The making of high-flying TikTok trend Paro Paro G 2
Boss Seth and DJ Sandy's photos from their social media accounts. Butterfly art from Pixabay
Culture

Paro Paro G: Meet the guys behind the high-flying TikTok trend reaching global popularity

This ‘butterfly’ has landed on different parts of the planet, and everyone including your mom is hooked
RHIA GRANA | Feb 16 2022

With 4.3 million videos uploaded on TikTok using the catchy tune, the “Paro Paro G” craze has undoubtedly become a worldwide phenomenon. And to think it first fluttered around online only less than a month ago.

A quick search on TikTok will reveal that Filipinos are not the only ones who caught the “Paro Paro G” bug. The “butterfly” has landed on different parts of the planet: Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Cambodia, the US and Moscow among them. People of all ages and professions are doing the butterfly hand sign on a plane, at the police precinct, inside the classroom, in corporate offices, in parking lots, on sidewalks, on a ship, at the beach, on “It’s Showtime.” It’s so popular even just-retired Comelec commissioner Rowena Guanzon had to go on Facebook to ask: "What is Paro Paro G? hahahahahaha"

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Well, to answer her question—it's the dance craze inspired by a popular meme. The dance track falls under the budots music and dance genre that originated in Davao City, and which is believed to have helped catapult Rodrigo Duterte to the presidency and Ramon "Bong" Revilla back to the senate after his prison stint. The music is characterized by fun, danceable, repetitive electronic beats, which explains why it plays on a continuous loop in your head after hearing it a couple of times.

The guy behind the now wildly popular "Paro Paro G" tune is an 18-year-old DJ from Northern Samar. His name is Sandy Oliverio or djsandyremix on TikTok. 

DJ Sandy has been doing remixes for about five years now. He’s a second year BS Criminology student who learned to whip up remixes using a laptop that his older brother lent him. “Nag-download ako ng mga applications na panggawa ng music, tapos inaral ko na,” he tells ANCX.

DJ Sandy says he created the “Paro Paro G” remix after chancing upon the TikTok posts of Boss Seth, who at that time was already gaining popularity as the leader of the frat parody Paro Paro G (Fly Fly Butterfly). “Nakita ko yung videos na may binabasbasan siya,” the DJ recalls laughing. 

DJ Sandy
Sandy hopes to become a full-fledged DJ and see himself on TV. Photo from @sandyoliverio13 on Instagram

Who is Boss Seth? We’ll get to him later. 

According to the remix artist, producing novelty tracks inspired by offbeat topics is a DJ Sandy thing, so experimenting with Paro Paro G was just right up his alley. “Kalokohan lang. Boring kasi dito sa bahay. Wala akong magawa kaya yun ang napag-tripan kong gawan ng remix,” he says laughing. He did everything himself—from the beat, the lyrics, and that Yoyoy Villame-like voice chanting “Ply high bater-plaaay.” He finished creating the three-minute track in almost five hours. He never imagined the bater-plaaaay would actually fly. And then soar.

DJ Sandy first uploaded his “Paro Paro G video” on YouTube last January 21, but it didn’t get the attention he wanted. Then Sandy’s brother suggested he put it on TikTok as well, which is the 18-seconder version that’s been circulating all over the internet nowadays. When TikTokers started picking up the tune and uploaded their dance videos, that’s when Paro Paro G became a massive hit.

The young DJ says he may have just gotten lucky when he released the track. “Siguro natiyambahan ko na nagandahan ko ang remix tapos nasabayan ko ang kasikatan ng Paro Paro G [ni Boss Seth],” he says. The beat is undoubtedly danceable, fun to listen to, and could very much go with any freestyle dance steps.

 

Now we come to Boss Seth

The guy who popularized the term Paro Paro G on cyberspace is 32-year-old Seth Jose Verano of Las Piñas City. Like most men of great influence, he has an alias, and that’s Boss Seth.

