Wednesday 30 July 2014 06:52:46 PHT

Yoyoy Villame, Philippine King of Novelty Songs Passes Away

Tagbilaran, Saturday, 19 May 2007 (updated: Tuesday, 29 May 2007)

  • A native of Calape, Bohol and the youngest of 10 children, Roman Tesorio Villame was born on November 18, 1932.
  • Before getting into the music industry, Yoyoy was at one time a jeepney driver and at another, an army draftee who fought in the government’s anti-insurgency campaign in Central Luzon.
  • Back in Bohol he became a bus driver, and formed a rondalla combo with his fellow bus drivers as band mates.
  • When the owner of the bus company finally took notice of Yoyoy’s talents, it set up a the Kinamay Records music studio just for Yoyoy.
  • His first recording, entitled Magellan, appeared in 1972, and was the beginning of a long span of albums and recordings of Yoyoy’s humorous yet politically loaded songs in Visayan, Tagalog and English in a style that was uniquely his own.

Remembering Yoyoy Villame

The Philippine King of Novelty Songs

Singer - Composer - Lyricist - Arranger - Musician

18 November 1932 - 18 May 2007

Let us sing together:

Pong chuwala (pong chuwalai)
Chi chi ri kong koila
Butse kik (butse kik) ek-ek-ek (ek-ek-ek)
Bo bochichang (bo-bochichang)
Chi chiri kong tong nang
Butse kik (butse kik) ek-ek-ek (ek-ek-ek)

Chiri wong tong choi, toro kong tong loy
Chidang bo bochichang chiri kong nong nang
Chiring cho ro yak kang kong o-ohup butse kik ek-ek-ek

Pong chuwala (pong chuwalai)
Chi chi ri kong koila
Butse kik (butse kik) ek-ek-ek (ek-ek-ek)
Bo bochichang (bo-bochichang)
Chi chiri kong tong nang
Butse kik (butse kik) ek-ek-ek (ek-ek-ek)

Chiri wong tong choi, toro kong tong loy
Chidang bo bochichang chiri kong nong nang
Chiring cho ro yak kang kong o-ohup butse kik ek-ek-ek

Choro ro pong pong yok
Choro ro pong pang plu
Chidang bo bochichang chidi kong kong plok
Di bai botchok, chidi di plok
Chidi dokok wok, chodo dokok ngok ngok

Pong chuwala (pong chuwalai)
Chi chi ri kong koila
Butse kik (butse kik) ek-ek-ek (ek-ek-ek)
Bo bochichang (bo-bochichang)
Chi chiri kong tong nang
Butse kik (butse kik) ek-ek-ek (ek-ek-ek)

Chiri wong tong choi, toro kong tong loy
Chidang bo bochichang chiri kong nong nang
Chiring cho ro yak kang kong o-ohup butse kik ek-ek-ek

Choro ro pong pong yok
Choro ro pong pang plu
Chidang bo bochichang chidi kong kong plok
Di bai botchok, chidi di plok
Chidi dokok wok, chodo dokok ngok ngok

Pong chuwala (pong chuwalai)
Chi chi ri kong koila
Butse kik (butse kik) ek-ek-ek (ek-ek-ek)
Bo bochichang (bo-bochichang)
Chi chiri kong tong nang
Butse kik (butse kik) ek-ek-ek (ek-ek-ek)

Chiri wong tong choi, toro kong tong loy
Chidang bo bochichang chiri kong nong nang
Chiring cho ro yak kang kong o-ohup butse kik ek-ek-ek

Yeah, yeah butse kik
Ye bah, ye bah, ye bah butse kik
Choro yoto mo toi butse kik
Ek ek ek

Ask your parents and grandparents if they know Butse Kik, chance is 90% they know the song. If you ask those who were born in the 1970s, 80s and 90’s the song is familiar but they could hardly remember the lyrics.

The song was immortalized by a simple probinsyano, Yoyoy Villame.

Long before Lito Camo, there was already Yoyoy who was the irrepressible novelty singer-composer known for his humorous take on the Filipino way of life. Perhaps nobody has done more to carve the date of the “discovery” of the Philippines in the minds of the populace than a comedy singer, former public utility driver, and incumbent elected councilor of one of the boroughs of Metro Manila.

Born on November 18, 1932 in Calape, Bohol, Yoyoy barged into the music scene in 1977 during the Martial Law years with his off-the-wall physical fitness anthem, Mag-exercise Tayo (Let’s Exercise).

Roman Villame in real life, the Bohol-raised Yoyoy experimented and recorded many songs in the Bisaya dialect.

He even came up with the classic Abuchikik, a unique song driven by a catchy melody and seemingly unintelligible words. World-class singer Leah Salonga sang this song in one of her concerts.

Included in his repertoire are hit songs Tarsan at Barok, Si Filemon (A remake of a Philippine folk-song), Nasaan Ka Darling (Where Are You, Darling?) and Da Da Da (Free, and very much so, after The Police).

