At Cebu Pop, Cebuano music takes the spotlight

Christa Escudero
At Cebu Pop, Cebuano music takes the spotlight
Songs of heartbreak, persistence, and emotion fill the airwaves of this year’s competition, brought to life by the pen and voice of the Cebuano

Cebuano music took center stage during the grand finals of the 41st Cebu Popular Music Festival, also known as Cebu Pop, at the University of the Visayas Gymnasium on Friday night, January 13.

Cebu Pop, founded by former congressman Eduardo Gullas and organized by the New Cebu Arts Foundation, aims to bring prominence to Cebuano music by providing a platform to singers and songwriters in Cebu.

In his opening message, Gullas took pride in the talent of Cebuano singers and songwriters, saying the homegrown artists are on a par with other artists in the country.

The 41st Cebu Pop, originally slated for January 2021, was rescheduled due to the surge of COVID-19 cases that time brought by the Omicron variant. In January 2022, the Cebu was recovering from the aftermath of Typhoon Odette.

Songs of heartbreak, persistence, and emotion fill the airwaves of this year’s competition in three categories, each with four finalists: Awit sa Gugma (love songs), Awit nga Malamdamon (inspirational songs), and open category Huni sa Kasingkasing (sentiments of the heart).

The winning piece under the Awit sa Gugma category, Do Re Migo Ra Mi, is a ballad describing and lamenting the state of the “friend zone.” The song was composed by Jundel Bacalso, arranged by Barry Villacarillol, and interpreted by Margrethe Ellaine Matin-ao.

There’s nothing people can’t overcome with perseverance and faith, as expressed by Magdungan Tang Mangamuyo, the winner under Awit nga Malamdamon. The song was written by Vicente B. Roco, composed and arranged by FrenyxTarongoy, and interpreted by Cerj Michael, Ralph Mallapre, Ronna Jenn Cañete, Kayla Barrientos, and Gypsy Amoin. 

Cañete, Barrientos, and Jared Roble, who performed the song during the grand finals, were awarded Best Interpreters.

Unsaon Ko Karon, which won under Huni sa Kasingkasing, translates to “What am I to do now?” a question asked by a man torn between two lovers. Credits go to Sharon Lanier as composer, Russel Alegado as musical arranger, and Jade Castro and band Game 7 as interpreters. Dave Alcano performed the song during finals night.

Here are the other finalists:

Awit sa Gugma

  • Second Option, written and composed by Aireen T. Padillo, arranged by Russel Alegado, and interpreted by Alden Asehan Jr.
  • Wa Nay Ikaw ug Ako, written and composed by Nandy Maniwan, arranged by Aljon Balbido, and interpreted by Philipp Mancol
  • Kinsa Kanamong Duha, written and composed by Glenn Salve, arranged by Nendel Endrina, and interpreted by R-Lyn Ygot-Antojado

Awit nga Malamdamon

  • Salig Lang, written and composed by Joseph Barulo, arranged by Russel Alegado, and interpreted by Rayn Charity Codilla
  • Bugsay, written and composed by Dennis Martin, arranged by Ralph Joey Cabusas, and interpreted by Chalerese Cabusas 
  • Cebuano Ko, Gahi Ko, written by Reynald Andales, composed by Debra Andales, arranged by Neil Salarda, and interpreted by Michael “Titit” Archangel

Huni sa Kasingkasing

  • Aw Olark, written by Florabelle Gelbolingo, composed by Kathleen Malazarte, arranged by Jundel Bacalso with Jezrael James Bontuyan, and interpreted by Mary Evacorr Laspuna and Emmanuel Casquejo with band Big Marvin and the Wigiws. Mary Catherine Jayme and Stanly Agustin performed the song during finals night.
  • Undangon Na Ni Nato, written and composed by Virgilio Cariego Jr., arranged by Kevin Molo, and interpreted by band ErrorCheck featuring Jay Anne Lampaug
  • Tagda Ko, Crush, written and composed by Mateo Barulo Jr., arranged by Russel Alegado, and interpreted by Jessryl Caballes and band Euphonious 

All of these songs can be streamed on Youtube and Spotify.

The winners were each awarded P100,000 in cash, while the remaining finalists were each given P20,000. The Best Interpreters received P10,000.

Cebu Pop is among the slew of events organized for the Sinulog festival in Cebu, which returns to in-person activities after a two-year pandemic hiatus. Check out the remaining events here. —

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.


Christa Escudero

Christa Escudero is a digital communications specialist for Rappler.