How ‘fate’ brought Oh! Caraga together

Januar Junior Aguja - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — ‘Fate’ was a word that Oh! Caraga’s Sherwin Fugoso kept repeating when describing the events that happened to the band, including its formation with brothers Kenneth and Adam Corvera.

“A bit cringy, a bit OA, but I feel like it was fate for us to meet. I had my [separate] jam sessions [at the university] with Kenneth and then with Adam. I was surprised when I found out they were siblings,” Fugoso told The FREEMAN in an interview.

Oh! Caraga was not formed immediately despite the years-long friendship between the Corvera brothers and Fugoso and their shared passion for songwriting.

“We joined songwriting contests like Vispop before we formed this band. I was a finalist, and then the following year it was Adam, and the year after it was Sherwin,” recalled Kenneth. “And then we joined together as one finalist. Jude Gitamondoc suggested that we form a band because we write similar kinds of songs. So why not?”

They went through several names, including Lieutenant Circle and Oh Mountain, before settling with Oh! Caraga” – named after their hometown. It so happens that the other four members, who joined the band a bit later after their formation, are also from the same region. “Fate lagi, Sir,” Sherwin emphasized.

Oh! Caraga’s sound is known for its fusion of country, folk, and pop with a distinguishable Bisaya touch. “We chose that genre because we are proud to be from a rural area. Country music is all about stories in rural areas so that’s how we represented ourselves as a band. We represent where we came from and what we had,” said Adam.

This unique sound is evident in most of their songs, including their most popular one “Ipanumpa Ko” which presents the known characteristics of the band’s sound with its relatable, universal


While their discography has been exclusively Bisaya, they have unreleased songs that they wrote and performed in English and Tagalog. They are open to the idea of singing in these languages, but it was important for them to keep Bisaya as the main language in their music.

“It’s different when you sing in Bisaya because that’s part of our art…and it’s something we are proud of. Our music can even be used as cultural export to the world stage. If we are going to be on that stage, we are going to represent ourselves by singing our own language,” Adam added.

Oh! Caraga’s latest performance in Cebu was February’s “Becoming Ice” concert headlined by Ice Seguerra. To be able to perform live in front of an audience since the pandemic gave the band a “feeling of nostalgia” with the crowd cheering them on and singing with them.

The band had felt during those lockdown months of the COVID19 pandemic that they slowly gained new fans who have been streaming “Ipanumpa Ko” and the rest of their discography endlessly.

Oh! Caraga shared that they have been working on their second album but that still don’t have a release date.

The members pointed out how much the Vispop movement has evolved since they were formed. “There wasn’t enough appreciation for Bisaya songwriting because there was that mindset that Bisaya is baduy or substandard,” said Kenneth.

“We saw how Vispop has improved so much to the point that the music is of international quality. We are amazed by how much it has evolved today.”

While they still encounter cynicism towards Bisaya music, it only gives the band one goal: to change perceptions towards Bisaya music.

“The more people we encounter [who don’t like Bisaya music], it only drives us more to prove them wrong,” said Adam. “They should love Bisaya music because in the first place, this is part of our culture and language.”


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with