CEBU CITY- Fame and stardom are within reach of two Cebuano aspiring singers after they were named the top two winners among the 12 semi finalists who competed during the Cebu leg of the “OPM@PAGCOR, A Nationwide Talent Search for the Total OPM Performer” held in Casino Filipino Cebu on April 12, 2011.
Hairstylist Fred Abaquita Jr. from Talisay City impressed the judges with a powerful rendition of “Ikaw ang Pangarap” while nursing graduate Arceli Bullo of Punta Princesa, Cebu City wowed the audience with a soulful version of “Shine”.
Abaquita and Bullo were among the nearly 300 auditionees who tried out during the two-day auditions in Cebu on April 10 and 11. The top two winners received P25,000 each plus plaque from PAGCOR and OPM.
Both Abaquita and Bullo join the elite circle of OPM@PAGCOR finalists who will undergo professional singing and a live performance workshop with some of the country’s top music icons from May 28 to June 4.
Twenty eight-year old Abaquita expressed his gratitude to the panel of jurors for choosing him as one of the two finalists. “Sobra akong nagpapasalamat dahil binigyan nila ako ng chance na i-prove ulit ang sarili ko.”
Abaquita said it was a comeback of sorts for him since he already stopped joining singing contests five years ago. “Sumali ako sa isang nationwide singing contest noon. Napasama ako sa top 40, pero hindi ako pinalad manalo. Na-discourage ako talaga,” he shared.
“Pero tumatak sa isip ko yung sinabi ng isang judge na ‘sabihin mong nagkamali kami, sumali ka ulit.’ Kaya nag-try ako dito at ngayon na-prove ko na nagkamali sila,” Abaquita quipped.
Co-winner Bullo felt equally overjoyed by her triumph. “Masayang-masaya sobra. Kaya ang pinili ko ding kanta yung ‘Shine’ because I know, I will shine,” she enthused.
Bullo also thanked PAGCOR and OPM for giving amateur singers like her an opportunity to showcase their talent. “Talagang malaking oportunidad ang ibinibigay nito sa mga pinoy dahil unang-una, nationwide ito. At sa singing search na ito, naipapakita namin ang aming talento hindi lang sa pagkanta ng simpleng awitin, kundi pati na rin yung mga bigatin.”
Meanwhile, Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-awit (OPM) Vice President for External Affairs Noel Cabangon said all the 12 semi finalists were impressive. “They’re good. They all have potential. But we only need two winners,” he said. Cabangon added the OPM@PAGCOR is a promising venture which, once it becomes a yearly event, can discover a lot of Filipino talents.
According to Bayang Barrios, who was part of the judging panel during the Cebu semi finals, the contestants were all amazing but it was Abaquito and Bullo who really stood out.
“Marami ang magagaling. Hindi sila nagkakalayo. Pero ang mas magaling ay yung pinaghandaan nila yung semi finals kahit konti lang yung time na ibinigay sa kanila. This singing search proves na pag magaling ka pasok ka talaga, hindi lang sa looks kundi sa talento, galing sa pagkanta, total package,” Barrios said.