Bombo Music Festival: Bigger, Stronger, Wider


The 12 finalists of the Bombo Music Festival held at Rose Memorial Hall of Central Philippine University, Dec. 6, 2017. (Courtesy of Bombo Radyo-Iloilo)

By: Jonas Chan and Jethro Zamora

TALENTS are God’s precious gift to every person. You just have to discover something that is special about you and distinguishes you from others. Through hard work, sacrifice, passion, courage and determination, anything can happen.

Bombo Music Festival, a songwriting competition of wholly-original melody and lyrics and a Corporate Social Responsibility program of Bombo Radyo Philippines, has become an avenue for Filipino composers to showcase their God-given talents.

The musical event made a comeback after almost 16 years of hibernation, in time for the 50th founding anniversary of the network. It returned not only for the Ilonggos but to all eager songwriters nationwide who signed up through the 24 Bombo Radyo stations in key cities of the country.

The finals night was held Dec 6, 2017 at the Rose Memorial Hall of Central Philippine University in Iloilo City, the seat of government of Bombo Radyo Network.

The one-night finale became an event full of talents and aspirations by participants. The festival was hosted by the station manager of Star FM Dagupan, Tomas “DJ Allan” Daroy, and Jazz de Jesus-Madrigal of Bombo Radyo Bacolod’s Kahapon Lamang program.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Margaret Ruth C. Florete, President and the Chief Executive officer of Bombo Radyo Philippines thanked all the people behind the network and for the success of Bombo Music Festival.

Ms. Florete also expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the screening committees from the National Capital Region, Visayas, and Mindanao areas for choosing the Top 90 out of more than a thousand semifinalists.

She also credited the national screening committee for using their talents and skills in determining the Final 12 contestants.

Mr. Jenil Carbon Demorito, assistant vice president for AM Division, gave the criteria for judging. For the Best Original Song category, melody, lyrics and the appeal of the song made up 80% of the overall judging while the remaining 20% was based on online and text votes.

For the Best Interpreter Category, 40% for voice quality, 30% for rendition and 30% for overall appeal made up the criteria.

Mr. Warren French, area manager for Visayas, introduced the Board of Judges. The panel included Fr. Manuel “Manoling” Francisco, S.J., S.T.D., the famous Catholic liturgical composer and the man behind the songs “Tanging Yaman”, “Sa ‘Yo Lamang”, “I Will Sing Forever” et. al.; Hazel Faith dela Cruz, a singer, songwriter and the voice behind the hit song “Nakakakilig” and the revival of “Total Eclipse of the Heart”; Jinky Vidal, the “Darling of Sweet Songs and Sultry Music”, and a member of the Freestyle Band; Jay Oliver Durias, the frontman of the famous 90s band South Border; and Ice (Aiza) Seguerra, a famous actress, singer-songwriter, and current head of the National Youth Commission.

Then it was time for the much-awaited performances of the Final Twelve. Selected anchors, reporters and DJ’s of the different stations of the network nationwide were tasked to introduce every song, complete with its composer and interpreter.

The Top 12 finalists were:

-“Umiibig Sa’yo” by Joe Limuel Gonzales of Meycauayan, Bulacan;

-“Sobra” by Mohammad Haris Tin of General Santos City;

-“Hanggang Kaibigan” by Steven Nicole Pedro of Pag-asa, Mandaluyong City;

-“Be Yourself” by Ferdinand Dimadura of Concepcion Grande, Naga City;

-“Kiss Broken Hearts Goodbye” by Adrian Vicencio of Valderrama, Antique;

-“Sayo” by Henry Alburo of Sto. Niño, Marikina City;

-“This Morning” by Jerika Salve Teodorico of San Jose, Cebu City;

-“M.U.” by Jerrie Mae Ged Orgasan of Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City;

-“Gusto Ko Maging” by Joseph Ponce of Baesa, Quezon City;

-“Para sa Bayan” by Agila Malaya of Bartolome;

-“Panumpa” by Jose LG Fuentes of Consolacion City, Cebu; and

“Hoy Juan” by Joel Vacalares of Igpit Opol, Misamis Oriental.

The Bombo Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Maestro Gerardo “Bimbo” Muyuela, gave life to the songs through beautiful musical accompaniments.

The orchestra also led a special “Throwback” video presentation of the past editions of the music festival, even back to the time when the event was still known as the “Bombo Ilonggo Music Festival”.

The winning pieces received cash prizes and trophies from Bombo Radyo and Star FM – P200,000 for the grand champion; P150,000 for the 1st runner-up and P100,000 for the 2nd runner-up.

A consolation prize of P50,000 was given to each other finalists.


The results:



CHAMPION: “Gusto Kong Maging” by Joseph Ponce of Baesa, Quezon City

1st RUNNER-UP: “M.U.” by Jerrie Mae Ged Orgasan of Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City

2nd RUNNER-UP: “Panumpa” by Jose LG Fuentes of Consolacion, Cebu



WINNER: Pamela Torres of the song “Hanggang Kaibigan” by Steven Nicole M. Pedro


“Hindi ko po inasahan talaga na ako ang mananalo, honestly. Thank you Lord, talaga,” Ponce told The Daily Guardian.

When he was asked for his message to all aspiring song writers all around the country, Ponce begged them not to be afraid and never doubt in showing their unique talent to everybody.

“Just send your songs to song writing contests and just continue writing songs. Please, nagmamakaawa ako sa inyo,” Ponce said.

His plan after winning the competition is to take and pass the Engineering Board exam and continue his song writing career. He then thanked Bombo Radyo for giving him the opportunity to let his song be heard nationwide and hoped that Bombo Music Festival will be fruitful in the future years.

Ms. Hazel Faith dela Cruz lauded the improvements of the event, saying she was very proud and happy to be a part of the festival.

When asked about Ponce’s performance, she said: “I love how he portrayed the song. Kita mo yung passion sa vocals nya. His performance was flawless” she said.

Jesuit songmaker Fr. Manoling Francisco cited the world-class talent of Filipinos. He then praised the 23-man Bombo Symphony Orchestra.

“The whole show was very professional,” he said.

The top 3 winners fascinated Fr. Francisco because of their universal appeal.

“Their melodies are very catchy. Ang tatlong nanalo can really be successful in the future.”

Both dela Cruz and Francisco wished for the event and songwriters to continue and prosper in the years to come since they are the future of the Original Pinoy Music or O.P.M.

Mr. Rogelio Florete Sr., the man behind Bombo Radyo Philippines, expressed his delight and gratitude to all who joined and watched this year’s Bombo Music Festival.

“Actually we have two event offerings, the Dugong Bombo and Bombo Medico. This is the third.  We are happy that we have successfully launched this program nationwide and I hope to duplicate this next year,” Mr. Florete said.

History was remade. For years, Bombo Radyo Philippines has given relentless service to Filipinos all around the world.

And now, through the Music Festival, Bombo’s brand of service has reached aspiring songwriters, giving them the opportunity to let their talent bloom and their songs be heard.

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