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Filipino artists triumph anew in the “Talent Olympics” held in Los Angeles

Nhikzy Calma and Christiani Rebada show off their trophies to the Filipino American crowd at the gallery while their teammates celebrate behind them. Photo ©
Abner Galino

THE Philippine team for the 2017 World Championships of Performing Arts made history anew for the country when it won both the grand championships in the junior and senior leagues and bagged more than 200 gold, bronze and silver medals.

Cristiani Rebada took the Senior Grand Champion Performer of the World title while Nhikzy Calma bested everyone in his category to bring home the Junior Grand Champion Performer of the World title. Previous Philippine teams achieved the same feat at the WCOPA during the years 2013 and 2014.

Nhikzy, an upcoming showbiz talent in the Philippines, impressed the judges with his dance routine on a Michael Jackson’s song medley. He could not contain his tears when his name was called twice during the awarding ceremony.

Thank po kay Lord, saka po sa mga taga-Showtime. Hindi po ako makakarating dito kundi dahil sa kanila,” Nhikzy said between sobs as he tried to hold together the two trophies that he won: one for junior dance division championship and one for the junior grand champion performer of the world.

The boy’s father, Nikky, (who was also a dancer) was spotted by reporters shortly after the awarding ceremony and was asked for any comment to which, the young father smilingly said Proud na proud po. Thank you po!” as he slowly inched himself in the crowd.

Caption: Philippine team WCOPA national director Gerry Mercado whispers to the ear of junior grand champion Nhikzy Calma shortly after the awarding ceremonies at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center on Friday (July 7). Photo © Abner Galino

Gerry Mercado, who was also honored as the 2017 WCOPA Superior National Director Award, expressed elation for the achievements of this year’s delegation.

I already have a strong feeling early this day that we will be able to win back-to-back. I’m so glad that we achieved just that,” Mercado said.

I am so proud of all of them. Watching quietly in the sidelines, controlling my emotions, my heart is full of pride. Seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter and cheers of Team Philippines makes me so happy. Slowly, we have built a good reputation in the performing arts scene and I pray that in the future we get more support. The Filipino talent is just so amazing,” Jed posted on his Facebook.

Madela, the WCOPA 2005 grand champion performer, has been helping Philippine competitors ever since he won by coaching them and accompanying them at the competition venue in Long Beach.

Last year, a dance group called Junior New System won as Senior Grand Champion Performers of the World.

Dubbed as the “Talent Olympics,” the 2017 WCOPA was held from June 30 to July 9 in Long Beach, California.

The other Filipino competitors who made it to the finals of the junior league were Hannah Castillo (Junior Champion Vocalist of the World), model Marie Golotario, the vocal groups HK sisters and the Gleetery.

In the senior league, those who made it to the finals were instrumentalist Carlin Don Aris Elorde, variety artist Spark Lobingco, vocalist Kelly Ellen Garcia, vocalist Alexandra Pasturan and vocalist Erika Anne Buensuceso.

Other notable performers were Madonna Decena who won six medals, actor Noel Lopez who won eight medals and singer-model Anthony Rosaldo who garnered six medals.

The Filipino talents’ victory came despite the absence of any support from the Philippine government. It was the local Fil-Am community who supported the team during their stay in Los Angeles.

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Abner Galino
The author is a poet and a writer. He was a cultural worker before he became a reporter for Tinig ng Masa and Malaya Midday Edition during the Marcos regime. He later became a reporter of People's Tonight shortly after 1986 EDSA Revolution. He went on to become its Chief of Reporters, City Editor and News Editor. He retired after 15 years in the Journal Group of Publications. He now writes for Weekend Balita and the US Asian Post (USAP), weekly Filipino-American newspapers based in Los Angeles, California.

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