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"Tawag ng Tanghalan" (Call of the Stage)

It has been a very long time since I used to listen to "Tawag ng Tanghalan" (Call of the Stage) on the radio as a child.

"Tawag" was an amateur singing contest on radio in the Philippines in the mid 1950s, long before the American Idol, the Voice, and similar singing contests came into being. The contest ran for 30 years and had a temporary hiatus until it was revived on TV a few years ago as a segment of "Showtime," a local TV station's noontime show.

The old and new contest produced winners many of whom later became singing celebrities and even movie stars.

During the show contestants are always asked what made them join the contest.

Many of them have answered that they were motivated by the desire to help improve the lives of their families with the cash and other prizes they would get if they won, and the possibility of a singing career.

A lot of these stories reveal the dire straits of many of the contestants.  They all are very touching. Frequently, one or two of the judges, feeling so much compassion, would right then and there just tell the contestant that he would help him meet his/her particular need, like shouldering the cost of a father's surgery, or  a wheelchair for a mother, or the balance of the tuition of a son so he could graduate and find a job to help support his poor family. That unexpected gesture could only elicit the contestant's deep gratitude and relief.

There are so many such touching stories revealed on the "Tawag" stage.  They manifest so palpably the love of people towards their families. These stories evoke the compassion of those who have the means to share their blessings with those in such need. These are modern-day Samaritans.

Two things are clearly visible in the show: Love of family, and compassion for others.

"If anyone with earthly possessions sees his brother in need, but withholds his compassion from him, how can the love of God abide in him?" (1 John 3:17)

Some people who feel a call to perform on a stage are motivated by a desire for fame and wealth. Some people respond to that call motivated by an unselfish  desire to just be able to better the lives of their families, or simply be able to meet a particular economic need.

Those who hear these stories and are in position to help are also responding to a call: "A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34)

This is the call we all are given as we live and perform in this world's "stage."

If we play our roles well, we are actually stars . . . superstars in the eyes of Him Who created the world's stage. #

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