Women In Music: A

Spotlight on Females at

the Backstage

by Maria Romero, March 26, 2019 11:12am

Art by Ahl Mirambel


Women In Music: A Spotlight on Females at the Backstage

by Maria Romero, March 26, 2019 11:12am
Art by Ahl Mirambel

The Philippines has a thriving community of independent musicians. The music scene progress because of the constant innovation of the approach to music production. We now have easy access to music through online streaming platforms and carefully curated live shows where audiences can even connect personally with the musicians.

This Women's Month, we put the spotlight on notable women whose contributions to the music industry shouldn’t be ignored. These women broke gender barriers as they now conquer the male-dominated music scene.

Nicole Sarmiento
Founder, Red Ninja Productions

If you're into local indie music, you've probably heard of Nicole Sarmiento, the founder of Red Ninja Productions and band manager of Lions and Acrobats and Over October.

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Nicole started Red Ninja Productions with her cousin ten years ago. Since then, the production has been leading the music scene to its pinnacle with gigs featuring big names like Ebe Dancel, Dicta License, and Sandwich to name a few.

Bel Certeza
Founder and Curator, Indie Manila

Bel Certeza founded Indie Manila, a music website allowing music fans to have an intimate look at the local gigs around them through photos, videos, and bootleg recordings of band performances. Since 2005, she's actively attending gigs out of sheer love for local music. In 2010, she documented the scene one gig at a time hoping to bridge the gap between musicians and fans through Indie Manila.

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One of Bel's biggest projects was producing and filming A Week In Metro Mania: Up Dharma Down documentary. The film was an official entry at the 2011 Chicago Filipino-American Film Festival and was screened back-to-back with Quark Henares’ independent film, Rakenrol. Recently, Indie Manila launched its mobile application to easily track new gigs happening in town.

Mika Ordoñez
Head, Raccoon Productions

Mika Ordoñez is the head of RACC/OON Productions, a three-year-old music production company who holds charity events promoting the local indie music scene while lending a helping hand. Their beneficiaries are mostly from the Cancervants PH, an organization of child cancer advocates.

Raccoon, under Mika’s leadership, organized bar gigs in different areas in Metro Manila since 2016; it became their comfort zone until in 2018 when they decided to go do gigs outside bars. Just last January 2019 at the Green Sun Hotel, they had their biggest party to date with 16 bands in the line-up in celebration of their third anniversary.

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Milley Habito
Head, Gabi Na Naman Productions

Milley Habito is the head of an independent production outfit based in Manila, Gabi Na Naman Productions. She’s dedicated to curating gigs and providing a place for independent musicians to showcase their talents with the rest of her team. 

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They recently held their biggest show to date in collaboration with local T-shirt brand, Linya-Linya—the Linya-Linya Land! They are now gearing for Shirebound and Busking’s album release on March 29 at Route 196.

Karen Dela Fuente
Music Photographer

Karen De La Fuente is full-time music, travel, and motocross photographer and illustrator with a degree in Psychology from Ateneo de Manila University. She captures sound, vision, and space oddities.

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Karen pioneers an out-of-this-world music photo styles with color schemes only she can produce. She documents the pulsating concert scene, hoping to get more people to get to know more about our local music whereabouts. Over the years, she has photographed Wanderland Music Festival headliners FKJ, Lany, and Bon Iver. Locally, she has photographed Sandwich, tide/edit, and Oh, Flamingo! to name a few.

Karen also illustrates unusual faces like that of She’s Only Sixteen’s Whatever That Wasalbum cover. Karen is also selling postcards and Lightroom presets through her website.

Niña Sandejas
Rock ‘n’ roll Journalist

From fashion styling to music photography, Niña Rosario Sandejas is now rocking the concert photo pits with her camera. She has been in the music scene since 2003 and documented gigs in 2004 while hanging out with Kitchie Nadal and working as Rivermaya's stylist.

Niña is best at capturing musicians’ emotions through photos. Her music photography skills brought her to many places such as Canada, Singapore, and Dubai with Greyhoundz, Queso, Slapshock, and Kamikazee's tour. Through the years, she was able to photograph international acts like Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Metallica for Sony Philippines.

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From 2011 to 2017, Nina was the official rock journalist for Muziclaban. In 2007, she was chosen to be part of the JPG Magazine’s Exhibit called Breakthrough in the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery; and in 2011, her photos were shortlisted on British Magazine NME's Music Photography Awards. This year, she was chosen as the only Filipina of six photographers chosen to attend the prestigious Red Bull Photography Academy in South Africa.

April Hernandez
Producer, TheSunManager

April Hernandez is a 25-year-old singer-songwriter-music producer and industrial designer. She created the indie-folk music project TheSunManager during her college years at the college of fine arts in UP Diliman. She released her self-titled EP in 2014 and released her debut full-length album entitled Worth in early February of this year. The Sun Manager’s songs tell stories of choosing hope and positivity even through the tough times. She is also singing for the band Area25.

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The music scene is a battlefield for these women but they all powered through to satisfy the audiences’ hunger for live music shows. And they have already won the battle since the day they decided to keep the music alive. Now, the greatest era of Pinoy music is upon us and we’re ready to witness more women break more ceilings.


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