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The Best DJs in Manila’s Nightlife Scene

We round up the kings and queens spinning around the Metro’s hottest bars and happenings.
best DJs

Manila is a city that never sleeps. During the day, it’s one of the busiest areas in the country. At dawn, the capital’s nightlife scene awakens with the most well-known party and social districts in the metro—from Poblacion in Makati, BGC in Taguig to Tomas Morato in Quezon City, and many others. 

But, the industry's heart and soul are the DJs they tap into—the country has produced some of the best hands behind the decks in recent memory. No matter the genre, a great DJ can elevate any night out from a quick moment to a core memory. Many party-goers and industry enthusiasts base their night-outs on which DJs will be present at establishments and events.

With Manila nightlife rapidly growing due to an overall revitalized scene after the pandemic, who amongst the current slew of DJs are the best? The ones that any outsider can vibe to in any format? Complex PH lists the most unique and skillful disc jockeys emerging from the capital.

While music is subjective, the DJs on this list were based on the following criteria: originality, audience impact, and presence. It’s one to play good music, but to take it up a notch with well-crafted mixes is on another level since it showcases their precision and skill. This is why it is also important for DJs to ride the crowd’s vibe fittingly while sticking to their sound—bringing a one-of-one energy to each performance. Through it all, they must be active in the scene as versatility in open-format sets with different crowds matters for a multi-faceted DJ.

Honorable Mentions

KatDJ & Marc Naval

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Main Genres: Trance, Techno, House, Bass, Electro, Trap, Hip-Hop

Before we get on with the official list, we must shout out industry heavyweights such as KatDJ and Marc Naval. The veterans are mostly seen nowadays in Xylo, Revel, and Clubhouse in BGC and are a must-see for any newcomer to Manila nightlife.

Emel & Saint Guel

Saint Guel
Saint Guel

Main Genres: Minimalist House, Techno, Tech House, Deep House, Dance, House 

If underground music’s your speed, look no further than Emel and Saint Guel. The pair are best known for their UNKNWN sets as they have since become household names in the community-driven event.


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Main Genres: R&B, Hip-Hop, DnB, Electro, House, Afrobeat, Jungle

Relatively new on a much broader scale in the scene, Rodri is steadily making a name for himself through his saucy R&B mixes coupled with his hyped-up bass edits where he performs both sides in his sets with proper timing. Notably, Rodri founded ROUND 43—his clothing brand that has since made waves with its nightlife events.

The List

Tolo Marvelous

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Main Genres: Brazilian Funk, Afrobeat, Afro House, Amapiano, Miami Bass, Breakbeat, DnB, Reggae, Hip-Hop, House

High-octane energy. High-speed beats. Crowd adaptability. When it comes to fiery sets and body-shaking mixes, Tolo Marvelous is the manl. His Soundcloud page is full of original edits and remixes packed with afrobeat and funky records. But, when it comes to his live sets—some seen on YouTube—Tolo showcases his versatility by diving into his bag of various DnB, House, Breakbeat, and Reggae tracks that can go from 130 to 140 beats per minute. Speaking of versatility, the “Very Done” representative always does routine crowd checks to gauge the night’s mood. Based on the vibe, “Mr. Pure Energy” picks it up with his “marvelous” spin during open-format sets.

For now you can catch Tolo Marvelous in nightclubs like Apotheka, Nokal, Xylo, Uma Nota, Kampai, and Xin Chào. Whenever he’s not the prime DJ of the night, Tolo is usually seen in B2B sets with Poli Poli.


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Main Genres: Italo, Dance, Electronic, House, Tech House, UK Garage, DnB, Hip-Hop, Trance, Jungle

Margachi has thrived on painting scenes in her music since she started DJ-ing in 2009. She often incorporates cinematic pauses and breaks in her sets—which creates epic build-ups and euphoric moments. This is how she gets the crowd going; by being animated and in-sync with the audience’s energy. Also known as “Marga On The Mic” in her MC alter ego, Margachi prefers to keep the party guessing. With surprise tracks and a variety of ways to control the crowd, Margachi takes listeners on unpredictable journeys from genre to genre. 

Margachi— along with her collective Open House Records— is usually seen in Apotheka, which she partially runs, and will be going on tour for the Fete Dela Musique Week later this month in Siargao. She’ll then tour Australia come August and round out the rest of the year with an Asia tour.

Bench Dizon

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Main Genres: Disco, House, New Wave, Hip-Hop, R&B, Baile/Funk, UK Garage, DnB

Keeping it classic is Bench Dizon, who gets his groove by performing timeless hits from the 70’s and 80’s decades. Bench is great at finding the balance between the old and modern, with his music taking you back to the time when dancing under a disco ball was the big thing. With organic melodies and groovy basslines, Bench Dizon will soulfully have you up dancing to a revival of the past blended with a renewed sound of the present.

The Pampanga native occasionally plays in his hometown, as he has since been working on a speakeasy establishment named, “Yor”, which looks to showcase Disco and House centric talents from the city. Bench also spins in Kampai, Apotheka, and Ugly Duck in Poblacion, Makati.

Roy de Borja

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Main Genres: Electronic, Afrobeat, Afro House, Baile/Funk, Hip-Hop, Trap, Jungle, Reggae, Techno, DnB

Roy de Borja comes from a rare breed of turntablism in the country, where he adopted his current mixing style of what he defines as “modern turntablism”. Turntablism is all about sound manipulation with turntables and an extensive mixer, meaning his style includes scratching, drop mixing, pad play, and the like. Reppin’ After The Noon Records, Roy puts his twist on popular tracks with a heavy reliance on funky breaks and beats.

