A SONG about street children juxtaposed with a popular Filipino children’s rhyme written and performed by Teodoro “Chud” Festejo III won this year’s Philippine Popular Musical Festival (Philpop) while a ballad in Bisaya by Ferdinand Aragon was named first runner-up, a win an executive called “a statement.”
“PhilPop this year is a statement: ‘Nanay Tatay’ won [written by] someone from Davao. He’s very young, practically and literally new… he brought such a good song and there you go, he won PhilPop,” Ma. Dinah Remolacio, executive director of PhilPop told BusinessWorld after the technical glitch-filled awards ceremony on Dec. 2 at the Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons in Pasig City.
Nanay Tatay” by Mr. Festejo III is a half-sung, half-spoken Filipino ballad about street children getting by. In his introductory video before his performance that evening, Mr. Festejo said that when he thought about the lyrics, especially the part where the child is asking for bread, he thought of the children who beg on the streets and translated their “innocence and vulnerability.”
The song also won Best Music Video.
Meanwhile, “Di Ko Man” by Ferdinand Aragon is a Bisaya ballad which its creator describes as a “modern harana (serenade)” and that “it would be nice if people would hear these kinds of songs again.”
He said he wrote it in Bisaya because it is his first language and that way he can perform it with more emotion.
Aside from “Nanay Tatay” and “Di Ko Man,” the competition’s second runner-up was a cheeky rock number from Jeriko Buenafe and performed by Mr. Buenafe and his band featuring Hans Dimayuga. The song is about two men seemingly vying for the affection of the same woman.
The three winners beat seven other finalists, including the upbeat novelty song, “Loca de Amor!” by Ed Miraflor, Jr. and performed by the BennyBunnyBand, and People’s Choice Awardee “Yun Tayo” by Donnalyn Onilongo, performed by Gracenote.
The grand winner received P1 million, the first runner-up received P500,000 and the second runner-up won P200,000. Special awards, such as the People’s Choice and Best Music Video, earned the songwriters P50,000 each.
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 kicked off Freddie Aguilar’s career with “Anak,” alongside other Filipino music fixtures such as Celeste Legaspi and Anthony Castelo.
This year’s PhilPop, which started with a songwriting boot camp in 2017, put more focus on getting entries from regional songwriters as the competition organizers went around the country looking for songwriters outside the capital.
“It is very helpful, one, it is very enriching for the songwriters, and, two, it’s very empowering for the songwriters from the regions because in Manila, all the resources are here and technology. And by enriching and empowering songwriters from all over the country, we can actually develop a treasure trove of songs,” Ms. Remolacio said of the bootcamp.
Since it has been so successful, she said that next year they will once again go around the country to train and discover more songwriters.
This also means that the next PhilPop competition will not be held next year but in 2020. — Zsarlene B. Chua