Thedevotion to the Sto. Niño is much alive and well. This was evident in the throngs of people who attended the recent 11th Huni Halad alang kang Sto. Niño or the HuNiño Grand Finals held at the Pilgrim Center of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño last April 26.Among the finalists, one thing was unmistakable, and it is the devotion to Señor Santo Niño.
The 11th edition of the songwriting tilt was divided into three categories: the entrance song, the communion song and the final or recessional song. This was done because the three winning pieces for each category will be played during Masses. For the past years, the winning songs of the competition was never utilized until the inception of the concept, meaning people will get to hear them during the actual mass in the Basilica.
Before the performance of the finalists, a Video Presentation was made to explain the importance of the songs for the liturgical mass. The entrance song is when we reflect what the usual wording of the Greeting of the Mass of the Sto. Niño that we gather as God’s family in the Holy Name of our King, the Sto. Niño.”
The communion song obliges to “capture the spirit of unity of the devotees who are in love by the Batobalani sa Gugma, as it reminds us of our daily walk and passage amidst problems, pains and struggles in life. Lastly, the final song represents our declaration of our mission as we go out from the churches and tell the word that Jesus is our Lord, Protector and King.
For the entrance song category, Jose Glenn Bongo’s “Come to the Banquet”, a newbie in the competition, was proclaimed winner. The song was written by Lizette Abella, arranged by Russel Alegado and interpreted by Froiland Amal Jr., with back-up vocals Rojie Villamor and Joshua Lador.
For the communion category, “Little Lord” bested three other entries. It was composed and written by 19-year-old Joshua Ray Cortes.The song was arranged by Nendel Endrina and was interpreted by Niña Arny Mabugat and Jay-arr Librando.
For the final song categoty,“Viva Pit Senyor,” composed and written by Emmanuel Abellana won.Nilo Rusiana, Jerry Operiano and Roy Lotfel Racaza were also named as the Best Interpreters for their presentation of the song.
“Dad-on Ko ang Gugma Mo,” composed and written by Alvin Gantuangco, arranged by Russel Alegado and performed by Joefel Panilaga, an entry to the final song category, won the People’s Choice Award after an online voting.
The recipient of HuNiño, the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño Children’s Foundation, who are mostly composed of children of candle and balloon vendors, and photographers around the basilica, have also performed during the show. Also there to perform were Marielle Montellano, the Cebuana grand finalist of “It’s Showtime’s” Tawag ng Tanghalan, and the University of the Visayas Folkloric Dance Company. The winners brought home a trophy and P40,000 cash each.