WCOPA 2019 multi-medalist John Willace Tubalde: The third time is the charm

By: Michelle Padayhag August 14,2019 - 09:24 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines— It would have been easy for John Willace Tubalde to give up on his dream of competing in the World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA).

He auditioned and qualified as part of the Philippine delegation for WCOPA in the years 2016 and 2017.

But it was not the perfect timing for him.

In 2016, he ran out of time in processing his passport. In 2017, he was faced with a financial difficulty.

But it seems like John, 26,  is not one to wave the white flag of surrender after two attempts.

Giving up was never an option for John, the second child among three siblings, and the son of a housewife and a retired personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection.

So when the writer-researcher learned about the audition at the SM City Cebu on October 17, 2019 for WCOPA 2019, John once again gathered his strength to face the crowd and fight for the chance to be part of the Philippine delegation.

“Kulba kaayo (I was really nervous) during the audition because it was held at the entertainment stage at the food court of SM City Cebu,” he tells CDN Digital.

“Aside from the obvious fact that there were so many people, I also knew many good singers from Cebu who were also there for the audition,” shares John.

He performed Maureen McGovern’s We Could Have It All, the same audition piece that he sang in 2016 and 2017.

To John, the song has a sentimental value in his WCOPA journey.

“Even if I stumble and fall, I tried and worked for my dreams,” he says.

Perfect timing 

When they announced that he was one of the five Cebuanos who qualified to join WCOPA 2019, John knew it was the perfect timing for him as his travel documents were prepared and he was financially ready.

As part of the Seniors Division of the Philippine delegation for WCOPA 2019, John set off to Long Beach, California and competed from July 12 to 21.

The native of Barangay Patupat in Barili town, southern Cebu was backed by his family, friends and the local government units of Barili, Cebu City, and Bay, Bohol.

John was one of the four Cebuanos who brought pride to the Philippines along with Vingenr Tan, Erneville Vinculado, and Christian Cayobit for winning four gold medals in the Contemporary, Opera, Rock, and World genres in WCOPA 2019.

He also received two Champion of the World Division plaques for getting the highest score for Contemporary and Opera.

John also bagged two silver medals for Pop and Gospel genres, and a bronze medal for Broadway.

Admittedly, John says he encountered issues such as the difference in time zones between the US and the Philippines, which made it a challenge to get in touch with his family.

The cold weather was also another challenge.

But to keep his body at its best so his performances were not affected, John made sure to rest and catch up on his sleep during his free time, drink plenty of water, and take his vitamins.

He also woke up every 5 a.m. to do vocal exercises and body warm-ups.

“Of course, prayers helped me a lot in the competition. I also called my parents and relatives to keep my fighting spirit up,” shares John.


John only dreamed of competing in WCOPA but he got more than that.

One of the competition’s judges, who was from the New York Film Academy, took special interest in his talent.

The judges awarded John and two other Filipinos with scholarships to the New York Film Academy.

The one-year scholarship offer came as a surprise to John noting that there were thousands of participants in the competition.

He has not decided on taking the scholarship yet but if he will avail of this opportunity, John says he would choose short courses on filmmaking, acting, musical theater, and dancing.

WCOPA lessons

After finally realizing his WCOPA dream, John says that God’s timing is really the perfect timing.

“It may take years for a dream to be realized but if the passion is still there and you remain enthusiastic, it will eventually happen. Just trust God and His process,” he says.

He may be a multi-medalist now but John makes sure that his feet is planted firmly on the ground.

To aspiring singers, he says:  “It is important to believe in yourself. Do not seek validation for your talent from other people.”

He also advised them to use their talents to inspire people and glorify God. / celr

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TAGS: Cebuano singers, John Willace Tubalde, Philippine delegation, singers from Cebu, WCOPA 2019, World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA)

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