The Philippines’ premier songwriting competition PhilPop has officially unveiled its top six finalists from the Visayas and Mindanao cluster. With #MusicBreakingBorders as its newest tagline, the music institution sets its sights in promoting top-notch Filipino compositions on a scale that has never been done before, which is by going global and forging regional ties.
Carefully handpicked from thousands of submissions, the first batch of finalists from PhilPop Songwriting Festival 2020 graced the online media presentation on August 24, 2020. In no particular order, the finalists from the Visayas-Mindanao cluster are:
- “Ayaw Na Lang” by Jerika Teodorico of Cebu City, Cebu
- “Hinungdan” by Michael Catarina of Cebu City, Cebu
- “Suyo” by Noah Alejandre and Reanne Borela of Ormoc City, Leyte
- “Akong Bililhon” by John Cadeliña of Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur
- “Kasadya” by Christian Chiu of Corandal City, South Cotabato
- “Pahuway” by Sherwin Fugoso of Jabonga, Agusan del Norte
According to PhilPop executive director Dinah A. Remolacio, the entries underwent multiple rounds of selection process until top three per clusters were handpicked. She said, “We wanted our process to be inclusive so the decision making involved local and international representatives from Warner Music, representatives from our regional partner for each cluster and representatives from PhilPop.”
Headed by PhilPop Songwriting Festival chair and National Artist Ryan Cayabyab, the selection committee included PhilPop Musicfest Foundation board members, adjudicators and partners and Warner Music Philippines executives. Among them are Remolacio, PhilPop Musicfest Foundation president Victorico P. Vargas, Festival co-chair and PhilPop Musicfest Foundation board member Noel Cabangon, PhilPop Musicfest Foundation lead adjudicators Jungee Marcelo and Trina Belamide, Warner Music Philippines managing director Ian Monsod, MinPop Musicfest director and Mindanao cluster partner Jeremy Sarmiento and Kadasig founder and Visayas cluster partner Jude Gitamondoc.
In terms of the selection of finalists from the Mindanao cluster, Sarmiento takes pride of how the top three finalists took inspiration from various sources yet their songs sounded truly Mindanaoan in terms of cultural context and identity. He also cited the importance of regional representation, and how this platform helps in introducing different stories and diverse experiences through music.
“There’s no better way to achieve that than giving an opportunity to those in the regions to tell their own stories,” Sarmiento saud. “Representation provides a reflection of each of their languages, ideals, feelings and that’s what we ultimately need to understand each other better, the uniqueness of the Filipinos, expressed through songs.”
Gitamondoc is also optimistic about their official picks for the Visayas cluster, citing diversity and universal appeal as two of main reasons that make these songs a standout in the competition. He said, “I think the songs chosen to represent the Visayas are a great representation of the region.”
“We have an electronic-infused track, another one that’s soulful, and another that’s folksy,” Gitamondoc continued. “That pretty much shows how varied the musicality is in the Visayas. We are at the center of the country. We are a melting pot of cultures, influences and ideas.”
PhilPop is currently wrapping up its adjudication process for the remaining clusters namely, North Luzon, South Luzon and Metro Manila. The finalists representing the remaining regions will be announced in September 2020.
PhilPop Songwriting Festival 2020 is an initiative of the PhilPop Music Foundation, chaired by Manny V. Pangilinan. The current edition is co-presented by SMART, MERALCO and MAYNILAD with official partners Warner Music Philippines, Kadasig and MinPop.