How ace composers  Moy Ortiz, Trina Belamide, Jonathan Manalo craft melodies

The BGC Arts Center recently presented “Pinoy Playlist Music Festival 2023: Gunita at Mga Búkas”, a music showcase curated by National Artist for Music Maestro Ryan Cayabyab, Moy Ortiz, Noel Ferrer and Maria Isabel Garcia.

The annual festival has become known as the biggest and most inclusive celebration of original Pilipino music, covering various genres and generations.


TRINA Belamide


At a panel discussion during the event, Filipino songwriters Jonathan Manalo, Trina Bejamide and Moy Ortiz explained their experiences crafting songs — how each attempt is marked by the constant search for inspiration, rejections and setbacks, but also resilience and the never-ending urge to create.

The composer meticulously crafts lyrics, tunes and arrangements, often pouring his or her heart and soul into every note. Each song is a labor of love, honed through hours of dedication and refining.

But not every song finds its way into the limelight. Rejection is an inevitable companion in this musical journey, whether it’s by a record label, a producer, or a competition panel.

“Tayo as a singer as a songwriter, kailangan natin matutunan na i-handle yung hurt. Maraming times na mahu-hurt kayo (As singers-songwriters, we need to learn how to handle the hurt. You will be hurt many times),” said Manalo.


MOY Ortiz


Dati nagtatampo ako, pero natutunan ko na hindi lahat ng nagawa kong songs ay great songs. Kapag na-reject ka, huwag ka tumigil. ‘Yun yung life natin as creators, kailangan tuloy lang” (Before, I would sulk, but I realized that not all the songs I made were great songs. If you get rejected, don’t stop. That’s our life as creators, we just need to go on), he added.

For Ortiz, “the world may reject your song, but if you’re in love with your song, as with your child, that’s all that matters. And having given birth to a song, you have no control whether it becomes a national hit. Gawa lang ng gawa ng kanta (just create and create music), and the songs will find their audience.”


Jonathan Manalo


A common struggle for singer-songwriters is the dreaded creative block. Inspiration can sometimes fade, leaving artists feeling stuck and frustrated.

Bejamide recalled a situation where she needed to write a breakup song for Regine Velasquez. She was bereft of ideas at the time, so the result was “panget talaga (really not good). She let it go and watched a movie instead, and immediately after the show, “while walking out the theater I knew what to write,” she said.

To reignite their creative spark, musicians turn to diverse sources — travel, nature, personal experiences, collaborations with fellow artists. They try to seek inspiration in unexpected places the simplest of moments.

Every homegrown singer-songwriter — Belamide, Manalo and Ortiz among them — holds a unique vision for OPM. They all yearn for the day when OPM becomes a universal language, reaching hearts beyond borders. Their dream is to see the OPM flag fly high on the international stage, representing the rich culture, soulful melodies and unparalleled talent of the Philippines.

For that, Filipino musical artists will continue to mine their hearts and guts and do the everyday grind: “Gawa lang ng gawa.”