I sat on my desk at work and said nothing unless talked to. “Smile, lest they find out you hate your life,” I said to myself.

 

It was a fine morning, the very last day of January. The sunlight was warm against my skin and the taste of coffee still in my mouth. It was gonna be a good day. I had myself a breakfast I’d been thinking about since the night before and a new episode of one of my favorite shows was to come out that night. The walk from the breakfast joint to the office was just like any other February morning, windy and challenging for a pedestrian crossing streets, very Manila. The only thing missing from that morning was a brief encounter with a magtataho. But still, like I said, it was gonna be a good day.

Or was it?

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Barely 30 minutes into my workday, our managing editor takes the seat by the desk next to me with the biggest grin on her face–practically laughing at that point. “Oh no,” I said in my head. She was gonna drop a bomb on me. A big job order? A daunting task? Milliseconds felt like hours, my imagination went wild wondering what I was about to hear. So I just smiled back and pretended I don’t have social anxiety. If present me could tell past me what he was about to hear, past me wouldn’t believe the present me. “I wanna assign something to you,” she exclaimed–and that was the believable part. The unbelievable part?

“Listen to ‘Hayaan Mo Sila’ for 24 hours on loop, with absolutely no breaks and write about it!”

My jaw didn’t drop, like it should have (it probably did and I just didn’t notice). But my soul did. Hassle, pare.

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She laughed at my apparent misery. A slow “Haha…okay,” was all I could muster.

After ironing out the details of it, it was time to “get started”. Before the day ended I had it all planned out. I was going to start the next day so I could be mentally prepared by 11AM sharp. I said I was going to commit to no less than 50% volume on any device the whole way because anything less would feel like cheating. Momma raised no cheater.

I said, “This is fine. I’ll be fine,” but I say a lot of things. Like how I said I’d go back to the gym at the start of the month. And yet, eto tayo.

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I woke up the next day feeling good about the upcoming challenge I was going to face. Trust me. It’s not called “Hayaan mo Sila 24 Hour Challenge” for no reason. We take the word “challenge” in Clavel very seriously. Just take a look at our videos. By 10:59AM I had my earphones plugged into my phone, the song just waiting to be played, one-song-loop button activated. Ano? Tara na!!!

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The following is a detailed firsthand account of my thoughts during the Hayaan Mo Sila 24 Hour Challenge went. Think of them as tweets.

Tweets by someone who was being tortured from the inside out.

10:59:57…

10:59:58…

10:59:59…

11:00AM

Play.

“This is okay. I’m a lover of all types of music,” or so I thought. Or so I wanted. Or so it seemed.

12:00NN

“This isn’t so bad. Makes for a cool lunchbreak song.” Note that lunchbreak marks the halfway point into a regular workday. But somehow, it felt like my day had just started. Good day to you too, Ex Battalion and O.C. Dawgs.

1:00PM

I hate all of this. I hate you . I hate me. I hate everything. Everything sucks. Humans were given creativity and we come up with garbage instead.

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2:00PM

Oooookay I might have been a little over-reacting. Ang OA naman natin kanina. It’s not THAT bad. It’s actually not bad at all. It’s an okay song! I can dance to it, I’ll say that much. Whoever produced the track did a great job as well.

3:00 – 4:00PM

I have a headache. Pretty sure it’s not because of the sun’s heat. Truth is I know I can roll with this song. But this 24-hour thing is not the right way to do it.

5:00 – 6:00PM

I can tell these kids are ambitious. I mean, it shows. And I finally couldn’t handle that headache and took a painkiller. At this point it’s not just pain. It’s agony. How many times has the song been blasting into my ears by now? It’s been 5 hours. Felt like days. Time is slow.

7:00PM

By now the headache has left and all I’m thinking is, “Wow, what an infamous song.” It’s not everyday a song becomes surrounded by this kind of buzz. I have nothing against people who like this song. You do you. Honestly, at the 6-hour mark I’ve bounced from it’s aight to NOPE and back a handful of times already.

Is this what it’s like to be brainwashed?

