Roger P. Serna
Sun.Star Cebu columnist
â€œO, SENYOR Santo NiÃ±o,â€ a song that praises the Child Jesusâ€™ influence in the lives of Cebuanos, bested 11 other finalists in the first Huni Halad Alang Kang Santo NiÃ±o de Cebu (HuniÃ±o) songwriting competition.
Despite a heavy downpour, the audience, composed mostly of devotees of the Holy Child, stayed until after the proclamation of winners around 10 p.m. Wednesday at the Basilica del Sto. NiÃ±o along OsmeÃ±a Blvd., Cebu City.
The winning song was composed by Renato Calago Sagayno, a math teacher at the University of Cebu high school department on Sanciangko St., Cebu City. For the feat, he bagged P50,000, plus P5,000 for qualifying as a finalist, a trophy and an icon of the Holy Child.
Interpreting the song was Japril Yap, a sophomore banking and finance student of the University of San Jose-Recoletos and a resident of Lutopan, Toledo City.
Before that song competition, the composer and interpreter tandem also won the grand prize in a similar tilt for the Virgen of Fatima in Basak, Mandaue City last year.
The second prize was won by â€œHimayaon Ka Santo NiÃ±o,â€ which expresses thanksgiving for and recognition of Godâ€™s promise of salvation. The song was composed by Norman Jabonero, a seminarian, who won P30,000, a trophy and a Sto. NiÃ±o icon, plus P5,000 for qualifying as a finalist.
The third prize winner is â€œO Holy Child,â€ which speaks of children being the rightful heirs of the kingdom of God.
Incorporating a Gospel passage in Hebrew in the first stanza, the song was composed by Jay-arr Librando, a seminarian from the Seminario Mayor de San Carlos, and interpreted by the trio of Rhine Rose Echivarre, Reston Senining and the composer himself.
The composer received P25,000, including the finalistâ€™s incentive, a trophy and a Sto. NiÃ±o icon. The trio also received P10,000 extra as the best interpreters.
The songwriting competition was aimed at further promoting devotion to the Sto. NiÃ±o de Cebu, whose feast is celebrated by the Cebuano community every third week of January.
The Sandiego Dance Company opened the show with a Sinulog dance.