Embracing The BINI Brain Rot: How This 35 Year Old Tito Became a Bloom

Adee De Leon
11 min readJun 5, 2024

It all started with that damn song.

You know what it is. You couldn’t scroll your feed without hearing it or seeing a meme referencing it.

Even offline, none of us were safe. Everywhere you went, people were blasting it and doing Tiktok dances set to it. You heard this song in malls, groceries, terminals, barbershops and nail salons.

Even elder Titos with fully adult children were being caught on video secretly vibing to it — like it was some illegal substance they couldn’t be seen enjoying.

I’m talking about Pantropiko, of course. But you already knew that.

This song spent 32 whole-ass days at #1 in the Spotify Philippines chart. Only to be dethroned by another BINI song.

I admit, I wasn’t immediately hooked on Pantropiko on my first listen. I just thought it was a nice, catchy summer song. One that made for great background music for your travel Reels.

Sure, I vibed to it. But I didn’t actively play it.

Honestly, I assumed it would just be yet another OPM one-hit wonder. One that would be devoured by the looming tsunami that was an upcoming Taylor Swift album. Pinoy Swifties are scarily devoted, after all.

Oh, how wrong I was.

Because when BINI’s next single, Salamin, Salamin came out, it immediately became my new LSS. I liked it so much, I decided to check out the music video of it.

What I saw shocked me.

I honestly like this song way more than Pantropiko.

The quality of this MV was jaw-dropping. It was easily at the same level (or at least near) as some K-Pop groups. The sets, the styling, the choreography, the editing — all were top-notch. I couldn’t believe a local girl group could produce something so slick, so pretty, and so charming.

I must’ve replayed it at least 5x that night. Then, I also checked out their other MV’s.

One BINI girl immediately caught my eye. Her name?

Mikhaela Janna Jimenea Lim. (Oo, full name nilagay ko, bakit?)

Being this pretty should be a crime.

As someone with a strong attraction to chinitas, I was instantly drawn to her. But then you add that striking red hair, smooth dance moves, conyo speaking manner, and her surprisingly deep voice, and you have the ingredients for my absolute dream girl. It’s like she was engineered in a lab to become my ultimate bias.

She was so near perfect that I didn’t even mind that her name had an unnecessary “h” to it. Now this is a very common Pinoy thing, but it’s still a shallow detail I’m irked by (I’m weird, I know).

Not with Mikha though. She can have three fucking hHh’s in her name for all I care (MikhHha?). Her face card is that insane. You can use it to pay for any transaction in the world, and they’d probably give you change for doing so.

Good Lawd. That gaze can melt polar ice caps.

But wait, there’s more: she raps too! NANI???

As a big hip-hop fan, it was GG for me. Mikha Lim immediately became my first fave, the one who dragged me deep into the BINI rabbit hole and kept me there to this day.

Now, looking up BINI content takes up a considerable amount of my waking hours.

Hell, it even got to a point where I was sleeping far later than my usual bed time because of all the “new” old BINI content I was uncovering. Turns out, they all have incredible personalities.

In the 3 years since they’ve been active, their fans have compiled an incredible treasure trove of their most hilarious/iconic moments.

Some of these include: the infamous Jhocey barda, Aiah’s CK panty haul, Jho showing off her dirty feet, Maloi snapping at people assuming her fat male Dachshund was pregnant, Colet challenging a perv to a fist fight, and so much more.

These very un-idol like moments were so random, yet so relatable. BINI simply didn’t have the squeaky clean image of traditional pop stars. And that was so refreshing. They felt so real.

Just look at these lovably chaotic goofs.

As you’d expect, these unfiltered moments became insider memes and references among Blooms (which was what their fans were called). And the more I saw, the more I wanted. From stanning just Mikha Lim, I now appreciate each and every one of them.

BINI was like a drug. I couldn’t get enough.

The BINI Brain Rot had officially taken over me. And there seems to be no cure in sight. My Spotify top artists page now looks like this:

Yes, this is real. Need I say more?

Now, stanning a pop group is new to me. While I’ve definitely loved a pop artist before, (All hail Kween Carly!) and I do like some Blackpink songs, I never really got the shameless, cult-like adoration fans have for them.

