Young and thriving - SunStar

Young and thriving

3 Cebu talents set to make bigger waves in 2019

By Patricia May P. Catan and Christian Jay B. Quilo
Photos: Contributed


THE Queen City of the South is teeming with talented Cebuanas and Cebuanos in various fields, especially among the young. Year after year, Cebu is graced by new talents as we watch them on screen or on stage and behind the mic or behind the mixer. This 2019 is going to be the same exciting year as the previous ones as we highlight three young and thriving talents of Cebu who are making it big in their respective industries.

Joachim Giacobbe

Joachim Giacobbe, 25

1. How did you get into DJing?

It started when I discovered trance music. I saw that not a lot of DJs here in Cebu played trance. Considering it was so big outside of the country, I was surprised that it never really took off here. That was when I told myself that I should learn how to DJ so I could represent the sound myself. I owe a lot to my mentors, Manolo Aballe and Jan Areno, who taught me the basics and the ins and outs of the industry. I wouldn’t be here if they didn’t believe in me.

2. What do you love most about what you do?

I love it when the crowd goes absolutely mental with tracks they have never heard before. That kind of satisfaction is something you don’t trade for anything.

3. For you, what makes a good DJ?

A good DJ, in my opinion, is one who can rock a dance floor with his/her own distinct sound. It is easy to make a crowd move with playing the hits you hear on the radio but a good DJ can light up the dance floor with their own style and mastery of flow sans the hits.

4. What’s your personal brand as a DJ?

I’d like to see myself as one of the younger DJs who represents the other side of dance music: trance, techno, house, and progressive. I push for a more diverse clubbing scene here in Cebu and all around the country, for that matter.

Joachim Giacobbe

5. How do you prep for a gig?

I always do my best to keep my folders updated. I do not like repeating sets. Most of my sets these days are a product of the moment. I avoid preparing sets beforehand because each night will have a different set of people, a different vibe. You will need to feel the crowd to know which tracks to play next. This cannot be achieved if I stubbornly stick to a set I prepared without first reading the crowd.

6. What are some challenges that you face in the industry/field that you are in?

Crab mentality is always one problem that hounds the industry. Lack of diversity is another.

7. Do you plan do this long term?

I’ll be DJing as long as I can still hear, but with that said, I have always seen DJing as just being a hobby for me — one that has brought me so much joy the past few years.

8. Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Five years from now, I see myself leading more trance and techno nights all around the country.

9. What are your projects for 2019?

This 2019, I will be focusing more on my residency in LAST. So far, it has proven to be the perfect platform for my sound and for other young visionary DJs of Cebu.

10. How was 2018 for you, career-wise?

Career-wise, 2018 reminded me why I started to DJ in the first place. It’s easy to get jaded in this industry. 2018 made me remember where I came from.

11. Any collaborations in 2019?

I just did a three-hour back-to-back set with Kirby Año a couple of weeks ago and I admit, that was a whole lot of fun. I look forward to more back-to-back sets with Kirby and other DJs this 2019.

12. I think it’s safe to say that you’ve already made a name for yourself as a DJ. How do you think you reached this level of prominence?

I don’t know actually. I’m just happy and lucky to be around, to be honest. I’d like to think though that my dedication to this craft and my sound has brought me to where I am now.

13. What’s your advice for aspiring DJs?

Don’t step on anybody else’s shoes. Just keep concentrating on your sound and your style and you’ll get there eventually.


Jacqueline Chang

Jacqueline Chang, 24
Singer and Former Vocal Director at Brown Academy of Music

1. How did you get into singing?

I was raised by a family of musicians, so music really runs through my veins. I’ve got this strong urge since I was a kid. I’ve always wanted to perform and I was always thrilled when I hear or watch excellent musicians do their thing. My goodness! My mom even had my singing voice recorded when I was too young to remember everything using our karaoke and cassette player. I always hum a tune or two while writing notes at school when I was 6 years old. My seatmate hears it everyday and told everyone including my teacher. One day, they pushed me to sing inside the classroom, which I nervously did. Until the teachers invited me to sing at school programs, then I told my mom I’m gonna sing at school. It was very nerve wracking, but I’ve never met a mother as supportive as my mom, so I did it! And the rest is history.

