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Studded bell bottoms, sideburns and blue suede shoes spell one thing only in Manila - It's Elvis Day.
For the 33rd anniversary of The King's death on Monday, Elvis Presley fans in the Philippines joined a sing-alike contest on Sunday, donning their glittery pants and putting on their best imitation of the singer's rich baritone.
Twenty-two contestants channeled the King - shimmying, gyrating and belting out classics like "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me", "Always On My Mind", and "Now or Never".
The annual sing-alike competition attracts Elvis enthusiasts in Manila from all walks of life and ages, from senior citizens to teenagers, all claiming that the Memphis legend is the greatest entertainer of all time. Many of the contestants are business professionals who have made a hobby out of impersonating the singer.
In a music-loving country like the Philippines, Elvis fans are legion. Call center agent Bojie Rosas joined the contest for the first time, doing a rendition of "Patch It Up". Calling Elvis a revolutionary musician, he says the sentimental crooner is well loved in the Philippines not only for his voice but also for his charisma.
Bojie Rosas, call center agent, said, "Filipinos can relate to Elvis's love songs. At the same time, Filipinos are very affectionate, just like Elvis was. We're hopeless romantics."
|The tomb of Elvis Presley in the grounds of Graceland, |
his mansion in Memphis, Tennessee.
Businessman Eddie Lombardo, an executive for a cement factory, was the only foreigner in the competition. He recounted his growing-up years in Sydney, singing Elvis songs in school and impersonating him as a teenager.
Eddie Lombardo, businessman, said, "You have to get the essence of Elvis out, you have into get the mood of Elvis and the way he sang the song, the way he put the feelings into the song. I mean anybody can sing a song, but you have to put the feelings."
Lombardo tied for first-place with fellow businessmen Jun Espinosa, winning a cash prize of 440 U.S. dollars. The bigger reward, they say, is reliving the Elvis magic amongst fellow fans.
Presley suffered from serious ailments as a result of prescription drug abuse. He died in Memphis on August 17, 1977.