To give you an example, I once saw a pack of Blinks turn a neighborhood coffee shop into a full-on Jisoo shrine. There were photocards of her everywhere.

And these fans were all gathered around them, giddy with feverish reverence. It was like I stumbled into the den of an idol-obsessed homicidal stalker from some psychological thriller. Think Perfect Blue.

No lie, it creeped me out a bit. I left right after I finished my iced coffee.

I could never imagine myself liking anyone enough to do that. Not even in my peak VTuber addict days would I be caught dead creating a public shrine to Korone or Amelia Watson.

But then again, I always had an addictive personality. I once wrote a 5,000 word guide on how to reach the highest rank in Mobile Legends. I pay a monthly subscription for my weekly wrestling fix. And I am terminally online, and have been ever since we first got broadband internet.

So I guess it’s not surprising that the same guy who once had an intense fascination for VTubers would also become a BINI stan. After all, they both shared a sense of unfiltered crackhead energy to them.

You can watch them for hours and still find yourself wanting more. And the more you got familiarized with their personalities, the more you looked forward to watching them in new scenarios.

But what separates BINI from my beloved VTubers (aside from using their real names and faces) was that distinct local touch. There’s just something mesmerizing about seeing a talented group of performers who were part of the same culture as yours.

BINI’s sense of humor, their unhinged random antics, lovable group dynamics, and catchy songs were just so… Pinoy. And these qualities combined to make them feel more than your average pop act.

BINI’s rise feels like a miracle. They’re a testament to something we all secretly knew, but never thought possible until they made it real: that our local talent can hang with the world’s best.

Now, we’ve always had individual singers who proved that. Sarah G and Morissette Amon come to mind. But we’ve never had a supernova pop girl group that’s caused this much mass hysteria, this fast. And no, the VIVA Hot Babes don’t count. Now, the SexBomb Girls, maybe?

This is still one of the most memorable songs from the last 20 years.

Anyway, you know what I mean. I’m talking in terms of modern pop sensibilities. Think the Blackpinks and Twices of the world.

These major girl groups have become a major cultural export of their countries. They have hordes of fans around the world spending serious dough on them without batting an eye.

This is why BINI feels so important. We’re starting to see the same K-Pop fan behavior in a local context. They’re living proof that yes, our local talent is world-class, and can be just as endearing.

What we lack in glossy production values and hyper-efficient, machine-like marketing, we more than made up for in actual talent and personality. BINI’s live vocals have consistently wowed seasoned international judges and audiences, which isn’t really shocking.

After all, we’re a nation where karaoke is a national pastime. At any given time, some rando can belt a Whitney Houston song in public, and no one would be surprised.

But also, we live in a country where people die in karaoke bars from not singing “My Way” properly. Filipinos take singing that seriously.

So yes, BINI being great singers is expected. But they’re more than that — they’re legit trailblazers.

As the undisputed nation’s girl group, BINI has made a habit of making history with ridiculous milestones. They’ve organically won over new fans with their effortless charm, polished performances and unusual fan service antics. Forget going viral, they’re an OPM pandemic.

BINI’s breakneck ascent to stardom has been a joy to watch. It’s unreal, and genuinely exciting. They’re now a legit pop culture phenomenon that looks destined to stay for the foreseeable future.

I used to think there were only 2 beauties in this group. Now I find them all charming in their own way.

Just look at the insane rise they’ve had so far:

From starting the year with 100k monthly Spotify listeners, BINI now has 6 MILLION.

From being ignored in ABS-CBN events, to now being the reason people actually go to these events just a year later.

From Jhoanna having to constantly tweet to ask Blooms if they were coming to their events, to their rabid fans fainting from heat exhaustion just to get a closer look at them.

So yes, it’s safe to say that BINI Mania is real. And the wildest part? Their rapid ascent seems to have no ceiling in sight yet.

BINI’s first solo concert (which in hindsight was booked in a laughably small venue of only 2,835 seats) immediately sold out in 2 hours. The demand to see them far outstripped their conservative expectations.

So they extended their Biniverse concert by 2 more nights, which also both sold out immediately. This isn’t surprising. BINI’s free public performances consistently draw thousands of people. Many fans even line up the night before their performance just to secure the best view.

