Actor Norman Peñaflorida
Aliw keeps up with times
Maridol Rañoa-Bismark (The Philippine Star) - December 10, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Before he shot to fame with his own version of The Way We Were, Kapalaran, Macho Gwapito and others, organizers of the Aliw Awards already saw a gem of a performer in the late Rico J. Puno. They named him Most Promising Entertainer of the Year in 1997.

The same thing applies to 2013 Voice of the Philippines winner Mitoy Yonting. He told his coach Lea Salonga that his first taste of victory came from the Aliw Awards, which named him Best Male Performer in Hotels, Music Lounges and Bars earlier that year.

Before Merjohn Lagaya accompanied Sharon Cuneta and Ogie Alcasid on the violin, the instrumentalist played the Aliw card to market his talents and get more engagements. This Aliw Hall of Famer proudly told concert organizers and others in the industry that he has a Best Instrumentalist trophy from the said award-giving body.

Norman Peñaflorida’s parents didn’t think highly of him after he graduated from college. First, they wanted their gay son to become straight. Second, they’d rather him choose Nursing, not Mass Communication, for a college course.

But when they read about Norman’s Best Actor nomination in the Aliw, his parents realized they were wrong. They apologized. Norman went home to Pangasinan, where a tarpaulin announcing his recognition awaited him.

Many people knew Roeder Camañag (known simply as Roeder years back) as an award-winning actor. But even if he started directing a few years ago, he never thought he has what it takes to become a good director until Aliw nominated him as Best Director under the New Concert Production category. 

Today, Roeder admits the nomination gave his confidence a shot in the arm, and his career, more direction.

These are some of the heartwarming stories behind the Aliw Awards, which toasts excellence in theater, opera, dance, instrumental and other live shows by giving out trophies fashioned in the shape of an applauding hand (entertainers just love applause). Its history is long, since Alice Reyes founded Aliw in 1976.

Its list of Entertainers of the Year reads like a “who’s who” in the industry: Pilita Corrales, Celeste Legaspi, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, Rico J., Charice (now known as Jake Zyrus), Sarah Geronimo and Regine Velasquez.

On Dec. 13, 7 p.m., the Aliw is handing out awards in 49 categories at the Manila Hotel. The fact that the categories have grown from 29 10 years ago to 49 today is proof that the live entertainment industry is not only alive and well. It’s growing.

Local government units are organizing more festivals to boost tourism in their areas. So Aliw came up with a Best Catalyst award.

More and more good actors are emerging. So the award for Best Actor/Actress in a Featured Role was split into the musical and non-musical categories.

Only time can tell if this year’s Aliw Awards will produce another Regine or Rico J.

All we can do for now is sit back, relax, and watch as Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, Carlito Pocholo Malilin, Rey Valera and Jun Regalado receive the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award. Imelda Papin is this year’s recipient of the Alice Hernandez Reyes Achievement award.

Let the show begin!

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