Before most Filipinos become aware of Filipino literature, song, dance, history, education and language, the media have already made them alert to American life and culture and its desirability. They sing of White Christmases and of Manhattan. Their stereos reverberate with the American Top 40. In their minds sparkle images of Dynasty, Miami Vice and LA Law.Doreen Fernandez (as quoted in Lockard 1998: 128)
The Philippines is not just the site of the largest US military installations in the world. It is also perhaps the world's largest slice of the American Empire, in its purest impurest form.Pico Iyer (1988: 181)
Reading too much westernisation into the obvious influences from outside can mislead observers. While many institutions have indeed been inherited from the colonial past, their superficial resemblance to foreign models has usually masked the subtle processes in which they have been domesticated into a unique social fabric.Craig Lockard (1998: 121)
In 2007, there were two widely publicised intersections between US and Philippine popular culture that can be seen as indicative of wider trends within the transnational relationship between these two nations. First, in mid-July, a video of 1,600 inmates from the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Centre (CPDRC) was posted on YouTube, in which they performed a synchronised dance routine to the Michael Jackson track ‘Thriller’. The video became a hugely popular viral success, with over 56 million views to date, and triggered media coverage around the world including articles in Time magazine, Rolling Stone and The Washington Post and a Channel 4 documentary entitled ‘Murderers on the Dancefloor’.
The video recreated the dance routine from the music video for Thriller with inmate Crisanto Nierre taking the Michael Jackson role and Wenjiel Resane playing Michael Jackson's girlfriend as the other inmates took on the role of the zombie dancers. Part of security consultant Byron Garcia's programme of daily exercise for the CPDRC inmates, this choreographed dance routine was later followed by performances of ‘You Can't Touch This’ by M. C. Hammer, ‘Radio Ga Ga’ by Queen, and ‘Crank That’ by Soulja Boy.
Later in the year, on 5 December, the Filipino singer-songwriter Arnel Pineda was plucked from relative obscurity to become the new singer for the US rock band Journey.