BandWorldAdult Contemporary

A powerhouse of soulful women's voices from the heart and hearth of Mindanao, Philippines writing and singing pop, soul, rock, folk, adult contemporary, and world music harmonies.


Mebuyan has released one album to date: "Mga Kuwentong Bata" (Children Stories). The album contains songs and music for and about children, with emphasis on children's rights (to play, to go to school, to have a home, etc). It is a response to the call for more vigilance towards the safety and the rights of children, and the United Nations Decade of a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence to Children of the World (2000-2010).

Baking in the oven is a second album entitled "Mga Kuwentong Mindanaw" (Mindanao Stories), in collaboration with various music artists in Davao, Philippines. It features the winning (and finalist) entries to the "Tunog Mindanaw (Mindanao Sound) Annual World Music Competition" in Davao City, Philippines, where members of Mebuyan competed against each other for the plum prize. It also includes the entries to the "2007 Global Cooling: the first Mothers for Peace Singout and Songwriting Competition" where again, Mebuyan members also competed against each other.

Bassist Paolo Sisi's song “Mag-iban Kita,” won first place at the Tunog Mindanaw 2008, vocalist-percussionist Geejay Arriola's "Hohoy" won second place. Maan Chua and Gauss Obenza won the plum at the Global Cooling competition with "Dahon Puno Ugat Lupa" and Gauss Obenza reaped the second place with "Celebrate, Glorify, Spread the Peace."

Sisi’s winning piece was performed by Renee Baker Project 6 at the Annual Chicago Calling Festival as part of Mebuyan’s participation in the festival.

It is difficult to put Mebuyan's music into just one category although the sound of Mindanao indigenous instruments such as the "kulintang," the "agong," and the "kubing," provide vernacular color to what otherwise would be categorized as simply folk, acoustic, pop, rock, or adult contemporary music. Safely, though, they can be grouped with bands under the category World Music.

Mebuyan is an aggregrate of composers-musicians, each with his/her own wealth of musical background. Geejay Arriola, has been writing music for various theater and dance productions in Mindanao, Philippines for 17 years, where indigenous artistic expressions are naturally woven into contemporary performances. Gauss Obenza has been a folk and jazz musician for 20 years. Her major work to date is writing the music and score for Arnel Mardoquio's film "Hospital Boat." Paolo Sisi is a music teacher and has been a session artist for many bands in Manila and Davao for about 15 years. Chico Zambrano has likewise been session percussionist for various bands for about the same number of years as Paolo. And the younger ones--Maan Chua, Maree Contaoi, and Maia Tampoy---have been having regular gigs as solo musicians-singers for the last 7 years or so.

Mebuyan participated in the following productions as composers, arrangers, and/or musicians:

---"Panaw," a dance-musicale written by Malou Tiangco and Geejay Arriola, produced by Mebuyan Peace Project, Inc. Performed at the Asian Theater Festival in India, and at the Asia-Pacific Festival for Women in the Arts in Manila, 2003
---"Salima," a concert-theater production on peace in Mindanao conceived by Geejay Arriola, written by Arnel Mardoquio, produced by EarthMusic Foundation, Inc., 2004
---"Uwahig," a dance-drama written by Steven Patrick Fernandez, produced by MINDULANI, Inc., and performed at the International Theater Institute Festival in Manila, 2006
---"Madonna Brava," an adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's "Mother Courage and Her Children," written by Don Pagusara, produced by Tanghalang Pilipino, 2009.
---"Hospital Boat," a film by Arnel Mardoquio.


Nandito Lang Ako

Written By: Geejay Arriola


Nang una kitang iduyan
Sa aking sinapupunan
Binubulong ko sa iyo
Ang pag-ibig ko
At ang pangarap kong
Lumaki kang may dunong
At katatagan

At ang una mong mga hakbang
Ay punong-puno ng kasiyahan
Hagikhik mong kay tamis
Na sa pagod ko'y pumapawi
Sa kislap ng iyong mga mata'y
Magandang landas mo'y namamasdan

Subali't nasa'n ka anak
Sa iyong landas na tinatahak
Kinabukasan mo ay hindi tanaw
May pangamba't pag-aalinlangan

Nandito ako
Naghihintay ng yakap mo
Sa iyong paalala
Hanap ko ang pagtangi mo

Pangarap ko'y
Tila nilipad ng hangin
Ako'y puno ng kawalan at pag-aalinlangan
Uhaw sa pang-unawa mo

Nais ko sanang
Makapiling ka
Sa bawat pagsubok
Na dumaan sa buhay ko
At sa aking paglalakbay
Nawa'y ika'y aking kasabay
Ramdam kong ako'y ligaw
Kalinga mo ang aking ilaw


Subali't nasa'n ka anak
Sa iyong landas na tinatahak
Kinabukasan mo ay di tanaw
May pangamba't pag-aalinlangan

Nandito ako
(Nandito lang ako)
Naghihintay ng yakap mo
(Handang umunawa)
Sa iyong paalala
Hanap ko ang pagtangi mo
(Kahit di ko mawari
Ang landas mo)
Nandito lang ako
(Nandito lang ako, nandito)

Hindi ko alam kung ano ang hinahanap ko
Ang bawat hakbang ay tila tuliro
Umiikot-umiikot na walang tinutungo
At nalilito sa mundong kay gulo

(English translation)


When I first cradled you
In my womb
I whispered to you
My love
And my dream
That you shall grow up with wisdom
And strength

And your first steps
Were filled with joy
Your sweet laughter
Wiped away my tiredness
And in the twinkle of your eyes
Your good journey ahead were beheld

But where are you now, my child
In this path that you are taking

Your future is misty
Filled with anxiety and uncertainty

I am here
Waiting for your embrace
In your reminders
I search for your caring

My dreams
Seem to have been blown by the wind
I am filled with nothingness and uncertainty
Thirsty for your understanding

I wish
To be with you
In every challenge
That passes by in my life
And in my journey
I hope you shall keep me company
I feel I am lost
Your caring is my light


But where are you now, my child
In this path that you are taking

Your future is misty
Filled with anxiety and uncertainty

I am here
(I am just here)
Awaiting your embrace
(Willing to understand)
In your reminders I search for your caring
(Even if I cannot fathom your path)
I am just here
(I am just here)
I am just here, here

I do not know what I’m looking for
Every step a daze
Turning in circles with nowhere to go
Confused in this chaotic world


"Mga Kuwentong Bata" (Children's Stories), 2007.

Baking in the oven: "Mga Kuwentong Mindanaw" (Mindanao Stories), "Mga Kuwentong Babae" (Women Stories), and "Panaw" (Journey). You may listen to more samples of our music at our website.

Set List

Our repertoire consists of original compositions that dwells on the following themes: women, children, love, peace, hope, dreams, lullabyes, solidarity, spirituality, the environment, and celebration of life. We only do less than 10 covers ranging from the Beatles to Simon and Garfunkel to Alanis Morisette, to the Indigo Girls to Sweet Honey in the Rock.