The first season of ABS-CBN’s Idol Philippines proved that there is unlimited talent in the country. Thousands of hopefuls showcased their remarkable voices to millions— each carrying the dream of becoming the first winner of the reality singing search which captivated audiences on its international editions, particularly American Idol. Sixteen-year old Zephanie Dimaranan was hailed as the champion of the season, garnering 100% from the judges and audiences scores in the final round. Second placer Lucas Garcia from Laguna was also a standout, who captivated everyone with his strong vocals. Twenty four-year old Lance Busa also delivered world-class performances, taking him to the finale as the third placer of the edition. Apart from these three successful contestants, there is no denying that the talent was strong this season, and each one of the finalists placed big impacts to fans around the world.
If you’re talking about big impact, balladeer Ramil Permigones made waves during his auditions. Singing the classic “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” by award-winning singer Paul Anka, the singer from Lucena City surprised not only the judges but also people from around the world with his incredible world-class sound. Judge James Reid even mentioned that his vocals took him to a “black and white film.” The performance went on to become one of the most talked about auditions of the season, currently standing with 5 million plus views, and even caught the attention of Anka himself.
So who is Ramil Permigones and what is it about his soothing deep voice that made fans swoon?
From Lucena City, Quezon, 24-year-old Ramil started singing to tunes when he was 6 years old. He shares about how it all began, “Nagsimula po akong kumanta nung 6 years old ako, nung grade 1, dahil sinasali po ako ng aking tatay noon sa mga singing contest sa aming bayan [I started singing when I was 6 years old in first grade, because my father let me join local competitions].” He adds that he has always dreamed to have a career in singing and wishes to help his family through his talent, “Ang inspirasyon ko po sa aking pag awit ay aking pamilya at nangangarap po akong maging isang sikat na singer upang makatulong ako sa aking pamilya [My family is my inspiration in singing, and I want to be a famous singer to help them out].”
As a kid who is passionate about singing, he already experienced numerous successes and failures in local competitions. “Sumasali po ako sa mga barangay amateur contests. Minsan, nananalo. Minsan, natatalo [I used to join community amateur contests. Sometimes, I win. Sometimes, I lose].” But this did not stop him from sharing his talent to people. The Lucena-pride shares that he opened up a YouTube and a Smule account to upload his singing videos.
You might wonder, did he already have this deep and distinct voice from the beginning and was he always a fan of the classics? “Hindi po talaga ako classic singer. RNB at acoustic po talaga ang mga kinakanta ko pero nung nakarinig po ako ng classic song, tapos kinanta ko yun sa mga kasal, naappreciate po nila ang boses ko kaya tinuloy tuloy ko na [I’m not really a classic singer. I’m a fan of RNB and acoustic and this is the genre that I love, but I often sing classics in weddings, so I learned to appreciate these songs].”
He continued competing in local shows, pageants even, singing for weddings and gigs, guesting as the front act in concerts (Richard Poon’s concert at the Casino Filipino), until eventually, he joined the first season of reality variety show I Can See Your Voice in 2017, and for the first time, his vocals were heard on national TV. Sing-vestigators Alex Gonzaga, Angeline Quinto, Bayani Agbayani, Wacky Kiray and Andrew E. were all blown away and surprised by his voice that they all had to stand up from their seats.
Before he left the stage, jukebox queen Eva Eugenio, who was the contestant of the episode, even remarked, “With your talent, meron kang puwang sa daigdig ng music [With your talent, you have a place in the world of music].”
According to Ramil, his experience in the variety show helped him gain more confidence to join Idol Philippines. Fast forward two years later, he was standing in front of the Asia’s songbird Regine Velasquez, the country’s most streamed artist Moira Dela Torre, Philippine multimedia prince James Reid and the phenomenal box-office queen Vice Ganda, ready to hit them with a classic ballad. And boy, he delivered. Nobody knew that he would make such an impact, that a surprised Vice Ganda even noted on the fact that his speaking voice was nothing like the tone of his voice when he started singing. Given that Idol was the first national competition that he joined, he’d really feel the nerves, “Siyempre kabado po talaga ako nung una, pero nung nakita ko po na nag e-enjoy sila, nawala lahat ng kaba ko, kaya nakanta ko [ng maayos yung] awitin ni Mr. Paul Anka [Of course I was truly nervous in the beginning! But when I saw that they were enjoying my performance, I felt more confident singing Mr. Paul Anka’s hit].”
Outside the audition room, a tensed but excited mother and a group of five boys waited nervously for the results. They weren’t disappointed when Ramil stepped out with an Idol City ticket. He shares, “Siyempre sobrang saya po nila nun. Nagtatalon kami at talagang hindi ko maipaliwanag ang nararamdaman ko nun! [They were all very happy. We were jumping in joy and I couldn’t explain what I was feeling during that moment.]”
And then, the unbelievable happened. Anka himself took notice of the Lucena pride by sharing the video of Ramil, with the caption “WOW, WELL DONE! WISHING YOU ALL THE BEST, RAMIL!” Audiences were hyped that an international and legendary artist was impressed by the Filipino singer, and Ramil was on cloud nine. What did he feel when he saw the post? “Hindi ko po maipaliwanag [ang naramdaman ko] ng makita ko yung post niya sa Facebook account niya. Si-nearch ko po talaga, then yun, siya nga po talaga yung bumati sa’kin, at hindi lang sa FB, pati sa Twitter niya, binati niya din po ako [I couldn’t explain what I felt when I heard about it. I looked him up on social media, and he not only posted it on Facebook, but he shared about it on Twitter, too].” For Ramil, it was an honor for someone of Anka’s caliber to comment on his performance. “Sobrang nakakataba po ng puso kasi isa po siyang legendary singer tapos babatiin ka ng ganun! [I was so flattered and overwhelmed, knowing that a legendary singer commented on my performance].” He adds, “Sana nga po maka-duet ko siya balang araw para makapagpasalamat at makapagpapicture ako sa idol ko! [I hope to have a duet with him someday, so I could thank him in person, and even get a chance to have a picture with him].”
