Metro Manila Popular Music Festival

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The Metro Manila Popular Music Festival (also known as Metropop) was launched by the Popular Music Foundation of the Philippines in 1977 and held annually from 1978 to 1985.[1] It was "the country’s pioneering and once foremost songwriting competition," according to The Philippine Star.[2] Its objective was to promote the advancement of Filipino music, and its chief proponents were journalist Teodoro Valencia and Imee Marcos.[3] These festivals launched many the careers of songwriters and singers (who interpreted the songs), and gave original Filipino music more than a few memorable and modern-day song classics. Among them is Freddie Aguilar.[4]

This songwriting competition was originally open to all music composers. From the fourth festival onwards, the competition was divided into professional and amateur divisions, to give new songwriters a level playing field without competing with more well-known composers. After 1985, the festival was discontinued due to a decline in public interest towards the song entries.[5] It was later revived as the Metropop Song Festival which aired by GMA Network from 1996 to 2003.


The 1st Metro Manila Popular Music Festival[edit]

Year Winners Finalists

Grand Prize:
"Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika"
Music and Lyrics: Ryan Cayabyab
Interpreter: Hajji Alejandro

Second Prize:
"Pagdating Mo"
Music and Lyrics: Nonoy Gallardo
Interpreter: Celeste Legaspi

Third Prize:
"Narito Ako Umiibig"
Music and Lyrics: Nonong Pedero
Interpreter: Maricris Bermont

Fourth Prize:
"Ibig Kong Ibigin Ka"
Music and Lyrics: Vic Villafuerte, Rolando Tinio
Interpreter: Anthony Castelo

Music and Lyrics: Freddie Aguilar
Interpreter: Freddie Aguilar

"Ang Dampa sa Gulod"
Music and Lyrics: Joe Reyes
Interpreter: Imelda Papin

Music and Lyrics: James Villafuerte
Interpreter: Lejan Lopez

"Minsan Pa"
Music and Lyrics: Jose Mari Chan
Interpreter: Janet Basco

"Ngumiti. . . Tumawa. . . Magsaya. . . Kumanta"
Music and Lyrics: Joe Reyes
Interpreter: Cynthia Garcia and the Kabataan

"Pag-ibig, Ano Ka Nga Ba"
Music and Lyrics: Cecille Marcaida
Interpreter: Nick Gonzales

Music and Lyrics: Vic Villafuerte, Rolando Tinio
Interpreter: Rex Demavivas

"Saan Ako Patutungo"
Music and Lyrics: Jose Ilacad, Jr., Nannette Inventor
Interpreter: Nannette Inventor

"Swerte-swerte Lang"
Music and Lyrics: Joel Navarro, Rolando Tinio
Interpreter: Joel Navarro

"Tayo'y Mga Pinoy"
Music and Lyrics: Heber Bartolome
Interpreter: Judas

"Anak" failed to win any of the prizes, but went on to become one of the most popular Philippine pop songs ever and to launch the career of Freddie Aguilar. This period in time was right at the beginning of the Original Pilipino Music (OPM) boom, and after this first festival, the singing careers of Hajji Alejandro, Celeste Legaspi, Maricris Bermont, and Anthony Castelo went to full gear. Ryan Cayabyab is now a well-respected composer and musician; so with Joel Navarro. Imelda Papin and Janet Basco went on to big careers as well after they had other hit songs. Heber Bartolome's "Tayo'y Mga Pinoy" became a protest anthem, and Ryan Cayabyab's "Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika" became the anthem of sorts of Original Pilipino Music.Emil Mijares was the musical director for this festival.

