Roy Racaza, a third year political science major, recently won second place at the ninth Huniño contest. Huniño, or Huni Halad kang Sto. Niño, is an original songwriting contest for the Holy Child where composers and interpreters are given the chance to showcase their talents. This activity is held annually and spearheaded by the Basilica Minore del Sto Niño and the Agustinian Community in Cebu.

Last June, around 72 songs were submitted for the screening. Out of these 72, the screening committee chose 20 semifinalists. Of these, only the top 12 songs competed for the grand finals last Aug 28, 2015 at the Cebu Coliseum. The open area of Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu Pilgrim Center was not used to avoid inconveniencing the audience in case of a downpour.

The song titled “Sto. Niño: Hope of the People”, composed by Emmanuel Abellana and interpreted by Roy Lotfel Racaza, was chosen to be part of the top 12. The top 12 are already considered winners and it was not an easy journey to be part of it. Getting a place for Huniño was merely a bonus.

Before the performance, Racaza’s preparations concentrated on discipline, which included avoiding cold drinks and shouting. With the knowledge of Sto. Niño guiding him in his performance, Racaza felt relaxed, as though he were just singing in the shower, despite usually feeling nervous whenever he sets foot on stage. He said he was surprised of the results because all of the contestants were really very good; in fact, some of them were already award winning professional singers. He feels thankful for having been a major winner in this prestigious contest.

“Maybe because I did not see it as a competition, I made it as an offering to the Sto Nino, for he guided me through the years, and it’s my time to pay him back by singing songs for him and sing them from the heart,” added Racaza.

In the article “Ninth Huniño Finals Tonight”, the freeman stated that the winner will receive a reward of P50,000, while the second and third placers will get P30,000 and P20,000, respectively. The Best Interpreter will take home P5,000. All finalists will be awarded P10,000 each. When asked what his plans are with the money, Racaza said that he plans on saving it, and when the right time comes he will use it for tuition fees and other sensible things in the future.

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