2. What do you love most about what you do?

The thing that I love most about what I do is seeing others happy. As human beings, we get tired at times. But when I see them happy, supporting me and loving my craft, it just lifts my spirits and gets me going. My work demands a lot of traveling and another one that I also love is getting to eat delicacies from different places. I just love food you know!

3. For you, what makes a good singer?

For me, a good singer is one who doesn’t just impress people by singing blankly while overdoing vocal calisthenics. A good singer understands and interprets the song while using vocal calisthenics as if it’s wired and connected to the heart. The main purpose is to let the people feel and be part of the experience every time you perform. For me, aside from the vocal cords, your heart is supposed to be the main instrument.

Jacqueline Chang

4. What’s your personal brand as a singer?

I kind of love singing mellow or sad songs. It may sound weird to you but it’s like therapy to me. I’ve been known to perform different genres because of the competition “Sinulog Idol,” albeit people seem to be pleased when I sing sad songs. In fact, that’s how I got much recognition and hence the title, “Maoy Queen of Cebu.”

5. How do you prep for gig?

Basically, I sleep a lot before the day of the event. I swear it really helps! But most of the time I only get about 2-4 hours of sleep, other times I don’t even have the chance to do it so I just do 15-20 minutes of power naps. As an ambivert, I condition myself before meeting people with different types of personalities. I always make sure to do a few vocal warm ups and I discipline myself to the nth degree in avoiding sweets, allergens, cold, or spicy food. And of course, most of all, you’ll never go wrong with a prayer.

6. What are some challenges that you face in the industry/field that you are in?

Oh, there’s a lot of them. The pressure. Pressures of reinventing yourself and brainstorming ways in order to stay relevant because having hit songs aren’t an assurance that people will still remember you five years from now. So, you really have to stay updated and give people something new every now and then. Also, a lot of other good artists are already making names. I mean, this is not a competition for me. Never will I compete against someone because I’m not the kind of person who pits myself against other people. But in this industry, there’s a lot you have to think about if you want to make it. One new artist can easily make the people forget about you. That’s why you have to leave your mark! But how do you do that? There’s a lot of people in the industry and you can’t have the same trademark. See? There’s pressure even when I talk about it. But still, I don’t contend with others and I make them inspirations instead.

7. Do you plan to do this long term?

Yes, of course. As a youngster, this has been a definite course I see myself doing as I was growing up, no matter what. It’s just a big part of my life that I cannot relinquish ever.

8. Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Still the same person but with a bigger name. Sounds ambitious but please let me claim it. It’s a new year! Maybe I’ll also know and meet a lot of people, still travel to places I’ve never been to and eat delicacies, and some business ventures. I think I’ve made a lot of music by that time. By saying a lot, I meant not just the quantity but also experiments on different genres. I’ll have my own home which is probably the most realistic since I’m slowly investing on it now. I’m still doing a lot of shows and concerts, so I’m hoping to have longevity in my career as everybody’s aiming for it too.

9. What are your projects for 2019?

For 2019, I am challenging myself to venture into the world of vlogging since a lot of people have been pushing me to do it for a while now. I’m slowly working on it and preparing myself as it takes a lot of practice with all the work needed in just one video. So, to everybody reading this, please do subscribe on my YouTube channel soon. As for my singing career, there will be a lot of shows to watch out for. New songs? You bet! And a whole lot of other surprises in store for this year.

10. How was 2018 for you, career-wise?

It rained massive surprises for me. It was real good. I just had my very first major brand endorsement for a mobile telecommunications company patronized by a lot of people nationwide. I was really flattered when I knew about the offer. I was able to work with a real smart gentleman, Matteo Guidicelli for a brand commercial which is super duper wondrous.
I also got to meet Jessica Sanchez in flesh before my year ended. Surprise! I was one of the guests alongside Bugoy Drilon who was really awesome and entertaining and Mark Mabasa among others of her major concert here in Cebu.

I got to be a part of Islands Souvenirs’ Cut and Style Fashion Show and walked the runway wearing their own customized cutout shirts for Sinulog which is really a dream come true for me. Another one ticked off my bucket list!

We had Bisaya Music Fest where I sang an original song produced by Viva Records and Kasikas Records. And this time with a different genre! These are some to name a few. I can truly say that it’s been my year regardless of the hurdles I needed to jump over.

11. Any collaborations in 2019?

Yes? None? Maybe? Wanna take a guess? For now, I can only say that I’m ecstatic for the coming months this year!

