juan karlos’ Diwa is the cure for our extended bouts of cabin fever.

Released last March 20, 2020, Diwa is a ten-track album under MCA music. The album traverses a variety of musical influences that have shaped the band. “It’s difficult to classify our sound. We have different songs in the album from metal, blues, alternative, and typical OPM love songs,” says band vocalist and guitarist JK Labajo.


On Diwa

While the album generally diffuses that delicious, classic OPM rock sound, listeners will also catch feel-good groovy elements as some tracks in the album borrow sound from the blues genre. These tracks include Sistema, a song conveying the message of rebelling against a shitty system that tries to enslave people, and Miss You, one of the two songs in the album written in the English language. There are also a handful of introspective moments in the songs, putting emphasis on the vocalist’s brewing emotions.

The second track, Kalawakan– a song written for Juan Karlos’ girlfriend, Maureen– starts off swaying listeners in blues vibes, progressing into alternative rock, and finally ending in an explosion of crazy guitar riffs, drums and JK’s out-of-this-world vocals. Listeners won’t also miss the Kundiman flavor we’ve grown fond of hearing from them. A track entitled Kulimlim would bring listeners back to the rustic roots of OPM.

Sampaguita ft. gloc9

Arguably the most popular track in Diwa today, Sampaguita is a collab project of juan karlos and hip hop icon gloc9. Released on Feb. 28 across multiple streaming platforms, it’s a musical narrative that tackles the struggles of OFW’s abroad.


Sampaguita’s official MV premiered on youtube last March 13, 2020. It portrays the story of Jun Evangelista, an OFW in China whose much-anticipated reunion with his family back in the Philippines ends tragically. Fans were quick to express the anger and grief the video has incited them, even hailing Juan Karlos as this generation’s Ely Buendia for the social aspects of his music.

“Juan Karlos as a solo artist is currently inactive,” shared singer-songwriter JK Labajo, who’s the frontman of juan karlos. We are still curious as to what the Buwan hitmaker could have offered as a soloist, but now we are fascinated with what we’re getting from his band. And we want more! Considering the fact that Diwa is their debut album, it’s hard to imagine what musical treat they can offer us in the next years of their career.

Have you streamed juan karlos’ first-ever album ‘Diwa’?

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