Movie director and scriptwriter Jovinar “Joven” Tan entered ABS-CBN’s relaunched “Himig Handog” songwriting competition with no expectations. After all, Tan pointed out, he was up against veterans.
So, when his song, “Ano’ng Nangyari sa Ating Dalawa,” was declared winner on Sunday’s performance night/grand finals at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Tan couldn’t believe it.
“It hasn’t sunk in,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview. (Tan’s filmography includes the horror movie “Bahay ni Lola 2” and several adult flicks.)
Seeing Aiza Seguerra onstage, interpret his song poignantly, was surreal, said Tan. “I just stared at her, spaced out. It felt like I was floating. I couldn’t imagine any other singer doing it. The first time we met during recording, I knew my song was in good hands.”
The winning song, about the fickleness of love, has been described as “simple and heartbreaking.” Tan said the best compliment he got was that his work was “poetry set to music.” It’s almost surprising that the song wasn’t based on his experiences, given how emotionally charged it is.
Tan explained: “I’m a scriptwriter; it’s natural for me to create scenarios. The song was inspired by friends’ stories, which showed me that you can be very much in love with someone one day, and the next day you want to kill that someone!”
He has written songs for artists such as Ogie Alcasid, Lovi Poe, VoizBoys and Ai-Ai de las Alas, but Tan never thought of pursuing a professional career in the music biz—until now. The victory, he said, has changed his mind-set.
A Mass Communication graduate, Tan was a member of one of Polytechnic University of the Philippines’ most prestigious chorale group Bagong Himig, which paid for his tuition and other school expenses. “I only paid for my ID, would you believe? I probably wouldn’t have finished my education if it wasn’t for music,” he said.
Asked what satisfaction he gets from writing music that he doesn’t get from making movies, Tan replied: “Immediacy. You instantly see the audience reaction, how the song affects them.”
Besting 11 other finalists in the tilt themed “P-POP Love Songs: Mga Awit at Kwento ng Pusong Pilipino,” Tan took home P1 million in cash.
In second place was “Hanggang Wakas” by Soc Villanueva, interpreted by Juris Fernandez; third place, “If You Ever Change Your Mind,” sung by its composer Marion Aunor; fourth place, “Scared to Death” by Domingo Rosco Jr., with interpreter KZ Tandingan; and fifth place, “Kahit Na” by Julius James de Belen, with Toni Gonzaga. The runners-up bagged P500,000, P200,000, P150,000 and P100,000, respectively.
The judges were Ogie Alcasid, Sarah Geronimo, Jim Paredes, Olivia Lamasan, Jett Pangan, Jed Madela, Freddie Aguilar, Cory Vidanes, Louie Ocampo, August Benitez and Freddie Garcia.