The 2nd Metro Manila Popular Music Festival[edit]

Year Winners Finalists

Grand Prize:
"Bulag, Pipi at Bingi (Isang Pag-aalay)"
Music and Lyrics: Snaffu Rigor
Interpreter: Freddie Aguilar

Second Prize:
Music and Lyrics: Louie Ocampo, Winnie Arrieta
Interpreter: The Apo Hiking Society

Third Prize:
Music and Lyrics: Charo Unite, Ernie dela Pena
Interpreter: Rico J. Puno

"Ako ang Nasawi, Ako ang Nagwagi"
Music and Lyrics: George Canseco
Interpreter: Dulce

"Ang Aking Awitin"
Music and Lyrics: Bong Gabriel
Interpreter: Bong Gabriel

"Gusto Kong Umawit"
Music and Lyrics: Ernie Tagle, Eduardo Mataranas
Interpreter: Ernie Tagle

"Itay, Saan Ka Man Naroroon"
Music and Lyrics: Chito Sibayan
Interpreter: Chito Sibayan

"Laging Buhay ang Buhay"
Music and Lyrics: Celia T. Lising
Interpreter: Jacqui Magno

Music and Lyrics: Edgar Guerrero
Interpreter: Cynthia Patag

"Masdan, Tingnan ang Buhay"
Music and Lyrics: Ma. Isabella Mijares
Interpreter: Malou Evidente

"Panaginip, Pangarap"
Music and Lyrics: Manuel Perlas
Interpreter: God's Ego

"Umagang Kay Ganda"
Music and Lyrics: Butch Monserrat, Babes Conde, Gryk Ortaleza, Anabelle Lee
Interpreter: Tillie Moreno and Ray-An Fuentes

This time, Freddie Aguilar's interpretation of Snaffu Rigor's composition won the Grand Prize. However, the biggest pop hit to come out of the 2nd Metropop was "Ewan". This song launched the career of Louie Ocampo, now a well-respected composer, and added to the numerous hits of The Apo Hiking Society. The Apo is one of the biggest musical acts ever in the Philippines, and their songs have been covered through the years. Rico J. Puno, already a big star at this time, interpreted the third place song, which also became a hit song for him. Composer George Canseco failed to win any of the top prizes, but with his songs before and after the competition, he became one of the most prolific and successful composers in the music scene. "Umagang Kay Ganda" also failed to place, but has since become a classic pop hit and it has now also been used as the theme song of ABS-CBN's weekday morning show of the same title.

The 3rd Metro Manila Popular Music Festival[edit]

Year Winners Finalists

Grand Prize:
"Isang Mundo Isang Awit"
Music and Lyrics: Nonong Pedero
Interpreter: Leah Navarro

Second Prize:
"Ikaw, Ako, Tayo (Magkakapatid)"
Music and Lyrics: Jose Lozano
Interpreter: New Minstrels

Third Prize:
Music and Lyrics: Dr. Thomas B. Santos
Interpreter: Joel Navarro

"Buhay Ko'y Mayro'ng Ikaw"
Music and Lyrics: Felipe Monserrat, Diana Legaspi
Interpreter: Pinky de Leon

"Hahanapin Ko"
Music and Lyrics: Jose Mari Chan
Interpreter: Anthony Castelo

"Kailangan Ko, Kailangan Mo"
Music and Lyrics: Gerry Paraiso
Interpreter: Bambi Bonus and Richard Tan

"Langit Mo'y Likha Mo Rin"
Music and Lyrics: Babes Tolentino
Interpreter: Babes Tolentino, Celso Llarina, Mon Gaskell

Music and Lyrics: Thomas Santos
Interpreter: Joel Navarro

Music and Lyrics: Louie Ocampo
Interpreter: Rene Puno

"Nasaan ang Palakpakan"
Music and Lyrics: Nonoy Gallardo
Interpreter: Celeste Legaspi

"Sa Duyan ng Pag-ibig"
Music and Lyrics: Willy Cruz
Interpreter: Passionata

"Sa 'Yong Pag-alis"
Music and Lyrics: Felipe Monserrat, Jr.
Interpreter: Tillie Moreno

Leah Navarro and "Isang Mundo Isang Awit" represented the Philippines and won the bronze prize at that year's Seoul Popular Music Festival. "Ikaw, Ako, Tayo (Magkakapatid)" turned out to be the biggest hit from the Third Metropop.

The 4th Metro Manila Popular Music Festival[edit]

Year Division Winners Finalists
1981 Amateur

Grand Prize:
"Sino Ang Baliw"
Music and Lyrics: Elizabeth Barcelona
Interpreter: Mon Del Rosario Jr.

