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Himig Handog crowns 3 songs on finals night

ABS-CBN’s multimedia extravaganza Himig Handog sa Bayaning Pilipino ended on a triumphant note last Oct. 1, as it awarded three worthy songs with its four main awards.


Long-time collaborators Soc Villanueva and Arnel de Pano won the Grand Prize trophy and P500,000 in prize money after their song, Si Ka Bayani, unanimously swept pre-judging and finals night scores with the disarming ditty, performed by Gary Granada. Composer Jungee Marcelo, responsible for such catchy tunes as Gary Valenciano’s Hataw Na, hit the jackpot with another superstar, as the Jolina Magdangal-interpreted ‘Super Pinoy garnered two popular laurels -the OFW’s Choice Award, polled via www.abs-cbn.com, and the Youth’s Choice Award, adjudged by the teen readers of Star Studio Magazine.


image images/ent3.jpg" border=0 align="right">Both prizes combined netted Marcelo P400,000 in prize money. Hitmaker Dodjie Simon also emerged triumphant, taking home the People’s Choice Award, as voted on by listeners of DWRR 101.9 For Life, and P200,000 for Larawan, interpreted by Anna Fegi.


It was a night for popular victories and high spirits, said the participants. "I’m very happy for Arnel and Soc," said Simon later at the reception hosted by ABS-CBN executives at the Meralco Theater’s The Lighthouse.


Jungee Marcelo came with his arm in a cast, an injury that for him, was actually to his advantage. "I was so preoccupied with the pain in my hand that I forgot to be tense tonight!" he laughs. "But seriously, the foremost reason I am so happy to win these awards tonight was that I got to see Jolina’s eyes twinkle. I really wrote Super Pinoy for her, and the fact that it won after all the generosity of Jolina and her family extended to me really makes this win special."


So it wasn’t purely for the thrill of victory? "Sure, there was professional tension, but more than anything, this was about the community of songwriters in the Philippines," Jungee explains. "I did the choreography for Dodjie’s number, and Trina (Belamide) was a back-up singer for one of the entries. So it may have started out as a competition, but we ended up as each other’s cheering squads at the end."


image images/ent3a.jpg" border=0 align="left">In that case, mutual admiration society that is Grand Prize-winning trio of Arnel de Pano, Soc Villanueva and Gary Granada was the biggest rah-rah team of all. Lyricist Soc reveals that their song Si Ka Bayani was, at least in part, inspired by the Florante classic Kahit Konti, written by Granada. "We were definitely banking on our song’s simplicity, because when we thought of the ordinary person’s heroism, it lies more in his doing the right thing in the little things of life. At any rate, we were very lucky to get Gary, who embodied the song so well."


Nearby, composer Arnel de Pano was awash in relief. "Finally! That’s all I can say right now," an obviously jubilant De Pano remarked.


"As for me, I’m happy for the song," says Gary, who himself fielded two entries in the contest, one for fellow interpreter Bayang Barrios, and one for Noel Cabangon, another of the evening’s finalists. "It was a great song, I had a lot of fun."


ABS-CBN gave out P1.35 million in cash prizes over the evening, and will be showcasing Villanueva and De Pano’s winning entry on the upcoming Bayaning Pilipino Awards (Gawad Geny Lopez), the network’s annual search for outstanding Filipinos.

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