Song on Cebu pride sweeps awards at 38th Cebu Pop
Karla Rule (The Freeman) - January 21, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Jay-arr Librando’s entry, “Sugboanon Ko,” dominated the 38th staging of the Cebu Popular Music Festival held Friday night at the IC3 Convention Center.

His track, interpreted by It’s Showtime’s “Tawag Ng Tanghalan” finalist Sheena Belarmino, was declared champion in the Garbo sa mga Bisdak category. The entry also won Best Video and the People’s Choice Award with its 12,000 Facebook views, bringing his total cash haul to P115,000.

 “This song is about Cebu and being proud about being Cebuano. I actually crowd-sourced for things that fellow Cebuanos would want to say and then added my own ideas,” Librando said.

Librando was among 12 finalists that competed under three categories: Awit sa Gugma for pop songs and ballads, Huni sa Kasingkasing for folk songs, and Garbo sa mga Bisdak which is an open category on Cebuano culture.

The champion for the Awit sa Gugma category was “Ikaw Na,” composed by Neil Salarda and interpreted by Necie Diaz.

 “I’ve done ‘maoy’ songs, but I offer this song to people who are in love. ‘Maoy’ is exhausted, so I wanted to write this song to those who sacrificed a lot and ended up together. Sila na, ikaw na,” Salarda shared of his song.


“Gubot Pa Sa Lukot” – written by Father Lyndon Ruiz who was a 2015 Cebu Pop champion and even got to be a judge the following year – won in the Huni sa Kasingkasing category. The humorous track also won for CCTN 47’s June Villarta the Best Interpreter Award.

 “This award shows that my song has credibility. It’s easy to write a song when you have an inspiration and this time it’s God. The message I want to send is to stick to one person when you’re in a relationship,” Father Ruiz explained.

Villarta said he feels honored and happy to be named Best Interpreter because as a comedian, he was sometimes not taken seriously as a singer. “I didn’t expect. I just wanted to sing it well, and to connect with the audience,” he said.

The rest of the finalists were “Wa Sa Ta” written by Manolito Languido and interpreted by Joy Mae Cabase; “Pls. Ayaw Lang Sa Karon, Ugma Na Puhon” by Jade Castro, interpreted by Gerlyn Abañol; and “Unsaon Ko” composed by Tiffany Damayo and interpreted by Christian Paul Rosa for the Awit Sa Gugma category.

Hardy Bigcas’ “Gugmang Habalhabal” which was interpreted by Karl Allarvic was one of the finalists for the Huni Sa Kasing-kasing category alongside “Uban” by Vispop 2.0 champion Jerika Teodorico performed by Missing Filemon frontman Lorenzo Niñal and poet Therese Villarante; and “Ana Ko” written by Archie Lesiguez and interpreted by Daryl Shane Leong.

Finalists for the Garbo sa Mga Bisdak category included “Bisrock Rocks” written by Dennis Martin and interpreted by Johar Lapasaran; “Ipasigarbo” by Sharon Lanier and interpreted by Danielle May Ozaraga, Philipp Mancol, and Francis Isidro; and Ritchen Alegado’s “I am Cebuano” performed by Kristal Mae Dianon.

Tasked to judge the top 12 songs based on musicality, lyrics, and impact were Reginald Bernaldez, Chacha Blanco, Judge Simeon Dumdum Jr., Odessa P. Rodriguez, Verb del Rosario, Lucien Letaba, Marlon D. Baula, Homer Cang and Hannah Magdadaro Go.

The night was light and full of cheer with performances from social media sensation Jacky Chang, while father and son comedy tandem Diego and Gedent of Crazy Duo entertained the crowd with their music-filled antics.

Cebu Pop also took the opportunity to honor Julian Bacus Daan and Allan Nacorda—popularly known as Teban ug Goliat – for their contributions to the Cebu entertainment industry as one of the most iconic and beloved radio and television performers. The comedy duo was presented with the ERG (Excellence-Recognition-Gratitude) Award for their vision and influence.

Founded by Mayor Eduardo R. Gullas when he was governor of Cebu and realized through the Cebu Arts Foundation Inc., Cebu Pop was created as an offering to Sto. Niño de Cebu in celebration of his feast day. Photos by Tristan T. Laput

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