Voice of Filipina conquers Germany

Dyscem Echivarre Mueldener

By Jhay-ar A. Book

MUSIC resides in every Filipino home. No birthday or fiesta is complete without the videoke. It is no surprise then why many Filipinos are making a name in the music industry locally and abroad. Include in the list Dyscem Echivarre Mueldener, whose voice has brought her to places beyond she imagined.

Dyscem, a Filipina who was married to a German, won first place in the Voice of McDonald’s (VOM) worldwide singing competition West Europe division and will compete as a global semi-finalist in the final rounds of the VOM. Born in Cebu City, Philippines, she now lives in Germany with her husband and four-year-old daughter.

Voice of McDonald’s, a singing contest showcasing the talents of the giant fast-food chain’s crew and managers worldwide, will bring top 16 global semi-finalists coming from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, to compete in the final rounds at the McDonald’s 2012 Worldwide Convention in Orlando, Florida, USA, in April.

Luck is indeed in the hands of Dyscem whose good life in Germany doesn’t stop from having a supportive husband and lovely daughter but goes beyond having experienced recording tracks, shooting music videos, meeting producers, and traveling the best places in the world.

“It was life-changing (referring to her winning in the VOM in her division). I’ve been to places I’ve never been. I experienced recording and shooting a music video. I met producers in London and in Germany too. I’ve been to London to record a video and a song. The last event was I’ve been to Portugal last January 18-20 to sing to the McDonald’s European managing directors,” she says.

“The experience visiting different places because of me singing and because of McDonald’s was really life-changing. The support of the managing directors was great and really awesome,” she adds.

All these she honors to her roots back in the Philippines. She says her father is a choir instructor and her relatives to her father’s side are into music too. She was also a member of the band in the Philippines, although she admits she’s never joined a singing contest in the country.

Dyscem, who takes pride of her roots, enjoys the support of the Filipino community in Germany. “All my friends here in Germany, the Filipino community, they are very excited about this event,” she says.

Dyscem’s musical influences include Adele, Eva Cassidy, Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Bruno Mars, to name a few.

Although she’s on top of her life, Dyscem’s excitement doesn’t spare her family – a true Filipina.

Like any competitor, Dyscem hopes to make her family and friends proud by winning the contest, but nothing could make her loved ones prouder by saying, “Win or lose, I’m fine with it. I felt like a winner already because staying in Orlando for two weeks with my whole family is already a prize for me, and what happened on my VOM journey was already a dream come true.”

The champion in the VOM finals will take home US$25,000; second place, US$17,000; third place, US$12,500; fourth place, US$7,500; and global semi-finalists will get US$3,000 each.



New Zealand celebrates Sinulog

TAKING off with a procession of the image of the Santo Niño and the Virgin Mary at 10:30 a.m., nearly 10,000 people gathered together for this year’s Sinulog at the North Shore Events Centre in Auckland, New Zealand on January 15. The Sinulog Dance Troupe performed a praise dancing followed by a liturgical mass celebrated [...]

Festival unites Sogoranons

IT WAS aimed at showcasing Sogod’s rich cultural heritage and natural wonders but the town’s first Panagsogod Festival did more than that.

The festival, Sogod Vice Mayor Lissa Marie Durano said, united Sogoranons and bound them closer together.

View photos of Panagsugod Festival

Activities and preparations for the month-long celebration, which culminated on July 25 in time for the feast of town patron St. James the Apostle, made Sogoranons work hard together to see the realization of their dream.

The vice mayor said she was especially happy with other town officials and employees who cooperated with her to make the celebration successful.

The festival, aptly carrying the slogan “Ang Sinugdanan” (The Beginning), started with street dancing and a parade.

After, the street dancers had a showdown at the town’s reclamation area.

Tribu Magbubukid, represented by dancers from the Carmen National High School and sponsored by the Association of Barangay Councils, was declared grand champion in the competition.

Kulturang Sogoranon won first place and the Best in Musicality award; Pundok Bulawanong Sogoranon placed second and bagged the Best in Costume and Best in Street Dancing awards, while Pundok Calumboyan was picked for third place.

Named Festival Queen was Miss April Rica Lumbab, 20 years old, of Northeastern Cebu Colleges.

Rep. Ramon “Red” Durano VI (5th district, Cebu) and Governor Gwendolyn Garcia wee present in the celebration. Provincial Board members Agnes Magpale and Rosemarie Durano were also there.

