PhilPop introduces 3 finalists from the Visayas cluster

Luis A. Quibranza III
·3 min read

WHAT was once the Metro Manila Popular Music Festival is now known as PhilPop (or the Philippine Popular Music Festival). PhilPop has been around since 2012. However, it was only recently when the songwriting competition extended its reach and influence to the rest of the regions of the country. It has also transformed itself into a biennial competition from being an annual one.

This 2020, PhilPop is shaking things up as it is introducing five clusters to the contest: National Capital Region, North Luzon, South Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao. Each cluster will get to showcase three songs each.

Last Friday, Oct. 30, the Visayas cluster was introduced and its three songs were made available on digital streaming platforms under Warner Music Philippines. The tracks take “regional pride to unprecedented heights” with their “sterling showcase of contemporary pop songs representing authentic Visayan expressions through language, culture and experience,” according to PhilPop’s press statement.

The three songs from the Visayas cluster are love song “Suyo,” composed and interpreted by Noah Alejandre and Reanne Borela, also know as the duo Reon; folk track “Hinungdan,” composed by Michael Catarina and interpreted by James Gulles; and jazz-pop “Ayaw Na Lang,” composed by Jerika Teodorico and interpreted by Lourdes Maglinte.

“(Suyo) breaks the norms of OPM (original Pinoy music) songs having only one language and giving emphasis on couples who are from different parts of the country,” said Alejandre. “Both of us (songwriters) never really experienced being in a relationship, yet we made the song as if we were in one and took inspiration from our imaginations. Reanne took inspiration from her friends who were in relationships and have witnessed how they would fight about the simplest things and get back together right after. They took this as an opportunity to create a playful song that resulted into the song.”

“Hinugdan,” shared Cebu-based Catarina, is a song about “a person who is having a hard time telling his feelings for someone.”

“I can’t deny that I have personally experienced this as well. Way back then, when I wrote this song, I was just embracing the moment of being frustrated by writing the things that I couldn’t say,” said Catarina.

Third track “Ayaw Na Lang,” according to finalist Teodorico, is a Bisaya phrase that translates to “never mind.”

“The lyrics are from the perspective of a lovelorn person slowly acknowledging and accepting the fact that although her love interest seems to return even a fourth of the feeling, a romance between them just won’t do,” Teodorico explained.

“It’s a very confusing feeling to deal with, and as a songwriter and a person who has a hard time processing my thoughts and emotions, I felt compelled to make a monument out of that half-joyous, half-torturous moment. It was also me trying to assure my love interest that it was fine and there were no hard feelings after that night.”

The Visayas cluster tracks “Suyo,” “Hinungdan” and “Ayaw Na Lang” are now available on streaming and digital platforms worldwide via PhilPop and Warner Music Philippines.