Filipino mariners sing to celebrate the National Seafarers’ Day
Karaoke is an incredibly significant and integral part of Filipino culture which is synonymous with happiness and good will.
Rain or shine, you can not have a true Filipino party without Karaoke!
The recent daily heavy downpour did not dampen the enthusiasm of Pinoy mariners to celebrate the 28th National Seafarers’ Day (NSD) through the annual “Boses ng Marino Karaoke Challenge” in Kalaw Avenue, Manila last September 29, 2023.
In between contracts, Pinoy seafarers as well as maritime students converging along Kalaw show their singing prowess through a weekly show organized by volunteers.
Talented seafarers compete for the trophies along with cash and in kind prizes once a year during the NSD.
Music plays a special role on Filipino seafarers’ life, whether at sea or on land.
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 the clipped compound of Japanese kara (empty) and okesutora (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.
Karaoke is indeed a favorite pastime of Filipino seafarers as one of the coping mechanisms aboard international and domestic shipping vessels to address stress and boredom.
Filipino seafarers are physically, mentally and emotionally stressed since they are away from their family and working on board vessels sailing the world’s oceans non-stop for months.
The industry remains fraught with health and safety hazards that increase seafarers’ risks of accidents, illnesses and mortality, while others may go missing or die in maritime disasters.
But the sea cannot stop the seafarers in mastering the art of vocal mimicry from contagiously belting out songs like the infamous “My Way.”
This year marks the 13th Boses ng Marino karaoke challenge that begun in 2010.
There were also other music-related activities as part of the NSD celebrations like song writing contest (2004 to 2008), chorale competition (2007), battle of the bands (2007, 2019), jingle (2007) and Harana by the Bay PCG concert (2017-2019). Through these activities, the NSD pays homage to the oceans and seas to keep our Filipino seafarers safe in their voyage.
For this year’s karaoke challenge, Mark Anthony Tablate from Bohol is the top placer for his song “Pagbigyang Muli”.
Marvin Sagnoy from General Santos City won 2nd place for the rap song “Buhay ng Seaman. He has been a seafarer for 12 years with the current position of an Able Bodied Seaman (A/B)
Jack Suficiencia from Manila won third place for the song “In Your Eyes”. He is currently an AB and has been working as a seafarer for 15 years.
NSD is celebrated every last Sunday of September annually by virtue of Proclamation Nos. 828 and 1094 by the late President Fidel V. Ramos that aimed to give due recognition to the vital role of Filipino seafarers towards the development of the Philippines as a maritime country.
The nationwide Sunday masses during the NSD are offered to the Filipino seafarers.
The 28th NSD was held last September 25, 2023 with the theme “Marinong Filipino: Patuloy sa Pangangalaga ng Karagatan.”
The Philippines is considered as one of 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.
According to the BIMCO/ICS Seafarer Workforce Report 2021, the top five largest supplier for both officers and ratings are the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Indonesia, China, and India. Together, these countries supplied 44 percent of the global seafarer workforce.
In 2022, Filipino seafarers deployed reached 489,852 with the corresponding dollar remittances amounting to US$6,715,880,000.
The sea-based sector’s remittances comprise at least 22 percent of the total OFW dollar remittances.
The international shipping industry is the life blood of the global economy as it is responsible for the carriage of around 90 percent of world trade.
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, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 09175025808 or 09088665786.)
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