Entertainment & Nightlife

Karaoke: A Popular Pastime in the Philippines

Written by Patrick

Travel Insurance

Karaoke is a popular pastime in the Philippines.  You can find a karaoke machine almost everywhere – in bars, malls, resorts, and of course in several homes all over the country.  Hence it’s not surprising to see Filipinos attracting international spotlight with their amazing singing prowess.  Apart from Broadway singer Lea Salnga, there’s Arnel Pineda who became lead singer of rock band Journey in 2007 and Jake Zyrus (formerly known as Charice) whose album in 2010 became the first album of an Asia solo singer to land in the Top 10 of Billboard 200.  Years and years of practice can probably do wonders to someone’s voice, eh?

History of the Karaoke Machine

The first karaoke-styled machine was developed in Japan but it was Filipino Roberto del Rosario who developed and patented the karaoke sing-along system in 1975.  Over the years, it has continuously developed to what it is today.

Karaoke (popularly referred to as videoke in the Philippines) comes in different variations.  The most popular variation, the one that is always being rented out, is the cabinet-type machine.  It comes with a television screen and speakers that can be bulky to transport.  It is usually coin-operated although that feature can be disabled.

Portable karaoke systems, on the other hand, are ideal for home use.  It comes with a small player and wireless microphone that can be connected to a television.

Cabinet-type karaoke machines can be rented for around P1,000 ($20 USD) per day.  Meanwhile, karaoke or videoke systems being sold in malls range from P3,000 ($60 USD) to more than P20,000 ($400 USD).

Karaoke as Home Entertainment

In the Philippines, karaoke has become a favorite home entertainment and its presence is constant during family events or simply when friends come over for a visit.

It has been a part of joyful celebrations of almost every Filipinos lives. Be it birthdays, fiestas, or reunions, families bond over good food and drinks while belting their favorite songs.  Even without occasions, several Filipinos pass time over karaoke at the comfort of their homes.

Karaoke Bars and Lounges

Karaoke isn’t enjoyed at home only.  Karaoke bars and lounges can be found in various parts of the country including small towns in provinces.  

These bars and lounges vary in setup and amenities.  There are family KTVs which are setup in private rooms with food and drinks.  This type is open to all ages and is popular among family and friends.  There are regular karaoke bars where you can sing on the main stage in which other customers can hear and see you.  Meanwhile, customers of a nightclub can sing karaoke while watching strippers perform exotic dances.

While karaoke showcases one’s singing talent, an amazing voice isn’t really necessary to be able to enjoy this popular Filipino pastime.  What it takes is a great deal of self confidence and penchant for fun to encourage you to grab the mic and unleash that inner songbird in you.

READ MORE: 17 Things You MUST Do When in the Philippines

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About the Author


Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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