by Francis Pabiania | News Writer
Manolito Saldivar, assistant professor of physical education, is taking home multiple medals and two Divisions Champion titles from the 22nd World Championship of Performing Arts (WCOPA) competition held in Long Beach, California, July 6-15.
Saldivar won gold medals in Latin (Cielito Lindo-Spanish), Variety (Con Te Partiro-Italian), Opera (Nessun Dorma-Italian); and silver medals in Broadway (Singing in the Rain-English), Open (Ah Mes a Mis-French), and World (Dein Ist Mein Ganzes Herz-German).
He was also named the Division Champion of the World in Latin and Division Champion of the World in Opera.
He recalled that people congratulated and took pictures with him as he never expected his triumph, “I said WOW!!! No words can describe the feeling, I can’t recall it all. Hours later, I went to my room, called my wife back home…suddenly I cried and I couldn’t hold it while telling her what I got.”
Saldivar was among the singers, musicians, dancers, variety artists, actors and models who competed at the 22nd WCOPA, the only Olympic-style international meet for aspiring performers and entertainers held annually in the “Hollywood” area entertainment capital of the world.
Saldivar has been joining singing competitions since he was six years old in Butuan City, then in Dumaguete City at 19 years old, in ABS-CBN’s Pilipinas Got Talent Season 1 at 51 and TV5’s Talentadong Pinoy where he was a favorite contestant promoting Opera.
He shared that his team and other foreign contestants eyed him to enter the Grand Finals considering his ‘very daring’ rendition of a French song.
Saldivar who was in the same genre with Cristiani Rebada, last year’s Grand Performer of the World, said, “And I said to myself, this is a wonderful world… If he was able to make it, I could also possibly make it. True to my belief… I also made it.”
He also expressed thanksgiving to God who gave him the gift of talent, people, friends, family, relatives, institutions, and to his wife, Jenny who suggested that he join PGT before and who chose his song that led him to the semi-finals. “From there on, more color to my life has been added.”
Opera music was introduced to him by Asst. Professor Elman S. Caguindangan. “Singing has been part of my life since I was a child. My music has evolved. I started with Philippine ballads…and still am open to learn some songs that might interest me,” he said.