Dumilim ang paligid.
This line has stuck to many Filipinos not only because it’s the opening lyrics in the classic Eraserheads song ‘Spoliarium,’ but also because meme culture has turned it into some sort of an inside joke– a reference to an urban legend surrounding the said song. Whenever there’s a post about Vic Sotto, Joey De Leon, and Tito Sotto on social media, chances are, you’ll see a person or two commenting with it, along with other memes about the world-renowned cola brand Pepsi.
For almost two decades after it was released, legend has it that ‘Spoliarium’ is about the alleged rape case of a famous “Softdrink” model named Pepsi Paloma, who had filed rape charges against Sotto, De Leon, and Richie D’Horsie in the ‘80s but never got to bring the men to the court due to the alleged interrogation of Tito Sotto. Tito is the brother of Vic and currently serving as the Senate President of the Philippines.
‘Spoliarium’ was written by former Eheads frontman Ely Buendia as part of their 1997 album ‘Happy Sticker.’ According to theories, the song– while seemingly talking about drinking and hangover on the surface– draws from the tragic fate of Paloma involving the trio of accused comedians.
At one point in the song, Ely mentions the names Enteng and Joey, which are nicknames popularly given to Vic and Joey, respectively. Many believe that the song title– the name of a famous painting by Juan Luna– is connected to Joey De Leon, who is also a painter. A portion of the song describes being invited for a drink; many fans believe that it is connected to the Sulo Hotel incident wherein Pepsi Paloma and her perpetrators had a drinking session before the gang rape allegedly happened.
“All about getting pissed drunk”
After many years of leaving the public with nothing but messages to interpret, the songwriter himself, Ely Buendia finally stepped in to address the speculations that have long since haunted the song. In the March 4 episode of “Wake up with Jim & Saab,” the OPM icon debunked the myth that ‘Spoliarium’ was about the Pepsi Paloma story, adding that the real meaning of the song is “just really mundane.”
“‘Spoliarium’ is one of those cases where, really, the myth has sort of taken over the facts and I kinda like it. I kinda like the myth. Because the actual meaning of the song is also, again, just really mundane,” Buendia told the hosts Jim Baccaro and Saab Magalona. He clarified that “it’s all about getting pissed drunk,” an experience he and his band had after a night of drinking Goldschläger– an alcoholic beverage metaphorically referred to in the song as “gintong alak.”
The singer knew that some people wouldn’t be too pleased to hear this. In fact, he asked Saab if she was disappointed, to which the host replied, “Not at all. I’m just happy that we got this exclusive!”
Still, though, Buendia tells the hosts that ‘Spoliarium’ is one of those songs he’ll always be proud of, and he knows that even though the myth has now been debunked, it will stick around.
Are you happy about this revelation or are you disappointed? Tell us in the comments below!
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