Songs about love, Cebu picked as winners

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

THREE songs about life away from the city, love of the province, and lost love were declared winners during the 34th Cebu Popular Music Festival last Friday night.

“Laylay Sa Bukid,” by Ronil Vincent Watin and Yoogin Raye Anthony won the folk/country/novelty category; “I Love Cebu,” by Russel Alegado for upbeat/dance music category; and “Ayaw Ako’g Biya-i,” by Jade Castro for ballad/pop ballad category.

The songs were performed with a live band and back-up vocals.


The seven judges, led by award-winning poet and court judge Simeon Dumdum Jr., chose Jacqueline Bual as the Best Interpreter for her emotional performance of Castro’s song.

“I didn’t expect to win,” said Bual. “I feel so blessed.”

Castro said the ballad was inspired by his failed marriage.

“Nahimo siyang theme song sa among sitwasyon (It’s the theme song of our separation),” he said.


The winners received P100,000 each and trophies, while Bual took home P10,000 and a trophy. The 12 finalists also received P20,000.

Castro said he does not mind winning because his “ultimate dream is to sing for the people.”

The songwriters are first-time champions, who had also sent entries before for the longest running musical competition in Cebu that produced famous singers like Vina Morales, Sheryn Regis, Anna Fegi, and Raki Vega.

“Wa pa gyod nako ni-sink in ang tanan,” said Watin. “Nagtuo ko nga di kadaog (I still could not believe it. I didn’t expect to win).”

Anthony said he wrote the lyrics for “Laylay Sa Bukid” while waiting for his volleyball players in Barangay Can-asujan, Carcar City.

Guest singer Eva Santos, who was a national TV singing show contestant, showcased her vocal prowess by rendering classic hits like the Beatles’ “Got to Get You into My Life,” and Barry Manilow’s “Weeekend in New England,” and “Even Now.”


The audience cheered when the hosts announced the arrival of the United States-based Regis, who later went up on stage and promoted her television appearance.

When she was about to step down, the crowd roared, “Sample! Sample!”

The best interpreter of the Cebu Pop 1999 edition obliged and entertained them with Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire.”

The Cebu Arts Foundation, Inc. (CAFI), the Cebu Pop’s organizer, gave the Eduardo R. Gullas award to Allan Jayme Rabaya, the composer of classic “Kausa Nabasa Ang Tubig.”


For Anthony, he said songwriters should persevere in their craft. He submitted songs before and he never won a prize.

Alegado said he joined in Cebu Pop eight years ago and he relished his first victory as a champion.

Castro was doubtful in joining this year’s contest, but a friend egged him on to submit his song. He did and continued to doubt his piece until the awards night at the Cebu Coliseum.

“Don’t give up. Put love into your work,” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 19, 2014.

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