Winners of first-ever Himigrasyon songwriting contest announced

Winners of first-ever Himigrasyon songwriting contest announced

/ 10:41 AM January 05, 2022
From left to right: Grand prize winner for song “Pangarap,” Edwin Dimaculangan; Second prize winner for song “Miss,” Anthony “TJ” Paeldon; and Third prize winners for song “Bayaning World-class,” M&M duo Dr. Hemmady Mora and son Ian Levi Mora. CFO

From left to right: Grand prize winner for song “Pangarap,” Edwin Dimaculangan; Second prize winner for song “Miss,” Anthony “TJ” Paeldon; and Third prize winners for song “Bayaning World-class,” M&M duo Dr. Hemmady Mora and son Ian Levi Mora. CFO

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas declared the winners of Himigrasyon, the first-ever songwriting contest about Filipino overseas migration.

The grand prize goes to the song “Pangarap,” by Edwin Dimaculangan. Second place goes to the song “Miss,” by Anthony “TJ” Paeldon. Third place goes to the song “Bayaning World-class,” with music by Ian Levi Mora and lyrics by his mother, Dr. Hemmady Mora.


The winners take home P100,000; P75,000; and P50,000 respectively. The winners will be honored by the CFO in a blended ceremony in this month with CFO Secretary Francisco P. Acosta presiding.

Launched on June 16, 2021, the songfest primarily serves as a tribute to the sacrifices and important contributions of an estimated 10 million Filipinos overseas to their host countries and Philippine development, especially during this time of a global pandemic.


It also aimed to make music an advocacy tool to raise public awareness of the challenging yet inspiring life of overseas Filipinos and the issues they face throughout their journey.

Top songs

Grand prize winner, “Pangarap,” by Edwin Dimaculangan was inspired by the migration story of his wife, Susie. “Pangarap” is about a child’s dream to work abroad when she grows up so she can take her family out of poverty. She prepares herself academically and acquires various skills for working overseas. Abroad, she experiences a lot of challenges and difficulties and makes sacrifices. She succeeds and fulfills her dream for her family “with God’s help.”

Edwin, who hails from Batangas but grew up in Manila, was a certified public accountant (CPA) in the Philippines but now works as a Financial Specialist at the County of Los Angeles, California. His wife, Susie, is a CPA both in the Philippines and in California, and is currently a Senior Auditor at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Edwin’s song, “Mahirap Gumawa ng Kanta,” was one of 12 finalists in the Bombo Music Festival 2020 in the Philippines. Their only child, Angel, has already completed her college degree.

Second placer “Miss,” by Anthony “TJ” Paeldon is about his missing his loved ones while in Singapore as an OFW musician/pianist, who doubled as a waiter at a Japanese restaurant after his band’s gig, and then worked as a janitor for the same restaurant at closing time.

TJ was in Singapore from September 2019 till March 2020, just before the pandemic lockdowns started in the Philippines. He says that many musicians in his time in Singapore took sideline jobs as waiters or other hired help at restaurants. Back home in the Philippines, TJ and his band play at weddings and special events that need live music.


“My song is a sad one hiding behind a jolly melody and arrangement,” said TJ in a recent chat interview with the Commission.

Third placer “Bayaning World-class,” by Ian Levi Mora and lyrics by his mother, Dr. Hemmady Mora pays tribute to the overseas Filipino/Filipina for accepting all migration challenges–from fitting in and making cultural adjustments to overcoming feelings of loneliness from leaving their homes and families. Also celebrated are their “world-class” skills, have have won the respect and admiration of their employers across the globe.

Ian is in his third year at the UST Conservatory, with the violin as his instrument. He is also a member of the UST Symphony Orchestra (USTSO) and the Manila Symphony Junior Orchestra (MSJO). Ian’s mom, Hemmady, is the Dean of the College of Communication (COC) of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP). Mother and son both sing and dabble in songwriting as a hobby.

Rigorous screening

Out of 326 entries from 26 countries worldwide received by the Commission at the close of submissions, the top 20 were shortlisted by the first-level panel of judges composed of Timothy Loi M. Sosmeña of the UST Conservatory’s Composition and Music Technology Faculty; Executive Director Ellene Sana of the Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA); and Acting Executive Director Atty. Wendell Dimaculangan of the CFO.

The top 20 were further shortlisted for the top 5 and ranked accordingly to determine the top 3 winners by a second-level panel of judges composed of the initial 3 judges with the addition of Dr. Felipe de Leon, Jr., Director for the National Committee on Music of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA); Odette Felisilda from the Wyngard Tracey (Talent) Management Team; and Justice Francisco Acosta, Secretary and Chairperson of the CFO.

To maintain impartiality, the members of the panel of judges were only provided with the entry numbers, song titles, mp3 files, and lyrics of the song entries throughout the entire screening process.

For more information on the 2021 Himigrasyon Song Writing Contest, contact the Secretariat at telephone numbers +632 8-552-4766 to 767 and email [email protected]

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TAGS: Filipino diaspora, labor migration, overseas Filipino workers
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