Over the years, A Song of Praise Music Festival —the country’s first and only praise songwriting tilt on Philippine television — has stirred us back to the heart of worship and closer to God with uplifting music.
Let’s take a look back at the best songs of praise from ASOP.
ASOP Year 1: PURIHIN MO ANG DIOS, O PILIPINAS
“Purihin mo ang Dios, O Pilipinas Isigaw Mo ang kadakilaan ng pangalan Niya Bawat Pilipino’y magsama-sama Anomang wika o kulay…”
Sung by power ballad diva, Gail Blanco, “Purihin Mo Ang Dios, O Pilipinas” (Praise God, Oh Philippines), by Anton Estrella Jr., is a stirring gospel track giving the Almighty all the praise, honor, and glory.
The song talks about the Philippines as the pearl of the Orient Seas and a blessed nation with its diverse language landscape and colorful mix of cultures.
ASOP Year 2: IKAW
Ang alay Mo’y patawad ‘Di man ako karapat-dapat Ikaw ang Kaibigan kong tapat
Power belter Jona belts our her heartfelt praises in “Ikaw” (You). Penned by professional songwriter Boy Christopher Ramos, the song is another powerful worship anthem that delves deeper into God’s faithfulness and everlasting love as our true and eternal friend.
ASOP Year 3: MAY AWA ANG DIOS
“Sa t’wing tila ‘di na makakayanan Pagsubok na aking pinagdadaanan Ang tanging pag-asang pinanghahawakan May awa ang Dios.”
“May Awa ang Dios” (God Has Mercy), a worship anthem written by Louise Lyle Robles, is an exceptionally dramatic song that uplifts a heavy heart from pain and suffering.
With her clear and delicate vocals, belter Beverly Caimen sings about trusting God’s mercy amid storms in our lives.
ASOP Year 4: KUNG PAG-IBIG MO’Y ULAN
“Ibinuhos Mo ang pag-ibig Mo At nilunod Mo’ng bawat kirot sa aking puso Ang pag-ibig Mo’y parang ulan“
A poetic gospel track, “Kung Pag-ibig Mo’y Ulan” (If Your Love were Rain) by Christian Malinias, emotionally portrays God’s great love as a pouring rain.
As power belter Leah Patricio sings, “Ibinuhos Mo ang pag-ibig Mo at nilunod Mo’ng bawat kirot sa aking puso,” words of peace and comfort rest gently upon our troubled hearts.
ASOP Year 5: KUMAPIT KA LANG
“Huwag kang hihinto, ituloy ang takbo Huwag kang mapagod Tayo ay maglalakbay sa daan ng buhay Kasama ang Dios na lumalang.”
An upbeat slice from this list, “Kumapit Ka Lang” (Just Hold On), by Noemi Ocio, is a gospel pop track about keeping our faith in God during hard times.
Lady belter Mela in this motivational piece inspires every person to keep going when they’re on the brink giving up.
ASOP Year 6: DAHIL SA IYO
“Sa mga oras na sarili ang kalaban Pag-ibig Mo O Dios ang tangi kong sandalan Handa akong ipagsigawan ang ‘Yong Ngalan.”
Performed by RnB royalty, Jay-R, “Dahil Sa Iyo” (Because of You), sets out to send happy vibes with its meaningful lyrics of becoming complete in God.
More than just being an ASOP interpreter, OPM artist Carlo David showcased his songwriting skills with the EDM-laced RnB gospel track.
ASOP Year 7: TUGTOG
“Sa araw-araw ko Ikaw ang musika Na nagpapaindak sa aking puso at Nagbibigay sa akin ng sigla O Panginoon ko, Ikaw ang akin ligaya.”
A song that stirred the music in our hearts, Tugtog (Music) was written by visually-impaired songwriter John Paul Salazar.
Performed by OPM trio Bradz, the worship hymn uses contemporary sound and rich imagery to describe God as the metaphorical music that stirs our heart and enliven our soul.
After the recently concluded ASOP Year 8 on November 10, there is a new challenge for composers who want to participate in the A Song of Praise Music Festival Year 9.
The song ‘Sa ‘Di Mabilang Na Tala’, written by Carlo David and interpreted by Gidget Dela Llana, was hailed as the ASOP Year 8 winner.
For the upcoming ASOP Festivals, International Televangelist and the man behind the concept of ASOP, Bro. Eli Soriano calls on composers to write a song that can be sung by the whole Christian community.
“Let us create songs na hindi para lang sana sa individual singers, parang sa group singing, para bang congregational song (Let us create song that are not just for individual singers but also for group singing, like a congregational song),” he said.
He also prepared to increase the grand prize for the next ASOP Festivals.
“I will share some of my hard-earned money. Kung mayroon sanang magandang awit na pang congregational, I will come up with P2 million grand prize sa susunod nating mga ASOP (If there is a good congregational song, I will come up with P2 million grand prize for the next ASOP [Festivals]),” he added.
Meanwhile, ASOP resident judge Mon Del Rosario said the new concept for the upcoming ASOP competition is challenging and exciting at the same time.
“That is a good direction, dahil nga competition ito, may tendency ang mga songwriter na sumulat ng mga competition type na mga kanta (Because this is a competition, there is a tendency for songwriters to write competition-type songs),” Del Rosario said.
Del Rosario said they will adjust the mechanics of the competition to fit congregational songs in the ASOP Music Festival.
