The Filipino folk scene has continuously evolved over the years.

With every generation that passes, you have artists that merge and fuse different genres yet keep that consistent spirit of storytelling that makes Filipino music unique. Take for example, love: no matter how many times musicians take a crack at writing about love, the resulting song is always different.

Folk music crosses the borders of age and areas. In this list of eight criminally underrated artists to listen to, we highlight acts from Luzon to Mindanao that deserve more attention.


Folk quintet Pinkmen are not one to pass over. Their 2019 single “Asked You To Dance” fuses folk with ’60s pop and kundiman, and you can hear hints of The Beatles in their tune. In 2023, they collaborated with Ely Buendia (of the Eraserheads) for a track called “Habulan” (Chase). The song is laden with three-part harmonies as the singers wax poetic about revisiting the memory of a long lost love. If you’re in for a fusion of ’60s pop rock, Manila Sound, and folk, then the Pinkmen are right up your alley.

Focus tracks: “Asked You To Dance,” “Sardinas,” “Hanggang Sa Muli”

Ferdinand Aragon

Award-winning singer-songwriter Ferdinand Aragon is one of those artists that make you scratch your head and think: “how is this guy not as famous as he should be?” Never one to be put into a box, Aragon has continually showed off his songwriting chops with songs in Bisaya, English, and Filipino. In 2018, he placed first runner up in that year’s edition of the songwriting competition for “Di Ko Man.”

Before that, he already won at the very first local songwriting competition he joined. Most recently, he collaborated with the iconic singer Morissette for a Bisaya song titled “Ang Paghuwat” (The Wait). “Ang Paghuwat” is a song that slowly creeps up on you, launching you into a heartfelt ballad about a love that lasts forever.

Focus tracks: “Ang Paghuwat” featuring Morissette, “Dinamalayan,” “Pahuway”


The seven-piece band Indayo is bread and butter folk pop. Composed of Lia Alfonso on vocals, Charles Umali on lead guitar, Mela Roque on cello, Cita Alfonso on drums, Miguel Estrada on the violin, Pam Mamaril on percussion and Babu Dadap on bass, they released their debut EP Stories From The Villa in 2022. Their songs feature all the great hallmarks of a folk-pop band: violin, piano, and a powerful vocalist. If you’re a fan of bands like The Ransom Collective, Ben&Ben, and Any Name’s Okay, Indayo is right up your alley.

Focus tracks: “Live,” “Let You Know,” “I Won’t Stop”

Akong Ayalam

Jose Delos Reyes, known by his artist moniker Akong Ayalam, pens songs that are simple yet are lyrical heavy hitters. Now living in Baler, Aurora, the singer-songwriter continues to write music that reflects the slow, calm life he leads. Although he isn’t as active in performing at gigs, his music is timeless and perfect for any situation you find yourself in.

Focus tracks: “Isang Buong Araw Kasama Ka,” “Alon ng Pag-Ibig (Baler Song)”

Frank Ely

Perhaps best known for “Kay Ganda Mo” (You’re Beautiful) and “Minamahal” (Love), Frank Ely brings together folk elements with indie pop tones. His latest song, “Pahingi Ako Ng Kiss” (Give Me A Kiss) is the perfect example of this — an upbeat ’60s beat that you can’t help but feel like it’s uniquely Filipino. Frank Ely is one of those young artists that seems to blend genres flawlessly, and we’re here for it.

Focus tracks: “Pahingi Ako Ng Kiss,” “Sintagal,” “Minamahal”

Oh! Caraga

Mindanawon folk band Oh! Caraga isn’t technically “underrated” given their numerous accolades and impact in the Bisaya music scene, but they definitely deserve more national attention. Oh! Caraga is a powerhouse when it comes to talent — I mean, you have pioneering Vispop songwriters in one group; of course their music is outstanding. The themes that they cover in their music cover anything from nationalism, respect for different ethnic languages, love, hope, and everything in between.

Focus tracks: “Bai” featuring Davey Langit, “Way Sukod,” “Ipanumpa Ko”


This Awit Award winner is championing the Bicolano language to the national mainstream. Dwta’s music sounds exactly like the image her artist name conveys — enchanting, dreamy, and full of heart. Her breakout single, “Padaba Taka,” recently clinched the Awit Award for Best Regional Recording, which only proves that for this artist, there’s nowhere else to go but up.

Focus tracks: “Padaba Taka,” “Delikado”

Vincent Eco

Vincent Eco’s solo project seems miles away from his band’s, The Sundown. However, this Vispop singer-songwriter weaves songs that are equal parts insightful and heartbreaking. Take for example, “Kiss & Disappear” — where he grapples with the hesitation that comes with falling in love. His latest release, “You Are My Universe” uses metaphors of the stars and space to create an intimate and quietly beautiful love song.

Focus tracks: “If You Leave,” “Kiss & Disappear,” “You Are My Universe”

Check out more folk artists in Billboard Philippines’ folk issue, out now.