By Nickie Wang
A combination of big and virtually unfamiliar names in the world of live entertainment were recognized by the Aliw Awards Foundation Inc. in the 22nd edition of the annual awards presentation held on Nov. 17 at Mega Tent in Pasig City.
Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez was the big winner of the night bagging three major awards including Entertainer of the Year, Best Major Concert (female category), and Best Collaboration in a major concert, which she also shared with contemporaries Pops Fernandez, Kuh Ledesma, and Zsa Zsa Padilla. The four singers did a concert in December last year called Divas 4 Divas.
Regine was not able to attend the awarding ceremony because she’s currently engaged with the shooting of a movie with Aga Muhlach at the moment. Her boyfriend Ogie Alcasid, who was bestowed with Hall of Fame award that night, accepted the three trophies on her behalf.
Ogie made everyone laugh when he said, “I’m not Regine Velasquez, but I love her,” and continued with some thank you messages, which according to him the Songbird wanted to extend.
Best Major Concert for the male category went to Gary Valenciano for the Gary Live @ 25 concert, but Mr. Pure Energy was a no show at the venue. According to award presenter Boots Anson-Roa, Gary, at that time, is on his sickbed. His son Gab, who won Best New Artist (Male), was there to accept his own award but didn’t stay longer at the Mega Tent to receive the award for his father.
Meanwhile, the Best New Artist plum went to unknown singer who goes by the name Christine Love. After googling her name, we found out that she is the voice behind the single “Isang Halik Mo Lang.”
Like Christine, four-year-old Gabby Bautista was another “no name“to receive an Aliw trophy. The tyke who is a part of the musical entitled Ako Si Ninoy bested other nominees like Little Big Star finalist Mika Roi Torre and WCOPA gold medalist in five different categories Rhap Salazar.
Aliw gives the award to which the recognition is due, and these particular triumphs of Christine and Gabby could be a statement that Aliw has seen something in them that mainstream entertainment and audiences have been ignoring all along. In the acceptance speech delivered by Ako Si Ninoy director Vince Tañada, he said: “We are practically unknown but we are fortunate that Aliw recognizes talents like us. It motivates us to entertain more people.”
Tañada was awarded with Best Stage Director for a Musical. The young director went up on stage twice to also accept the Best Musical Production award.
The Best Emcee recognition went to Iya Villania and Ryan Agoncillo. Ryan was one of the segment hosts of the event.
Franco Laurel and Ayen Munji were both recipients of Aliw recognition. Franco won Best Stage Actor (Musical) for Isang Panaginip na Fili, while Ayen received the Best Stage Actress (Musical) for the musical Atang, about local vaudeville star Atang dela Rama.
Stand-up comedians Beverly Salviejo and Chokoleit and stage actor Lou Veloso were among the people who perked up the crowd. The two comedians received the award for Best Stand Up Comedy Act, female and male categories, respectively, while Veloso was awarded with Best Stage Actor (Non-Musical) for his performance in Hiblang Abo.
The rest of the 22nd Aliw Award trophies were awarded to: UP Concert Chorus (Best Choral Group); Halili-Cruz Dance Company (Best Dance Company for Classical Folk category); Bugkos Palay (Best Dance Company for Modern category); Sining Kadidilimudan from Maguindanao (Best Cultural Group); guitarist Nonoy Libanan (Best Instrumentalist); Dondie Ong and Camile Lopez- Molina (Male and Female Best Classical Performer); Liezl Batucan (Best Stage Actress for Non-Musical category); Jose Mari Avellana (Best Stage Director for Non-Musical); Dula’ta (Best Non-Musical Production ); and Yang Klasik director Lemuel de la Cruz (Best Musical Director).
Other winners were: Rico J. Puno/Ai-Ai delas Alas/Pilita Corrales (Best Collaboration in a Small Concert) for Love & Laughter on Valentine’s Day; Rico J. and jazz singer Olivia (Best Performer in Hotels, Music Lounges and Bars, male and female categories); RetroSPECT (Best Performer in Hotels, Music Lounges and Bars, group category); Nyoy Volante and Claire de la Fuente (Best Performance in a small concert, male and female categories), and classical group The Angelos (Best Performance in a small concert, group category).