Boss Seth tells ANCX he got the term Paro Paro G from photos he picked up on the internet of a group of kids. In the snap, the kids are holding a piece of wood (like a mini paddle) bearing the print Paro Paro G. 2021. They were also noticeably doing the butterfly hand sign.

Just so he could post something on TikTok one day last November, the content creator uploaded a video introducing himself as leader of the group Paro Paro G. He invited those who would like to join—only men who are circumcised are eligible, he said in Filipino—to submit their bio-data at Angel’s Burger branches and use the password “Fly, fly butterfly.” And they have to do it with the butterfly hand sign, of course. 

Boss Seth
Boss Seth dreams that he’ll one day have a hit like Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” played and sung all over the world. Photo from his Facebook account

The video didn’t show promise in the beginning. It only got the public’s attention when Boss Seth’s kumpare jumped on his silly idea: he decided to get Boss Seth’s “basbas”—a sort of anointment—to  become a member of his group. Like the kids he saw online, the two photographed themselves doing the butterfly hand signal. The TikTok post caught the attention of one of Boss Seth’s followers who asked: “Boss Seth, pabasbas.” And that’s how the “pabasbas” tradition became all the rage online. 

“Hindi ko sure sa mga bata [na nasa picture] anong Paro Paro G nila,” Boss Seth tells ANCX. But he thought it may be a good idea to create a group that’s pretty much like Cong TV’s “Chicken Feet Gang” to increase his social media following. “Simple lang yung idea. May grupo ako, sali kayo. Gusto mo maging Paro Paro G? O sige, Paro Paro G ka na. Trip-trip lang talaga siya na may group,” he says with a soft laugh.

But as Boss Seth stressed in one of his TikTok videos, he is the only one who can give the “basbas” to a non-member. He referred to those getting their blessings from others as “colorums,” like entities operating without a franchise. Currently, Boss Seth has 142.1K followers on TikTok and 18K followers on Facebook. His personal FB page has been flooded, he says, with messages requesting for a personalized “basbas” video.

“Actually naluha ako [nung nakatanggap ako ng requests.] Kasi dati nagpapapansin ako sa public. Ako 'to, si Boss Seth. Baliw na gusto magpapansin. Then all of a sudden yung mga tao sumabay sa kabaliwan ko,” he says with a serious face. Now he takes pains answering the more than a thousand requests he’s received. 

 

On the wings of Paro Paro G

But why would Filipinos make a fool of themselves doing such a thing, asking for his anointment? “Siguro dala na din ng boredom ng mga Filipino kasi pandemic,” he says. “Or gaya-gaya lang. Since meron yung iba ng basbas video, gusto din nila magkaroon.” Another example of a silly idea he had that kind of caught on was selling ice online, with the promise that no matter the buyer’s location, the product will arrive as ice and not “ice water.” The Internet responded, thru video, written, and picture testimonies, people claiming to be in Pampanga, in Caloocan, in Las Piñas, holding their "Boss Seth yelo” and thanking him for the “smooth transaction.” 

Some might say the Paro Paro G meme has put a positive spin to frat culture and its history of violence, but the Internet seems to have scrubbed it clean of all negative attachments, of its master-servant undertones, to create a TikTok trend that no doubt promotes a happy, wholesome picture of brotherhoods. 

By the way, Boss Seth works as a rope access technician. “Tagalinis ng mga bintana na nasa labas ng building,” he says, explaining his job title. Vlogging is something he does only during his free time.

Both DJ Sandy and Boss Seth are accidental online stars enjoying their newfound popularity. They have never met or spoken to each other online or in person, but it’s curious that a random inane concept has allowed their paths to cross online, not to mention dream bigger dreams for themselves.

Boss Seth dreams that he’ll one day have a hit like Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” played and sung all over the world. DJ Sandy, on the other hand, says he hopes to become a full-fledged DJ. “Balang araw, gusto ko makita ang sarili ko sa TV,” he admits. If you ask us, these aspirations are not entirely far-fetched in this day and age of viral celebrities. Who knows where the Paro Paro will take them next.