(Photo grabbed from John Mark Saga's Twitter profile)

MUSIC THEATER alumnus John Mark Saga finished first runner-up in the third season of the TV singing contest “Tawag ng Tanghalan” last Sept. 28.

Saga performed a ballad version of Kitchie Nadal’s “Huwag na Huwag Mong Sasabihin” in the grand finals, which earned him a standing ovation from the judges.

Nagkaroon ako ng connection with the song kaya parang naisip ko na kahit rock siya, may potential siya to be an anthem na parang ballad,” Saga said in an interview with the Varsitarian.

It was Saga’s second time joining Tawag ng Tanghalan this year.

In the contest’s second season last year, Saga held one of the longest winning streaks in the contest, which spanned 10 weeks, but failed to make it past the semifinal round.

Elaine Duran, co-holder of the record streak, is this year’s grand champion.

“This time, siguro ang mas nagbago is nabawasan iyong pagiging harsh ko sa sarili ko and na-allow ko ‘yung love and positivity na pumasok sa akin, and sila ‘yung nag-overpower this time,” Saga said.

Saga, who graduated from the University’ s Conservatory of Music earlier this year, added that support from the Thomasian community helped him not only throughout the competition but also in his life after the contest.

Iyong totoong laban [nagsisimula] after ng competition, so I am sure na ready ako kung ano man iyong ibabato sa akin. Siyempre, hindi iyon magiging possible kung hindi dahil sa support ng Thomasian community and siyempre iyong mga supporters ko outside,” he said.

“Tawag ng Tanghalan” is a singing competition segment of ABS-CBN’s noontime show “It’s Showtime!” M.J.T.L. Nepomuceno


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