Second Prize:
"Kahit Konti"
Music and Lyrics: Gary Granada
Interpreter: Florante

Third Prize:
"Magsimula Ka"
Music and Lyrics: Gines Tan
Interpreter: Leo Valdez

"Aawitin Ko Na Lang"
Music and Lyrics: Gary Granada
Interpreter: Bong Gabriel

"Hatinggabi (Bawa't Pangarap)"
Music and Lyrics: Conrado Ricafort
Interpreter: Boy Camara

Music and Lyrics: J. Miguel Salvador
Interpreter: Eugene Villaluz

"Pusong "Rock-N-Roll""
Music and Lyrics: Felix Chok-Oy Viernes
Interpreter: Pabs Dadivas


Grand Prize:
"Babae Ka"
Music and Lyrics: Ananias Montano
Interpreter: Something Special

Second Prize:
Music and Lyrics: Butch Monserrat,Marilyn Villapando
Interpreter: Pol Enriquez

Third Prize:
"Uhaw Na Lupa"
Music and Lyrics: Emilio Sanglay
Interpreter: Emil Sanglay at Ang Bagong Pen Pen

"Ang Buhay Ay Ngayon"
Music and Lyrics: Benjamin Chua, B.S. Manas
Interpreter: Rene Puno

Music and Lyrics: Eduardo Achacoso, Joseph Olfindo
Interpreter: Joseph Olfindo

Music and Lyrics: James Villafuerte
Interpreter: Marco Sison

"Mr. Musikero"
Music and Lyrics: Sonny Nicolas
Interpreter: Sonny Nicolas

Established singers like Florante, Eugene Villaluz, Leo Valdez, and Marco Sison interpreted their first Metropop entries. Something Special was an offshoot of The New Minstrels, and Joseph Olfindo also came from the latter singing group. There was no big hit from the festival songs, although "KAHIT KONTI" and "MAGSIMULA KA" were relative successes. It is interesting to note that Emil Sanglay (pioneer of the Neo-Ethnic Rock or the world music of today in the Philippines) and Sonny Nicolas also known as Philippine's "Jose Feliciano" (both singers,composers and guitarists) were the only individuals who interpreted their own songs. The one aside from the women in Something Special (there were male members as well), all the interpreters in this festival were men.

The 5th Metro Manila Popular Music Festival[edit]



  • GIVE ME A CHANCE (Odette Quesada) Ric Segretto 2nd place
  • MEMORIES ( ) Eileen Espina
  • PAG-IBIG MO,PAGI-IBIG KO (Ernesto Mendiola) Zander Kahn and Miriam Pantig 3rd place
  • KAHIT LA LA LA ( ) Noel Trinidad and Subas Herrero 1st place
  • BUHAY NASA ATING PALAD ( ) Pol Enriquez


  • DON'T DECEIVE YOURSELF (Alfredo Lozano Jr.) Susanah Pichay
  • NOTHING I WANT MORE ( ) Louie Reyes
  • ISANG DAKOT (Venancio "Vehnee" Saturno) *1st Place[3]
  • ANG AKING KUBO (Gary Granada) Florante
  • YOU MADE ME LIVE AGAIN (Nonoy Tan) Janet Basco
  • MAGKAIBIGAN, NAGKAIBIGAN ( ) Something Special
  • INAY BAKIT? (Sonny Nicholas) Sonny Nicholas

The 6th Metro Manila Popular Music Festival[edit]



  • LAGING MAYROONG BUKAS (June Cerino) Pat Castillo
  • KAHIT AKO'Y MAHIRAP (Mary Rose del Rosario) Mon del Rosario
  • MY LOVE,MY SOUL, MY EVERYTHING (Elizabeth Mendiola) Vernie Varga
  • WE'RE IN LOVE (Mario Lapid-Roberto Rodriguez) Mirriam Pantig
  • HABANG MAY SIKAT PA (Alex Buenaventura-Menche Soloria) The Rainmakers with Millie Beltran
  • STILL GOT LOVE (Alfredo Marbella) Labuyo
  • PAIN (Alvina Eileen Sy) Martin Nieverra (1st Prize)


