Composer is Elvis of Cabiao

CABIAO, Nueva Ecija—He is a composer, poet and singer, who sings love songs to win people’s hearts: Vice Mayor Ernesto Talens has proven that politics is enterntainment.

He is dubbed as the Elvis Presley of Cabiao and he sings and plays the guitar in all kinds of gatherings: christening, birthdays, anniversaries, social gatherings and political meetings.

“No need to ask him twice. He loves to sing, and we love his songs,” a long-time resident said.

Talens, 45, who is popularly known as “Pompet,” was elected councilor in 2001, 2004, and 2007. He won as vice mayor in 2010.

The vice-mayor hass composed 40 songs about love but also about such subjects as patriotism, love of country and environment protection. He sings like Elvis Presley, but sometimes he sounds like Noel Cabangon, Joey Ayala and Gary Granada, who he says are his idols.

Coming from a political family (his father Ernesto, Sr was three-term board member and town councilor), Pompet first ran for a seat in the municipal council and came out on ninth place, just eight votes shy of the winning circle of eight.

The municipal hall (left) projects a rural character and atmosphere. Vice Mayor Talens (right) in one of his performances. FERDIE DOMINGO
“I tasted defeat in my firsst try at politics, so I went into exile and joined my father, who worked at the National Food Authority in Taguig. It was there I found, to my pleasant surprise, that I can compose songs,” he said.

He said he first wrote a poem and later it convert it into a song “because it is easier to compose a song if you have a poem, and the melody comes when you have lyrics.”

His first composition was “Pag-ibig Ko Sinta,” a four-stanza love song, and the others that followed were about environment conservation, including “Kamalayang Kalikasan,” a three-stanza song that became a local favorite.

Talens said the songs come to him when he is alone, or when he is driving his car, and the shortest time it took him to compose was three days, the longest was about one week.

The vice mayor composed and arranged the now immortal “Himno Kabyaw,” a foundation hymn, which he did with the help of municipal planning and development coordinator Jun Hipolito.

As a young boy, Talens learned to sing as a member of the Church choir and he joined singing competitions because he love to perform; it honed his skill and he gained exposure.

The town plaza. Photo at left shows the Cabiao Town Plaza and the elected town officials (right). FERDIE DOMINGO 
Talens did not finish his medical technology course at the Centro Escolar University, but he joined the Kalinangan ng mga Mandudula’t Mang-aawit para sa Nayon or Kampana, a group of 15 singers whose songs were selections popularized by Cabangon, Ayala and Granada.

The group was called “mga hilaw na aktibista” and they performed at rallies against the US military bases. Their mentor was Jon-jon Nogoy, a graduate of the UP Conservatory of Music and son of one of the members of Banda ‘96, the legendary musical band that played a role in the historic “Unang Sigaw ng Nueva Ecija.”

For its role in the revolution, Nueva Ecija earned the distinction as one of the rays in the Philippine flag, each ray representing the provinces that revolted against Spain.

Talens improved his skills by attending seminars conducted by PETA (Philippine Educational Theater and Arts) where he learned the rudiments from the likes of Soxy Topacio and Evelyn Vargas. Locally, his mentor in stage play is Angelita Magtira.

The vice mayor said he met in a bar in the Visayas his idol, Granada, whose song “Sarangola sa Ulan” he liked so much. “I told Gary I was one of his avid fans from Nueva Ecija.”

Granada arranged the jingle “Barangay Umali” for Gov. Aurelio Umali in the 2001 congressional elections. The jingle was a big hit among local folks and Umali beat the Joson family that ruled the province for almost half a century.

Talens said he and Mayor Gloria Crespo-Congco planned to establish a culture and arts academy in the town for talented and young people of Cabiao.


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