Soldiers who sing

() - January 27, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The non-stock Air Materiel Wing Savings and Loan Association, Inc. is presenting 11 from its roster of top finishers in the first AMWSLAI AFP-PNP Battle of Champions set for Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. at the Music Museum for the benefit of families of soldiers and cops who died in the line of duty. Tickets are priced at P5,000, P2,000, P1,000 and P500 and may be obtained from the main AMWSLAI offices, AMWSLAI Bldg. cor. Boni Serrano and 18th Avenues, Murphy, Cubao, Quezon City or at Music Museum, Greenhills Commercial Shopping Complex, San Juan City.

Sec. Jesse Robredo of the Department of the Interior and Local Government has been invited as guest of honor and speaker of the singing competition, which aims at raising funds for dependents of the men in uniform who lost their lives while serving, protecting and defending the Filipinos and the Philippine flag.

Meet the finalists:

• AW1C Mylin Estojero, 31, mother of three, of Tagum, Davao, is now based as a personnel specialist at the PAF headquarters at the Col. Jesus Villamor Air Base, Pasay City. She finished second in the 2010 AMWSLAI Search for Singing Star, second runner-up on GMA 7’s Singing Soldier 2000, and champion of ABS-CBN’s Sing Ala Donna Cruz contest in 1996. Her favorite singers are Dulce and Donna Cruz.

• AW1C Zarah Francisco, 27, single, of Sta. Maria, Zamboanga City, is presently based as an administrative specialist at the 5313th Base Services Squadron, 530th Air Base Wing, Edwin Andrews Air Base, Zamboanga City. She is into her fourth year as an education student at the Zamboanga City Polytechnic College. A first runner-up in the 2009 AMWSLAI Search for Singing Star, she idolizes Regine Velasquez and Kuh Ledesma.

• Sgt. Federico Andagan Jr. 35, married with one kid, of Maria Cristina Behind Village, Iligan City, is assigned to the Special Forces Regimen Airborne, SOCOM, at Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija. He was AMWSLAI singing champion in 2009; the next year his group won the seventh ID Battle of the Band. His favorite bands and singers are Bon Jovi, Journey, Steven Tyler, Arnel Pineda and Gary Valenciano.

• Tsg Wilhelmo Celestial, 36, father of two, of Irosin, Sorsogon, is assigned to the Office of the Special Service at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. He was Eat, Bulaga!’s champion singing soldier in 1997 before bagging 2000 AMWSLAI Search for Singing Soldier title. His favorite singers are Basil Valdez, Martin Nievera and Gary V.

• Pfc Efraim Rivera, 24, single, of Lapuyan, Zamboanga del Sur, is connected with the 1st Infantry Division at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. A seriously ill, bedridden grandfather, Efraim said, heard him sing when he was little, then wrote a note on a piece of paper saying his grandchild should immediately take voice lessons. He did. He placed second runner-up in 2010 in both the AMWSLAI Search for Singing Star and the Search for PAFCFIC Singing idol. He idolizes Martin Nievera and Gary V.

• Pfc. Malou Villanezo-Eslaga, 25, Tukuran, married, of Zamboanga del Sur, is assigned to Division Special Service Office, Headquarters and Headquarters Service Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, Camp Mateo Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal. Before she won the 2010 AMWSLAI Search for Singing Star, she already had several singing titles under her belt, including two awards in a talent competition in Zamboanga in 2003 and in Taguig in 2005. She considers Whitney Houston and Lani Misalucha her idols.

• PO3 Jannet Cadayona, 37, mother of two, of Osmeña, Marabot, Samar, is an investigator at the Headquarters Support Service, Women’s Desk Division, Camp Crame, Quezon City. Her Grade VI music teacher was the first to notice her exceptional musical talent and so she began performing in school programs. She later worked in disco houses and radio as a DJ prior to joining the police force. In 2007, she did not place in the Top 3 in the AMWSLAI Search for Singing Star but came back strong the next year to bag the title. She worships Dulce in the music industry and no one else.

• SPO2 Reynaldo delos Reyes, 48, of Iloilo City, married with four children, and the oldest among the 11 finalists, works as chief clerk of the Legal Office, Civil Security Group at Camp Crame, Quezon City. In 2007, he wound up second runner-up in AMWSLAI’s Search for Singing Star and champion in the PNP Singing Policemen competition. He said he’ll be singing for his father, who died recently, in the grand finals.

• P/Sr. Insp. Edwin Serrano, 42, single, of Sampaloc, Manila, heads the Station Investigation Division-Management Branch, Navotas City Police Station on M. Naval, Brgy. Sipac, Almacen, Navotas City. The 5’11” AMWSLAI 2001 Search for Singing Star winner and eight-week champion of the then popular Tanghalan ng Kampeon is as accomplished in police work as in his musical career. He performs mostly in corporate events in his free time and names Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck as his favorite performers.

• 2Lt. Melchor Sorillano, 46, father of five, of Dolorosa, Nabua, Camarines Sur. Until his retirement, he was assigned at the Office of Plans and Programs of the Department of National Defense at Camp Aguinaldo. From singing in the rice field while astride a carabao, he sought a bigger stage to show the world that he could sing. And he succeeded. He became Eat, Bulaga!’s first AFP singing soldier winner, then a four-week champion of the now defunct Pasikatan sa Trese and seven-week champion of GMA 7’s Tanghalan ng Kampeon, also defunct. He is at his elements when he sings the music of his idols Martin Nievera and Jun Polistico.

• Rex Pili, 40, single, of Bato, Camarines Sur. His last assignment before he left the Department of National Defense (DND) was as head executive assistant 2 at the Office of the Secretary of National Defense at Camp Aguinaldo. A second runner-up in the 1995 Panasonic Quest for the Best, second placer in the 2000 AMWSLAI Search for Singing Soldier and second placer again in the 2004 Eat, Bulaga!’s Birit King, the diminutive singer currently performs with a band. His style of singing, although patterned after those of his idols Gary V., Michael Bolton, James Ingram and Air Supply, is distinctly his own.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with