A search for the best all-original bands
The Sun Broadband Quest, which searched for the best college bands, crowned its first champion—Iktus, a Christian rock band from Colegio de Letran-Calamba. Iktus toppled nine other bands including all-girl rock band Bad Hair Day from Far Eastern University, first runner-up; and second runner-up Baby Boomers, whose members are from Brokenshire College, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippine Women’s College-Davao and Holy Cross College. Finals night was judged by MCA Music’s Sammy Samaniego and Francis Guevarra, Sun Broadband’s Neph Denosta and musician/Peso Movement guitarist Francis “Brew” Reyes. VIDEO BY RYAN LEAGOGO/INQUIRER.net
It’s not just their love for playing music that keeps them going. For Carizza Panaligan, lead vocalist of the four-piece Christian rock band Iktus, it’s the confidence that, through their songs, they will inspire others.
“Faith is a big influence on our music. We believe this is our purpose,” Carizza told Inquirer after the group from Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Calamba was hailed champion of the first Sun Broadband Quest. Iktus bested nine other bands during the finals at the Music Museum on Friday. “We feel so blessed and happy.”
Launched by Sun Broadband and MCA Music in December last year, the competition sought to find the most talented amateur, unsigned college bands in the country. Finals night was judged by MCA Music’s Sammy Samaniego and Francis Guevarra, Sun
Broadband’s Neph Denosta and musician/Peso Movement guitarist Francis “Brew” Reyes.
Composed of Carizza, her twin brothers Andrei (bass) and Andrew Panaligan (drums), and Augusto Mendoza (guitar), Iktus was formed in 2005, and has been joining band battles since. “While we did well in past contests, we knew that we had to write our own material to make it to the next level,” Andrei told Inquirer.
Each of the 10 bands played two songs—an original and a cover. Iktus, which leans toward alternative pop-rock sounds, performed their own “’Wag Muna,” and a powerful cover of Yeng Constantino’s “Pag-ibig.” “The words may seem a bit emo, but we make sure the songs sound lively,” said Andrei.
Reyes told Inquirer: “Sometimes, when you say you’re a part of a Christian band, people are afraid that you’re going to preach. Iktus manages to strike a good balance—their music is grounded on Christian love but they’re not above simple boy-girl situations.”
As grand winner, Iktus won P150,000 and a recording deal with MCA Music. All-girl rock band Bad Hair Day from Far Eastern University, first runner-up, won P50,000. Baby Boomers, with members from Brokenshire College, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippine Women’s College-Davao and Holy Cross College, bagged P25,000 as second runner-up.
The contenders were judged on originality, 20 percent; musicality, 30 percent; showmanship, 30 percent. The remaining 20 percent was determined by online voting prior to finals night.
While they didn’t make it to the Top 3, St. Scholastica’s College’s Dagsin—Zeus Pascua (vocals, guitar), Carlos Velarde (guitar), Josh Madrid (bass) and Kris Caudal (drums)—impressed with polished instrument playing and a mixed-genre sound that dripped with sentimentality and sensuality.
Prefaced with Carlos’ weeping guitars, and delivered with Zeus’ vocals—which went from sweet to gritty—the band’s slowed-down cover of Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning” was a hit with the crowd; so was its original love song, “Tukso.”
“Zeus is a fantastic singer and guitar player. Their guitarist Carlos is very, very good,” Reyes said of Dagsin.
Another standout was UP Diliman’s SoulPage (Cate Belle, vocals; Jordan Amaca, guitar; Micah Villena, bass; Valerie Villanueva, keyboards; Raven Racca, drums), whose music skillfully fuses soul, funk and jazz. “They have technical finesse,” Reyes noted.
Overall, it was a great night for music, said Reyes, who also used to play with bands The Dawn and AfterImage. And as cliché as it might sound, he added, everyone who performed onstage was a winner. “For me, as long as you’re expressing what’s in your heart and continuing to put your music out there, you win. Don’t stop making music, no matter what happens.”