There is, of course, that joke where a homosexual boy is repeatedly submerged by his father into a drum of water. He is prodded about his gender, and responds in a manner that horrifies his old man: “Babae po!” the boy says with resolve. He says the same thing the second time he’s asked (and dipped). The punchline naturally arrives by the third exchange, where, upon his father’s insistent jabs of “Babae pala, ha,” he suddenly shifts gears and shrieks in glee, “Sirena po!” Cue snare hit, then a crash cymbal. It’s politically incorrect, yes, and it’s one of the most enduring jokes of the modern era. Everybody knows it and permits themselves (at the very least) a polite chuckle, mostly because, well, it’s true: such scenes do transpire in various households across the country. Aristotle Pollisco, whom the country knows as Gloc-9, knows it, too. He only had to get reminded.
Once, while waiting for his turn to perform a number alongside Raimund Marasigan, Aries was challenged by the alterna-‘90s veteran. Most pro-gay songs, the Sandwich frontman said, are told from the point of view of a third-party observer. Why doesn’t the rapper put on the gay shoes himself? “Tapos ang title mo, chong, ‘Sirena’!” Marasigan reportedly said. He took the challenge to heart, so much so that, on his drive home, he managed to craft a hook and some lyrics for it. “Pinag-isipan ko talaga. Ayokong magtunog kiss-ass, pero ayoko ring maging offensive,” Pollisco shares of the song and the sensitivity it carries. He was thrilled, and he readily envisioned an alternate voice for the song’s choruses, for which Ebe Dancel fit the bill perfectly. “Nu’ng sinusulat ko pa lang ‘yung kanta at iniisip ko ‘yung melody, naririnig ko na agad ‘yung boses [ni Ebe],” the rapper shares, going on to discuss how “Sirena” was a compounded profile of several homosexuals he’s encountered in his hometown of Binangonan, Rizal.
“Tsismoso ako at mahilig akong mag-observe ng kung ano’ng nangyayari sa [mga tao],” he admits. One specific person, however, stood out. “May nakikita ako sa ‘ming isang ‘loud’ na gay person, naka-high-heels, alas-siyete ng umaga, naka-miniskirt, papunta siyang trabaho. Uuwi siya ng bahay niya, alas-dose na ng gabi, dahil the whole day nagtra-trabaho siya para sa pamilya niya. Siya literally ang bumubuhay sa buong pamilya niya.” The result was short of an opus. Pollisco, in his assumption of the woes of this nameless and faceless character, was cautious in his portrayal, but not too cautious that his imagination is stunted. The song has so far been embraced by the homosexual community, but, to Pollisco’s surprise, it also got the raised-eyebrow treatment from some of the religious. “Honestly, I don’t want it to be tackled in a religious manner. It’s just […] me writing a song tungkol sa tingin kong nangyayari, [kung saan nandu’n din] ‘yung tingin kong tamang approach sa pag-unawa. Hindi niya kailangang maging isang religious discussion,” he says, insisting that the hardworking gay man is a true modern-day champion. “Minsan, ‘pag nakakakita ka ng isang ‘tunay’ na lalaki na batugan, drug addict, at laging nakahilata, nag-da-drugs at nagyo-yosi nang nagyo-yosi sa kanto, nakatambay, sasabihin mo talaga, minsan, mas lalaki pa sa lalaki ‘yung bading. Ang pagka-lalaki, hindi lang masel, balbas, bigote, o tapang,” he opines.
Other nuggets of Gloc-9-style wisdom can be gleaned in the new Universal Records release Mga Kuwento ng Makata (or MKNM), out July 27 in stores. The album features several other collaborations with artists of different leanings, among them Parokya ni Edgar’s Chito Miranda, Wilabaliw’s Ian Tayao, and Bamboo Mañalac, who co-wrote a track called “Salarin” with the fastest mouth in Pinoy rap.
Update: You may now view the video for "Sirena" below, via the Universal Records YouTube channel: