“‘Di kita bibitawan sa paglalakbay.”

Great Philippine Song Hits“Hawak Kamay” by Yeng Constantino | Knowing very well that I am repeating myself, I will talk about Yeng Constantino and how she gets short shrift from the so-called cooler crowd because she became famous through a singing competition. In her case, it’s the foreign franchise Pinoy Dream Academy, that weird hybrid of Big Brother and those singing reality competitions that ran for two seasons and gave us this one earworm. Perhaps it is down to the power of television that this song is big: it is, by all means, a simple, if not a bit saccharine track, but right before then 18-year-old Yeng won the program this song was everywhere, not just on ABS-CBN properties. But she’s proved to be more than a reality show winner, translating her success to a lasting career with the right amount of cool cred (Raimund Marasigan produced two of her albums) and mass appeal success. I’ve liked her songs even if I don’t always cross paths with them: it manages to be both organic, for lack of a better term, and accessible. Again, more people should like it – and sure, a lot do, but you know, the cooler crowd going “ew” because she came from television. Sure, I get the criticism: most who win television singing contests tend to just be balladeers with big voices and not much beyond that. Sure, it sounds… gross. But when one of their ilk does, well… [NB]

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