About a year ago, when The Sentral first opened its doors to the public, they created a league of their own. Veering away from the mainstream music, they stuck with the music they knew—and that’s what led them to become the institution they are today.
Behind it is a powerhouse, a group of millenials who are constantly challenging who they are and striving to make a difference in the industry. “Wherever we end up, whatever kind of industry we are in, there must be an inspiration behind it,” says operations manager Matthew Basabe. “There should be positivity.”
Located strategically along the busy AS Fortuna Street, The Sentral is the first bar in Cebu that plays mostly hip-hop music, with R&B and trap music interspersed throughout the night. Its first Halloween Party drew even more partygoers to the place, with yuppies starting to make it their new watering hole. Pretty soon, though, it had become a playground for the young and energetic, those looking for a crazy party destination.
“We’re not selling drinks. We are selling an experience,” says Matt. Hip-hop, he explains, isn’t just about the parties, booze and dancing. Different songs have lyrics about love and pain, and they even play classic beats that’ll instantly take you down memory lane. “The experience here is that you get to do things intimately, and jive with the music.”
At Sentral, they think about the whole party experience—their programming includes an opening, with more R&B music as people settle into the place, buy food and drinks while enjoying conversations. As it gets later, though, the music gets more hyped up for a prime partying experience before the music starts gradually slowing down before closing. As party managers, they consider it their responsibility to ensure everyone’s safety inside. “The reason why Sentral has a very high ceiling is so everyone can see what’s happening,” Matt explains, adding that the music programming also prevents people from getting drunk as early as 10 PM.
The people behind Sentral have bonded together, dubbing themselves as the Panda Fam. They have become friends beyond the industry—the group regularly does sleepovers and dinners.
With them at the helm, The Sentral is clearly in great hands. There’s an outstanding amount of creativity in this group, and the hip-hop revival that they’ve started in the city doesn’t show any signs of stopping soon.
- #2 Norkis Cyberpark, A.S. Fortuna Street, Mandaue City
- tel: (+63) 915 107 5200