Music: Two Pinays in panel – Han-Han and Ibarra

Updated: March 2, 2021, 11:03 AM

Two First-Generation Visayan Women Rappers Representing our Community Struggles on March 24 & 25

Mildred German

March 23, 2021 – As the world celebrates the 500th anniversary of the colonization of the Philippines, it is best to remember the native peoples of the pre-colonial Philippines, the Sebwano and Waray peoples of the Visayan region.

The courage of the native people who fought in the historical Battle of Mactan is not forgotten. Their courage for the struggle for their homelands until to this day thrives. As LapuLapu killed coloniser Ferdinand Magellan 500 years ago, the brave battle inspires the far diaspora of our worth as a people and identities as natives of what is now-known as the Philippines.

Two first-generation Visayan women rappers will be represented in two separate events that stretch in Canada and the US. These panels are also timely to discuss the struggles of the Filipino communities in the diaspora.

On March 24, first generation Filipino-Canadian registered nurse Haniely Pableo, who is also known as “HanHan”, will be part of the event, Nurses in the Diaspora, presented by Kularts.

Pableo specializes in cardiac surgery, and is an operating room nurse at the Toronto General Hospital, which is the 4th best hospital in the world according to the Newsweek report. She is also currently hired as the TAVI (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation) operating room coordinator.

During the lockdown and amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Pableo volunteered to be part of the Emergency Response Intubation Team (ERIT), the team responsible for intubating possible and/or confirmed COVID-19 patients.

When not in the hospital saving lives, Pableo gives time for her art and music, where onstage, she inspires audiences with her high-energy performances and dancing. Her songs offer unique perspectives, and grapple with social issues and her experiences as a first-generation Filipina immigrant in Canada, who arrived in 2006, after being sponsored by her mother. As she raps and sings, she proudly does so in her native languages – Cebuano and Tagalog.

In 2014, Hanhan self-released her debut album which gathered praises from NOW Magazine, the Huffington Post, and the CBC. Meanwhile, the single, ‘World Gong Crazy’, in collaboration with Datu, was nominated for “Best Song” at the  Berlin Music Video Awards 2017. It  lead to a publishing deal with EMI and international radio play and air time.

In 2019, Hanhan recorded the song ‘Visaya’ in the Nafada Album, in collaboration with Konqistador, and INfest8. Hanhan’s second album, URDUJA, was released in January 2020, and was funded by the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and FACTOR. She also has single releases, ‘Mare’, ‘Take a Muna’, and ‘Babae Ka’. Her albums are available for purchase and her discography can be found at ​

Ruby Ibarra
Ibarra. (Photo: Paper)


Meanwhile, across the border in the United States of America, Filipino-American scientist and rapper Ruby Ibarra will be part of the KQED Public Broadcasting’s live events on March 25, 2021.

The event is called “The Art of Conversation” and will be a talk episode with KQED live events producer Lance Gardner, who will be interviewing Ibarra, along with Jessica Hagedorn (Dogeaters, Gangster of Love).

As a first-generation Filipino-American rapper, and a child of Tacloban, Leyte, music producer, and spoken word artist, Ibarra raps in Waray, Tagalog, and English. Her raps and music concern her cultural heritage and her experiences as an immigrant to the United States from the Philippines. Ibarra is based in the Bay Area, which is a birthplace for expression, power of community, and role of culture in the Arts.

Ruby has a combined presence of over 3 millions views on Youtube, and years of music career and collaborations with many Filipino artists and non-Filipinos as well including SZA. She has sought to perform in many local and international events, including festivals in the Philippines, USA, and many other places.

Ibarra is a University of California Davis graduate, and works as a scientist in the quality-control department of a biotech firm in the Bay Area.

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