AFTER TAKING a break last year, the Philippine Popular Music Festival or Philpop is back for its 7th year and recently presented the 30 semifinalists of this year’s songwriting competition.
First held in 2012, Philpop was fashioned after the defunct Metro Manila Popular Music Festival or Metropop which was held annually from 1978 to 1985. The first Metropop festival saw composer Ryan Cayabyab and singer Hajji Alejandro taking the top prize for “Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika,” and saw the start of Freddie Aguilar’s career with “Anak,” alongside other Filipino music fixtures such as Celeste Legaspi and Anthony Castelo.
Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, Philpop has seen the rise of a new breed of singer/songwriters including Yumi Lacsamana and Thyro Alfaro who took home the grand prize in the 2013 contest with “Dati” and again in 2015 with “Triangulo.”
In 2016, “Di Na Muli,” a ballad composed by Jazz Nicolas and Wally Acoloca, won the top prize.
“The Philpop 2018 is not just a competition. It’s a festival of talents and learning opportunities. It is a platform where the more seasoned music artists are encouraged to teach the young what we know, not to force on them our own approaches, styles and tastes, but to help them take inspiration from our successes and learn from our mistakes,” said Mr. Cayabyab who functions as the competition’s coaching camp master and foundation board member in a press release.
“I always say that the next generation should be better than us for our country to move forward. Hence the best way to do this is to teach them everything we know at every instance,” he added.
Mr. Cayabyab reported that over 1,000 songs were submitted this year and that there was a marked increase in submissions from Visayas and Mindanao with some songs written in Hiligaynon, Bisaya, and other regional languages and dialects.
“[The] foundation’s pivot to change the format and competition timing was imperative to encourage more songwriters outside Luzon and the greater Metro Manila to join the festival,” said Philpop executive director Dinah Remolacio in the release.
She explained that the competition — now a biennial — will include boot camps which will arm “songwriters with knowledge and songwriting essentials that will push them to be confident to showcase their masterpieces, even those written in [their] local language.”
The top 30 entries will be whittled down further before the grand finals on Nov. 30 at Capitol Commons in Pasig City where only 10 finalists will be performing.
Philpop is an initiative of the MVP Group of Companies, Ortigas and Co., Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Asia Artists, Inc., and NYXSYS Philippines. BusinessWorld is under MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of the PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund which is a part of the MVP Group of Companies. — Zsarlene B. Chua

Below are the top 30 finalists:

“AElOU,” by Kenneth John Pores (General Trias, Cavite); “Ako, Ako” by Jeriko Buenafe (Taguig, NCR); “Away Wa’y Buwagay” by Eamarie Gilayo and Jovit Leonerio (Davao City, Davao del Sur); “Bumbero” by Michael Llave (Quezon City. NCR); “Di Ko Man” by Ferdinand Aragon (Cebu City, Cebu); “Ikaw Ang Aking Pag-ibig”by Mark Jay Felipe (Guimba, Nueva Ecija); “Isang Gabing Pag-ibig”by Carlo Angelo David (Quezon City, NCR); “Kariton” by Philip Arvin Jarilla (Antipolo, Rizal); “Kelan Kaya?” by Sarah Bulahan (Mandaluyong City, NCR); “Kilabl” by Karlo Frederico Zabala (Valenzuela City, NCR);
Korde Kodigo” by Jeremy Sarmlento (Davao City, Davao del Sur); “Laon Ako” by Elmar Jan Boiano and Donei Transporto (Tigbauan, Hello); “LDR (Layong ‘Di Ramdam)” by Russ Narcies Cabico (Quezon City, NCR); “LGBT (Laging Ganito Ba Tayo?)” by Kyle Pulido (Davao City, Davao del Sur); “Lilipad” by Agatha Morallos and Melvin Joseph Morallos (Baguio City, Benguet); “Loco De Amor!” by Edgardo Miraflor, Jr. (Bacolod City, Negros Occidental); “Mahirap Magselos” by Paul Hildawa (Makati City, NCR); “Makisabay” by Carlo Angelo David (Cebu City, Cebu); “Malilimutan Din Kita” by Marvin Blue Corpuz (Koronadal, South Cotabato); “MMRA” by Oliver Nara (Valenzuela City, NCR);
Nanay Tatay” by Teodoro Festejo lll (Davao City, Davao del Sur); “Oka” by Michael Angelo Aplacador (Pateros, NCR); “Perfectly imperfect Human” by Barry Villacarillo (Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu); “Pilipit (Paano Sasabihing Mahal Kita)” by Sean Gabriel Cedro and John Ray Reodique (Antipolo City, Rizal); “Promise Sorry Note” by Michael Angelo Aplacador (Pateros, NCR); “Pwede” by Agatha Morallos and Melvin Joseph Morallos (Baguio City, Benguet); “Tama Na” by Michael Rodriguez and Jeanne Columbine Rodriguez (Makati City, NCR); “Unang Adlaw Nga Wala Ka” by Therese Marie Villarante and Henrick James Pestano (Talisay City, Cebu); “Utang” by Ignacio Dennis Roxas (Malolos, Bulacan); and, “Yun Tayo” by Donnalyn Onilongo (Angono, Rizal)