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Manila, Philippines


Photo courtesy of Marco Taro

One of the best things I had experienced when I was in Manila before the pandemic happened is witnessing the art of buskers scattered on almost every corner of the city. I can’t help myself but be amazed by their courage and passion for showcasing their art to some people that probably won’t appreciate what they do.

Over the years, busking became persistent and seen as an art form for musicians that fills the emptiness in alleyways and highway overpasses. This adds life to the gray areas where people mostly pass by. These places have become the training ground for many budding artists to now record-label artists like Martin Riggs that I usually see along P. Noval in Manila. However, everything changed this pandemic, and life gets even more challenging for everybody these days, but this doesn’t limit the busker I met.

Marco Taro is a 24-year-old busker that permeated the hall of Ayala 30th with introspective music, which eases the atmosphere. Risky it may be, Marco saw this opportunity to give back the life taken away, and people did appreciate it.


After seeing him in the mall, I immediately asked him for a Zoom interview to get to know him even better.

His passion for music started back in elementary together with his late best friend, who shared the same enthusiasm towards music. They first learned how to play guitar on the street with other bystanders and luckily got massive support from his siblings, especially from his brother, later on.

“My brother was really the one who plays guitar tapos hinihiram-hiram ko lang yung guitar nya pero ako na yung mas natuto.” Marco shared.

Because of his peers who support him, Marco gained the courage to share his talent in different events. He then first tried going to several open mic events at Sev’s Cafe, where artists like Juan Miguel Severo performed. This is also where he met new peers that pushed him to become a better artist.

As part of his aspiration to become the best artist that he can be, Marco took Bachelor in Music Education Major in Guitar in college at Philippine Women’s University. Taking his song-writing skill to the next level.

Marco took the streets of Manila several performances after around 2017. Just like other buskers that you can find, he also performed around Intramuros, Lawton, and UST.

“Basta may makita lang akong magandang foot-traffic ng mga estudyante, doon nagpapa-pansin na ‘ko. Wala pa akong masyadong gamit noon.” he added.


Talking about the music that greatly influenced his type of music, just like other musicians, has a wide range of genres.

“I grew up with a lot of James Taylor kasi I have a step-dad from the UK. Every time he visits here, ayun yung jina-jam namin. Mga old school [type] talaga.” he said. “Tapos, mga Disney songs. I used to watch ‘Little Mermaid’ like [from] one to four. Nagsimula talaga sa mga simpleng bagay.”

Marco has been invited to various events. His repertoire has expanded to include anything from classical tunes from the 1980s to current favorites.

Check out his demo on his YouTube channel:


Pandemic has dramatically affected his career, knowing that he’s primarily a street performer, and his income comes from different gigs that he gets into.

“Before pandemic, sobrang ganda na talaga ng nangyayari samin. Before the Taal incident, I remember kumikita kami ng around 12k to 17k sa busking lang.” he shared. “Lahat ng pinagkakakitaan ko like bar gigs, wedding gigs, and busking, lahat yun nawala agad.”

Everything fell down when the pandemic strikes from a great height of success in his career and his fellow artists. Until two months ago, while he was busking at the mall, Sir Anson Tan and his family went up to him unexpectedly and offered to help him out in creating his album. He admitted he lost his confidence due to the current state. Now, Marco is ready more than ever to show what else he got in store for us because of this opportunity.

Marco is set to release his debut single in collaboration with Whosoever Recording soon this June, and he honestly can’t wait for everyone to hear what he has been working on. With this, he would love to extend his utmost gratitude to everyone who made his dream possible.

To get updates from his upcoming project, follow him on these platforms:

YouTube: Taro Busker

Instagram: @Oh_Marco1996


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