Hapitot to Tothapi

Ever found yourself in a love conundrum, desperately searching for that happy escape when things get a bit too complicated? Like those instances where you’re caught in a classic “you like her, but she likes someone else” scenario—a real head-scratcher, right? 

What if I tell you there’s a place where the melody of that supposed ‘happy escape’ of yours intertwines with the rhythm of both ingenuity and purity, where life’s dilemmas are met with catchy tunes and lighthearted lyrics? It’s not your typical love advice column or a mysterious Love Guru; what I’m referring to here is the soothing ear-mbrace of Tothapi!

Huh? What’s Tothapi?

Allow me to paint a picture of Tothapi for you. Imagine a drunk man with hints of dried tears below his seemingly swollen reddish eyes and a trickle of snot dripping off his nose as he drools. Now, picture that same man, in that sorry state, breaking into a genuine smile, uttering the words “hapitot” (happy thought) as a means to cheer himself up—that’s Tothapi, one that, despite life’s challenges, promises for better days through their melody.

Fun fact: what you’ve just pictured out is exactly how Tothapi came to be; they just had their crybaby friend’s comforting “hapitot” in reverse.

One might wonder, “Who could’ve just lit up a light bulb in his head and thought of such a thing?” Well, for starters, it’s a collective spark.

Led by Kobe Dionela, Tothapi, a rising musical powerhouse hailing from Tabaco City, Albay, is composed of the rhythmic talents of Aaron Bordeos on drums, the keyboard wizardry of Jomel Consuelo, the soulful guitar melodies of Michael Jamlang, the groovy bass lines of Jeebay Dellosa, the brass trumpet brilliance of Bert and Mark Llaguno, and the sensational saxophone tunes brought to life by Vince Dionela.

Together, they form TOTHAPI—a symphony of diverse talents that started out as a small gig for a school acquaintance party in 2019 but is now harmonizing music that does not just transcend boundaries, but captures that of the realities of love and life in every note.

Hmm… And what’s with their music?

Influenced by musical luminaries like Gary Granada, Johnoy Danao, Ben and Ben, and the ever-iconic Apo Hiking Society, Tothapi’s music reflects that of the essence of genuine Filipino music with an uncompromising modern twist. 

With their music, Tothapi has ammased a whopping 200,500 monthly listeners on Spotify, continuously reaching new heights, such as when they graced the stage of ASAP Natin ‘To last January 7, which even piqued the interest of Asia’s Songbird, Regine Velasquez.

If that’s still not enough to tune that of your impression of Tothapi, then do take a look at these spotify stream numbers:

• Celeste: 6,402,928

• Tahimik Lamang: 893,085

• Dagat: 427, 526

• Extra Special Wish (Christmas Song): 173,689

• Panaginip: 221,249

So, the next time love’s complexities have you in a bind, remember Tothapi’s serenading symphony’s just a few clicks away—a means of escape where musical solace reigns supreme, resounding from the echoes of “hapitot!” I Kimberly Palenzuela, Kian Kirby Florano