“Mahal kita.” We often hear that Filipino phrase being taught to a lot of foreigners. It is one of the simple yet beautiful lines we frequently inject into several hugot songs we had on repeat.
But there seems to be another phrase written in the same language that is as enchanting as “mahal kita.” An independent electro-pop duo, MND3GMA [man-di-rig-ma], has it reverberating in their debut single, bearing the same words– “Tayong Dalawa.”
Best known for their iconic role on the HBO Max reboot of Gossip Girl, Jordan Alexander is now venturing into music, their first love. Elevating their relationship to a whole new dimension with Sakina Garcia, a successful actor and model, they formed an experimental band ready to break not just records, but barriers for more inclusive and fair representation in the music scene.
In an exclusive interview with PARCINQ Magazine, the multi-hyphenate duo wants to highlight the value of oneself and the importance of finding true love that transcends cultural differences.
Pride and Power
In an industry where authenticity becomes heavily scrutinized, the Toronto-based musical artists promise to bring a diverse world of creative influence to their music and be an inspiration to embrace one’s identity.
“We want our music shows to look like every person is a very different individual,” shares “Feels Right (Pride Remix)” artist, Jordan, pinpointing how this generation allows them to be in full control of themselves and makes them more free to express their individuality through creating music. “We hope that representing ourselves as to who we really are, will inspire others to be in love with themselves as well,” they add.
Participating in a new influx of pop music with their unique and genre-bending sound, songwriter, DJ, and Sutherland Models’ Sakina quips that to be an artist of this era means to have little to no limit to whatever they want to make.
The artistic freedom is just proof of how the current landscape of music permits every artist to infuse self expression into their masterpieces— something that both Jordan and Sakina hold dearly and put great emphasis on. As they tell PARCINQ, it’s having “fierceness for individuality.”
Tayong Dalawa against the world
Cementing the power and influence they hold as queer artists and as they continue to express themselves fully and bring their relationship to a brand new realm, their debut single, "Tayong Dalawa" was brought to life.
“Tayong Dalawa” is a revolutionary pop music that encapsulates the story of Jordan and Sakina and gives us a sneak peek into their colorful and unconventional world. As depicted in the music video shot in the Philippines and directed by a rising Filipino director, Elena Virata, it depicts the narrative of two space creatures seeking love and connection in a world that is very different from their own.
The theme speaks resoundingly of the kind of relationship between the two, wherein one of them has Filipino roots. “I have a different relationship with the Philippines,” expresses the First Generation Filipino-Canadian, Sakina, giving depth on the reason why the song was made closer to Filipino culture. “Everything that I have not appreciated, I appreciate it even more, like a hundred times more. I am more inspired to represent the Philippines now.”
In their commitment to making music that centers on non-American narratives, the song was written in full Filipino language, with “mahal kita” as the first two lyrics that welcome the listener to what seems to be an extra-terrestrial soundscape about unconditional love surpassing planetary boundaries.
“The thing that I learned the most was the depth of the pride in Filipino culture and the Filipino people,” says the Vancouver-born, Toronto-raised talent, Jordan, adding that Filipinos have a special level of sharing that cares so much for other people wanting to learn more about the archipelago. Indeed, they were able to immerse themselves in that while they were staying and working in the country.
Hoping to live with what they said of carrying more Filipinos on board with their projects, MND3GMA has a passion that shows several and diverse sounds of culture, persistence, and a sense of adventure for what lies ahead. As mandirigma (warriors), they aim to release more music that gravitates toward stories with immense significance to the world and beyond.
“There are lots of amazing artists out there, and this is our contribution to the genre. It’s pure and unique and most importantly, it’s our story. We can’t wait to share more of our world,” remarks the band, unveiling the kind of artists they want to be and the message they want to echo.
After “Tayong Dalawa,” MND3GMA comes back with a hard-hitting single, “Fist Fight” which forwards a compelling message about the current climate crisis. Check it out and discover more about how they imbue relevant advocacies to their music.
Photography by Christine Do
Makeup by Mars
Styling by MND3GMA
Words and Interview by Hans Ethan Carbonilla