When adventurous diggers manage to locate Toti Dalmacion’s (literally) underground record store ThisisPop!, they are greeted - or rather, forewarned - with its slogan: we buy, sell, trade, and judge you. As founder of independent label Terno Recordings and a resident DJ at the legendary 90s roving rave Consortium, Dalmacion definitely takes his vinyl seriously. But like anyone else in the vinyl industry, whether they run a record store or spin vinyl at professional gigs (or in his case, both) Dalmacion started out as an amateur collector. The ‘Ternoman’ admits, “I wish I knew that collecting vinyl would be non-stop, back-breaking as your collection grows, that you’ll need storage space and that it leaves a big hole in your wallet!”
“I remember using my father’s vinyl as a frisbee,” recalls Bobby Banaag, owner of Plaka Planet. Located just a stone’s throw away from ThisisPop!, Plaka Planet carries a slew of well-preserved vintage vinyl, perfect for the old souled collectors among us. Explaining his fixation with used records, Banaag shares, “most vintage records do not have reissues - digging is half the fun. Finding an album you’ve been yearning for - simply euphoric!” But beyond the thrill of finally finding a direly sought-after record, the reasons for falling in love with the format are endless.
For Cocoy Puyat, the house-disco-techno-80s DJ who’s graced Manila’s nightlife for over 38 years, collecting vinyl came naturally. Looking back to the beginning of what would be his illustrious career, Puyat recalls “vinyl was my introduction to listening to music as a very young boy. I also learned the art of DJing using vinyl.” To this date, the veteran Consortium resident DJ (alongside Dalmacion) maintains that the sound quality of vinyl is unmatched. “A clean, well-cared-for and well-mastered record will always sound better than an mp3 file. Some might even say better than a CD at times.”
On the other hand, Dalmacion's infatuation with vinyl has less to do with sound and more to do with nostalgia. “I love records because it’s the medium that I grew up with . . . People often mistake my being a ‘vinyl junkie’ as being an ‘audiophile’ - I am not”, he declares, asserting, “I’m happy with what I can afford and what’s decent enough not to ruin my records”. Certainly, the nostalgic value of vinyl is indisputable. However, that doesn’t explain the vinyl revival, which has tantalised even younger hobbyists who weren’t raised with the analogue format.