Yes, I'm loveless but it doesn't mean I didn't have fun last Valentine weekend for I did enjoy it, thank you very much. (Haha! Defensive! :D). I flew to my high school city down south, got reunited with old friends and also met some new ones, all for free! Okay, okay, what I mean is I went there with my round trip plane tickets and hotel accommodation paid by somebody else. See, I got invited by my former high school to judge their university's valentine songwriting contest. Haha! I know! Don't laugh but yes I was invited to judge a SONGWRITING contest! :) Honestly, I hesitated at first but since they assured me that my being a writer for mainstream television makes me qualified already to know what's a good love song (plus the fact that it's hard to resist freebies! :D), I readily said yes. Yes! :)
I almost didn't catch the plane going to the province. The plane was leaving 12:40pm last Sunday but I woke up 10am already and hadn't even packed my stuff yet. I did some editing stuff for a new show the night prior which lasted till dawn (this is the 2nd development in my life that I was talking about, although it still remains a development since it's not yet sure whether the show will push through). The check-in counter was already closed when I arrived at the domestic airport but luckily, the friendly attendant managed to sneak me in. Whew! :)
It was surreal arriving in the provincial airport with the organizers meeting you while holding heart-shaped balloons. Haha! :D Okay, so I guess I was a VIP (well, sorta! :D). I didn't go with them to the hotel though coz I texted my high school classmate to fetch me. They understood enough and told me that they'll just meet me later in the hotel.
Was pleasantly surprised upon seeing my hotel room. It was nice. Heck, it was very nice. :) And I was going to live their solo. It's definitely an improvement considering that when I visit my high school city, I usually just asked my high school classmates to adopt me in their homes for lack of money. Haha! :) After checking in, I finally got to meet my co-judges (they also came from Manila and other areas). One of my co-judges is Fil-Am crooner Sanchez. (Sidetrack for promo purposes: He just released his debut album Eclectic and you may check his website at http://www.milessanchez.com) Cool kid! He also studied college in UP so at least we'd have a topic to talk about that will save us from awkward conversations. :D He was with his PA named Paul (whom I will find out later that I have a Kevin Bacon "six degrees of separation" connection pero later na yun!).
The organizers then treated us judges to a special dinner in a cozy restaurant/bar overlooking the sea. The resto-bar is actually owned by my high school classmate so I segued from having dinner with the organizers and co-judges to having a get-together with my old friends. The night ended at around 2am with us doing nothing but talk about the good 'ol times.
Monday morning (Valentines Day!) was the prejudging of the songs. We basically just listened to the CD compilation and graded the songs for their melody and lyrics. The venue was the university's music building. Felt a sense of nostalgia upon entering the place. I studied piano there for 4 years back in high school. (Me konting background rin naman ako kahit papaano. Hahaha :D). Surprise, surprise, the contest entries were actually good. I found myself rooting for like 4 songs out of 10 after the listening session.
Afternoon was our free time and I got to bond with Sanchez. He showed me his music videos and asked for my opinion with regards his music. His music videos are well-made but kinda racy. Like the video for the song "Turtle Dance" premiered in Myx but didn't get much airtime due to some resistance from the inside because of the video's sexual images. After which, Sanchez and I had coffee in a Mexican resto in the boulevard and talked and talked some more. Actually, he was the one who did most of the talking. Talkative guy! Haha :D But 'twas fun. Cool! At least I can say I had coffee with a semi-celebrity. Jologs ko talaga! :)
I was nervous the night of the event. I don't know why but at the back of my mind, something's still telling me that I wasn't qualified to be the chairman of the board of judges. (Yes, I intentionally omitted this info earlier. Haha! :D). I especially dreaded the introduction of the judges' part. I mean they introduced my co-judges as music composer, former songwriting contest winner, music artist...then I, the chairman of the board of judges, as a soap opera writer. Hahahaha! :) I was just uncomfy about the fact that Pangako Sa 'Yo ended more than two years ago already and I was still intro'd as the writer of that show. I mean, I did other mainstream projects both as a production worker and as a writer naman ah! :D Okay, okay, much ado about nothing coz after the initial jitters, I had fun judging the contest. The performances of the interpreters were superb and very entertaining to say the least. The song that I was betting to win also eventually won (so I guess I share the same wavelength with my co-judges after all. Haha! :D). The winning piece was entitled Mata sa Mata and it was written in Bisaya with the composer's intention of coming up with a Visayan love song that's neither a novelty song nor some depressing ballad. The result was pure sublime. It's pop opera at its best. (Naks, feeling music critic! Hahaha :D)
Now this is the funny part. After the contest, Paul (Sanchez' PA) approached me and asked me if I indeed wrote for Pangako coz if that's it, then we might have met before. It was only then that I realized (or okay, after he told me) that he was Minnie Aguilar's (the big-boned comedienne who played Madam Coring) former lover. It seems we did meet before in the Christmas parties of Pangako. He said he remembers me because when Minnie would call Dado (our main writer) to ask why she's not in the episode script, Dado would always tell Minnie that he's got nothing to do with it because I was the writer of that episode. Hahahaha! Bad Dado! :D
We spent the rest of the evening gimmicking for it was also Sanchez' birthday the 15th. Didn't sleep at all as we went back to the hotel around 4am just to get ready for the early morning flight back to reality.