An inspirational song that spoke of national unity amidst diversity won the top prize at the Grand Finals night of ASOP (A Song Of Praise) Songwriting Music Festival held at a packed Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sept. 24.
The song "Purihin Mo Ang Dios Oh Pilipinas", written by amateur Anton Estrella Jr., beat 11 other for the P500,000 grand prize that went with being named Song of the Year. It was interpreted by Gail Blanco, called “exciting” by celebrity judge Tito Sotto.
The finals night was the culmination of a weekly inspirational songwriting contest which began airing on UNTV channel last year, in which monthly winners would compete for Song of the Year.
"Salamat sa ASOP dahil dito napapagbigyan kaming mga maliliit ng pagkakataon. Ang gabi na ito ay para sa Diyos," said the soft-spoken winner.
Sotto also told Estrella, "Anton, siguro kang amateur ka? Para kang pro!"
The first runner-up received P250,000 for the song "Pupurihin Ka Hanggang Sa Kailanman." It was penned by Annalyn Altejos and interpreted by Nikki Valdez, who also won won Best Interpreter and a P50,000 prize.
Second runner-up was "Puso Kong Nabuksan," written by Domingo Rosco Jr. Third prize went to "Reasons to Believe," composed by Rommel Arguelles and interpreted by "Livewire Idol" Gian Magdangal. The two winning composers were given P150,000 and P100,000, respectively.
A People's Choice award, determined through online voting, was handed to "Pag-Ibig ay Diyos", a song with lyrics described by prolific hitmaker Jim Paredes as "short and sweet". It was written by Jaime Enriquez and performed by balladeer Renz Verano.
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