SB19’s ‘Gento’ is an ode to ordinary folk

May 25, 2023


Since SB19 dropped their comeback single “Gento,” many fan theories have surfaced to dissect and interpret the song. So here’s some from Bulatlat.

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Much has been said about the recent comeback hit of the PPOP group SB19. Their highly anticipated return to the local and international music scene after a successful WYAT world tour has left fans and casuals served with a catchy beat, witty lyrics, and jaw-dropping visuals.

Titled “Gento,” the song is a play of word that means, “ganito” (literally, like this) and is also a double entendre to “ginto” (gold). This is the first of six songs for their upcoming extended play (EP), Pagtatag, which is expected to be out by next month.

SB19’s Pablo, who composed the song, said the it is an attempt to capture their journey as a group, which has faced harsh criticisms, particularly the bashing they received for their looks and for being supposed copycats of KPOP acts since their debut.

But combined with the visuals that the music video served, SB19’s Gento also appears to give a nod to not just the struggle of the Mahalima themselves but also that of the ordinary folk, who like them, have also been working hard nonstop to reach their dreams or just to get by (“At di ko na kailangan lumunok ng bato. Hindi mala darna to, aandar ang makina ko. Tanging mekaniko ay ako, la nang moni moniko. Sa daming pinagdaanan, nagpatanong nang istori ko. Usyoso mga chismoso. Halika’t pumanhik na rito).

Social issues, after all, are recurring themes in several of SB19’s songs and music videos.

Read: Weighing in on SB19’s “WHAT?”

Read: SB19’s ‘Nyebe’ is a reminder that ‘White Christmas’ isn’t wonderland

Read: #Kapangyarihan hits hard: Ben&Ben x SB19 round 2

Read: Why SB19’s ‘Mapa’ makes us cry

In one of Pablo’s scene, he is seen cooking nilaga (stew) using a block of wood, which appears to be a reference to a Filipino saying that goes, “kung walang tiyaga, walang nilaga” or “there is no reward if you don’t persevere.” The use of a wooden block in the stew, however, appears to illustrate that no matter how long and hard you work for your dreams, the stew may still end up bland (as when Pablo licked his hand in the video).

The nilaga scene may also depict the hunger that many are experiencing, which SB19 members are not strangers to. In their many interviews in the past, they shared how they skipped meals and gave up their day jobs during their training days despite the uncertainties of being able to reach their dreams.

Hunger, too, continues to remain a reality for millions of Filipinos. Under the Marcos Jr. administration, the number of poor Filipino families increased by 700,000 to 12.9 million, according to the self-rated poverty surveys of Social Weather Station (SWS).

Read: It’s hunger era, not economic growth for ordinary Filipinos — groups

It is hunger era, not golden (yes, ginto!) era under this present administration, said an urban poor group earlier this year, as they called out the lack of government intervention to mitigate the impacts of food inflation on marginalized communities.

Meanwhile, there are those who have been born with luck and apparent cluelessness to the sufferings of others as seen when SB19’s Stell walked out on the four other boys who were in a huddle with their eyebrows gone, if not burned as in the proverb (“Aalamin ang mga bagay bagay. Di pwedeng tambay saking bahay. Lahat ng magtaas ng kilay. Susunugin nang matuto namang mag-nilay”).

Irony was also not lost in the Gento music video that showed the poor living conditions among those working in the mines instead of the usual luxury associated with gold.

Such depiction may be a reference to the California gold rush back in the mid-1800s, where thousands flocked US state in search of flakes of gold that were supposedly found in a river in Coloma, California. The Philippines also has its own share of poverty, internal displacement, and human rights violations in areas where there are large-scale mining activities.

Read: Resistance to mining exploration gave rise to rights violations

There is also an apparent homage to Filipino workers (“Ano, kaya mo? Pilit na hinukay ang bumbunan makakita lang ng ginto, ginto. Kahit na wala pang hinto. Ciento por ciento. Bawat bitaw ko. Mismo”).

But Gento does not leave their listeners disempowered and instead acknowledges the resilience and strength of the ordinary folk to power through (“Halukayin mo na parang gento. Wag kang hihinto sa ordinaryo. Kahig pa sige hanggang sa mag dugo. Di ka basta basta makakakita nito”).

As it stands, Gento’s music video has over 1.5 million views on YouTube. SB19 is also set to have another world tour, starting with a kick-off concert in Manila on June 24 and 25. (RVO)   (https://www.bulatlat.org)



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