Meet Alberta’s ‘Kuya Germs’ | Global News

Meet Alberta’s ‘Kuya Germs’

/ 01:13 AM September 29, 2013

KUYA TONY Tony Surtida (far left in hat) and the 12 finalists of the Pinoy Singing Sensation

Didn’t we all grow up watching an amateur singing contest in our backyard?  Well, that’s one culture Filipino overseas workers (OFW) packed with them abroad.  Even at the top most part of globe, close to the North Pole, there is a Filipino singing competition.

Here in Alberta, Canada, a Pinoy Singing Sensation (PSS) contest just concluded its 4th season this summer with great success.  The PSS Team headed by its founder, Tony Surtida, goes around Alberta at summer time looking for talents.  Surtida believes anywhere in the world there is a Filipino, there is an innate talent waiting to be discovered.  He understands the limitations of being an overseas Filipino worker(OFW) so he brings the contest to their doorstep by conducting elimination rounds in every key city of the province.


Popularly known as “Kuya Tony,” Surtida is the chief executive officer of Le Tigre Entertainment Productions.  He is fondly known as Canada’s counterpart of the Philippines’ legendary talent manager German Moreno or “Kuya Germs.”  Passionate about the singing talent of our race, Kuya Tony put up the singing contest in 2009.


Asked what motivated him to create PSS, he said: “In 2008 I was invited to be a judge in a singing contest.  I saw the limitless possibilities that a talent competition done right and done well, could do for the Filipino community.”

Immediately the following year, he launched what was to become the most anticipated singing contest for Filipinos in Alberta.

WINNER Cheenee Morales (center) of Sarangani with her family right after the grand finals

Surtida is originally from Quezon City, he moved to Edmonton in 1989. He is a product of the De La Salle University where he holds a diploma in Political Science.  He is an active member of the Filipino community who has helped organize a variety of events such as basketball tournaments, karaoke singing competitions and some charity fund raising events.

The first PSS competition was held in 2009 with 33 contestants.  Following its success, Kuya Tony decided to expand in 2010 by conducting auditions outside of Edmonton City. The same year he launched the Junior Edition.  In 2011, the competition introduced new features: contestants outside of Alberta province could participate through video auditions.  Also, web voting and the Masters Edition were introduced.

This summer, PSS just got bigger by inviting over, straight from the Philippines, one of the most honored names in the country’s music industry, composer  Vehnee Saturno.

Saturno along with his partner Ladine Roxas flew all the way from Manila to grace the competition and serve as judges.  Completing the panel of judges were Filipino-Canadians Glen Bermundo and Nina Aller.  Like other international talent competitions on TV, judging of the PSS was accompanied by coaching, encouraging contestants to enhance their talent and to continue singing.


Grand champion

This year’s grand champion is a 23-year old nurse from Sarangani, South Cotabato who moved to Canada last year to join her family.  Cheenee Morales bested 17 other contestants from all over Alberta.  Her winning song “I Believe” by Fantasia Barrino received an standing ovation from the audience.

She took home $2,500 as grand prize.  “The best part, aside from the cash incentive,” she said, “is making new friends in the Filipino community.  This is the long-term prize I received.”

The $1,000-second prize went to Dreamie Holman, an Edmontonian mother of two, who originally comes from Pasay City.  The $500-third prize went to Melanie Agostinho, an experienced lounge singer who had joined several competitions in the past.

Kuya Tony has big plans for PSS. He envisions to bring the show across Canada and the US.  “My projection,” he said “is to hold a PSS World Championship in the Philippines represented by contestants from different parts of the globe.”

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Sounds overwhelming for now but he said, “with God everything is possible.”

TAGS: Entertainment, OFW, Overseas Filipino workers, Singing Contest

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