Arts & Leisure

Jungee Marcelo bags top songwriting prize

Posted on July 29, 2014

PERENNIAL songwriting competition winner Jungee Marcelo bested 11 other finalists including fellow veteran composers to emerge as the champion in the Third Philippine Popular (Philpop) Music Festival held Saturday night.

Mr. Marcelo won the P1-million grand prize and a Ramon Orlina glass trophy for the inspiring piano-based song "Salbabida," which was performed by pop singer Kyla during the grand finals held at the Meralco Theater in Ortigas, Pasig City.

"The idea behind the song ‘Salbabida’ came from my wife," Mr. Marcelo explained during the broadcast of the Philpop finals night on Pangilinan-led TV5. "The song was about how she pulled me through all the challenges in life," the composer added.

Mr. Marcelo started composing songs when he was 11 years old. His debut album was released when he was 15. He then lived in the US for eight years before returning to the Philippines and signing up with Vicor Records.

Around that time, he met singer Gary Valenciano who sought his help in composing songs. Their collaboration resulted in the hit song "Hataw Na" in 1993.

Aside from being a gospel songwriter, Mr. Marcelo also writes commercial jingles and theme songs for TV shows.

Last year, Mr. Marcelo won third place in Philpop for his composition "Pansamantagal," which was performed by bossa nova diva Sitti and acoustic vocalist Julianne Tarroja.

That same year he won four special awards in the 2013 revival of the songwriting tilt Himig Handog P-Pop Love Songs for his entry "Nasa Iyo Na Ang Lahat," interpreted by teen heartthrob Daniel Padilla.

He also bagged the Song of the Year honors in the 25th Awit Awards two years ago for the song "Ako Na Lang," which he wrote for the debut album of singer Zia Quizon.

Meanwhile, prolific songwriter Ronaldo "Toto" Sorioso won second place for his "modernized wedding march" "Awit Mo’y Nandito Pa," performed by YouTube sensations Aldrich Talonding and James Bucong from General Santos City. Mr. Sorioso previously won third place in the 2012 edition of Philpop for his song "Tayo Tayo Lang" performed by former band vocalist Ebe Dancel.

Vocal harmony group member Daryl Ong bagged third place for the romantic ballad "Torpe" performed by R&B singer Kris Lawrence.

The two runners-up received P500,000 and P250,000 respectively, as well as Orlina glass trophies for the composers, and the interpreters.

"Kung Akin ang Langit" by Cecilia Bocobo and Isaac Joseph Garcia won the P100,000 cash prize for the People’s Choice Award, after the song performed by former Orange and Lemons frontman Mcoy Fundales and indie artist Clara Benin got the most number of votes in an online poll conducted the Web site Yahoo! Philippines, as well as getting the most downloads from Spinnr, the online music streaming portal of Smart Communications.

The other finalists in this year’s Philpop are: "Qrush on You" composed by Q-York’s James Palma a.k.a. Flava Matikz and Cedric Bonjoc a.k.a. Knowa Lazarus; "Hangout Lang" by Allan Feliciano and Isaac Garcia; "No Girlfriend Since Break" by Davey Langit; "Babalikan Mo Rin Ako" by Soc Villanueva; "Langit Umaawit" by Toto Sorioso; "Dear Heart" by Mike Villegas; "The Only One" by Popsie San Pedro; and "Song on a Broken String" by Jude Gitamondoc and Therese Villarante.

The non-winners received P50,000 each as a consolation prize. All the finalists received stipends to produce their songs in broadcast quality.

The judges were Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (FILSCAP) President Noel Cabangon, TV5 chief entertainment officer Wilma V. Galvante, Miss World 2013 Megan Young, rapper Abra, singer-actress Aiza Seguerra, and young singers Sam Concepcion, and Julie Anne San Jose.

Hosted by Ogie Alcasid, Iya Villania-Arellano, and Christian Bautista, the finals night aired on TV5. Aside from performances of the finalists, it featured performances from guest artists including Gary Valenciano, and the cast of the Filipino musical Rak of Aegis.

A committee headed by veteran composer Ryan Cayabyab selected the 12 finalists from more than 3,000 entries.

Mr. Cayabyab said the 12 finalists were judged twice. The preliminary judging, which accounted for the 60% of the final score, was done a day before the finals night last Saturday.

The remaining 40% of the score was determined during the finals night itself when the judges rated the songs based on the interpretation of the singers.

Mr. Cayabyab said all 12 songs are part of the Third Philippine Popular Music Festival commemorative album released under Universal Records. The songs are also already available for download on Spinnr.

Philpop is a songwriting competition open to all amateur and professional composers who are Filipinos or of Filipino descent.

Behind this endeavor is the Philpop Music Foundation, Inc., a group headed by business tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan of the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT).

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