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Palace honors FrancisM

By Joel Guinto, TJ Burgonio
INQUIRER.net, Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 07:04:00 03/19/2009

Filed Under: Entertainment (general), Music, Celebrities, Awards and Prizes

MANILA, Philippines?He wasn?t around to receive the honors, but FrancisM would have been proud of the tribute to him Wednesday as his teary-eyed widow and their eight children accepted the Presidential Medal of Merit intended for the ?Master Rapper? from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Malacaang.

Francis ?Master Rapper? Magalona, whose music inspired love of country and pride in being a Filipino, died of leukemia on March 6 at the age of 44.

Ms Arroyo handed the medal and a certificate to Magalona?s widow, Pia, in formal but brief ceremonies at Malacaang?s reception hall, following a video presentation of still photographs which the artist shot in different settings.

The video was a slide show of family pictures and Magalona at work, with one of his biggest hits, ?Kaleidoscope World,? playing in the background.

Another hit, ?Cold Summer Nights,? filled the Palace hall during the ceremony.

The awarding-cum-tribute to the rapper, songwriter, actor, director, photographer and TV show host turned emotional for Pia and their eight children.

?I was more teary-eyed because of the video presentation,? Pia told reporters. ?When it went on to the presentation of the medal, there was a wave of joy that overcame me. It was a feeling of happiness, more than anything else.?

Pia said their eldest daughter, Maxene, shed a tear during the presentation because she was close to her father.

?I think she?s very sensitive about her father?s loss because she was very close to him. I guess she tears up easily,? she said.

She said their family was proud of the honor bestowed on her husband, ?who is really a great patriot.?

The award was bestowed on Magalona ?for his musical and artistic brilliance, his deep faith in the Filipino and his sense of national pride that continue to inspire us.?

Arroyo also sought to have Magalona?s music played during the Independence Day celebrations on June 12.

?We still have to plan that...She [President] asked me who I?d like to interpret the songs, so we really have to sit down and think about that,? Pia told reporters after the ceremony.

Cecile Guidote Alvarez, presidential adviser on culture and executive director of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, said Magalona was honored for being a nationalistic composer.

Most of his recorded hits, including ?Mga Kababayan,? ?Man from Manila,? ?Ito ang Gusto Ko,? ?Three Stars and a Sun? and ?Kaleidoscope World,? instilled a love of country, added Press Secretary Cerge Remonde.

Magalona?s friends and co-hosts in the television noon-time show ?Eat Bulaga?, former Sen. Vicente ?Tito? Sotto III, now chair of the Dangerous Drugs Board, his brother Vic and Joey de Leon, as well as the show?s producer, Malou Choa-Fagar of Television and Production Exponents (TAPE), also attended the ceremonies.

It was Vic Sotto who announced Magalona?s passing on ?Eat Bulaga.?

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