Writer’s Recap: A beacon of hope through melody in Innersoul’s ‘PUHON—Sulyap ng Sinag’

Last July 21, Innersoul dazzled and inspired the audience with their event, “Puhon: Sulyap ng Sinag.”

In celebration of 26 years of passion and purpose, De La Salle (DLS) Innersoul turned their dream of performing again onstage into a reality last July 21 at the Teresa Yuchengco Auditorium. PUHON: Sulyap ng Sinag highlighted the organization’s triumphs despite the many adversities they faced. The concert featured contemporary and original pinoy music (OPM) as well as and foreign songs that reflected the vocalists’ stories of hardships and victories as they grew up with Innersoul. 

A blast from the past 

The concert opened with their take on popstar royalty Sarah Geronimo’s Dulo, a tribute to those who are finding light in the dark as they travel through life. “Puhon. To hope alongside His (God’s) will…to prevail at whatever challenge life throws at you. To hope not only in Him but in us…sana sa dulo mahanap natin ang sinag,” Division Manager for Production and Logistics Darius Miguel and Natassia Valerio, company manager and division manager for human resources and documentation, expressed, welcoming the audience with a message of hope and light.

(To hope not only in Him but in us…hopefully in the end we will find the light.)

From Anything Worth Holding On To by Scott Allan to Sugarfree’s Hari ng Sablay and Hay Buhay, Innersoul brought brightness and color to the stage with their dazzling costumes and bright energy. After this amazing set of performances was a collection of testimonies from the members of the organization. The big question, “How did being in Innersoul changed your life?” was displayed on screen. 

“We are artists that are looking to perform. It feels more like we have a chance to show ourselves—express ourselves,” Division Manager for Finance Mico Imperial conveyed, expressing how Innersoul transformed their lives and gave them a sense of being and change in their lives. The performers made sure to impart that sweet victories may sometimes be accompanied by notes of bitterness and pain. Once again, they belted out Christina Grimmie’s I Bet You Don’t Curse God.

Their passion and love for their craft manifested further as they sang soulful renditions of Whitney Houston’s I Didn’t Know My Own Strength and I Look At You. Assistant Company Manager and Talent Manager Martha Ysabelle San Juan, together with Imperial, shared how their music was once their battlecry; each note turned into armor to find the perfect melody to continue. “Believe—this is what we held on to. We believed in ourselves and soon, we saw people who believed in us,” they divulged to the audience. This speech was then rounded up by a heartfelt performance of Fantasia Barrino’s I Believe. 

The performers then gracefully serenaded their audience with Sandalan by 6cyclemind. The words “Sandali nga. Teka lang. May nakalimutan ka, diba’t pwede mo kong iyakan?” reverberated around the hall. The tune felt like a hug, filling the auditorium with warmth and love. They reminded everyone that they were not alone with a performance of Invisible by Hunter Hayes, which drew the audience in even further. 

“We must look ahead. There is always hope for a better tomorrow,” Jordan Alvarez, junior member earnestly imparted. They expressed how meaningful this year’s concert was to the organization, as they thought that they would miss the chance to return onstage and perform  in front of people who wholeheartedly believed in them. With a grateful heart, they sang Andyan Si Ama, an original song written by DLS Innersoul’s musical director, Vince Mallari.

Heartfelt and inspired

Following a short intermission, the production kicked off its second segment with a clear message of hope in their rendition of Shawn Mendes’ Something Big. Accompanied by powerful strums of the guitar, the performers’ vocals charmed the audience as the group took the stage in bold red and black outfits. It was then succeeded by a medley of Zayde Wolf’s Higher Than High and Jung Kook’s Dreamers, which also featured eclectic choreography as the production reached its climax. Dancers from the La Salle Dance Company Street also amped up the energy and excitement onstage as they became one with the lyrics with each graceful move.

Quest’s OPM hit Sige Lang served as the highlight of the concert. This song showcased a sense of community that was obvious to the audience through the vocalists’ synergy throughout the production, as they sang, “Ano man ang pagsubok ‘di susuko. Alam kong kaya mo.” This was followed by a performance of 4th Impact’s Here We Go by an all-female group, which was enhanced yet again by euphonious backing vocals and choreographed dance. 

The student artists made it clear that they weren’t afraid to vault over the obstacles that they would face when they performed a powerful rendition of AfterImage’s Next in Line. Through a series of duologues and interview clips, a tale of challenges and triumphs was told, the latter of which was only possible through the people that gave their undying support to the performers. Serving as a testament to this experience, Innersoul sang, “You know I’m still standin’ better than I ever did, lookin’ like a true survivor,” from Elton John’s I’m Still Standing. 

Of shared love and passion 

To conclude the production, Innersoul energized the audience as they performed Sasamahan Kita, another song by Filipino singer-songwriter Quest. This song served as another highlight of the production, as all performing vocalists alternately sang individually and in chorus—a true showcase of not only each member’s skill but also of harmonious collaboration within the organization. 

Dear Evan Hansen’s You Will Be Found served as the final song, once again sharing a message of resilience while facing trials and tribulations. Taking strength and inspiration from each other, the organization sang its final hymn with voices of passion and hope, “Even when the dark comes crashing through, when you need a friend to carry you, and when you’re broken on the ground, you will be found.” Through the vocalists’ powerful melodies, DLS Innersoul reminds the audience that these challenges will pass and you will come out stronger than before. 

PUHON: Sulyap ng Sinag was successful in capturing the hearts of its audience through the soulful voices of DLS Innersoul’s performing members. A story of trials and triumph was perfectly portrayed through each carefully selected and expertly performed song—all of which culminated in a message of hope that could only be found in a community of passionate performers. Art thrives when it is fostered in an environment that supports and enriches; this production was an embodiment of exceptional, inspired art.

Aleeana Agustin

By Aleeana Agustin

Gwen Lizano

By Gwen Lizano

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