HuniNiño: Love notes for the Holy Child

By Apple Ta-as |April 29,2017 - 09:53 PM
The winners of  this year’s HuniNiño

The winners of this year’s HuniNiño

MORE often than not, the best songs are the ones that tug at the heartstrings, a clever play of words accompanied with the perfect harmony that brings all sorts of emotions, aspirations and even pain.

And for the finalists of this year’s HuNiño, it was nothing but praises and devotion to Señor Santo Niño that inspired them to bring 12 original compositions to the 11th Huni Halad Alang Kang Sto. Niño held at the Pilgrim Center of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño last April 26.

Unlike the past years, the 11th staging of the songwriting competition was divided into three categories: the entrance song, the communion song and the final or recessional song.

“We divided it into three categories because we want to use the three winning pieces and actually play them during Masses. For the past years, hindi kasi nagagamit ang mga kanta after winning, it ends there.

Ngayon people will get to hear it during the Mass,” said Rev. Fr. Pacifico Nohara, rector of the Basilica, in an interview after the HuNiño.

These songs are vital for the liturgical mass, he added.

The entrance song is where “we reflect what the usual wording of the Greeting of the Mass of the Sto. Niño that we gather as God’s family in the Holy Name of our King, the Sto. Niño.”

The communion song serves to “capture the spirit of unity of the devotees who are in love by the Batobalani sa Gugma, as it reminds us of our daily walk and journey amidst problems, pains and struggles in life.

Meanwhile, the final song represents our proclamation of our mission as we go out from the churches and tell the word that Jesus is our Lord, Protector and King.


With four finalists in each category, three emerged victorious and brought home a trophy and P40,000 cash each.

For the entrance song category, Jose Glenn Bongo, a newbie in the competition, was proclaimed winner for his original composition “Come to the Banquet.”

The song was written by Lizette Abella, arranged by Russel Alegado and interpreted by Froiland Amal Jr., with back-up vocals Rojie Villamor and Joshua Lador.

For the communion category, “Little Lord” bested three other entries. It was composed and written by 19-year-old Joshua Ray Cortes.

“The song is about Sr. Sto. Niño, who is our protector, that we are blessed to have Him for guidance and this is our way of showing gratitude to the Holy Child,” said Cortes, who joined the HuNiño for the first time.

In an interview after the show, Cortes said that he had been making original compositions for the school play and it is his first time joining the songwriting competition.

The song was arranged by Nendel Endrina and was interpreted by Niña Arny Mabugat and Jay-arr Librando.

Meanwhile, for the final song, crowd-favorite “Viva Pit Senyor,” which was composed and written by Emmanuel Abellana emerged as winner.

Nilo Rusiana, Jerry Operiano and Roy Lotfel Racaza were also named as the Best Interpreters for their
performance of the song.

The song “Dad-on Ko ang Gugma Mo,” composed and written by Alvin Gantuangco, arranged by Russel Alegado and performed by Joefel Panilaga, an entry to the final song category, has won the People’s Choice Award after an online voting.

The beneficiary of HuNiño, the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño Children’s Foundation, who are mostly composed of children of candle and balloon vendors, and photographers around the basilica, have also performed during the show.

Performances from Marielle Montellano, the Cebuana grand finalist of “It’s Showtime’s” Tawag ng Tanghalan, and the University of the Visayas Folkloric Dance Company entertained the crowd inside the Pilgrim Center.

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