There’s an indescribable joy in listening to our grandparents share their love stories. It’s like feeling the warmth of genuine love for the first time. As we sit and listen to their past, we can’t help but imagine a future where we might experience our own fairytale romance, complete with clandestine rendezvous and the sweet melodies of love songs lingering in the air.
The 42nd Cebu Popular Music Festival — sponsored by The New Cebu Arts Foundation Inc. and former Cebu governor Eduardo R. Gullas — took place on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024 at the University of Visayas gymnasium on Sanciangko St. in Cebu City.
The music festival delivered this feeling to its audiences: The pure and soulful strains of Cebuano music created an intimate ambiance that enveloped the venue. Unexplainable, to say the least, the entries in the competition are songs that can unequivocally be deemed timeless and evocative expressions of true love.
Best Pop Love song
The longing, the romance and the sincerity are perhaps the three qualities that won Glenn Salve’s “Recuerdo” the best Pop Love Song category. The song was arranged by Nendel Endrina and sung on stage by Jingle Placencia Sesican.
“Recuerdo,” which means “Handumanan” in Bisaya, is a song in recognition that what once existed is now gone, leaving behind only the bittersweet memories of a great love. The composition conveys remembrance and nostalgia, showing the powerful influence of memories through a musical vessel. Salve, a native of Daanbantayan, composed a song that demonstrates how, despite being wounded, a loving heart remembers.
This beautiful composition was expertly interpreted by Sesican, who, on stage, sang the song beautifully and delivered it with escalating intensity during emotional peaks, while pulling back during more reflective moments. Her expressive vocal delivery and gentle sways complement the song “Recuerdo” perfectly.
The music video tenderly captures the essence of nostalgia, portraying a couple immersed in revisiting their cherished rendezvous and flipping through black-and-white wedding photos. Each frame shows elements of the past such as a traditional native house and a quaint church. Yet, it is the soul-stirring lyrics that truly touch the heart, offering listeners a glimpse into the romance of bygone days: “Ug padayon nga isaysay ang matam-is nga sugilanon sa buhing handumanan ang hulagway sa kagahapon,” a verse that echoes the beauty of memories.
Best Upbeat song
On a different tune of love, doctor Hernando Maniwan’s “Naunsa Diay Ka” demonstrates a catchy tune in the backdrop of a mischievous affection to a beloved.
In the goofy theme of this “harana” (traditional Filipino serenade), we find a man who becomes the unwitting target of his woman’s ire, fueled by baseless rumors and well-meaning advice from friends and associates. Convinced of her man’s infidelity, the woman’s fury becomes the backdrop to a whimsical serenade. Arranged by Neil Salarda, the harana, in this context, becomes a delightful dance between love and laughter, where the playful tune aims to mend the cracks of a slightly broken trust with humor and affection.
Charmingly sang on stage by the trio, Philipp Mancol, Barret Oliver Richards and Bastian Richards, it brings both youthful and nostalgic vibe to the listeners. The three showed their vocal dynamics. A light-hearted dance steps and synchronized hand movements added a dynamic visual element to their memorable performance.
The lyrics playfully declare, “Wad-a na imong pagduhaduha, kay ikaw lang ang akong gihigugma. Na unsa diay ka,” conveying a whimsical sentiment that dismisses any doubt. These words encapsulate the lighthearted essence of the harana, allowing the playful spirit to radiate and craft an unforgettable, entertaining experience for all who are present.
Moreover, the song did not only win the Best Upbeat song category but the trio of interpreters — Philipp Mancol, Barret Oliver Richards and Bastian Richards — was recognized with the Best Interpreter award. Additionally, Clark Dayaganon Geraldizo’s “Kulang” secured the Best Music Video accolade.