  • DAPITHAPON (Boy Christopher) Idonnah
  • AKO'Y AKO (Venancio Saturno) Lerma de la Cruz (2nd Prize)
  • TILL I MET YOU (Odette Quesada) Kuh Ledesma (1st Prize)
  • AWAY FROM YOU (Boy Katindig) Jennifer Ramos
  • GABAY MO AKO (Rey Valera) Rey Valera (3rd Prize)
  • KAGANDAHAN (Butch Montserrat-Marilyn Villapando) Filipina
  • BE MY LADY (Venancio Saturno) Pedrito Montaire

The 7th Metro Manila Popular Music Festival[edit]



  • A SMILE IN YOUR HEART (Rene Novelles) Jam Morales (1st Prize)
  • FALLING IN LOVE AGAIN (Jose la Vina) Louie Reyes and Eugene Villaluz
  • WHERE DID THE HEARTACHES GO (Jose la Vina) Tillie Moreno
  • LET US STAY THE WAY WE USED TO BE (Al Lopez/Tammi Li Lopez) Al Lopez
  • THINK IT OVER (Mel Villena-Eleanor Villena) Richard Tann and Maraya
  • IT USED TO BE YOU (Renato Buzon) Jennifer Ramos
  • I DON'T WANT YOU (Reynaldo Cuerdo) Hiyas


  • SALAMAT, SALAMAT MUSIKA! (Gary Granada) Nanette Inventor[9] (1st Prize)
  • MGA KULAY (Cynthia Guzman) Dulce (2nd Prize)
  • I GOT WHAT IT TAKES (Ray-An Fuentes) Ray-an Fuentes
  • PART OF THE WAY (June Latonio) Jacqui Magno (3rd Prize)
  • YOU TURN ME ON (Jograd dela Torre) Chona Cruz and the Platinumates
  • A LITTLE SMILE (Cynthia Guzman) Carla Martinez
  • ROMEO AND JULIET (Jessie Jodloman & Toto Mortel) Musikinesis

The 8th Metro Manila Popular Music Festival[edit]

Year Division Winners Finalists
1985 Amateur

Grand Prize:
Music and Lyrics: Rudy delos Reyes
Interpreter: Joannie Feliciano

Second Prize:
"Musika, Lata, Sipol at La La La"
Music and Lyrics: Tess Concepcion
Interpreter: Lea & Gerard Salonga

Third Prize:
"Pilipino Ako (Ito Ang Alay Ko)"
Music and Lyrics: June Sta. Maria - Larry Tan & Nina Florentino
Interpreter: Veronica

"Pag-Ibig Sa Ating Musika"
Music and Lyrics: Bobby Bonus
Interpreter: Nailclippers

"Ang Sinisisi"
Music and Lyrics: Alejandra Ramos
Interpreter: Gloria Belen

"Come Be A Part Of My Song"
Music and Lyrics: Ed Nepumoceno - Edward Granadosin
Interpreter: Iwi Laurel

"Ito Na Nga"
Music and Lyrics: Angelica Lim
Interpreter: Robby Miguel


Grand Prize:
"Pag-Asa ng Mundo"
Music and Lyrics: Alvina Aileen Sy
Interpreter: Ivy Violan

Second Prize:
"You're My Home"
Music and Lyrics: Odette Quesada
Interpreter: Odette Quesada

Third Prize:
Music and Lyrics: Emil Sanglay
Interpreter: Emil Sanglay at ang Pen-Pen
" Ani-a Ako Ang Imong Higala"
Music and Lyrics: Philip Abrogar
Interpreter: Philip Abrogar

"Kuwarta, Kuwarta"
Music and Lyrics: Sunny Ilacad
Interpreter: Vincent Daffalong

"Manalig Ka"
Music and Lyrics: Joel Navarro - N. Arnel de Pano
Interpreter: Dio Marco

"Sa Ating Daigdig"
Music and Lyrics: Sonny Angeles
Interpreter: Manilyn Reynes

Metropop Song Festival[edit]