Mainly playing in Apotheka, Nokal, and HQ, Roy de Borja also spins for Trademark in Cebu. He has been taking his talents internationally, with a Southeast Asian tour that ends in early July of this year—spanning across the Philippines, Vietnam, and Singapore.

Butta B

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Magic Liwanag

Main Genres: R&B, Hip-Hop, Afrobeat, Amapiano, Dancehall, UK Garage, Jersey Club, Reggae, Funk, Trap

Former dancer turned DJ, Butta B, is always up for a party. But it’s never a regular function when Butta plays her crowd-favorite sets that you can sing, and more importantly, dance to. Her music taste is backgrounded by her dancing roots, which explains why her lineup of genres fit into one cohesive groovy sound. Butta loves to have fun with her audience; evident in her love for Jersey Club and Hip-Hop—playing hits from the 2000’s era among others. There’s a type of energy when it comes to Butta B sets; one not for those who aren’t down to get jiggy.

Home court for the one and only Butta B is Poblacion—playing in clubs and bars such as Annex House, Kampai, Boogie, and Apotheka.

Nix Damn P

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Main Genres: Dance, Electronic House, Electronic Hip-Hop, Trap, Electronic Funk, Electronic Jazz, DnB, Jungle, Trance

Unpredictable. That’s the trait that Nix Damn P bases his sound on. He is known to have unpredictable and adventurous sets that can dive into different mixes from Hip-Hop, Funk, Trance, Jazz, DnB, and Jungle. This experimental aspect of Nix Damn P sets is why his performances are always exciting; each gig is an opportunity for him to explore his sound further while telling a story. There’s a sort of freestyle essence to Nix’s music, so remember to keep a spontaneous mind heading into Nix Damn P sets.

The Very Done and Mango Room Studios artist always has something in the works, as he has huge projects coming up in the latter half of the year. Besides performing everywhere in the BGC and Makati area, Nix Damn P is more than just a solo act as well. He usually duos with Stick Figgas drummer, Smunk, as an unorthodox drum and mixing pairing called “Motherbasss”. 

Marco Pedro

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Marco Pedro

Main Genres: Afrobeat, Afro House, Dancehall, Garage, Baile/Funk, Hip-Hop, R&B, Amapiano, Reggae

Marco Pedro is the master of mixing Afrobeat. His signature sound is composed of world dance genres like Afro House, Dancehall, and Baile/Funk. As one of the founding members of the dance music collective, Orange Juice Asia, Marco keeps his sets fresh by occasionally throwing in Hip-Hop and R&B flavors. Listening to Marco’s music is similar to going to Africa and Latin America with a stopover in the UK, as its diversity has since made him a popular DJ in both Manila and international nightlife.

Marco Pedro is usually in spots around Makati like Apotheka, Xin Chào, Nokal, and Kampai. In BGC, he’s at The Palace, The Fort Strip, and Uma Nota. Orange Juice Asia does one to two events per month at Apotheka, usually featuring international guest DJs from Europe and Southeast Asia.


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Main Genres: House, Deep House, Bass House, Minimalist House, Techno, Disco, Funk, Dance

Shaking in the good vibrations with his mixes is Yggi. Spinning runs in his blood, with Yggi being a part of a family of DJ’s. Through this guidance, the young talent maintains a soulful and light ambiance with his music which he uses as the base for a well-curated sound that includes groovy and funky iterations of House, Techno, and Disco. As one of the pioneers behind the renowned clothing brand Syndrome Supply, Yggi adds a bit of spice to his sets by wearing some of the brand’s latest and most note-worthy pieces from tops, hats, outerwear, and more. Yggi is one with the crowd’s energy, and it’s his goal to vibe out with the audience while showcasing stories through his mixes

Yggi cycles through the usuals: Nokal, Kampai, Apotheka, Ugly Duck, with appearances in bars such as Boogie, Keepers, and Oto. At times, he B2B’s with disco-focused DJ, Fore, in select sets.

Dara Carmina

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Main Genres: Techno, Trance, Electro, Trap, Bass, Hip-Hop, Tech House, Dance

Going hard best describes Dara Carmina’s sound. Depending on the vibe she reads from the crowd, Dara loves to go deep into her Techno and Trance prowess, especially in open-format sets. She then mixes her sets with different drops and cliffhangers that her audiences enjoy head-bopping to. This accounts for Dara’s love of playing tracks in an unsuspecting manner.

Dara is rapidly climbing up the ranks of the BGC nightlife, as she is currently a Junior Resident DJ for all of the outlets at The Palace. Her next major show, “Bassquake”, is set for the 20th of June in Xylo. Moreover, the 1/2 of “ZKittlez” shares her craft by being an instructor in Sessions Academy PH—handling DJ 101 and DJ 201 classes.


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Mike Gella

Main Genres: House, Trance, Electro, Hip-Hop, Bass, Trap, Tech House, Deep House, Dance

With the accolades to back it up, HOEST is always doing the most. His sets usually come in the grandest forms, with euphoric and mood-influencing mixes throughout his music. HOEST also produces music through genres such as House, Dance, Bass, and Trap. The producer-DJ takes pride in making his sound as creative as possible, making him a can’t-miss when it comes to partying one’s heart out to.

Through After The Noon Records, HOEST tours around the biggest nightclubs in Manila such as Xylo, BSK, and HQ then branches out to the country’s finest beaches for nightlife such as Boracay, Siargao, and Cagayan de Oro.

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