PhilPop, the country's premier songwriting competition, has officially unveiled its top 6 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’s never been done before: by going global and forging
Carefully handpicked from thousands of submissions, the first batch of finalists from
PhilPop Songwriting Festival 2020 recently graced the online media presentation last
August 24, 2020 (Wednesday).
In no particular order, the finalists from the Vis-Min cluster include:
Jerika Teodorico – “Ayaw Na Lang” (Cebu City, Cebu)
Noah Alejandre and Reanne Borela – “Suyo” (Ormoc City, Leyte)
Michael Catarina – “Hinungdan” (Cebu City, Cebu)'
John Cadeliña – “Akong Bililhon” (Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur)
Christian Chiu – “Kasadya” (Corandal City, South Cotabato)
Sherwin Fugoso – “Pahuway” (Jabonga, Agusan del Norte)
According to PhilPop Executive Director Dinah Remolacio, the entries underwent
multiple rounds of selection process until Top 3 per clusters were handpicked. “Wewanted 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,” Remolacio shares in a statement.
The selection committee is headed by Festival Chair and PhilPop Musicfest National Artist Ryan Cayabyab, as well as Foundation Board Members, adjudicators, partners,
and Warner Music Philippines Executives such as PhilPop Musicfest Foundation President Victorico P. Vargas, Festival Co-Chair and PhilPop Musicfest Foundation Board Member Noel Cabangon, PhilPop Musicfest Foundation Executive Director Dinah A. Remolacio, 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.
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 next month.
In terms of the selection of finalists from the Mindanao Cluster, MinPop Musicfest
Director Jeremy 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. Sarmiento 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. 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.”
Kadasig Founder and Visayas Cluster Partner Jude 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. “I think the songs
chosen to represent the Visayas are a great representation of the region,” says
Gitamondoc. “We have an electronic-infused track, another one that's soulful, and
another that's folksy. 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 Songwriting Festival 2020 is an initiative of the PhilPop Music Foundation,
chaired by Mr. Manny V. Pangilinan. This year's PhilPop is co-presented by SMART,
MERALCO, and MAYNILAD, with official partners, Warner Music Philippines, Kadasig,
Get to Know the Top 6 Finalist from Visayas and Mindanao!
Jerika Teodorico (Ayaw Na Lang)
Jerika is a singer-songwriter born and raise in Cebu City. She writes songs exclusively in the Cebuano language, and has been joining songwriting competitions since she was 17, with most entries centered on the advocacy of uplifting Bisaya music. At the same time, she has also been performing around Cebu City and other Bisaya-speaking areas. She is currently working on her debut album.
Noah Alejandre and Reanna Borela or “Reon” (Suyo)
reon" (麗音 in Kanji) meaning "麗" is beautiful, "音" is sound. “reon” is a Filipino indie music duo formed in 2020 which focuses on making bedroom pop music. The band consists of Noah Glynn Alejandre (singer-songwriter, producer) and Reanne Julia Borela (singersongwriter). The duo band embraces it’s simplicity and rawness of its tracks by telling narratives of different experiences which captures the ears of many. Upon exploring different genres to delve in to, “reon” identifies itself as distinct, with its take on different genres on each of its releases. “reon” started releasing songs since January 6th of 2020 with its debut single “Off My Mind”. The then released their 5th and 6th single namely “Better Off Without You” and “I Really Like You” gathering almost two hundred thousand streams on Spotify on both of the songs.
Michael Caterina (Hinungdan)
Michael started writing songs in 2017. Hee has joined a few songwriting competitions and so far qualifying for PhilPop is his biggest songwriting event. He still considers himself an amateur as he hasn’t fully produced any of his songs yet and has only begun to develop himself as a songwriter.
John Cadeliña (Akong Bililhon)
Back when John was in 3rd grade, he has already accompanied his local parish through the children’s choir and playing the keyboard/organ. Since then, he has began to develop his talent and confidence in music. Having no formal training in music, he plays it by ear. Fast forward to college, his band decided to join a TV talent show, called PGT2, and we made it to the Grand Finals. They were able to perform as a band for year before they separated. John then started joining local songwriting competitions before joining regional and national level contests. Recently, John started his solo project called The Marshland, inspired by Owl City, Five for Fighting, City and Colour, etc.
Christian Chiu (Kasadya)
XT on Sax is the saxophonist of the band, Matcha, which has released two singles this year. He spearheaded the Ilonggo Pop movement that started in Koronadal City, South Cotabato, and debuted the album of the same name last December 21, 2019. He wrote two songs in the Ilonggo Pop album; Hinambalan which featured EJ Parsacala, and Buy-An, which featured a duet of two champions: Ferdinand Aragon, Champion of Visayas Music Awards 2019, and Mau Ria, Champion of Mindanao Pop Music Festival 2020. In the same album, he contributed to the works of Don Flores and NatNat on their songs Amo Gid Na Ya, and Nonoy sa Alunan, respectively. He appeared as a guest artist in the country’s first all-sax concert, S.I.L.A (Saxophone Idols Live in Action) last 2018 at Music Museum, and last 2019 at Resorts World Manila, together with the other saxophonists: Archie Lacorte, JB Javelosa, SaxSerenade, Nicole Tejedor, and Josh Espinosa. His most recent achievement was with their version of Nobela, sung by Jay-ar Vaño, which as of today has garnered over 1.6M spotify streams.
Sherwin Fugoso (Pahuway)
Sherwin Fugoso is a songwriter who is also a member of the band Oh!Caraga. He has been a finalist for several Songwriting Competitions such as VISPOP 4.0 (2016), Santa Kasingkasing (2018), and MinPop Festival (2020). He has written a few songs interpreted by other artists such as #BUANG by Jewel Villaflores and Baga Ka’g Face by Malaya Macaraeg
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