ABS-CBN Music proudly announces the release of the 12 finalists of Himig Handog 11, the latest installment of the country’s premiere and biggest global multimedia songwriting competition. It is also the longest-running, with its first installment dating back to the year 2000. With its timeline moved due to the ongoing pandemic, the call for submissions started early this year and will conclude in the Finals Night happening this February 2021. With the field opened up to welcome more genres and encourage writing in different regional dialects, twelve finalists were painstakingly chosen from a field of well over four thousand entries. In the end, ten first-time finalists will be joining two former winners, including last year’s Grand Champion Dan Tanedo to be interpreted by a mixed group of returning and new interpreters in what is arguably the competition’s most diverse batch of finalists.
“Ang Hirap Maging Mahirap” is written by Kenneth Reodica and interpreted by Davey Langit and Kritiko. The hard-hitting pop-alt rock song is a reflection on the current times. Reodica is a Music Technology major at the University of Sto. Tomas Conservatory of Music and is an aspiring singer-songwriter who’s also an active part of the local busking community while Kritiko also dropped bars on Himig 2018 3rd placer “Kababata”. This will also mark the first time Davey joins Himig purely as an interpreter, as a songwriter he won Himig Handog 2016 with “Dalawang Letra” and placed second in 2019 with “Simula Ng Dulo”.
“Bulalakaw” composed by Joanna Ang and sung by former Tawag Ng Tanghalan champion Janine Berdin featuring Joanna. The competition’s first Vispop song is a song of longing, hope, and healing written by Ang during one of her life’s lowest points. Joanna Ang is a young singer-songwriter who has performed with the likes of Joey Ayala and Gary Granada while this will be Berdin’s third straight year as part of Himig 11.
Himig Handog 2019 winner Dan Tanedo returns to Himig 11 to defend his title with “Ibang Planeta” interpreted by Zild of IV of Spades. While 2019’s “Mabagal” recalls the standards popularized by Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, “Ibang Planeta” is definitely a total musical diversion with its indie music and 80’s synth-heavy new wave aesthetic. The song is an ode to a beauty so stunning that it’s alienating.
“Ika’y Babalik Pa Ba” is written by Jabez Orara and interpreted by Juris. The song‘s entry to the Himig finals took four years of retooling and rearranging and was inspired by Orara’s real-life experience. Orara is an aspiring songwriter-arranger- pianist while this is Juris’ fourth time as a Himig Handog interpreter (her previous one being “Bibitawan Ka”, one of her biggest hits as a solo act).
“Kahit Kunwari Man Lang” is composed by David Mercado and interpreted by the blockbuster pairing of Agsunta and Moira Dela Torre. It is a heartbreaking song inspired by a 12-year old “unlabeled” relationship that came to an unfruitful end. Mercado is a professional events host and singer. Moira seems to be the lucky charm interpreter, having interpreted the winning songs of 2017 (“Titibo-Tibo”) and Himig Handog 2019 (“Mabagal”, co-sung with Daniel Padilla). Agsunta won 2nd Place in Himig 2018 with “Wakasan”.
“Kahit Na Masungit” is co-written, arranged, and co-produced by the brother duo of John Francis and Jayson Franz Pasicolan and sung by Jeremy G and Kyle Echarri. It’s a groovy, head-bopping pop R&B ditty inspired by a cranky ex-girlfriend. Franz and Francis are independent singer-songwriter-producers whose projects span different permutations of soul music while this will also be the first rodeos of both Kyle and Jeremy.
“Kulang ang Mundo” is written by Daryl Cielo and interpreted by Sam Mangubat. Inspired by Peter Pan, the song is a grandiose profession of love; the kind that feels like otherworldly and magical. Cielo is the guitarist and main songwriter of the band Room for Cielo, a band that seamlessly combines the soul of classic OPM updated with modern pop-rock sensibilities. This will be Sam’s 2nd time as interpreter after Himig Handog 2018’s “Wala Kang Alam”.
“Marupok” is composed by Daniella Ann Balagtas and sung by KZ Tandingan. It’s a strong, sensual, and naughty song of women empowerment that’s is musically a fun mix of dance pop, native Filipino sounds such as kulintang, and funk. Daniella Ann Balagtas has written songs for other recording artists and has studied in both University of the Philippines – Diliman (UP Diliman) and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU). KZ, of course, rose to prominence with her Himig 2014-winning interpretation “Mahal Ko O Mahal Ako” (while also placing in Himig Handog 2013 and 2016).
“Out” is written by Erica Morales Sabalboro and interpreted by Fana (formerly Fatima Louise from Idol Philippines). This song written in the English, Tagalog and Bicolano languages is an upbeat and groovy song about struggling in life and desperately yearning for an escape. Erica is 3rd year Journalism student who discovered her flair for songwriting out of boredom during the first stages of quarantine and now has a YouTube channel full of her original compositions under her stage name ES. This will also be Fana’s Himig Handog debut.
“Pahina” is co-written by Joshua Ortiz and Aniceto Cabahug III of the band Kiss ‘n’ Tell, who will also interpret the song. The song is a heartbreaking song about a longstanding relationship that came to a sad end. Kiss ‘N’ Tell is a five-piece pop alt-rock band from Cavite fronted by Jarea Ifurung.
“Tabi-Tabi Po” is composed by Mariah Moriones and sung by pop-R&B artist JMKO. It is an ingenious love song operating on equal feelings of pain and happiness for a love wishing to be reciprocated; incorporating three ingrained elements of Pinoy culture: the childhood game “taguan”, the concept of “nuno sa punso”, and praying. Moriones is an aspiring singer-songwriter from De la Salle University (DLSU) while JMKO gets to check one off Himig Handog off his musical career bucket list.
“Tinadhana Sa ‘Yo” is written by SJ Gandia and interpreted by Idol Philippines winner Zephanie. It’s a heartfelt song of unrequited love with an unattainable person. Gandia is a songwriting veteran who has won the Listeners Choice Award for “Bumabalik ang Nagdaan” in Himig Handog 2014 and 5th Place for “Tinatapos Ko Na” in 2018.
The 12 finalists of Himig 11 can now be found on Star Music’s official YouTube channel and are also available on Spotify, Apple Music, and all digital streaming platforms. The over-all producer of all songs is multi-Platinum, multi-awarded songwriter-producer Jonathan Manalo.