Freddie Aguilar

One of the most famous musicians to come out of the Philippines, Ferdinand Pascual Aguilar (February 5, 1953), better known as Freddie Aguilar, jumped into the spotlight in the late 70s with his politically-charged brand of folk rock. He first picked up the guitar at the age of 9, inspired by the likes of Cat Stevens and James Taylor. After a short stint studying electrical engineering, Aguilar dropped out of college and became a busking musician, also playing in folk clubs and bars. His moment of glory arrived in 1978, when he performed his song “Anak” at the Metro Manila Popular Music Festival, instantly positioning himself as one the most famous music acts in the Philippines. The track, which featured lyrics in tagalog, achieved worldwide fame as it topped the charts in the Philippines and Japan, and gained popularity in countries like Angola, Malaysia, and Western Europe. Since its release, it has been recorded in more than 23 languages and went on to become the highest-selling Philippine record of all time. He followed up with the singles “Magdalena” and “Bayan Ko,” a track from 1979 that gained relevance in 1986 during the People Power Revolution as a protest anthem against the Marcos regime. Subsequently, Aguilar continued to perform and release albums well into the 21st century and received an Asia Star Award for his trajectory in 2008.

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