Himig Handog finalists share the story behind their entries
The competition serenades Pinoy hearts once again

Himig Handog, the country’s biggest songwriting competition, is back with fresh talents, returning and new song interpreters, and that signature feeling of kilig and hugot from original Filipino compositions.

Over 5,000 submissions from around the world were screened and narrowed down to 10 finalists, following this year’s theme, “Love Songs and Love Stories.” MB Entertainment met some of the composers and song interpreters at the Himig Handog 2018 Big Reveal. Here are the stories they shared about their entries:

Hati Na Lang Tayo Sa Kanya >> Composer Joseph Santiago from Quezon City said his inspiration for the song is based on his stories of cheating from friends and acquaintances. “Naisip ko na iparamdam through the song kung ano ‘yung pinagdadaanan ng isang babae na nandun sa sitwasyong may kahati siya sa taong mahal niya,” he shares. While the song’s interpreter—TNT singer Eumee—was not in attendance to present the song, she expressed hope for a positive response from the listeners.

Kababata >> Composer and co-interpreter John Michael “Kritiko” Edixon from Parañaque drew inspiration from true-to-life events for his song. What was initially a typical love story of childhood sweethearts turned into a tragic tale. “Natapos ko nang isulat ’yung kanta tapos nakita ko ’yung nanay ko nanonood ng balita,” he recalls. “Nung panahong ’yun, napakaraming kaso ng rape kaya naisip kong dagdagan ng twist ang kanta.” Joining him in the song is R&B singer Kyla.

Mas Mabuti Pa >> Mhonver Lopez of Laguna was at a low point in his pursuit for the girl he loves when he wrote the song. “Nung 2012 ko pa nasulat ’yung kantang ’to,” he shares. “Nung 2015, ni-revise ko siya kasi andun ako sa state na gusto ko nang mag-give up.” He wanted a female perspective in the song so he turned to his best friend, Joanna Concepcion, for help. “Hinugot ko ’yung mga dinagdag na linya sa mga kinukuwento niyang nararamdaman niya,” she says. TNT grand champion Janine Berdin interprets the song for the duo.

Para Sa Tabi >> Star Music head Roxy Liquigan says composer Robert William Perena’s song is about a third party. “Imagine mo third party ‘yung poging members ng BoybandPH, ’di ba?” Roxy jokes. “Pero nung unang narinig namin ‘yung kanta, naisip namin sila talaga ‘yung makakapagbigay ng justice.”

Sa Mga Bituin Na Lang Ibubulong >> Araw Gabi lead actor JM De Guzman is just about to make a music comeback when this composition from Kyle Raphael Borbon of Davao came along. “It was the right song to offer to JM for his return sa music industry,” Roxy says. “So millenial ’yung kanta rin kasi and it talks about a guy longing for a girl.”

Sugarol >> Jan Sabili who hails from Muntinlupa says her composition is based on her personal experience in love. “Nung sinulat ko siya, nasa state of falling in love ako,” she says. “‘Yung tipong nafo-fall ka pero medyo reluctant ka rin kasi ‘yung mga past mo, sinaktan ka na.” Coming up with the title for the song was quite the challenge, but the subject ultimately spoke for the piece itself. “Sumusugal kasi siya nang sumusugal. In short, sugarol,” she explains. Sabili worked with Star Pop artist Maris Rascal for the song.

Tinatapos Ko Na >> This is Jona’s third straight year as a song interpreter for Himig Handog and for a change, she saya she held back the high notes. “‘Yung ganitong hugot na kanta kasi, iba dapat ang atake,” Roxy explains. “Dapat is parang umiiyak na kapag kumakanta at in fairness naman, binigay naman ni Jona.” “Tinatapos Ko Na” is a composition by Sara Jane Gandia.

Wakasan >> Philip Arvin Jarilla from Antipolo is quite the comic geek as he drew inspiration from one for his song entry. “Ang istorya ng kantang ito ay ‘yung isang tao na hindi maggi-give up. Tuloy lang kahit anong hirap,” he says. “May pag-asa. Basta maghintay, makukuha mo rin ‘yung pagmamahal ng napupusuan mo.” The OPM band Agsunta provides the vocals and instrumentals for the song.

Wala Kang Alam >> Mel Magno of Pampanga, along with co-composer Martin John Arellano of Manila, wrote the song out of pain from multiple heartbreaks over his same-sex relationships. “Lahat naman tayo nagmahal at nasaktan,” he shares. “Paraan ito para ibalik lahat ng sakit na ibinigay sa akin ng mga ex ko.” Singer Sam Mangubat joins the duo to interpret the song.

Dalawang Pag-ibig Niya >> Composer Bernard Reforsado from Albay used the voices of his Grade 3 students for his song demo as they were the only talents immediately available to him. This gave birth to the idea of letting teens such as “Your Face Sounds Familiar” Season 2 contestants Krystal Brimner and Sheena Belarmino, as well as all-female idol group MNL48, interpret the song.

For more details and updates, visit Himig Handog on Facebook.

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