The Metropop Song Festival (also known as Metropop) is an annual Philippine music festival that served as a relaunch of the songwriting competition, which began on 1996 and ran until 2003. The festival's relaunch was broadcast on GMA Network. It has recognized non-mainstream musicians such as Gary Granada and Angelo Villegas, and boosted the singing careers of Jaya and Carol Banawa upon participating as interpreters.[10]

Another associated event called the Metropop Young Singers (later renamed Metropop Star Search) ran at the same time. Unlike the actual festival, this event served as a talent competition for young aspiring singers. The contestants were judged based on their interpretation or cover of an already released music material. The most notable participant was Melanie Calumpad who came third in 1997 and later returned as an interpreter for the actual song festival in 2003 under her stage name Kyla. She went on to have a successful career in music and competed as an interpreter for the winning songs at the Himig Handog and Philippine Popular Music Festival song contests.

Winner List[edit]

The winners of the Song Festival since its relaunch were:







  • Pag-Uwi - composers- Louie Ocampo and Joey Ayala, interpreter- Martin Nievera (Grand Prize)
  • Kawikaan - composers- Laverne Ducut and Catherine Carlos, interpreter- Cynthia Alexander (Second Prize)
  • Heaven Sent - composer- Dennis Garcia, interpreter- Ella Mae Saison with The Saisons and Friends, musi arranger - Emil Mayor (Third Prize)


  • Malayo Man, Malapit Din - composer and interpreter- Bayang Barrios (Grand Prize)
  • Pretend That I Don't Love You - composer- Mike Villegas, interpreter- Cookie Chua (Second Prize)
  • Buti Na Lang - composer- Jonathan Manalo, interpreter- Kyla (Third Prize)

Metropop Star Search Winners[edit]



  • Champagne Morales- "Journey to the Past" (Champion)
  • Roxanne Barcelo- "Part of Your World" (Second Place)
  • Xaxa Manalo- "Bakit Pa?" (Third Place)


  • Miles Poblete - "Anak ng Pasig" (Champion)
  • Idelle Martinez- "Baby, One More Time" (Second Place)
  • Jericson Matias- "Stay the Same" (Third Place)


  • Anna Katrina Lara- "On the Wings of Love" (Champion)
  • Camile Velasco - "How Could An Angel Break My Heart?" (Second Place)
  • Jacky Garcia- "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" (Third Place)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John Shepherd, ed. (2005). Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World (1. publ. ed.). London: Continuum. p. 210. ISBN 9780826474360. This annual songwriting competition was geared toward discovering new Filipino talent in popular music, and produced a rich repertoire of Filipino music... 
  2. ^ Modequillo, Archie (23 January 2011). "31 Years of Cebu Pop: Picking Potential Hits". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Rodriguez, Ces (1 May 1982). "Manila Festival Hits on Hit Potential". Billboard. p. 56. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Velarde, Emmie (19 May 1979). "Aguilar's Fame Stirs Japanese Quest for Femme Counterpart". Billboard. p. 82. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  5. ^ Delacruz, Leris. "To this, Mr. C pointed out: "I would be bold to tell you that that would be one of the reasons kung bakit nawala ang interest sa Metro Pop dahil hiniwalay nila yung amateurs sa professional. E, di parang ang nangyari lang, e, give chance also to the amateurs."". Philippine Entertainment Portal. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  6. ^ San Diego, Jr., Bayani (4 March 2008). "When fame is not top priority". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  7. ^ Jackson, Leon. "Freddie Aguilar: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  8. ^ Concepcion, Pocholo (25 September 2011). "Leo Valdez cites PDI critic for pushing him to excel". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  9. ^ "Filipino Pride: Design and Music". Manila Standard Today. 10 March 2003. p. 37. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  10. ^ Domingo, Gay Ace (2003). "A Night of Second Chances at the Metropop Song Festival". ManilaTimes. Archived from the original on 9 December 2003. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  11. ^ Cayabyab, Ryan (3 June 2000). "And the Metropop winners are...". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on 30 October 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c Lo, Ricky (29 May 2000). "Metropop 2000: A night of 'all winners'". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 29 May 2012.