Woopis, an all-Palaweño local rock band, has stormed the national music scene big time, emerging as grand champion in the recently concluded 19th Edition of Red Horse Beer’s “Pambansang Muziklaban” 2017 held at the Metrowalk’s Open Parking Grounds in Ortigas, Pasig City on January 28.
Composed of bandleader and vocalist Soy Lanzanas, guitarist Jacob Carlos, bassist Jiboy Betita, and drummer Toting Penaflor, the Woopis band emerged as the best among a tough field of equally capable Pinoy bands, with their alternative reggae-inspired original compositions that conveyed messages of love and friendship.
The local band’s victory in what is touted to be the “number one rock battle in the Philippines” paved the way for its fame and prominence not only in Palawan but in other parts of the country as they have now become the topic of admiration of both band lovers and reggae enthusiasts.
Back in 2008 when the band was formed, Woopis had to contend being on the sidelines as the Puerto music scene got more enamored to cover songs and show bands.
Lanzanas, the band vocalist, said their initial days were filled with challenges they had to get through to be able to persist.
“Nahirapan kami kasi hindi gusto ng Palawan ang mga original songs na kinakanta namin. Gusto nila show bands and cover songs,” he related.
But Woopis did not give up during these difficult times. Its members buckled up and worked hard to fulfill the dream of being known as a local band that composes original songs no matter the negative feedback they get from critics.
“Pero pinush through namin talaga,” said Lanzanas. Their persistence shoved them in the center of the local music scene, with their single “Puerto Princesa, Iba Ka Talaga!,” a song that depicts the city’s achievements as a tourist destination in the Philippines.
Winning the national competition was beyond their expectation, Lanzanas said, claiming some of the other bands were technically better than them.
But this was the reason, he said, why during the competition proper, they just did their best to convince the judges, mindless of their expectations.
“Hindi namin ini-expect na kami mananalo. Syempre, binigay lang namin ang best namin sa stage,” Lanzanas said.
Woopis’ songs, along with the way its members presented them, got the judges attention and approval, and the rest is history’s beginning.
As the national winner, Woopis received a tax-free prize of P500,000, a start-up support of P300,000, a music video album production deal, an endorsement contract with guaranteed gigs worth P200,000, apparel and accessories worth P25,000, and performance at the Rakrakan Festival in February.
“Syempre dumaan kami ng qualifying, elimination, semis with the help of our families,” he said. He expressed gratitude to Palawan Pawnshop, Palawan Express Pera Padala, former mayor Edward Hagedorn, and the City Government of Puerto Princesa for their support.
Emerging from the backwoods of the music industry, Woopis is now working on its self-produced album dubbed “Hangober,” which contains nine music tracks with themes revolving around love, friendship, and Palawan.
“Nilalabas lang namin ang best namin. Self-produced ito. Hindi pa namin nafa-finalize. Siguro more or less, mga nine tracks,” he added.