Karaoke and the National Seafarers Day

By: ATTY. DENNIS GORECHO September 24,2019 - 06:50 AM

It is an understatement to say that karaoke is a central part of  pop culture of Filipinos , including seafarers whether on board or in between contracts.

 Karaoke is indeed  a favorite past time of Filipino seafarers as one of the  coping mechanisms aboard international and domestic  shipping vessels to address stress and boredom.

 The sea can’t stop the seafarers  in mastering the art of vocal mimicry from contagiously  belting out songs like the infamous “My Way.”

Karaoke is the clipped compound of Japanese kara (empty) and ōkesutora (orchestra)  that is an  interactive entertainment  in which an amateur singer sings along with recorded music  (or a music video)  using a microphone.

 The music is normally an instrumental version of a well-known popular song. Lyrics are usually displayed on a video screen, along with a moving symbol, changing color, or music video images, to guide the singer.

The world’s first karaoke machine, the Juke-8, was built by Japanese inventor and musician Daisuke Inoue in 1971. But it is Filipino inventor Roberto del Rosario of Trebel Music Corporation who holds the machine’s patent for the Karaoke Sing-Along System in 1975.

In between contracts,  Pinoy seafarers and maritime students  converging along Kalaw show their singing prowess through a weekly show organized by volunteers.

As part of   National Seafarers Day ( NSD) celebration this year, the Boses ng Marino Karaoke Challenge  will  be included in the Pasiklaban  Musicfest at the Asian Institute of Maritime Studies, followed by the battle of the bands.

A sunset environmental concert  dubbed as Harana sa Inang Dagat by the  Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)  Symphonic and Combo Band will likewise be held along Baywalk in Roxas Boulevard that  pays homage to the oceans and seas  to keep our seafarers safe in their voyage  

 Harana was an exclusively nocturnal practice which gained popularity in the early part of the Spanish Period  widely practiced in many parts of the Philippines with a set of protocols, a code of conduct, and a specific romantic style of music. 

Organized in  2000,  the  PCG band is composed   of  both junior and senior ranking non-commissioned officers who represented  the institution in the different parts of the country, be it for entertainment, advertisement and for keeping the PCG’s vision, mission and primary functions thru musical entertainment.

The Philippines is considered as the major supplier of maritime labor globally as it is estimated that there is one Filipino seafarer for every four to five complements on board a vessel at any time.

The estimated 337,502 deployed Filipino seafarers in 2018  remitted  $6.14 billion or around P318.55 billion. The sea-based sector’s remittance comprise at least 22 percent of the total dollar remittances of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). These remittances help spur domestic consumption in the Philippines and a key ingredient in the country’s drive to achieve higher but sustainable growth.

Former president Fidel V. Ramos issued on July 9, 1996 Proclamation No. 828 declaring Aug. 18 as National Seafarers’ Day aimed at giving due recognition to the vital role of Filipino seafarers towards the development of the Philippines as a maritime country. Later, Proclamation No. 1094 was issued in 1997 by President Ramos which moved NSD to every last Sunday of September every year.

The Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) Philippines was tasked to coordinate with the public and private sectors in activities related to the celebration of said event.

This year’s NSD is set on September 29, 2019  with the  theme “ Marinong Filipino- Kababaihan: Palakasin sa Industriya!” in line with 2019  World Maritime Day theme ( Empowering Women in the Maritime Community).

The Sunday masses during the NSD all over the country are offered to the Filipino seafarers.

Other weeklong NSD activities nationwide led by AOS include memorial at sea,  novenas, oratorical/art /photo contest, search for  the Ten Outstanding Maritime Students of the Philippines (TOMSP) and  the grand parade participated in by stakeholders.

 The NSD coincides with the National Maritime Week celebrated every last week of September spearheaded alternatively by the government agencies Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).


Atty. Dennis R. Gorecho heads the seafarers’ division of the Sapalo Velez Bundang Bulilan law offices. For comments, email [email protected], or call 09175025808 or 09088665786).

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