When 9-year old Philip Nadela was announced the first grand winner of the Pinoy Dream Academy Little Dreamers during an exciting Finals night earlier this month, I was at that time at the residence of Gen. Santos City Mayor Jun Acharon together with his wife, Dra. Rose and some household members.

We were at their living room all busy trying to send the last of the text messages we could to ensure that Philip wins.  Earlier, while the First Lady was calling and texting all her friend and relatives in Cebu to support Philip, the good mayor was then busy reminding his barangay captains to go all out for the young “general”.

When his name was finally announced as the GRAND LITTLE WINNER, I and the rest let loose shrieks of delight. While glancing at the mayor, I noticed that he was misty-eyed but grinning from ear to ear, obviously proud that another champion emerged from among his constituents.

So when the young singing sensation, now known by his screen name Philip Nolasco came back home with his parents, no less than Mayor Jun Acharon was there at the General Santos City International Airport to welcome him.

Later, he was whisked off to a waiting vehicle for his motorcade, the same one used by Manny Pacquiao every time he wins his fights.  Joining him were Ms. GenSan 2002 Ivy Cunanan and her court Kitel and Faye, together with Sangguniang Kabataan Chair Jane Calunsag.

I had the rare chance to ride the same car and so I took shots of the people of Gen. Santos waving at him from the roadsides, all wanting to take a good look at him.   Philip was a trouper, gamely waving at everyone while his pretty “yayas” were beside him, acting as his consorts.

The scenes of the crowds greeting us wherever we turn were reminiscent of Manny Pacquiao’s hero’s welcome everytime he goes home to GenSan after every fight.  I had goosebumps all over with the similar kind of adulation that this 9-year old singing sensation received during the motorcade.

The motorcade eventually winded up at the Oval Covered Court where his fans, schoolmates, teachers, etc. and the Gen. Santos City media were waiting for him.  They were later gifted with a couple of songs from the Grand Dreamer after answering a few questions during the mini press conference.

Later on in the evening, a Grand Feast was tendered to him by the mayor at the 6’Blings Restaurant, owned by Mr. Bebot Haw.  There, GenSan’s youngest pride mingled with his guests and in between photo ops, lest we forget that he is still a child, focused on playing with his new portable PlayStation.