Weekend Jazz (and some) . . . then

1978 – Curfew, courtesy of martial law, was lifted just a few months back.
We could finally watch our favorite local bands without having to check our watches from time to time, for fear to be greeted by the Metrocom come “Cinderella Time”.
Saturday nights were never complete without your weekly “fix” for jazz.

Weekend Jazz (and some) . . . then (1977 -82)

At the Manila Hotel’s Tap Room, Eddie K would be blazing his saxes while nephew Boy Katindig dishes out his signature funk jazz at Birds Of The same Feather .

We would queue into the Hyatt’s Calesa Bar to listen to Bong Penera and Jaqui Magno. Later on Verni ‘the vamp’ Varga would do her famous rendition of Take 5. Richard Merck’s Al Jarreau covers always gained the credited applauses at Archos and later on at the Captains Bar at Mandarin Oriental.

Recorded live at the Calesa Bar (1977)

We used to watch a young and budding Kuh Ledesma with Music and Magic in a place which name now escapes me.

If one felt going the Brazilian mood, bossa into Siete Pecados at the Philippine Plaza and let Music Making Co. serenade you with Sergio Mendes, Jobim classics or their cover version of Shaker Song with that bossa beat. They would later transfer to Le Boulevediers (did I get the spelling right?) at the Hotel Inter Continental .

Papillon was always a favorite haunt. The house band did a mean version of Ronnie Laws’ Night Breeze. From Benson to Seawind, it was always exhilarating to watch Uly Avante play amidst all his different percussion toys.


Feeling like some mainstream jazz? Lito Molina & The Jazz Friends may just be what the doctor ordered. Jazz aficionados would troop down The Vintage Bar for some tunes from Desmond , Getz, Turentine, etc..

Lito Molina & The Jazz Friends


A switch to rock/jazz fusion was always available at Harry Tambuatco’s bar in Magallanes.
And on some lucky nights, members of Phase2/Destiny/MotherEarth would be jamming the night away!





The best thing then is you get to watch and listen to all the above for free.



But not everything was jazz then.
In one of the sides streets along Makati Ave you could find the original Tia Maria (or was it Jalisco?).
Anyway, in either of the 2 places, you would be entertained by an acoustic group while sipping your Margaritas. The band would play Spanish inspired numbers ala Gipsy Kings albeit in a tamer fashion.
But their most popular number was the (in)famous “Sapatos Ni Sion

for those of you who still remember, you can sing along:

“Sapatos Ni Sion”
(sung to the tune of Dave Clark 5’s “Hurtin’ Inside)

“Ang sapatos ni Sion,
nilagyan ng biton,

Ang sapatos ni Sion,
nilagyan ng biton,

kikinis yon,
kikinis yon,
ki-kinis yon,

Ang sapatos ni Sion,
nilagyan ng biton. . .

ki-kinis yo-on.”

“Ang sapatos ni Sion,
nilagyan ng boston,

Ang sapatos ni Sion,
nilagyan ng boston,

titibay yon,
titibay yon,
titi-bay yon,

Ang sapatos ni Sion,
nilagyan ng boston. . .

tit-bay yo-on.”

The song would go on much to the amusement of the regulars of the place.

Ok, this wasn’t Tia Maria. I just had to grab a YouTube video to give you an idea of how the song goes . . . but dont you just love the choreography of the two female singers? 🙂


Moving on. Revving up your evening always meant a stop at Stargazer to hob-knob with the Metro’s elite or else check out the bohemian scene at Coco Banana.

Coco Banana.

Popular tunes then were Mondo Kane’s New York Afternoon, Rita Lees Lanca Perfume, Voyage’s Souvenirs, to name a few. A live dance band was also available at Phil Plaza’s Lost Horizon.

If you really didn’t feel like dancing but wanted some high octane performances, Pension Filipina had the Circus Band II with RayAnn Fuentes and Pat Castillo. Their Earth, Wind and Fire covers were always fully charged.



But hopping from one bar/disco to another surely left a dent on the pockets. An alternative was to start off the night at Las Conchas for tall glass of WengWeng (Zombie). One was potent enough to get you through the night. Or you could split an order with your date and still get a good head. A few steps away is Tib’s, famous for their cold beer and barbeque. Just park your car and a hundred bucks would go a long way.

I can still hear strains of Willie Bobo  and Lonnie Smith from the cars parked beside.



A yet cheaper alternative was to bring along a couple of beers to Eagle’s Nest in Antipolo.

Sometimes, friends (in the same weekend “financial situation”) would slowly trickle in one after another and it’s instant party time! Tunes like Superwoman by Noel Pointer, Eloise Laws’ 1000 Laughs, etc blaring from those Jensen TriAx speakers driven by that venerable Pioneer KP500 made for cheap but enjoyable entertainment.

Pioneer KP 500

Metro view from Antipolo

Romantic or rowdy, depending on the company that you’re with. It was always idyllic listening to Tower of Power’s Below Us, All The City Lights as you gaze below well . . . the city lights.



The entrance of New Wave spelled the decline of the Metro’s jazz scene towards the mid eighties.
We still continued to party with this new genre but those few short years, when jazz reigned supreme, still hold special memories of days gone by.






2 Responses to “Weekend Jazz (and some) . . . then”
  1. Fantastic read, Pablo! It’s always such a pleasure to read your stuff. I listened to Boy Katindig and it’s the first time I’ve heard a fellow Filipino do his thing. Thanks for sharing. I always learn a thing or two from you 🙂

    I hope that you’ve been doing well!

    • bb3 says:

      Hey Charmaine, long time no hear! I miss our ping-pong emails.
      Great job at Waver! Am regularly lurking to check out reviews of the new bands.

      Yes, Boy Katindig is one of the country’s foremost jazz keyboardist. He comes from a family of jazz musicians. I believe the uncle was part of the jazz group that was invited to the Monterey Jazz fest some years back.

      If I remember the story correctly, Jimmy Lyons was in Manila for the first Philippine jazz Festival (1981?) and was invited as a special guest. There were several bands that played for that 2 or 3 day event. Mr. Lyons was impressed with the caliber of the Filipino jazz musicians that he wanted to invite all the bands to Monterey. But because of limited resources, they chose members from the different bands, – the cream of the crop, as they say, to form what was then known as The Philippine Jazz All Stars. The real name of the group was actually The Philippine Jazz Ensemble with Lito Molina on alto sax-clarinet; Rudy Sucgang, alto sax; Romy Posadas, piano; Romy Francisco, trumpet; Roger Herrera, bass; Menchu Apostol, guitar; Narding Sanchez,trombone; Panting Katindig, percussion; and Rita Posadas on vocals.
      Their first song in Monterey was a medley of Filipino folk songs in Jazz – Leron, leron Sinta, Manang Biday etc..

      They obviously were well received by the crowd because their allotted 30-40 min of playing time stretched to more than an hour. . .
      . . .and they were invited to perform again the following year.

      Hope all is well with you too!

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