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Raise the Curtains: The 35th Aliw Awards ushers the return of live performances in the Philippines

Updated: Feb 12, 2023

Text and photo by Zip De Guzmán Jr., Luxembourg

Filipino Baritone Cipriano De Guzmán Jr. won Best Male Performance in a Concert and Rudolf Golez- Best Instrumentalist at the 35th Aliw Awards. Photo by the author

The 35th Aliw Awards Poster courtesy of the Aliw Awards Foundation Page

After a year of hiatus due to covid pandemic restrictions, the curtains were raised once more on December 5, 2022 for the 35th Aliw Awards at the Fiesta Pavilion of the Manila Hotel. It was a breath of fresh air for many artists in the live entertainment industry in the Philippines.

The Aliw Awards is one of the most prestigious and the oldest award giving body that recognizes all the live entertainment spectrum in the Philippines. It was founded by the National Press Club in 1975 and established by renowned Philippine journalist Alice H. Reyes. On its first award ceremonies held in 1977, Asia’s Queen of Songs- Ms.Pilita Corrales received the Entertainer of the Year Award. Other notable recipients of Aliw Awards include Celeste Legaspi, the late Rico J. Puno, Basil Valdez, Kuh Ledesma, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid, Ogie Alcasid, Martin Nievera, Gary Valenciano, Lea Salonga, Freddie Aguilar, Sarah Geronimo, Dulce, Tessie Tomas, Bert Marcelo, Liza Macuja-Elizalde, Lani Misalucha, Nonoy Zuniga, Erik Santos, Gerard Santos, and Charice Pempengco.

The Fiesta Pavilion of the Manila Hotel was enthusiastically crowded with celebrities and some of the finest artists in the country. The recipient of the 35th Aliw Award Entertainer of Year is Gerard Santos who was also the Entertainer of the Year in 2020. He also received the Best Actor in a Musical for “I Will, The Musical”. The Best Major Concert award was given to the Megastar, Ms. Sharon Cuneta and Asia’s Songbird, Ms.Regine Velasquez.

Other notable awards include the lifetime achievement awards given to John Lesaca, Vic Del Rosario, Nanette Inventor and Jay Enriquez; Hall of Fame Award given to Geleen Eugenio; the Legacy Awards given to Shirley Halili-Cruz, Atty. Persida Rueda Acosta and Nona Ricafort; Special Awards were also given to Senator Bong Revilla and Senator Cynthia Villar, Juliet Yap of Soroptimist, Nelia Cruz Sarcol, OWWA Administrator Arnell Ignacio, Santa Rosa City Mayor Arlene Arcillas, Marichu Tellano of National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the Halili-Cruz School of Ballet.

The Excellence Awards were given to the Friends for Cultural Concerns of the Philippines (FCCP), the Philippine Heritage Society, the Inner Wheel Clubs of the Philippines and Club Bulakeña.

The event was hosted by Miss World 1973 1st runner-up Ms. Evangeline Pascual and Pop-Tenor Johann Enriquez who also won Aliw’s Best Male Host. The event was directed by Jose Maria Hilario while the TV coverage was directed by Joey Nombres who is an Aliw Trustee.

The awards night would not be complete without live performances from some of the country’s top artists including Kathy Hipolito Mas who sang the Aliw Awards theme song, Jade Riccio, Kea Chan, Nina Campos, Janah Zaplan, Carla Guevarra Laforteza, Sheila Valderama Martinez, Jon Joven Uy with musical accompaniment provided by Martin David Band.

Other winners of the 35th Aliw Awards are Rudolf Golez- Best Instrumentalist, Cipriano De Guzmán - Best Male Performance in a Concert, Nina Campos – Best Female Performance in a Concert, Owin Odum, Best New Artist (male), Kanishia Santos - Best New Artist (female), Jon Joven Uy - Best Male Crossover Singer, Jade Riccio - Best Female Crossover Singer, Sheena Lee Palad - Best Inspirational Singer, Johann Enriquez - Best Male Host, Shiela Valderama Martinez - Best Female Host, Kathy Hipolto Mas and Ana Feleo tied as Best Female Classical Performer, Sherwin Sozon and Ivan Niccolo Nery tied for Best Male Classical Performer, Nicole Laurel Asensio - Best R&B/Jazz Artist, Janah Zaplan - Best Female Pop Artist, LA Santos - Best Male Pop Artist, Project Juan - Best New Group Artist, EJ Salamanti - Best Stand-Up Comedian, “Alay Kina Alice at Agnes”- Best Dance Production, MJ Arda - Best Choreographer, CLSU Maestro Singers - Best Choral Group, Xander Go - Best Lead Actor in a Play, Tex Ordoñez De Leon - Best Lead Actress in a Play, Kayla Rivera - Best Lead Actress in a Musical, Gerald Santos - Best Lead Actor in

a Musical, OJ Arci - Best Male Featured Performer in a Play; Lhorvie Nuevo - Best Female Featured Performer in a Play, Audie Gemora - Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Carla Guevara Laforteza - Best Featured Actress in a Musical, I Will Actors Ensemble - Best Ensemble performance; Josefino Chino Toledo - Best Music Direction for a Play or Musical, Antonino Rommel Ramilo - Best Composer for Original Music Theater; Ice Seguerra - Best Concert Stage Director; Ivan Lee - Best Musical Director for a Concert, Chris Millado - Best Stage Director for a Play, Pat Valera - Best Stage Director for a Musical, Anak Datu - Best Play, Mula sa Buwan - Best Musical, Tanghalang Bagong Sibol, Malabon City - Best Cultural Group, three won the Best Festival Practices and Performance; Masskara Festival 20é2 of Bacolod City, Fiestang Caragan 2022 , Mabalacat , Pampanga and Pandang Gitab Festival of Lubang, Mindoro Occidental, also three winners of the Best Festival Catalyst/Organizer; Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez of Bacolod City, Mayor Crisostomo Garbo of Mabalacat, Pampanga and Mayor Michael Orayani of Lubang, Mindoro Occidental, two winners for Best Special Events Production; Opera, My Master, My Slave and Taal: A Homage to Filipino Heritage Artistry, Nazer Salcedo - Best Special Events Director and the Science City Gymnasium , Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija - Best Venue for Theater and Concerts.

The Aliw Awards Foundation is headed by its founder and president, Alice H. Reyes with officers and trustees: Aristeo Garcia, 1st vice-president; Brian Lu, 2nd vice-president; Tess Tan, secretary; Francia Conrado, treasurer; Joey Nombres and Dennis Aguilar, PROs; Jose Dadulla Jr., auditor; Rema Manzano, ex-officio trustee, and trustees Ofelio Cajigal, Aisha Reyes, Birdie Reyes III, and Jory Reyes.

Editor's note:
The author of the article, Filipino baritone Ciprino De Guzmán Jr., was nominated in 2 categories and won the Best Male Performance in a concert award. He is a teacher, musician and an opera singer based in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.



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