I got weird stares from people who could hear my loud earphones during the commute going home.

8:00PM

Took my earphones off for dinner. Luckily my sister wasn’t around to judge me for my apparent taste in music. Caught myself actually singing out loud. This is indeed what brainwashing is like. The FBI agent monitoring my phone must be singing along with me. Or bashing his head against a wall. Pero NBI lang ata meron dito sa Pilipinas.

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9:00PM

Just got out of the shower. This time I actually caught myself singing AND dancing. Had a good look at myself in the mirror after that bath. “Who ARE you? I don’t recognize you,” I said out loud, as I bobbed my head to the song’s chorus.

10:00PM

My day is about to end. As per usual I end my day with a video game. Placed my phone on my desk near enough for me to hear the song in its full glory even with a video game on. [NBA] 2K is tonight’s dish, with ‘Hayaan Mo Sila’ on the side. I turned the game’s music off and opted for just sound effects and commentary to make room for the beautiful masterpiece blasting from my phone. I lost to the Warriors by 9 points using the Timberwolves. Stupid song.

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11:00PM

I’m about to call it a night. The song is still playing. At this point I’ve forgotten what it’s like to NOT be hearing the song constantly. Good fucking night.

 

——

 

7:00AM

OMFG I HATE THE MORNING THE SUNLIGHT STOP.

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Imagine waking up to an alarm clock AND this damn song. Even after coffee I’m grumpy. My editor has a twisted mind for coming up with this. But I fight. Momma raised no wuss. I start my day with the mantra: sige sige lang. Earphones back in. Off to work…

8:00 – 10:00AM

Worst morning in my life, ever. It’s gonna take a few decades for that morning to be topped. Worst. Ever. I have an hour left. My ears hurt physically. ‘Boy. Come on. Final stretch. Last lap. You get a cookie after.’ I say anything to motivate my mental strength. I sat on my desk at work and said nothing unless spoken to. “Smile, lest they find out you hate your life,” I said to myself.

11:00AM

EARPHONES. OFF.

YOUR HOMEBOY MADE IT.

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Man I swear I’m never doing this again. I will never, ever, EVER listen to that song again.

I stared out the window and marveled at the beautiful world we live in. I have never had a better appreciation for silence than I do at this moment. Everything is in slow motion. The universe is on mute. I’m back in the world of the living, as a new being. I’ve reclaimed my humanity; you might say that I’ve transcended it. I’m beyond humanity.

Although I can’t say the same about my sanity.

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Final Thoughts

My final word on the song is that it’s a nice song. You won’t ever find me listening to it ever again.

But I’ve always stood by the saying that just because you dislike something, doesn’t mean it’s not good.

So the song might not fall into my personal taste but I’d be lying if I said that as a pop song it’s not worth the waves it’s making with the people who like it.

After listening to the damned thing for 24 whole ass hours I can say with all honesty that in the end it actually doesn’t matter what song it is. You listen to any song for 24 hours and you’re bound to hate the experience as much as I did. I can’t name a single good thing to have come out of that other than the fact that I can answer questions like, “So what was it like?” I went through that expecting the worst and it’s exactly what I got. What else was gonna happen? Come on man, 24 hours.

But I do have a few more thoughts I’d like to share. Firstly, I know there are plenty of talented creators in our beloved country. We just don’t have all the resources or the opportunities. But then again, we can’t use those as excuses. Second, if you dislike any piece of work, you need not be disrespectful about it. By now it’s not news that this song is quite the infamous one. And it’ll remain so for years to come. It’s creation is surrounded by hype, talk, beef, you name it; transcending borders and nationalities. But there are people who dig it. And they deserve our respect for simply listening to music they like. And lastly, why I ever agreed to this, I will never know. But what I’m sure of is that I will never, ever, listen to this song again. As the lyrics go, kaya wag nang uulit pa.

But while you contemplate about maybe trying this thing out, might I suggest some other songs? After all, I did mention the amount of talent in the country.

Or maybe you actually want THE song. In which case…

And I type all of this with full conviction and intention, as the song once again plays in my head. So until then, keep loving local.

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