Philippines Latest News

The world’s funkiest felons: Top 10 Filipino prison dances



The Philippines has some of the most overcrowded and underfunded prisons in the world, so it’s utterly baffling why it should be the country where prisoners have become famous for their joyous, highly choreographed dance routines.

The trend started at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) and was the idea of Byron F Garcia, the official security advisor to the Cebu government. He started uploading videos of the unusual exercise sessions in 2006, and they soon became some of the internet’s first viral videos.

Mr Garcia had initially introduced an exercise programme in which prisoners marched in unison to the beat of a drum, but then decided to play one of favourite songs, Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall, through the tannoy system. The prisoners loved it, and the trend spread.

As their fame grew, more and more people clamoured to watch the prisoners perform. In October 2007, papal envoy Cardinal Archbishop Ricardo Vidal visited the CPDRC and enjoyed a medley of six dances. Afterwards, the cleric was heard to remark: “It was a marvelous show of discipline. If only they had practiced that discipline in their lives, they wouldn’t be here.”

So, in tribute to the funky felons, here are our top 10 Filipino prison dances:

10. Michael Jackson: This Is It – They Don’t Care About us

Introduced by the visionary Mr Garcia himself, this routine features some impressive drilling that would put many army regiments to shame. Also, watch out for the guest appearance by Martin Luther King Jr…

9. Van Halen: Jump

I don’t think I’m giving too much away by revealing that this video features a lot of jumping…

8. Queen: Radio Gaga

Admit it, who doesn’t love this song? Indeed, they are yet to have their finest hour…

7. Los del Rio: Macarena

If this gets stuck in your head for the rest of the day, I apologise…

6. Pharrell Williams: Happy

The song that cynics love to hate, but inmates are obviously enjoying this one…

5. Super Junior: Sorry Sorry!

Yes, we really are sorry about the robberies, rapes and murders…

4. The Wonder Girls: Nobody

One for all you transvestite fans out there…

3. PSY: Gangnam Style

Loath it or hate it, there’s no denying it’s a perfect track for prison yard dancing…

2. Van McCoy: Do the Hustle

A great performance, but the pelvic thrusts are a bit troubling, when you consider that at least some of these people are sex offenders…

The one and only… Michael Jackson: Thriller

This is the one that first took the web by storm and made the inmates the most famous prisoners in the world. Enjoy…