Celebrating Visayan music
ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - August 1, 2019 - 12:00am

It was a night filled with nostalgia and optimism for the Visayan music. Lovers of Visayan music have joined at the Oakridge Pavilion to tune in to the ten finalists of the first ever Visayan Music Awards organized by the Sacred Heart School for Boys Batch 1985 Foundation, Inc.

I am pleased to have seen my previous student at UP Cebu as he sang his own composition entitled “Matag Piraso,” as the grand prize winner. A Fine Arts graduate, Ferdinand Aragon, through his tune, touches the universal emotion of being hurt and patching the messed up pieces so as to cherish once more. Propelled by Japanese pottery, kintsugi, by fixing broken ceramics it's conceivable to give another rent of life to ceramics that turns out to be much progressively refined, because of its "scars". The Japanese craft teaches that wrecked articles are not something to stow away but rather to show with pride.

It was also a night of recognizing the great contributions of two of our most venerated music symbols whose legacy in the Visayan music industry is unrivaled. The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Max Surban and Msgr. Rudy Villanueva.

The King of Visayan Song, Max Surban, for many decades, has touched the hearts of the Bisaya not only in the Visayas but throughout the world. I have been Max Surban in his singing engagements for a couple times and he has not failed his fans, both young and old, to amuse with his antics. During the awards night, he was so proud to recall his humble beginnings, juggling from his regular work to joining singing contests.

The musical pieces of Cebu's literary mammoth and great melodic virtuoso, Msgr. Rudy Villanueva, have moved toward becoming subjects of study for music lovers as these bring about great amount of motivation to every one of us. Msgr. Rudy touched the lives of several generations of seminarians through his music through open exhibitions in shows and melodic plays organized at the St. Theresa's College auditorium. Msgr. Rudy contributed significantly to the advancement of the Visayan ensemble collection in a more people-friendly vein.

In 1981, he helped to establish with then governor Eduardo Gullas the Cebu Popular Music Festival. His liturgical songs provide us with a deep understanding and appreciation of the teaching authority, love, and providential care of God’s concern to all creatures that have been manifested to man from the time of his existence on earth.

Although the Visayan music has evolved so heavily because of the many influences from foreign singers, use of technology, such following from the Visayan audience is something we have to sustain and nurture. One surefire way to realize this is providing avenues for our local talents to show what they have for better and wider appreciation.

Others may not care about our local singers or local artists in general until they crawl their way to the top and are headlining tours and being played on the radio. Then people get local pride for singers and talk about how good it is that so-and-so is from their place.

But we would just look around we would find so many artists ready to emerge. We should be prideful of all the astounding artists in our midst because I know they are many of them just waiting for avenues in the local scene.

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