Paul Pablo has broken through the mainstream with back-to-back bangers “Bangin” and “Kalawakan.” For him, this is but a sample of the VisMin region’s still-untapped potential.

The Davao-born singer put the spotlight on his region and himself on the radar with his signature “hugot-tronic” brand that combines heartfelt lyrics with electropop sounds.

Through award-winning music that “packs the right punches while remaining poised,” he is able to seamlessly discuss relatable issues concerning love, society, and identity.

As Pablo celebrates his roots in Bisaya music scenes and why he’s part of the movement to champion music from Visayas and Mindanao, Billboard Philippines lists best practices gleaned from the singer’s professional history.

Here are different steps a Filipino music artist can take to make sure their music includes and represents their listeners across demographics.


Borgy Angeles


Any musician hoping to inspire the next generation of artists has to make the learning curve less steep and the barriers to entry more penetrable.

Growing up, Pablo kept attuned to the ways of musicians in Visayas and Mindanao. He observed how even the smallest towns had their own ways of getting their music done “without much access to more advanced equipment.”

“A lot of us artists and creatives have that type of situation, like my first-ever song ‘Bai,’” Pablo recalls. “Back then, I was still a student, 20 years old, and had no idea how to get things done. My only capital for my music video was 500 pesos for cartolina and I did everything else: shoot, edit, makeup, style, direct. I just used a tripod and set up everything from home.”


It takes a rebel with a cause to make change possible.

Pablo has the prestige and power it takes to properly represent the LGBTQIA+ community. Loud and proud in his work, he has released music in honor of Pride month, on top of headlining pride celebrations at the Quezon City Memorial Circle and Pasay CCP Open Grounds.

He remembers to make time to fight for the things he believes in both through his art and real-life actions. With his advocacies and identities weaved into everything he puts out into the world, the openly queer artist has gone to achieve great heights, including an Awit Award, a Wish Awards nod, and a Spotify RADAR landing.

Paul Pablo


Outside of music production, an artist can participate in their music’s creative direction.

Pablo grabs every opportunity to showcase his strengths as a hands-on creative — composing, writing, recording, styling, and promoting all his work even after signing under Warner Music Philippines.

The multihyphenate has more in store for his next return. Alongside his efforts to expand his musical scope, he’s also looking to upgrade his creative image: “Moving forward, it’s gonna be more on what I should wear or look like so people get to understand my story, my artistry, and my vibe.”

Paul Pablo


Communicating with one’s audience works best in the language they speak.

Pablo is finally incorporating his mother tongue, as heard in his first Bisaya track ‘Isulti Lang.’

“I’ve never released any songs in Bisaya. Most of my songs are released in Davao conyo or in Tagalog. So right now, I wanted to connect with my listeners more in VisMin,” the multilingual musician explains.


The Metro is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the music the Philippines has to offer. As Pablo puts it, “Some of our greatest artists came from these atypical places we often overlook.”

Artists can not only connect with a new community but also find inspiration from all the sounds the country has to offer. “Promoting in Bacolod, Davao, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, and soon, Iloilo, it just feels rewarding. I hope we can broaden the idea of local scenes to include these diverse, talented regions,” Pablo celebrates.

Back in Davao, the singer was also able to go full circle by doing a whole set in his hometown for the first time. “The main reason why I really wanted to do a full set there is reaching out and educating people that artists like me do exist in this generation,” he notes.

A version of this story appeared on Billboard Philippines’ pop issue, dated Oct. 15, 2023.

Art Direction by Kenneth Dimaano. Photographed by Borgy Angeles. Styled by Gee Jocson. Assisted by Ian Rey and Angelo Vasallo. Hair by JA Feliciano. Makeup by Jay Salcedo. Production Design by Migs Alcid, Assisted by Winona Te and Randy Lajara. Shoot Coordination by Mikaela Cruz. Photography Assisted by Pao Mendoza and Karl Mariano. Shoot Assisted by Megan Lim. Video Creative Direction by Kenneth Dimaano and Bret Jackson. Video by YouMeUsMNL. YouMeUsMNL Creative Heads headed by Kerbs Balagtas, Xavier Alfonso, Dale Reciña. DOP and Edited by Jireh Bacasno. Assistant Direction and Editing by Alanis Manantan. Video and Lighting Assisted by Sam Tangzo.