And what about his Magellan song? It was his most requested song, a history lesson in broken English, with accents in all the wrong places, and the most illegal rhymes in lyric history. But the song Magellan catapulted Yoyoy to fame, and recording companies have since fielded scouts to the Visayan region as though people with his talent grew on trees.

On March 16, 1521
When Philippines was discovered by Magellan
They were sailing day and night across the big ocean
Until they saw a small Limasawa island

Magellan landed in Limasawa at noon
The people met him very welcome on the shore
They did not understand the speaking they have done
Because Kastila gid at Waray-Waray man

When Magellan landed in Cebu City
Rajah Humabon met him, they were very happy
All people were baptized and built the church of Christ
And that’s the beginning of our Catholic life

When Magellan visited in Mactan
To christianize them everyone
But Lapu-Lapu met him on the shore
and drive Magellan to go back home

Then Magellan got so mad
Ordered his men to camouflage
Mactan island we could not grab
’Cause Lapu Lapu is very hard

Then the battle began at dawn
Bolos and spears versus guns and cannons
When Magellan was hit on his neck
He stumble down and cried and cried

Oh, mother mother I am sick
Call the doctor very quick
Doctor, doctor shall I die?
Tell my mama do not cry
Tell my mama do not cry
Tell my mama do not cry

That’s the end of Magellan in the island of Mactan long time ago
ladies and gentlemen

Stories

A CD with Yoyoy's biggest hits.

There are many tales associated with Yoyoy’s songs. Once, my mama told me that Yoyoy’s Magellan was the main cause of a trouble in a prominent family here in Tagbilaran City. Every person in this country owned Yoyoy’s “plaka” (big black disc album made of vinyl for today’s generation) which was also a big hit in the Philippines. “A” bought the “plaka” and her sister borrowed it and didn’t return the “plaka” for many days. “A” told her eldest daughter to get the “plaka.” When the daughter arrived at her aunt’s house, her cousin jested that the “plaka” belonged to them. So, the daughter ran to her house and told her mama about the incident. “A” was angry and she was about to collapse because Yoyoy’s “plaka” was her treasured property. It was the cause of feud between two families. When their patriarch knew about the incident, he called the families and children and punished them by kneeling on the floor even those who didn’t join the “war” were not exempted.

Movie Career

Yoyoy also built a career in front of the movie camera, but was relegated mostly to supporting roles.

He began making movies in the early 70’s, and is noted for his role as a family driver who killed by Vilma Santos in 1974 suspense thriller Biktima in 1974.

He appeared on Eh, Kasi Bisaya, a comedy show with Pilita Corales, Manilyn Reynes and Nova Villa in 1970s.

Who could forget the movie Batul in Mactan directed by Emmanuel H. Borlaza, Yoyoy was with Eddie Peregrina as Gabriel in that movie in 1974; Barok Goes to Hong Kong in 1984 with Palito; Wooly Booly: Ang Classmate Kong Alien (1989) directed by Ben Feleo with Jimmy Santos as Wooly Booly and Gelli de Belen as Girlie. The same director for Tootsie Wootsie in 1990 with Herbet Bautista, Raymart Santiago, Vina Morales, Gelli de Belen and Kempee de Leon and Teacher’s Enemy No. 1 in 1990; Bikining Itim (1990), Wooly Booly 2: Ang Titser Kong Alien (1990), Andrew Ford Medina: Huwag Kang Gamol (1991), Tunay na Magkaibigan, Walang Iwanan... Peksman (1994).

He also appeared on Milyonaryong Mini: The Movie (after the successful Bisayan late afternoon teleseries) in 1996 directed by Tony Reyes.

In 2004, Yoyoy played a Visayan troubadour in the critically acclaimed movie, Babae sa Breakwater (Women of the Breakwater). Remember the controversial Katherine Luna (sired by unknown father) who won the best actress award abroad?

Television Tribute

Veteran broadcast journalist Jessica Soho paid tribute to Yoyoy’s contribution to Filipino music and film in one its segments last night on her top-rating program Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho (Saturday, 8:30 pm).

I was with Jessica Soho when she featured Yoyoy for the Bohol episode on January 16, 2005 (before Yoyoy’s life was featured on Magpakailanman) and I was the one who gave the lei for Yoyoy as instructed by Maria Chrisina “Pacing” Pascual, the segment producer of the show.

Veteran broadcast journalist Jessica Soho
interviews Yoyoy Villame (in Bohol, 2005)

Jessica Soho’s intro spiel was “Ang original “King of Novelty Songs” na si Yoyoy Villame — isa sa mga ipinagmamalaking anak ng Bohol – ang puntong bisaya ang tila naghatid ng suwerte sa kaniyang buhay.”

On that day, Jessica Soho accompanied Yoyoy to Bohol. At the Tagbilaran airport, there was a “grand welcome” for Yoyoy by the Boholano people. Yoyoy had a duet with a porter singing Abushikik. Going to Poblacion, Calape, Jessica was able to know the real Yoyoy.

