Saturday, October 23, 2021

Mapalo: Creativity overload from Baguio composers

Restor (Responsible & Sustainable Tourism)

FOR a short notice to call for entries to a Baguio Day songwriting competition, it was a great joy to actually receive 49 entries. In just eight days, young and old, amateur and professional, all were able to create beautiful pieces as a tribute to our dear Baguio, currently experiencing one of its hardest times in history. It seems that this pandemic brewed further what has been innate to Baguioites from the start -- creativity. We're a Unesco Creative City after all.

Of all the 49 entries, 15 were picked by the Tourism Office's screening committee to be scored by three esteemed judges: Bong Manansala of the Edralins, Karlo Altomonte, a theater artist and director, and Bing Pablico, a music trainor and composer. In a private group chat with them, they narrated how they themselves were astounded and impressed with how the songs were beautifully crafted in just 8 days. As a matter of fact, their choice for the top plum was not unanimous, although their choices for the Top 6 were relatively at close scores. As Karlo Altomonte said, "any of the songs could had been the winner, but at the end, let the math (using raw score averaging) do the talking."

Now, let me share what the top three composers said about their songs. At third place was the song "Angat Baguio," composed and interpreted by Edgar Gian Bernardino, a dentistry student of University of Baguio, who during the live presentation and announcement of winners, said that it is a song of love, thanks and hope, particularly wanting to send the inspiring message of the song to the frontliners. Bing Pablico mentioned how this particular song has a very energetic vibe that can truly lift us up and be inspired during these trying times.

At second place was "Sa May Kabundukan," a pride-of-place anthem composed and arranged by Nataja Anjerie Organo, who had been writing songs for a time already, even releasing some of those on Spotify. She said that what inspired or the song is the beauty of our city, and even more prominently seen with the people that live in it. She said that we have been known to be warm people. But with the pandemic, we've also been seen as a resilient people, showing discipline and cooperation amids the difficulties. Bong Manansala said that he loved how the Panagbenga theme was sampled at the start and end of the song, where in between was a laidback, very current acoustic-indie vibe that will connect to the young-at-hearts.

The grand winner went to the song "Bangon Baguio", composed and interpreted by Ingid Payaket. She is not a stranger to many of us, being dubbed as Cordillera's nightingale after she made Baguio proud a few years back when she became one of the finalists of the national talent competition, Pilipinas Got Talent. She said that this song is actually her first composition after attending an online composition mentoring class by no less than Jim Paredes. Karlo Altomente said her song is truly unique in a sense that it has a real Baguio character, influenced by its people's indigenous culture, but beautifully arranged and rendered as a powerful pop song. He said that the song's melody starts hauntingly, then rises up in the middle towards a powerful climax that will definitely bring listeners to an emotional journey. Ingrid said that her song is her own contribution to lift the spirits of our people, more importantly to our frontliners who had been sacrificing time and effort for all of us. You may listen to all the songs in the official Baguio Tourism FB page,

The winning song will be sang live on Tuesday, September 1, during the 111th Baguio Charter City Anniversary program that will start at 10 a.m.

Unfortunately, with the observance of strict health protocols, the program will not be open to the public. Instead, it will be livestreamed through the city's official FB pages: PIO, Baguio Tourism and PIA Baguio. With the overload of creativity alone, truly, #AngatTayoBaguio! Happy Baguio Day!


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