deity, he has found his light and will share it with anyone who will listen. With the release of 'Bulan,' he is acting as an ambassador, bringing the collective mythology of his homeland to the world. Most importantly, like his grandmother and generations before her, he carries the role of storyteller. Felip's tales will be there for everyone to enjoy for a long time yet, and we're confident many more stories are yet to come.