“He’s natural na masayahin at palabiro,” she said. He sang Magellan. Jessica told Yoyoy that he’s good in history.

“Matalino, malawak at malikot ang pag-iisip ... dala raw ito ng kaniyang malalim na karanasan sa pagiging sundalo at sa mahabang panahon ng pagiging drayber ng bus, jeep at maging ng mga smuggler,” Jessica said.

Yoyoy with friends in Calape

Yoyoy was discovered by his manager when he sang between hours when he drove a jeepney.

Believe me, Yoyoy could compose and sing the names of different towns of Bohol in an instant! There is no need for a ball pen or paper, right there he could compose the lyrics and give the melody!

“Karamihan sa kaniyang mga kanta sumasalamin sa kutura at pamumuhay ng mga Boholano,” Jessica said.

“Dun ko nga nagawa yung Butsikik eh, yung China Town, nung masira yung jeep ko, nag-antay ako ng mekaniko, ang tagal dumating, kinopya ko yung mga pangalan ng department store, yung mga Leungkok Trading, Langnam Hardware, Fengshui Mami—ginawa kong kanta. Chinese pakinggan pero walang sentence,” Yoyoy said.

It was that time Jessica learned that Butsikik was a name of a store in China Town. Yoyoy said that Butsi cake was a popular Chinese business that time.

Yoyoy admitted that his life was mean in the province. He even confessed that most of the people are poor and they look for a job in another place or join the NPA.

The Punta Cruz Watch Tower in Maribojoc town was Yoyoy’s favorite hang-out.

“Nung nag-drive ako ng bus, tagarito yung kunduktor ko eh. Kaya palagi ako ditto, pagmeron na-excursion, nililibot ko dito,” he shared.

He could be the best guide in Bohol, however he became a tourist guide not in his hometown but in Manila and Tagaytay.

Kaming mga Bol-anon

Yoyoy had lots of true friends, others in drinking sprees and singing contests. “Pinatanda man ng panahon…pero walang kupas pa rin sa husay sa pagkanta ang magbabarkada.”

Jessica’s extro spiel was “Si Yoyoy Villame ... ang bisayang nagpatunay…na sa larangan ng musika ... ang mga Boholanong tulad niya ay di pahuhuli.”

Yoyo succumbed Friday to cardiac arrest at the Las Piñas Medical Center.

The great Yoyoy Villame of Bohol. There could only be one Yoyoy Villame in history...

Meanwhile, after reading this article, let us do our exercise. Let us hear once more, Yoyoy Villame:

Mag-exercise tayo tuwing umaga, tuwing umaga, tuwing umaga
Mag-exercise tayo tuwing umaga upang ang katawan natin ay sumigla!

Again, repeat class!

Leo P. Udtohan

What readers think...

Joji Pinzon wrote:
Tuesday, 24 June 2014 16:31:38 PHT
Dear Ofelia: Hello! I read your comment which i cut and pasted below. I am interested to have a copy of the video you took of Yoyoy. It would greatly help me in my research on Yoyoy Villame. Is there anyone out there with a video of Villame? Kindy please send me a copy. Thanks so much. :)) Sinerely, Joji Pinzon my email addy: jojipinzon@gmail.com Your Ofelia Mutia wrote: Sunday, 22 February 2009 07:50:11 PHT I shall miss you Yoyoy. I still vividly remember my college years at SWU in Cebu - we preferred to ride the jeepneys that played your songs. It was great to have met you Yoy at your concert in South Carolina. I will treasure the video I took of you and your company. May God Take you in His Arms. Thank you for the fond memories. Love, Angging Atlanta, Georgia
Arsenio Amorio wrote:
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 04:40:51 PHT
I am a Boholano, and used to ride MB Liner bus when I was a litle kid. I would like to sing the song, MB Liner ... "Kung ikaw inday, gusto'g hayahay, MB Liner, Maoy sakyi kanunay...." I just can't complete the whole lyrices. Can anybody help me, please. Daghan kaayong salamat, Arsenio
Arsenio Amorio wrote:
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 04:35:43 PHT
I am from Bohol and used to ride MB Liner bus. I would like to sing the "MB Liner" song of Manong Yoyoy, but could not put all the lyrics together, can anybody help me. Arsenio
Albert Thomas wrote:
Sunday, 12 February 2012 15:48:51 PHT
I enjoyed the music of YoYo since my first trip to the Philippines in 2007 and continue to do so today and call Philippines my home.... YoYo and Max Surban continue to be favorites...
ROMEO T. DY wrote:
Saturday, 3 December 2011 13:42:28 PHT
I remembered the joy of singing his "Magellan" song way back in 1972 when I was still in my 2nd year Engineering. The song became so popular that we always sing it especially when we have a drinking spree for some occasions. Today, after roughly 39 years my youngest son still sings his later songs in a duet with another still popular singer Max Surban. In his loss, we also lost some of the country's contribution to local talent and the joy of country exposure.

Read all 22 comments by readers.

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