12. I think it’s safe to say that you’ve already made a name for yourself as a singer. How do you think you reached this level of prominence?

I know I’m not really there yet but somehow I’m currently on the right track. What brought me to where I am now is my passion for everything that I do, my life choices, and maybe because I never stopped. I’ve been doing this since I was six years old and I’m still here. A lot of people are really talented but they give up once the going gets tough. I know some talented people who weren’t as gifted as others, but they persevered so much that they’re the ones who made it.

3. What’s your advice for aspiring singers?

Toughen up. You may see people living a good life and all on social media, and then tell us we have such easy lives. Trust me, we work very hard as much as you do and it’s not as easy as it seems. What you see is just the tip of the iceberg. Be yourself. This industry has a tendency to change people especially when you’re overwhelmed (which most of the time you will be). Some people will also try to change you, but never give in. At the end of the day, it’s really beautiful to be loved for being real than for being someone you’re not. Also, remember that the beginning is the hardest because you’re still making a name for yourself. Once you pass the hardest part, you don’t just stop there. You will meet a lot of turbulence and doubters along the way but don’t let it shake you. They’re actually helping you build a stronger foundation to overcome more challenges and the industry is filled with it. It is not for the weak. Most of all, forever be humble; don’t forget to take some time to breathe and enjoy every happy moment this path brings.


Alem Garcia, 23

1. How did you get into acting?

My first acting experience was in the film “Magbuwag Ta Kay,” starring Medyo Maldito and Akiko Solon. I played Div, one of their best friends. I also auditioned for the Manila staging of the hit Bisaya musical, “Gugmang Giatay.” Following that, I became a member of the 2TinCans Theatre Co. Earlier this year, I also performed in The Vagina Monologues.

2. What do you love most about what you do?

As a performer, the idea of performing alone makes me feel alive. However, the actuality of doing things that pertain to my passion, which is performing, makes me feel so fulfilled. Not everyone is given the chance to do what they love, so more than anything else, it is the “moment” that I love the most in what I do.

3. For you, what makes a good actor?

If he/she lives up to the truth of the character he/she is portraying, then that’s a good actor for me.

4. What’s your personal brand as an actor?

Well, it’s hard for me to answer this honestly since I’m still kind of new to the industry. However, as I’ve been doing my show “Laysho Ka Di?!,” my audience, the Kitty Katkats love me for portraying the maldita social climber, a character who is both comedic and intimidating at the same time. However, I’d like to believe that it is my ability to show variation in one setting that sets my brand apart as an actor.

Alem Garcia

5. How do you prep for a gig/project?

Before I receive a project, I analyze, together with my management group, as to how I should make my brand as an artist and the nature of the project work together. After knowing all the directions needed, I ensure that my body is conditioned before I do it. So vitamins and diet to the nth level jud hahaha. Though I can’t really get away with stress, at the end of the day, I guess it’s having a clear mindset that makes me hit the goal.

6. What are some challenges that you face in the industry/field that you are in?

Since I work mostly on social media and on stage, it’s really the demand of giving my audience something new that’s really hard. Since there is a lot of artists coming in, the ability to remain relevant is a big challenge for me.

Alem Garcia

7. Do you plan do this long term?

Definitely yes!

8. Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Since I consider myself a performer, I will work my hardest to have more sing-and-dance shows in the different parts of the country. Also, I plan to make more relevant content online. Furthermore, if given the chance, I’d love to do more films.

9. What are your projects for 2019?

I don’t want to spoil it since I love to keep my Kitty Katkats always surprised, but they should expect a bigger and bolder Alem Garcia for 2019. I will be doing projects that will let me cross my borders so they better watch out for that!

10. How was 2018 for you, career-wise?

Three words: vibrant, beautiful & memorable.

11. Any collaborations in 2019?


12. I think it’s safe to say that you’ve already made a name for yourself as an actor/online personality. How do you think you reached this level of prominence?

GRIT. In this industry, there are people who have massive talents, beautiful faces and great influence. However, it is the ability to go through whatever challenge this life gives that makes you leave your mark. It is definitely my grit that sustains my position in this industry. I am still not in my prime but I believe I can go there because I have grit.

14. What’s your advice for aspiring actors?

Remove the word “QUIT” in your vocabulary.

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