I disagree that Balagtasan – the Filipino art of publicly arguing in extemporaneous, scaled and rhymed poetry manner – is dead! There is a new form of modern day Pinoy poetry emerging nowadays called FlipTop (Filipino Rap Battle League). The partakers are young street-smart dudes who can be considered geniuses in the contemporary Filipino language.
It is similar to Balagtasan in which the participants compete in a free-flowing articulation of rhyming thoughts. The extemporaneous verbalization is in “rap” form without the music which is so mind-blowing I admit that I personally will have difficulty doing such. Instead of calling themselves master poets they consider themselves Master Rappers. The free-style rap battle is also being mediated by a moderator similar to Balagtasan’s Lakandiwa.
The challengers’ unscripted choice of words can be very rude, vulgar and screechingly obscene yet their performance is a cross between histrionic art and indigenous oral tradition of poetry they can make the audience enjoy the flavor of rhyme, brainpower and humor. But unlike the Balagtasan in which the poet who received the loudest applause from the audience wins, the winner is determined by selected judges based on the challenger’s verbal flair, brilliant wisecracks and dynamite cleverness. Here’s a mind-blowing example on how these reincarnated makata do it…
Shet! Ang lupet!!!