Text by Henrylito D. Tacio
“Garbo is pride. Pride is not a good virtue though but if we have worked so hard together to deliver that passion for music and total entertainment, I think (that can be considered) a virtue.”
This was what provincial tourism officer Christine T. Dompor posted in her Facebook account. She was referring to Garbo Comvalenyos, now on its ninth year. It is the most awaited event of Bulawan Festival, which is celebrated on the week of the province’s foundation.
Compostela Valley became the fourth province of Davao Region in 1998 when then President Fidel V. Ramos signed Republic Act No. 8470. But it was not until in 2007 that Bulawan Festival came into existence. The banner festival of the province is described as “a celebration of thanksgiving, abundant resources and unity among the ComValeños.”
Since then, ComValeños – and even those far neighboring towns and far-flung areas – get together to observe the week-long celebration. But what people anticipate most is the Garbo Comvalenyo, which was started in 2009.
“This year’s edition is a prelude to the super grand One Decade of Garbo Comvalenyo next year as it evolves to becoming a super talent search and a vehicle to serve the community,” said Dompor.
What made this year’s singing sensation search was the launching of Artist for the Community. “It is a way of the grand winners in creating a positive impact as they also get a grant for their advocacies that will go to the community of their choice. The grants will be implemented in partnership with sponsoring agencies,” Dompor explained.
This writer was chosen as a member of the board of jurors, along with two regular members (Peter Ian C. Buaya and Edson B. Cachuela). Aside from me, the two other new members were Maricris A. Tan and Marie Anthea C. Chua.
Only 10 contestants, all residents of the province, made it to the live finals night. To select the top three contenders, the singers had to undergo three challenge rounds. The first one was “sing-ala-crooner/diva,” where the finalists were required to sing just like the singer of the song of their choice and to look like the original singer, too.
The next round focused on the Visayan songs, called Bisdak Medley. This was one of the most applauded round as the audience also sang along with the some of the finalists who were singing at the stage.
The final round was called Boyband/Girlband Dance Hits. The contestants were given the opportunity of showcasing their dancing skills.
The criteria used for the first two rounds were star quality (30%), performance and interpretation (30%), and voice quality (40%). In the last round, dancing skills was included as one of the four criteria.
Monkayo’s John G. Cabigon won P6,000 for topping the two rounds: sing-a-la-crooner/diva and boyband/girlband dance hits. Compostela’s Mavelle C. Sabuero settled for Bisdak Medley with a cash prize of P3,000. The two made it to the top three finalists, along with Montevista’s Jenivie L. Lino.
Those who received the least score were automatically dropped from the list but two others were given a chance through the knock-out round. In addition, two other singers were also “raised from their defeat” via Text Votes and another one as chosen by the board of judges. All four second-chance singers were paired (as chosen by the judges) and they had to sing in a pre-selected song to allow the judges to select one of each pairs.
The two winners – called wild card finalists – were included in the final round to compete with the top three finalists.
The Grand Champion was Mavelle C. Sabuero, who received a cash prize of P30,000, a plaque and a scholarship. Declared first runner-up was Jenivie L. Lino, who went home with a cash prize of P25,000, a plaque and a scholarship. John G. Cabigon settled for the second runner-up together with the P20,000 cash prize, a plaque and a scholarship.
Cacheula, who is already a veteran in judging the annual competition, has this to say about this year’s event: “Garbo is the most anticipated production in Bulawan Festival. I cannot imagine the whole festival without Garbo. It is still consistent to its hallmarks to top of the line production quality. Other local government units can study how it is staged because it is a worthwhile event for the people.”
Dompor considered this year’s Garbo as the “Greatest Show” as the people involved in the production were all from province: Dennis D. Bautista (artistic director), Renaizzanz (dancers), Pureplay Band, Veejay Mar (host), Don Sy (anchor), videographers, technical crew, and tabulators.
Dompor also thanked her support staff and stage managers. “We thank Governor Jayvee Tyron L. Uy for the dynamic support to the team and the executive committee for trusting us,” she pointed out.
In the final analysis, Garbo Comvalenyos Season 9 was not only successful; it was awesome.
“I can only beam not with self-pride of the output of the show, but with what we have become in our 8 years of Garbo seasons,” Dompor said. “It is by showcasing the best of our local talents partnered with the best support system that we can truly be considered successful – not just in staging the show but in creating impact like local patronage, love of place, love of our home-grown talents and passion for excellence.”
By the way, The Voice winner Jason Dy, was the guest performer during the event. He sang when the board of judges were busy choosing who among the contenders were the top three and wild card finalists.
Watch for Garbo Comvalenyo Season 10 next year!
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