Hosted by Toni Rose Gayda and Richard Reynoso, A Song of Praise Music Festival has been and still is the only Gospel Music TV Program in the Philippines, aired by no other than the leading station for Public Service, UNTV.
Personally, this is my very first time attending such a grand event. The “A Song Of Praise Music Festival Grand Finals Season 3 was held at the Smart-Araneta in Cubao, on September 23, 2014. For such a program to have lasted for 3 seasons, going on four, in fact, it proves that Praising God is never unwelcome in the hearts of people (at least, for Filipinos). And if you haven’t watched the program or listened to any of the song entries, I can definitely say you’re missing out!
What is it about Songs of Praises to God? It is just such a wonderful thing to listen to all the songs at the ASOP Grand Finals –there was this uplifting feel to it. It renews you within, and, as Daniel Razon, CEO & Chairman of BMPI mentioned in his speech after the performances, “Kung mayron man higit na dapat alayan ng ating tinig, ng ating talento walang iba kundi yung pinanggalingan nito. [If there is someone to whom we must offer our voices, our talents the most, it is none other than the One from which it all came from.]”
I spoke to one member of the audience, and she told me;
“Mas naappreciate ko yung ASOP ngayon dahil hindi naman nawala yung main purpose ng project na yun, na mahikayat pa ng mga taong gagawa ng Songs of Praises. Kahit artista, napasali natin gaya ni Cesar Montano, diba?… Kaya tama sabi ni Ingkong na yung music nakakaimpluwensya sa kaluluwa at puso ng tao. [I appreciate this ASOP because the main purpose of the project, which is to encourage more people to write Songs of Praises, was not lost. We were even able to invite actors like Cesar Montano, right?… Which is why when Ingkong (Bro. Eli) said Music influences the soul and heart of man, it is true.]” – Claire
I enjoyed listening to the Lyrics of the Songs “Tanging Gabay” by Arniel Villagonza, sung by Rachel Alejandro, which made me cry, and “God Will Win Our Fight” by Ricardo Sanchez, the lyrics of which were very enlighting – a basic principle of faith, if you have faith in God, don’t go about putting your trust into others as though there is possibility that God can’t do it.
I found Cesar Montano’s composition, “Pagpupuring Walang Hanggan” quite breath-taking to listen to, with all the blendings. He expressed how blessed he is, mentioning that when people asked him why he’d join he responded, “it’s a group of people worshipping God..” After which, he proceeded to invite people even from his industry to join.
“…the simple message of the song is Humility before God. Ang pagtanggap kung gaano ka kapalad, yung kung gaano ka kasama, God will forgive you, through Jesus Christ. Yan ang message,” said Montano in his AVP.
The actor-director and composer received praise from Winny Nepomuceno, member of the board of judges who commended his humility. Nepomuceno also congratulated UNTV for the success of the program saying, “Eto ang kailangan natin, hindi katulad ng nakikita sa ibang television na drama. (This is what we need, not like what we see in other television [channels] which are [just] drama.)
Baka lalu mawalan ako ng trabaho rito (Maybe I’ll be risking loosing my job all the more because of this),” he jokes but proceeds, “eh kasi ganun tlga. Unang una, bakit ako pupunta rito? (Because it’s like that really. Firstly, why would I come here?) Because i believe in your program…”
But the one song that received quite a favor among the live audience, to which, I believe, the strongest applause was heard during the performance was Louise Lyle Robles’ “May Awa ang Dios,” interpreted by Beverly Caimen.
It was no longer surprising that Robles was the Grand Winner, and Caimen was awarded Best Interpreter.
The winners were announced as follows:
Peoples’ Choice Awards, presented by Willy Nepomuceno to Jinnie Adilan for the Song, “Hanggat May Tinig Ako,” interpreted by Daryl Ong, who received a plaque and cheque for 50,000php.
Best Interpreter, presented by Wency Cornejo to Ms. Beverly Caimen for interpreting “May Awa ang Dios,” who also received a plaque and 50,000php.
Garnering an average of 88.72, the 3rd runner up was presented to Meldin Nabia for the song “Biyaya.” Nabia received 100,000php and trophy.
With an average of 89.27, 2nd runner-up was “Tanging Gabay” by Arniel Villagonza. Villagonza received 150,000php and also a trophy.
With 90.28 total average, at 1st runner-up was Marlon Nabia’s “Sa Bawat Araw.” Nabia received 250,000php and trophy.
And the Grand Winner, the Song of the Year, presented by the chairman of the board of judges, Danny Javier, and Daniel Razon, to Louise Lyle Robles for the song “May Awa ang Dios.”
The judges for the event received plaques of Appreciation, and all the ASOP composers received plaques of Recognition.
Overall, the event was fun, lively, and most importantly, Godly. As host Richard Reynoso put it, “Praising God: More fun in the Philippines.”
“Okay lang. Mas maganda yung mga kanta nung nakaraan… Mas nagustuhan ko.” –Melvin, who also expressed how he enjoyed the re-cap performances for the song entries from season 2.
“Gustong gusto ko yung Bawat Araw.. Tsaka yung Kislap..” –Annie, when asked about the lyrics she enjoyed most.
“Best na awit sa ‘kin, ‘May Awa ang Dios.’ Para kasi makasurvive tayo sa magulong sanlibutan na to, kailangan talaga natin ng awa ng Dios. Yung awa kasi ng Dios, pagkakatanda ko, sabi ni Ingkong, malaking malaki yun. Kaya title palang ng nung awit panghahawakan mo na talaga. Lalo na yung lyrics at melody.” –Claire