Manobo prince sings pop and Pavarotti

Published August 18, 2018, 5:59 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

After clinching a haul of medals from the 22nd annual World Championship of Performing Arts (WCOPA) last July, Aljun Cayawan is ready for show business.

Aljun Cayawan (Photo by Lester Ramos) /
Aljun Cayawan (Photo by Lester Ramos)

But, first, know this: Aljun is a Manobo prince from Sibagat, Agusan Del Sur. He is also known as Datu Agong.

The 5’10” tall guy won a total of 14 medals at WCOPA, the highest number of medals received by a member of Team Pilipinas. He won these in various categories and levels of competition, mostly in modeling and in singing.

In our interview, the 25-year-old singer-model gave a sample of his talent by singing a classical song ala Luciano Pavarotti. He also does pop, world, and gospel types of song.

“I would love to join showbiz. If there’s an opportunity, I would really grab it,” he said in Filipino at the mall show of Megasoft Hygienic Products, Inc. held at Starmall Alabang a few days ago.

Given the chance, Aljun dreams to collaborate with Sarah Geronimo, describing her a “very talented artist.”

He also likes to work with actresses Marian Rivera and Maja Salvador, his “crushes.”

The tribe

Aljun has been actively promoting the Manobo culture, and he has undertaken various activities to secure assistance for the education of the children.

Aljun’s grandmother is chief leader of the Manobo tribe. The eldest among his other five siblings, he was appointed prince because of his competence and sense of responsibility.

“My lola is the head of the tribe but that doesn’t necessarily mean I become the prince automatically,” he explained. “The title is usually given to those who deserve it, those who can and willing to serve the tribe. I think they saw the potential in me, that’s why I’m doing my best to fulfill my duties as prince.”

According to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Manobos are probably the most numerous of the ethnic groups of the Philippines in terms of the relationships and names of the various groups that belong to this family of languages. Mention has been made of the numerous subgroups that comprise the Manobo group.

Aljun shared he will have a meeting with the National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP) to further discuss projects and activities that are substantial to the livelihood of Manobo tribe. The Bachelor of Business Administration graduate of Arellano University supports Ka Tribu and SAGIP groups.

“These days, there are so many groups, organizations that offer their hands to help the tribe. So that’s where my task comes in, I need to bridge them together to help the less fortunate people of our tribe,” he explained.

Apart from being the prince, Aljun is a Catholic youth leader. He will fly to Thailand soon to represent both tribe and the faith.
Despite trying his hands in showbiz, Aljun made clear the tribe remains his top priority.

“If ever I need to sacrifice something, it will be showbiz. I am a prince before being a singer. I know my responsibilities and I have to fulfill it,” he noted. “But I believe I can manage the two well. At the end of the day, it’s all about time management. So if I could do it both, why not?”

Does the prince already have a princess, we asked.

“I don’t have one. I just came from a breakup. But I’m fine, all things are well for me,” he said.