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Lakaw is a journey is a step is a move. I love to travel around the world and this is my travel and travel gadget site. Welcome and Enjoy!

0 comments | Sunday, September 02, 2007

It’s Sunday evening once again! “Turn on the radio!”, someone shouted as the clock struck seven. As soon as my brother pushed the button, I heard a song played on very high volume – “Walk with faith in your heart and you’ll never walk alone...” – pulsating with vigor and energy.

No. It wasn’t my favorite local singer, nor a chorale singing and definitely not a DJ in a FM station. It was the first contestant of the most awaited amateur singing competition!

Tak...tak...tak...my mother came dashing into the room in her rubber sandals, hoping not to miss a single contestant singing. She was definitely keen on hearing all the songs that, moments later, we experienced being swallowed up in an indescribable "aroma" of a burning dish – the one she was preparing for supper.

Music-lovers far from the city’s attractions, denied from all the enticing music lounges and alluring karaoke bars, spend their Sunday evenings listening to on-the-air singing contests "ad libitum". Unlike in the city where one can enjoy watching the latest concerts, people in places beyond the city limits, like my hometown in Argao, Cebu Philippines, prefer to stay indoors and stay up close to their radio sets or TVs. This is their idea of hanging out.

If one takes pleasure in listening to singing contests, he can tune in to any of the two to three stations having the same programs at almost the same time. If you happen to pass by our hometown on Sunday nights, you’ll be delighted to hear a variety of "do-re-mis" and unexpected crescendos or decrescendos, ranging from half notes to full blasts blaring from our living room windows. Not only that. Aside from bringing you back to the yesteryears when Tom Jones said he’d "Never Fall in Love Again" with "Delilah" and Elvis Presley still had his "Blue Suede Shoes", you’ll also be taken into the heights of fantasy in a "Whole New World".

I should know. My mother is a devoted music-lover. Though simple, like any other elementary school teacher, she's got the voice that would cause any light bulb to crash and house lizard to slip from its stronghold. She had sent many other music enthusiasts packing during her teens as she let her high vocal chords ring for thousands of radio listeners. Her ala Shirley Bassey voice proved to be an asset when she became an undefeated champion for twelve weeks. She's been called the songbird of the teacher's department.

Maybe it’s hereditary, because my older brother started singing on platforms at six. He did so well that he impressed almost all our town folks. "Like mother, like son," they said as they appraised him. My younger sister faced a roaring crowd in her first grade. She sang the piece so well that she got a nice grade from her adviser. "Like mother, like daughter," her teacher said. They both knew how it felt to have butterflies fluttering in their stomachs as they skipped some lines and ended up ahead of tune.

Among us siblings, our youngest, Jeffrey, had the lion’s share of the singing talent. He inherited most of my mother’s vocal dexterity and eventually succeeded her to the throne. At age 10, he conquered the airwaves by becoming a champion for eight straight weeks. In no time, his little figure could be seen all over our beloved hometown and in some nearby municipalities. It is no longer surprising to see my brother during fiestas, big parties and parish activities, with a microphone.

If only I could raise a protest about the unfair share of genes, I would have done it before, for I was not that good at singing. I had my first experience on the center stage way back when I was eight. If it wasn’t for my mother, I would have not dared to stand there with my lips as dry as the Sahara and palms as moist as a teething baby's chin, among my schoolmates' parents and in front of all my proud uncles and aunts. The first few lines seemed to have no end and I just knew I interpreted them the way they weren't supposed to be. I was very, very ashamed that I had not lived up to the crowd's expectations of Mrs. Salas' son.

One time I had to try Regine's [Regine is a popular Filipino singer] strategy: submerge yourself neck-deep in the sea on early mornings and sing at the top of your voice. I had to bear the dawn's coldness and to give up my early morning dreams in bed.

Every dog has his day. That concept made me strong enough to audition for a live radio singing competition. I imagined passing it undoubtedly. There I was, in glad rags, with great enthusiasm, making an ambitious attempt. My voice was worth a gift pack of consolation prizes.

Jenny did not make it in her first three tries.

But Leo serves as an inspiration to all. He is a disabled person and walks with wooden crutches. He has nothing to show except for his powerful voice, which, in the end, led him to bag the grand prize and shortly thereafter, acquire a more convenient pair of crutches.

Henry’s love for singing began at the tender age. Enrolling in music courses, joining various singing contests and learning each thing by rote, he progressed and improved his voice quality. Now, he is busy doing live performances in and out of town.

Majority of the Filipinos know how to sing and it cannot be denied there are a lot of Jennys, Leos and Henrys out there waiting for the opportunity to reach the top. Others who have found contentment in themselves could just consider singing a form of relaxation. After a hard day's work or even during office hours, in front of piles of work, one can steal a few moments singing his most-loved yesteryears song.

We have lots and lots of cassette tapes and CDs – classical, jazz, folk – name it, we have it. I really don't know why I can't help myself from singing every time I hear familiar tunes, despite those incidents that seemed to tell me that music doesn't like me. I think I am not just destined for singing contests. I think.

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