The dedication of Blooms is legit impressive. But you might say, “well of course those events were packed. They’re free.”

There’s some truth to that. Most Blooms are young, and not exactly well-off. They have all the time in the world to do diehard fan shit.

But their fan support goes well beyond attending public appearances. Try typing BINI into any of the country’s top online shopping platforms, and you’ll find a dizzying array of fan-made merch. And if there’s that much supply, you can bet there’s some real demand to it.

The reason for all this bootleg items is funny: they shot up in popularity so fast, their management team didn’t even have time to come out with official merch.

That’s right, they didn’t have the most basic money-making venture for musical artists outside of live events until a few days ago. Which is ridiculous in 2024, 3 whole ass years after they debuted.

So yeah, the BINI hype is real. People WANT to spend their money on them. Me included. That’s why I, a grown-ass man with several monthly bills to pay, still bought a fan-made BINI shirt. All because Star Music was too slow in coming out with an official one.

Worth every centavo. Can’t wait to wear it when they inevitably announce an arena show.

BINI’s sikat era is real. They’re now at a point where each member can no longer go out in public without being stopped by fans to have their pictures taken with them. Pretty soon, they’re going to need bodyguards.

And take note, BINI is a group with EIGHT members. Hell, it took me 2 whole days to be able to identify all of them at a glance. So for each one to be instantly recognized by their now many fans in public speaks to their current popularity.

What’s more, it seems like every week, BINI lands a lucrative new endorsement. Which they all deserve by the way.

Seriously, each BINI member is ridiculously talented. Every single girl brings something unique to the table, but they also work really well together. They’re all pro performers, full emphasis on pro.

One watch of BINI’s dance practice videos will turn any skeptic into a believer. Their vocals, synchronization, and stage presence are divine. And they make it look so easy too.

Which is how you know how fucking long it must’ve took for them to get this good. Seriously, watch these and tell me you’re not impressed.

This is also my absolute favorite BINI song, btw.
The harmonization on this is magical.

It is mind-boggling how well each BINI member can sing and dance. They can even do both at the same time.

Now if I’m being honest, sure, the rapping is mid (sorry, Mikha, labyu). But who cares? It’s not like Lisa of Blackpink is pulling off some Kendrick Lamar bars either.

When you take into account how well-rounded as performers they are, it makes you realize how big their potential for global stardom is.

This is why I’m a proud Bloom. And you should be too. Not just because of some surface level Pinoy pride bullshit.

No, stan them because they make great music, and perform well every time. The BINI girls worked hard to get where they are, and it shows. For years, they grinded in obscurity, not knowing if any of their sacrifices would pay off.

Look how young they were here, and appreciate how far they’ve come since then.

And like most Pinoys, some BINI members have tragic backstories. It’s just the reality of living in a 3rd world country. Most of them had no choice but to take their chances with showbiz for a better life. And that’s never a sure thing, no matter how good you are.

For every Nadine Lustre, there are thousands of nameless starlets who never even got a fraction of the limelight she now enjoys.

Thankfully, BINI and their management team never gave up. They overcame years of apathy from the general public, and even a network shutdown. Now, they’re reaping the rewards of their tenacity.

Despite what their rapid ascent might suggest, BINI is far from an overnight success. It took 3 years for them to get here, and all that old, forgotten content is what’s fueling their current rise.

But what I really love is that they all seem so nice, and so unchanged by their newfound fame. Oftentimes, BINI just feels like a group of ultra-talented friends hanging out and enjoying their youth. They’re so entertaining that you can’t help but root for them.

I mean, can you imagine any Korean girl group ever posting something as goofy as Sheena’s pufferfish video? Or how about Maloi randomly lying down in a city sidewalk for absolutely no reason? No, of course not.

BINI is different. They’re just about the most unfiltered, naturally chaotic girl group you’ll ever find (outside of Atarashii Gakko, of course).

And that, contrasted with their incredible professionalism and showstopping performances make for a potent, once-in-a-lifetime musical sensation.

They feel like the next big thing in OPM. And they’re only getting bigger by the day.

So yeah, I’ll be happy to stan BINI in the coming years.

See you at their upcoming arena show, whenever that is.

It’ll be awesome.

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