To participate in the ASOP Festival visit the program’s social media websites and asoptv.com—AAC (with reports from Mirasol Abogadil)
A Song of Praise Year 8 will have its finals night on November 10 at the New Frontier Theater.
Competitions have always been tough. Contestants would always feel intense pressure especially after putting in a lot of time and effort in being the best they can be.
But for ASOP’s composer finalists, winning is only a bonus.
Pau Ortiz, who co-wrote “Alay Ko” with Madonna Rosas, said he feels no pressure from the competition. Pau would even listen happily to all of the entries and was able to memorize some of them.
“Kasi po naniniwala po kami na ang star po ng competition ay si God, bonus na lang po talaga in case na magkaroon ka ng praise or manalo ka sa competition (Because we believe that the star of the competition is God. Recognition from winning the competition is just a bonus),” Pau said during a press conference on Tuesday (November 5).
Most of the finalists took their inspiration from personal experiences and the vision of having their song become a source of hope for those who are struggling in life.
“We wrote this song for the reason that maraming taong nawawalan ng pag-asa, nakakalimutang magpasalamat sa Dios (A lot of people are losing hope and forget to thank God). It’s all about—whatever comes our way, it is His will. We should always be thankful to God everyday,” according to Roman Cundangan, co-composer of “God Has His Purpose”.
“Sagwan” composer, Aiza Narag said suicide is one of the serious issues nowadays and she wants to remind people they are not alone.
“Para lang po mapaalala sa mga tao na mayroon pong Dios na kasama tayo sa mga pagsubok, (So that people will remember that there is a God who is always with us during trying times),” she said.
Rinz Ruiz, composer of song “Tahan Na”, recalled his friend who was the inspiration for his song. His friend suffered severe depression after his mother died, he suffered from a grave illness and he lost the will work.
“Sinulat ko po itong kanta para subukang pagaangin iyong nararamdaman niya, (I wrote the song in order to try and ease his burden)” he said.
The composers also said there is no need to write more sad songs. Amid the competition, all of them are united towards one goal — to provide hope and positive vibes through their songs.
“Bakit pa tayo magsusulat ng something na magdi-drive sa tao na magpakamatay (Why would we write something that will drive people to take their lives?). Instead, inspire them tapos use God kasi Siya lang naman ang absolute na answer (Inspire them instead by using God because He is the absolute answer) every time we are going through obstacles,” Pau said.—AAC
Last August 25 (Sunday), A Song of Praise Music Festival named its newest grand finalist for Year 8.
With her worship anthem titled “Sagwan” (Paddle), 31-year old school registrar Aiza Narag secured a spot at the eighth edition of one-of-a-kind music revelry celebrating praise music.
Sung by rising belter Louie Anne Culala of The Wishfuls, the praise song paints a picture of a long journey at the heart of the sea while huge waves and fierce winds roar, encouraging us to trust God to be able to make it to the shores of hope.
This year’s grand finals’ entries comprise of the following:
NOVEMBER: “O Ama” by Jhoter Jone Villan
DECEMBER: “Alay Ko” by Maddonna Rosas and Pau Ortiz
JANUARY: “Ikaw ay Ikaw” by Vanduane Badua
FEBRUARY: “Don’t Give Up” by Cherry Labating
MARCH: “Dios ng Katotohanan” by Darrel Joseph Villanueva
APRIL: “Pupurihin Kita” by Chris Givenchi Edejer
MAY: “Libo-libong Tala” by Carlo David
JUNE: “You are Wonderful” by Franz Loren Bigcas
JULY: “God Has His Purpose” by Lambert Reyes Jr. and Roman Cundangan
AUGUST: “Sagwan: by Aiza Narag
Two more tracks are set to complete the list of this year’s best praise songs.
Last year, visually-impaired songwriter John Paul Salazar bagged the Song of the Year title with P500,000 cash prize tax-free.
Performed by OPM trio Bradz, his masterpiece titled “Tugtog”, is an upbeat gospel track about music as the sound of a praiseful heart for God.
“‘Tugtog’ for me denotes a human heartbeat. One artist I heard said, ‘Music is a part of our lives, and our hearts always plays music.’ I made the song out of that idea and turned it into a song of praise to the Lord. Every time I sing for the Lord, my heart is in sync with the music!” said Salazar.
A first from last year, ASOP launched its Bro. Eli Soriano’s Choice with “Hiling” as the winning song written by Jeffrey Lim, also by a visually-impaired aspiring songwriter.
Conceptualized by Breakthrough and Milestones Productions International (BMPI) Chairman and CEO Kuya Daniel Razon and Filipino televangelist Bro. Eli Soriano, ASOP is set to upgrade its prizes for each year.
As another year-long singing of praises to the Almighty comes to a close, the grand winner will take home P800,000 while the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, will get P500,000, P200,000, and P100,000 cash prizes, respectively.
Over the years, amateur and professional songwriters have ventured into the heart of crafting songs for the Almighty.
True to its advocacy of bringing back praise music in people’s lives, the first and only praise songwriting tilt on Philippine television continues to inspire talents and celebrate gospel music dedicated all for the glory of God.
Apart from celebrating inspiring talents, ASOP is also set to stage top-notch OPM acts.
Watch out for the grand finals of ASOP Year 8 in November.
For more information about ASOP Music Festival, visit its official website at https://www.asoptv.com. You can follow ASOP on Facebook via facebook.com/asoptv, Twitter at twitter.com/asoptv and Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/asoptv/.
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