|Etymology||from Bisaya slang, meaning slacker|
|Stylistic origins||Badjao percussion Bistik (Bisaya Techno Rock)|
|Cultural origins||2010s in Davao City, Philippines|
Budots is a grassroots electronic dance music (EDM) genre that originated in Davao City, southern Philippines, and eventually spread in Bisaya-speaking regions. Based on house music, it is regarded as the first "Filipino-fied" electronic music, characterized by its heavy percussion, hypnotic bass, high-pitched "tiw ti-ti-tiw" whistle hooks, and organic noises that surround the city. The music is performed in uncoordinated and freestyle dancing that seems "worm-like" in nature, featuring low squats while opening and closing the knees.
Budots is a Bisaya slang word for slacker (Tagalog: tambay), as it is allegedly first performed by unemployed bums who loiter the streets of Davao City. It can also be traced from the Bisaya word tabudots, which means "a person dancing with unpredictable movements." The dance steps, however, are derived from Badjao people who perform as street buskers.
Sherwin Calumpang Tuna, an internet café manager who goes by the stage name "DJ Love" or "Lablab," is credited as the creator behind the techno music genre that would complement the budots dance, which locals refer to as "bistik" (short for "Bisayang Tikno"). Budots music is characterized as a derivation from electronic and house music with a trademark "tiw ti-ti-tiw" high-pitched hook. He also choreographs dance steps for his friends to perform on his budots music videos, which are uploaded on YouTube. The budots dance compilation videos feature "Myspace-era graphics, free-wheeling dances, and the names 'CamusBoyz' or 'DJ Love.' He distances himself and his budots mixes from associations of gang wars and juvenile delinquency issues that plague Davao City, hence the incorporation of the caption "Yes to Dance; No to Drugs" or "Yes to Dance; No to Riots" in his music videos. The genre–and its creators–have also become at the receiving end of cyberbullying.
Appearance In Popular Culture
Budots first appeared in Philippine mainstream media in 2008 when Ruben Gonzaga, the winner of Pinoy Big Brother: Celebrity Edition 2, performs the dance steps on national TV. An episode of Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho featured a segment about budots in 2012.
The documentary Budots: The Craze by Jay Rosas and Mark Paul Limbaga explores the music genre and its dance craze, featuring an interview with DJ Love. The film raises questions on creative gatekeeping and the extent of ownership, as DJ Love's music is played on Filipino TV networks without proper acknowledgment. DJ Love also alleges a YouTuber claimed ownership of his popular mixes. The documentary premiered in 2019 at the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival.
Various videos of Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte (then mayor of Davao City) dancing to budots were uploaded on YouTube and Facebook. The virality of these videos may have helped him win the 2016 presidential elections while introducing budots to Philippine mainstream media.
BuwanBuwan, a Filipino electronic music collective, released a playlist of budots music in 2017 as part of their monthly challenge to producers. Each track features clips of Duterte's speeches.
Budots remixes of popular songs have become mainstays in Philippine festivals and Christmas parties. It has also become a form of "uncool" yet non-derogatory self-expression.
Usage In Philippine Politics
A number of Filipino politicians have attempted to use budots to attract voters, most notably by Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. when he ran for senator in 2019. He appeared on a national television ad dancing to budots music. Revilla won the 11th vacant Senate seat (out of 12), even doing a little dance after the official proclamation.
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- UDOU Team. "BUDOTS MIX: EDM of The Philippines". UDOU. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
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- Tuna, Sherwin. "Budots Budots Dance 12 "with Mayor Duterte"". YouTube. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
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