Vice Mayor Durano said the festival is among a series of activities aimed at promoting Sogod as a tourist destination. (MVG)

Argao celebrates 400 years of township

This year, Argao is undertaking a series of activities in line with its 400th Charter Day celebration.  The town presents a progressive face, with free wi-fi at the Municipal Hall and other technology innovations, as it commemmorates 400 years of township. Watch videos, go over photos, and read interesting tidbits about this second-class municipality in the Cebu Directory feature on Argao.

First Panagsogod Festival

Sogod’s first Panagsogod Festival, aptly carrying the slogan “Ang Sinugdanan (The beginning),” will culminate tomorrow with street dancing and a fiesta banquet at the Municipal Hall.

Vice Mayor Lissa Marie Durano said the festival is among a series of activities aimed at showcasing the town’s rich cultural heritage and potential as a tourist destination.

(Watch video of mayor inviting visitors to Sogod)

The Panagsogod Festival’s culminating activities are timed with the feast of town patron St. James the Apostle.

A shower of events, held since July 1 and which included a mass church wedding, talent showdown, agro-fair, special dinner affair at popular beach resort Alegre, had preceded tomorrow’s celebration highlights.

Durano said several contingents will be joining the street dancing activity that will be held tomorrow during the town fiesta.

The town of Sogod considers the Panagsod Festival as an opportune time for a renewal of unity, cooperation, and prosperity.

Sogod highlights beginnings

Sogod is Visayan term for “start”, and locals said the town is so named because it is a place of beginnings.

It is in Sogod that fine white sand stretching farther north begins, ending the string of dark sand beaches in preceding municipalities.

This meeting in contrast of white and dark can be seen only during low tide, at a spot where a sign marks a cave that once served as hiding place of Japanese soldiers during the war.

In this same area are markings resembling hoofs that religious Sogoranons believe were made by the horse of St. James The Apostle, the town’s patron saint, as he makes his way on horseback to the Sogod church through the cave.

Another possible reason for the name “Sogod”, residents say, is because the shift to Catholicism in the north during the Spanish period started in the town.

It’s not therefore surprising that Sogod celebrates beginnings through the “Panagsogod Festival” – which will have its culminating activities on Friday.

Vice Mayor Liza Marie Durano, who is acting mayor, said she sees the potential of the town to become a destination and invites tourists – both local and foreign – to visit and sample the many things that the town has to offer.

About Sogod

Sogod, approximately 60 kilometers from central Cebu City, shares boundaries with Borbon on the north, Catmon on the south, Tuburan and Tabuelan on the west, and Camotes Sea on the east.

It has 18 barangays with a total land area of 12,413.35 hectares, a large part of which is made up mostly of broad alluvial plain (75.85%) while the remaining portions are mountains (25.15%).

The town recorded an annual income of P34 million in 2007, and it had a population of 30,308 or 5,000 households as of the 2005 census.

Unpublished written accounts say Sogod existed as a civil government in 1764 under the authority of the Spanish provincial government known as “Tribunal de Mestizos.”

It was headed by a teniente in the person of Juan Daligdig.

In 1903, Sogod was merged with the town of Catmon but an act of the defunct Philippine Assembly separated them again on January 1, 1921.


A landmark destination in the town is the popular Alegre Beach Resort, with its premium on privacy, breathtaking view of the sea, fine sand, cool waters, cabanas taking inspiration from Spanish and Filipino architecture, and lush greens.

Other beach resorts are Calumboyan Public Beach, Tabunok Garden View Resort, and Northsky Beach Resort in Barangay Bawo.

Aside from white sand beaches, Sogod also a number of caves, springs, falls, and rivers.

A spring in the village of Bagatayam supplies water to the town through the Sogod Waterworks System. The spring has attracted tourists because its water has been reputed to have healing powers. A grotto of the Virgin Mary has been constructed in the place.

The St. James the Apostle Parish Church, built in 1842, is 170 years old and is a town cultural destination. Sogod also has a host of old school buildings, houses, and other structures.

At Sogod Central School in Bagatayam are astronomical platforms that served as the International Astronomical Observatory Post of the 1929 total solar eclipse. The town was then the center of the eclipse.

In Nahus-an Hills, 70 percent of farmers produce “kabog” or millet, a kind of cereal under the corn variety. The product is made in the famous Sogod delicacy “budbud kabog.”