In its original four-year run, from 2000 to 2003, the “Himig Handog” songwriting competition produced a handful of Original Pilipino Music (OPM) hits that are still heard on radio today, like “Hindi na Bale,” “Kung Ako na Lang Sana,” “Hanggang” and “This Guy’s in Love with You, Pare.” ABS-CBN and Star Records has re-launched the project, with the theme “Pinoy Pop (P-Pop) Love Songs: Mga Awit at Kwento ng Pusong Pilipino.”
“There’s been so much talk that OPM is dead, and that the local music landscape is studded with revivals. We thought it was time we brought back ‘Himig Handog,’ so we could contribute new compositions to the industry,” Roxy Liquigan, officer in charge of Star Records, told the Inquirer.
Liquigan added, “We have a lot of Filipino songwriters out there; we want to give them breaks and a venue to showcase their works.”
About 2,500 entries were received, from which the following 12 finalists were chosen: “Alaala” by Ma. Fe Mechenette Tianga, Melvin Huervana and Joel Jabat Jr.; “Ano’ng Nangyari sa Ating Dalawa,” Jovinor Tan; “Hanggang Wakas,” Soc Villanueva; “If You Ever Change Your Mind,” Marion Aunor; “Kahit Na,” Julius James de Belen; “Nasa Iyo na ang Lahat,” Jungee Marcelo; “One Day,” Agatha Morallos; “Pwede Bang Ako na Lang Ulit,” Jeffrey Cifra; “Sana’y Magbalik,” Arman Alferez; “Scared to Death,” Domingo Rosco Jr.; “Tamang Panahon,” Wynn Andrada; and “This Song is for You,” Jude Gitamondoc.
These 12 songs have been recorded by Kapamilya singers including Angeline Quinto, Aiza Seguerra, Juris, Erik Santos, Toni Gonzaga, Daniel Padilla, Bugoy Drilon, Jovit Baldivino and KZ Tandingan, and are now featured in the “Himig Handog P-Pop Love Songs” album.
Though only one will be declared winner in the grand finals to be held on Feb. 24 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Liquigan said all the finalists will get the chance to write songs for ABS-CBN shows, movies or recordings.
“The competition opens a lot of doors for the finalists,” he pointed out. “In fact, we’ve presented their songs to various producers.”
One of those who has benefited from the opportunity given him is Jonathan Manalo, who won the contest in 2001 with his entry, “Tara Tena.” After the competition, Manalo was hired by ABS-CBN as an in-house songwriter-producer, and is now Star Records’ audio content head.
“I’m happy to see that a lot of the finalists this year are very young,” Manalo said. “The music industry badly needs young songwriters who can bring fresh ideas and energy to the OPM movement.”
Manalo also said Star Records was planning to hold “Himig Handog” every two years. “I hope we find more original songs that will be future classics.”