“Because I’m Bisdak. Bisaya is home, Bisaya is life. Bisaya will always be my alpha and omega.”
IN THE music industry for two years now, Jerika Teodorico became a household name after she bagged the championship in the second season of Vispop, the celebrated Cebuano songwriting contest, with her song “Labyu, Langga.” Today she hits the stage again in
Vispop’s fourth outing to sing her new entry “Baklay.”
An advocate of mainstreaming Cebuano music, Jerika is on her fourth year in BA Political Science at Cebu Normal University.
Music flows in her veins, she says, like blood that makes her alive. Since childhood, she has been listening to different kinds of music, especially pop ballads. She likes The Beatles, Jason Mraz, Taylor Swift, Kacey Musgraves, Maroon 5, Casey Abrams, Bruno Mars, Jonas Brothers, Nick Jonas, Lady Gaga, and Owl City. Locally, she admires Bisrock band Missing Filemon.
Listening to her favorite bands and personalities, Jerika thought that she can also be like them. She’s into literature, and somehow her love for words makes it easy for her to write songs —not to mention that she’s sentimental about many things.
“My entry to Vispop was a mere coincidence… through my Literature teacher. I was a college freshman then and I had lost my passion for things concerning art. But when I started writing again in my Literature subject, it kinda hit me that there might still be a chance. When my teacher heard one of my songs (“Jerika”) he said, ‘Jerika, join Vispop.’”
She got the inspiration for “Labyu Langga” from the local term of endearment. “My family calls me ‘pangga’ when they want me to do something for them, so didto na gasugod tanan,” Jerika said.
“Baklay,” on the other hand, is a piece written out of her frustration dealing with walking long distances.
Although Jerika has low stamina and would experience shortness of breath, this doesn’t stop her from roaming around. In late 2013, she wrote “Uptown to Downtown,” a poem about inviting someone to go “laag” (roam). She got to write the song only in April 2015.
It was Jude Gitamondoc, Vispop’s founder, who ignited Jerika’s desire to write Cebuano songs. “During that time, Vispop was not yet established as a contest. He wanted us to join his songwriting workshops, to write in Bisaya. And then I started listening to Missing Filemon’s Bisrock hits again,” she recalls.
Insoy Niñal is the face of Missing Filemon, considered as one of the pillars of Bisrock, a genre of Cebuano music popular in the mid-2000s.
Its songs like “Sine Sine” and “Inday” made Bisrock mainstream during that time. Surprisingly, Bisrock (for Bisaya and Rock) was a hit not only to Bisaya listeners, but also to many people from the north.
Admittedly, much work needs to be done to put Visayan pop music into the center of mainstream consciousness.
Still, Jerika is very optimistic.
“I see it well-established among Bisaya-speaking regions, and hopefully it will be in the whole country as well. We already have Vispop icons, and I aim to be one of them puhon, side by side with Lourdes Maglinte, Kenneth Corvera, Jewel Villaflores, Marie Salvaleon, Hope Tinambacan… many other Bisaya songwriters in our local music industry,” she said.
* Vispop 4.0 Finals Night happens today, June 18, at The Centerstage of SM Seaside City Cebu. Gate opens at 6 p.m. Show starts 8 p.m.