Though he was not able to make it all the way to the live shows, he believes that everything happens for a reason, and he shares that he will continue making music, “Sobrang nanghihinayang po ako kasi hindi ako nakapasok sa top 20, pero okay lang po yun! Alam ko naman na [may nakalaan para sa atin]. Siguro po may dadating na better, diba? Basta hindi po ako titigil sa pag-abot sa aking pangarap at gusto ko po talagang buhayin ang mga classic songs ngayong panahon ng mga millennials. Nais ko pong iparinig sa kanila kung gaano kaganda ang mga classic songs [I felt disappointed that I was not able to make it to the top 20, but it’s okay! I know that there is something better for us out there. It’s a guarantee that I won’t stop in reaching for my dreams and I really want to bring back the classics to millennials. I want them to appreciate these type of songs, too].”
His experience in the hit competition also opened him to new friendships. So who is he closest to? “Ang naging pinaka close ko po talaga eh yung grupo ko na 3 and 1. Si Ming (Jeremiah), Ibrahim at Kier, kasi nabuo po talaga yung pagkakaibigan namin nung Theater Round. Sabi ko nga po sa sarili ko, sana maging grupo na lang talaga kami. Kung pwede lang! [I am closest to my group, 3 and 1, Ming, Ibrahim and Kier. Our friendship was formed during the Theater Round. I even told myself, why not form a real group with them? If it was only possible!”]
He is also very proud of his fellow hopefuls who made it far in Idol. For him, they all deserved their spots, “Para sa akin, deserving silang lahat! [For me, everyone deserves to win!]”
Now that the Idol season is over, back home, Ramil is the guy-next-door and a loving son. “Lima po kami. May dalawa po akong ate. Sobra po ang suporta nila sakin sa pag-abot ko sa pangarap kong maging isang sikat na singer [We are five in the family. I have two sisters, and they are all very supportive with my dreams of becoming a famous singer].” As a mechanical engineering graduate, his family often wishes for him to pursue this career. Though he is not closing his doors on the profession, he shares that right now, he wants to follow his heart. “Minsan, pinapa-push po nila yung natapos ko sa kolehiyo, kasi [lahat ng mga kapatid ko] ay nag engineer. Pero sabi ko, ang hilig ko talagang gawin ay umawit dahil dito ako masaya [Sometimes, they push me to pursue what I finished in college, because all my siblings did the same. But I told them that I know in my heart that singing is what makes me happy].”
When he is not singing on stage, or belting out classic ballads in his room, you may actually find him shooting hoops. “Basketball talaga ang isa ko pang hilig. Basketball po talaga ang ginagawa naming magkakaibigan [Basketball is one of my hobbies and this is what I love doing with my friends].” In fact, during the auditions, he introduced his very ecstatic barkada who were in jerseys. According to Ramil, they are all very supportive of his passion for singing, “Sobrang suportado talaga nila ako. Isa pa, gusto din nila na laging sumama pag may ganung kompetisyon akong nasasalihan [They all support me and they love accompanying me in the competitions that I join].” Well, their enthusiasm pretty much showed during the auditions on national TV!
Right now, he promises that he will continue reaching for his dreams. “Itutuloy ko pa din po ang pangarap ko kasi sa pag awit po talaga ako sumasaya at dun din po ako nakakapagpasaya [I will keep on pursuing my dreams because it makes me happy, and I know I make other people happy, too].” When asked about the singers he looks up to, he mentioned Mr. Pure Energy Gary Valenciano and Richard Poon, who he already had a duet with during his stint at the Casino Filipino. He also shares about his biggest musical dreams, “Pangarap ko ding [maka-awit internationally]. Sabi ko nga po, kung mangangarap lang din ako, tataasan ko na. Ang pangarap ko, siyempre andun yung makaduet ang mga idol ko, sina Paul Anka at Michael Bublé. Hindi naman masamang mangarap, diba? Malay natin pagdating ng panahon, mangyari [I dream of performing internationally, too. I told myself, if I was to dream, I might as well dream big. Of course, I dream of having a duet with my idols Paul Anka and Michael Bublé. It’s never wrong to dream, right? Who knows, maybe it would happen one day].”
With his inimitable and timeless gift and the drive to showcase it in this new generation, it is clear that he is bound to be heard by millions. Despite all that the world has to say, he knows exactly who he is and what he wants to do. After every defeat, he still stood up and right now, he is ready to face more exciting challenges towards his dreams. His message for himself and for aspiring singers? “Wag susuko, at kung masaya ka, wag kang titigil. At kung bumagsak ka man sa una mong apak, wag kang susuko dahil may nakalaan para sayo na ibibigay ng Panginoon [Never give up, and if you are happy with what you are doing, don’t stop. If you fail on your first step, don’t lose hope because God will give you what is meant for you].” He also leaves a message to the people who believes in his talent, “Hayaan niyo, hindi po ako titigil sa pag-abot ng aking mga pangarap. Magkikita-kita pa din po tayo sa takdang panahon! [Don’t worry, I will never stop in reaching for my dreams. We will all see each other soon in the right moment!]”
Indeed, in his right time, we’ll see and hear more of Ramil Permigones.
Ramil is a PEP Artist. Visit PEP Profiles Entertainment Productions Inc. and check out covers and updates!
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