Rogue Madonna

By Lorenzo P. Niñal 

A true lover of music appreciates different genres. A poser is one who picks one genre to support and rejects the musical merits of the others. Or to be closer to home, a fake is one who loves rock music but shuts his ears to a song if it is written in Cebuano, no questions asked

This is not for the posers and all that fake rakistas represent. This is not for those whose idea of coolness doesn’t go beyond black shirts, black pants and the fatalistic embrace of a bleak future. This is not for the arrogant urbanites whose false sense of rock sophistication snubs at the proudly local. Rather, this piece is for a new generation of rockers whose love for music complements their sense of identity, their positive attitude towards life and their concern for others.

Anne Lalaine Chua, 22, fits this description. By being visible in the local music scene, she has made herself this generation’s unofficial ambassadress of rock.  

By traditional standards, Chowa (as friends fondly called her) is a walking contradiction in the infamous world of rock music. She headbangs during concerts but makes sure she’s home before her dad flares up. She feels safe in a crowded bar but manages to survive the night, sane and sober. She makes friends with drunks and misfits tonight,  she’s with school children in some depressed mountain barangay doing charity work the next day.  

Chowa is a volunteer of Tsinelas, a non-government organization that helps poor kids in Cebu’s mountain barangays get decent education. Not surprising for one who cites Bono of U2 as the ultimate example of a rock star with a sense of mission.

 “Bono is a rakista who is aware of what is happening around him and makes it a point to help. You don’t need to do drugs, alcohol and sex to be a certified rock star. At the end of the day, you will be judged by the music you make,” she says.

 A true lover of music appreciates different genres. A poser is one who picks one genre to support and rejects the musical merits of the others. Or to be closer to home, a fake is one who loves rock music but shuts his ears to a song if it is written in Cebuano, no questions asked.

 This is an attitude of some Cebuanos that Chowa finds revolting. She has a few invectives in hand in case she meets these people in the street, she said. This Accountancy graduate is local and fiery to the core.

 Recalling the first time she heard Bisaya rock music over the radio, she says: “The music was something new and it really caught my attention the first time I heard it. Using Bisaya as the medium was a radical move for these artists. My being a pro-Bisaya person must be a factor why I am an avid supporter of Cebuano rock (Bisrock). It gives us, the Bisaya of this generation, something we can identify ourselves with. It is something that we should be proud of.”

 Chowa’s love for the Bisaya bands goes beyond mere talk. Together with some friends, she organizes concerts that feature mainly Bisaya rock musicians. She dreams, too, of one day establishing her music label or record company to cater to Bisaya artists.

 Now, that really rocks.