Freelance graphic, visual artist from Cebu City wins Visayan Music Awards 2019

Ferdinand Aragon (center) receives his trophy after he was named grand winner in Visayan Music Awards 2019. /Raul Constantine Tabanao

CEBU CITY, Philippines – A 24-year-old Cebuano freelance graphic and visual artist made history after he won the grand prize in the first-ever Visayan Music Awards (VizMA) 2019.

Ferdinand Aragon’s “Matag Piraso” bested nine other entries during the finals night held Saturday, July 27, at the Oakridge Pavilion in Mandaue City.

He won a cash prize of P100,000.

“I am very happy not just about winning but because of this cause that Visayan Music is being presented not just in the Philippines but to the whole world,” Aragon told reporters in an interview after the competition.

“Matag Piraso” is a song for the brokenhearted who wants to get over the pain and love again.

But Aragon clarified that his song is not necessarily reflective of a personal experience but a mere fiction or a concept that he developed.

“Just like how novelists do. It is not always their experience. They also write fiction.  But this could be a true story for someone else,” he said.

Winning Piece

Aragon said that he was both excited and challenged in joining the Visayan Music Awards 2019.

He was not just the composer and lyricist of “Matag Piraso” but he was also personally chosen by the organizers to interpret his own composition. It was also the first time that he performed ballad since he is mostly known for Indie songs.

Mix Fenix performed Melay Libres’ “Lingi-a” that won third prize. /Raul Constantine Tabano

A native of Barangay Pardo, Cebu City, Aragon started songwriting back in college when he was still taking up Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines Cebu (UP Cebu).

Aragon attempted to join the Visayan Pop (VisPop) songwriting competitions four times but did not make it to the cut.

Not wanting to give up, he joined songwriting workshops and again tried his luck in songwriting competitions.

He won the grand prize in the Kanta sa Kasing Kasing 2018 and finished second runner-up in Philippine Pop 2018.

Just a few hours after he won the VizMA 2019 trophy, Aragon left for Manila at dawn today, July 28, to perform in ABS-CBN’s variety show “ASAP” as official representative of the Visayas in the show’s Linggo ng Musikang Pilipino segment.

Aragon will perform Rivermaya’s “Himala” on ASAP today.

His next competition is this year’s Himig Handog where he is sending as official entry his song, “Ingat” that will be be interpreted by I Belong to the Zoo.

Himig Handong 2019 is a songwriting competition organized by ABS-CBN and Star Music.

Other VizMA 2019 winners

The song “Balitaw” by composer Yana Durado and lyricist by Adonis Durado won second place in the 2019 VizMA while the song “Lingi-a” by Melay Libres was third place winner.

The Best Interpreter Award went to Gail Blanco who performed “Sama Lang Kanimo” by Fr. Reymund Quito.

Yana Durado’s “Balitaw” that was performed by Atty. Georg Laurente (third from left) and Dane Smith (right) won second place in the Visayan Music Awards 2019. Also in the photo are Binibining Cebu Tourism 2017 Kim Covert (left) and VizMA 2019 judge Dennis Sugarol (second from left)./Raul Constantine Tabanao

“Hit and Run” by composer Neil Salarda and lyricist John Peterson Villarin won the Texter’s Choice Award.

The VizMA 2019 finalists were judged based on the following criteria: uniqueness -15 percent, lyrics -25 percent, melody -25 percent, commercial appeal -10 percent, and overall brilliance -25 percent.

This year’s panel of judges consisted of Barney Borja, Dennis Sugarol, Franco Reyes, John Ingoldsby, and Prudence Salutillo.

VizMA is an annual event organized by the Sacred Heart School for Boys Batch 1985 Foundation Inc., the same organization behind Binibining Cebu, to honor the men and women who have made significant contributions to the Visayan music industry.

Organizers received a total of 483 entries coming from different Visayan speaking regions for this year’s competition. The list was later on trimmed to only ten finalists.

Other finalists were “Alu” (Hakeem Duazo), “Ayaw Sa Karon” (Ramon Christopher Calam), “Kalimtan Na Ka Karon” (Ruel Cerino), “Natulog Mong Kasing-Kasing” (John Stephen Cadeliña), and “Nganu” (Fritz Baguio).

Bahandi Lifetime Achievement Awards

The awarding of winners held on Saturday night was hosted by singer-comedienne Giselle Sanchez and Cebuano Jonathan Cimafranca.

Before the night ended, VizMA organizers also recognizing Visayan singing icons Max Surban and Msgr. Rudy Villanueva for their contributions to Visayan Music. The two were the first recipients of Bahandi Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Borja, VizMA project chairperson, said they will again be accepting entries soon for next year’s songwritng competition.

“It will be bigger and exciting music awards next year,” he told the reporters.

He encouraged other aspiring songwriters to continue writing songs because VizMA also intends to continue with its mission to help local artists who want their music to also be heard across the globe. /dcb



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